Thursday, June 30, 2005

Work with Kids?

Ever so often, I am approached with the statement: "You should get more help so that you don't have to be stuck with the kids every Sunday morning." I've always had mixed emotions about that statement. I'm touched by their concern for my well being. I'm a little jumpy because I don't know of too many volunteers who will devote the next year to eternity serving in Children's Ministries. But most of all, I'm confused because I'm not quite sure how to respond. And then it just hit me yesterday: the statement begins from a false premise.
Let's review: "You should get more help." That is true. Someone has said that you don't have to be in a mega-church to have a mega-children's ministry. I agree with that. Being the Children's Ministries Director of a relatively small church has not stopped me from dreaming big. We do a lot of things designed to engage the children of this generation, with the ultimate goal of seeing boys and girls come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
But to do that, we need help. We need committed volunteers who love Jesus to help create an atmosphere of caring. Our Sunday morning program (called Sunday Morning Celebration) can have flashing lights and video presentations, but when all a kid needs is a hug or high-five, we need people. So yes...I should get more help. I will confess a weakness in the area of recruiting. I'm learning and doing better. Amen and amen!
Now to the second part: "so you don't have to be stuck with the kids every Sunday morning." Like a thunderclap, it hit me! I have asked folks how they would feel if they did the large group children's church every Sunday morning without a break. They would often shudder and say, "No way...I couldn't possibly work with kids all the time!" And here is my answer: "perhaps you can't...but I can!" I'm not stuck working with the kids...I'm honored to work with the kids. This isn't an interruption of my church is the ministry to which I am currently called.
The folks who often make the statement are interpreting children's ministries through their own expectations. They can't imagine spending every week ministering to children, so they assume that nobody could possibly want to do it. But I do. My pastor works hard all week. He spends his Sundays in the pulpit. He doesn't get to sit with his family in church. But nobody goes up to him and says, "You should get more help so you're not stuck preaching to the adults every week!" They expect it because he is the minister. And in a very real sense, that is what I am to the children...a minister. I am, in a sense, the only pastor they get to hear on a weekly basis at this time in their lives. It's a high and holy calling.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Two weeks away

Sunday, June 19th, was Father's Day. We had toyed with the idea of going camping that weekend, but my daughter's college orientation was that Saturday, so it would not have been practical. I attended my church's Father's Day Breakfast, but I had no other commitments. I had already covered my teaching and leading assignments (since I thought I would be gone), so my family decided to kidnap me for Father's Day and take me to the breakfast buffet. It always feels strange not being in church, but when I glanced at my watch and saw that the service was almost half over, I realized I had enjoyed being with my family that morning.

Well, as I write this, we are planning to go camping tomorrow through Saturday. It should be fun...for the first time in our lives, we will have a dog with us. But for the second week in a row, I will not be involved in the children's ministry at our church. It's not because I will be gone (we'll be back Saturday afternoon), but because this weekend is the high school retreat at Lake Shasta, which our pastor is attending. With the pastor leaving town, I will be giving the morning message (from 2 Thessalonians 1). This doesn't feel as strange as not going to church, but I hope I have very few instances of being gone from the kids at Children's Ministries two weeks in a row.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A Tribute to My First Born

Today is the day...the day I get to publically embarrass my oldest daughter. Not that I haven't done that before. Many have been the times I have told people of my daughter's birth in Colorado a little over 18 years ago. It was the worst snowstorm of the year (I draw out the word worst for effect). Actually, my wife was admitted to the hospital the night before on a rather pleasant, dry day. The doctor wanted to induce labor because of dangerously high blood preasure (pre-e, which stands for a condition I can pronounce but not spell), so my beloved spent the night in the hospital and I spent the night at a relative's house.
The next morning: POW. There is an saying that if you don't like the weather in Colorado, wait a minute. From dry and sunny to a major snowstorm that shut down the schools, airport, most businesses, and roads all in less than twelve hours. My car would not make it that morning to the hospital, so I called my sister's husband, who arrived in his four-wheel drive, souped up sports car. We spun, we sailed, we glided (I'm not sure, but I think we might have cut across a pond or two. Hard to tell with my eyes closed and my hands tightly wrapped around the seat cushion!), but I was delivered to the front door of the hospital.
The next several hours were a blur. I remember that the heating system was out of order, so the room was incredibly hot and stuffy. This required me to open a window during the worst snowstorm of the year. I also remember coaching my wife on breathing, only to have my coaching contradicted by the nurse on duty. But after a long process of induced labor, my wife finally gave birth to my daughter.
And now, 18 years later, my daughter is graduating from high school tonight. She would no doubt be embarrassed and object to my posting of this, but it is a father's duty to "crow" about his children once or twice or several times during their lifetime. Sooooo.....
Christy, I love you and I'm very proud of you. Congratulations on your big day and may the Lord richly bless you as you enter the rigors of college life. Signed, your dad.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Rainy days and Mondays

Alright...let's start with some background. I am a man of many hats. In addition to my responsibilities on the church staff (which I will describe some other time) as well as serving as Children's Ministries Director, I am also employed at the church's DayCare center. My primary age group is 3's and 4's (during the school year, I teach a 4 year old class).
Today, as in most days, began at 6:15 a.m. I got up, showered, dressed, and arrived at 7:00 to begin my morning. I have no work responsibilities on Monday afternoons, so I look forward to 11:00 a.m. when my shift at the DayCare is over. I was prepared to do great things in my yard, which currently resembles a tropical jungle. And then it happened: a rain drop. Then two. Then two hundred. Before my first trip outside to deliver the school kids to school, there were already sizeable puddles. It became very obvious that my plans for yard work would not come to pass.
Fortunately (or unfortanately, depending on one's point-of-view), two of the workers at the center called in sick, leaving the facility short handed. So, being the trooper I am, I volunteered to stay until more relief could arrive. My 11:00 a.m. quitting time was extended to about 12:30. While I clocked out at that time, I did not leave the facility because of the chance that I might be needed again before relief arrived. Relief came at about 1:45.'s raining. And cold (the temp did not crack 60 today...quite a feat for June!). But while rainy days and Mondays always get some people down, I have to remember that 1)today is payday, which offsets any weather problems and 2) I get to work with kids! It's a high and holy calling and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
But I still want my Monday afternoons!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Glad to meet you

It is now Sunday evening and I have decided that now was as good a time as ever to start blogging. Inspired in part by a fellow blogger from Chicago and spurred on by a close friend who has also launched a blog, I have decided to take keyboard in hand and record a journal of sorts containing opinion, conjecture, and just day by day reports of the happenings in my life.
I will post more later, but let me just begin with a confession: I have not yet seen Star Wars, Episode III. If Karl is reading this, forgive me. I will see it...I promise.
Want to know a little more about me? Check out my profile (no pic yet, but soon). In the meantime, have a great weekend (what's left of it) and keep checking back.