Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I love it when a thought, vision, or idea is shared by someone else.

Even when I can't find the someone else who shared it.

For the last couple of weeks, I've been thinking about our church and its children's program. I am currently serving only in the Sunday morning activities, but my dreams and passion are still in the broader umbrella of all our kids' programs (just waiting for some organizational changes that will enable me to function in that capacity). My thoughts turned toward our phenomenal volunteers, men and women who devote their Sunday mornings to helping kids know the Savior. Two of our KidServants (as we call them here) are physically challenged. And then there's a big bear of a grandpa who teaches a 3rd-5th grade class. There's a 20 year old young lady in college who leads an infant-toddler group. And a mix of mechanics, truck drivers, and administrators who tackle the awesome task of helping kids grow in their faith. It warms my heart to see these folks every week.

But one day, I asked the question: "what is the average age of all our KidServants on Sunday morning?" Aside from the 20 year old and another lady who is in her 30's, most of our group is 40+. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Physical appearance aside, these saints have energy to spare. In no way, shape, or form do I want to downplay the contribution of these men and women.

But I remember I first taught a 5th grade Sunday School class when I was in high school. My wife taught when she was in junior high. Even my oldest daughter led a group when she was still in school. In my adventures at Children's Pastors Conferences, I've met children's pastors, directors, and coordinators that look like they just graduated. And I found myself wondering: "where is the next generation in our children's program?"

And then I read a blog. One of many blogs I regularly read. And the writer talked about his dream and plan to start recruiting the next generation. His words clicked and resounded within my spirit. The only trouble is, in my haste, I failed to note which blog I was reading. Soooooo....if you recently wrote about recruiting the next generation, please know that your spirit bore witness with my spirit!

Meanwhile, I shared my thoughts with the elder who is over me. He got very excited about the possibilities. The thought of a younger team being implanted in ministry is thrilling. Again, we don't want to replace our current workers (unless they want to be replaced), but we do want to begin actively seeking responsible older teens and 20's to step up and begin assuming these rolls. Several of our ministries have already begun doing this (two kids who grew up in our Sunday School are now elders in the church!). It's time for children's ministries to do the same.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

THE STORM (a very personal blog)

Someone once observed that blogging can be very cathartic. I've never tried to test that idea, but ever so often, I have things on my mind and my heart that need to be expressed.

This picture was taken following a Celebration KREW meeting one Saturday night. The approaching storm clouds were interesting to watch, but we did not suspect what they packed. Less than ten minutes later, we were driving home in a surprising spring blizzard!

Sometimes, when the proverbial "storm clouds of life" arrive, we stand amazed from a safe distance. But before we know it, we are in the middle of the storm.

I have been wrestling with my feelings for some precious folks who are very dear to me. One of them is a relative, one a friend. Both are making unwise and spiritually disasterous choices in their lives. And I am absolutely powerless to do anything about it. Their issues are being dealt with at various levels. But that doesn't change the storm of emotions I'm facing.

I'm angry. I want to take them by the shoulders and give them a good shaking (especially the relative). Like Cher's character in Moonstruck, I want to slap them and shout, "Snap out of it!"

I'm depressed. Their actions and choices deeply sadden me. This part is actually surprising, because in the course of pastoral ministry, I have dealt with others with similar issues, but I've never been so down over it.

I'm taking it personally. "What could I have done? How could I have been a better friend? How could I have missed the warning signs?"

I'm resting in God's love and grace. This is the only stable part of this whole situation. My emotions may come and go, my reactions may at times be totally out of whack, but my Father is still there and still cares.

So please pray for my friend and for my relative, that they would wake up before it's too late. And pray for me that I may model what Jesus would have me model in the face of this storm.

Thank you.