boyradd

Forgiven…Loved…..Transformed!

Archive for the tag “Children”

Things I Wished I Learned in Seminary

2 Timothy 2:15 – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

A few months ago I stepped into a full time ministry position. It is truly a dream job. I had been chasing that dream since the end of 2013, so, almost 6 years. It took so long for several reasons, but, suffice it to say, God was preparing me for the ministry.

The position I took is a Director of Ministries role at a solidly medium-sized church. We run about 200 each Sunday and have over 65 people each week engaged in growth groups, which is an amazing percentage!

As Director of Ministries, I find that my role encompasses a lot. We only have 2 full-time staff: the pastor and myself. This means we both wear a lot of hats.

In all churches the staff wears many hats, but that number of hats you wear goes up exponentially as you get smaller. But I have found that the number of hats follows a sine curve. When the church is very small, the pastor wears all the hats, but the number of things that pastor is responsible for from a production standpoint is minimized simply because one person cannot do it all.

Then, on the other side of the curve is the megachurch. These churches typically have someone for almost every position in the church and the only reason someone would have to wear another hat is when they are transitioning between leaders.

Then you get to the mid-size churches. These are the churches that are between 200-400 people. In those churches you don’t have the congregation size to pull for every ministry that the church wants to do yet these churches are really starting to expand their community relations, build their worship teams, and see guests coming each week to check out the church.

It is in these churches, which don’t have the income to support full staffs, that the team is tasked with wearing several hats all at once so that the ministries continue to grow and the Sunday worship experience is on par with churches of larger size.

So when I went to seminary, I was told that the most important thing to understand was the Bible.

I still don’t doubt that.

Knowledge of God is the most important piece of ministry. I spent thousands of dollars studying a single book, The Bible.

But after seminary I feel woefully unprepared for many of the day to day parts of ministry.

Seminary is preparing people to be Ed Stetzer, Steven Furtick, David Platt, Louis Giglio, and many others. They aren’t preparing people to be the day-in and day-out shepherds of a congregation that can be challenging, amazing, beautiful, maddening, heartbreaking, and powerful. It also doesn’t prepare you for the operational aspects of ministry.

Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men

So what I would like to do is give a list of classes that I wish I had a chance to take in seminary. Seminaries don’t offer most of these classes, just so you know. These are things that you would never see in an MDiv or MAR.

  • Rigging 101

The past couple of days I have been helping the pastor plan the 4 services we are going to have this Easter weekend. The first service is Good Friday at 7 PM. For this service, we are moving a huge, close to 200 pound, cross from its normal place on the stage to hanging it from the ceiling in the middle of the room. This is requiring chains, aircraft cable, and a lot of prayer. If this thing falls in the middle of the sanctuary, it won’t necessarily be a “good” Good Friday.

  • Graphic Design

One of my first tasks was to prepare a brochure for the church that was to be used in the business meeting. Our goal was to make it something that looked professional yet didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I had the brochure almost completely done when I found one of our congregants has graphic design experience. I showed it to her and was almost laughed out of the room. I handed it to her and, within a week, she had something that was absolutely hands-down amazing. I wish I had that skill!

  • Application of the Fruit of the Spirit

We all know the fruit of the Spirit. It is laid out in Galatians 5. Each one of those fruit will be tested by the congregation. They will be attacked by Satan. It would be amazing to hear from pastors who have stood the test of time to give a class on how to maintain the fruit of the Spirit while in ministry. The other day my pastor and I were talking about how I have a very corporate mindset and how I like to tell someone what to do and expect them to immediately do it. Unfortunately in ministry, it doesn’t work that way. It is much more relational. This is definitely a skill I need to learn more from him, and I am. But imagine if seminary had prepared me for this.

  • Sound & Lighting

I realize that for those who take a worship track in seminary get a lot of this, but during my time at seminary it wasn’t even an option for me to take. I guess they figured that I was going for church planting and therefore would not have need for a worship team? (please note the sarcasm in that question). I am thankful that I studied it when I went to college, but that was in the 80’s and 90’s, so things have changed…a lot.

  • Children

I have kids. I haven’t been the best father in the world. I will never win any dad awards. But when you have several other children and yours are grown, and children were never a strength of yours, it takes a lot more focus and energy for me to deal with children than it does for someone who is good with kids. I don’t know how to put together a lesson plan. I don’t know how to control a classroom (unless the people in it have already been through puberty). A basic class on classroom management for dummies would be awesome.

  • Construction Techniques

Much of my job is working with people to keep the church from falling apart. The church is old. At least 40 years old for the main section. This means there are things that are breaking, falling apart, and not efficient. If I knew how to build, fix, and update all the things in the church for cheap it would be awesome!

  • Keeping your marriage strong during ministry

This is another one of those things that I think would be an amazing class to have ministry couples teach a class about the storms, the tests, and the trials you will face as a ministry couple. There are times that I can see strain between us for things at the church. I am thankful that I have a pastor that has been through that storm and is a great resource for me.

So these are a few of the classes I wish were available at seminary. And I know that some seminaries do a better job at some of these than others, but for the most part, many of these aren’t even on the radar of seminaries to prepare future pastors for the calling.

Pastors and ministry professionals have a high burn-out rate and a high turnover rate. Perhaps if we spent more time in seminary preparing people for both the knowledge of God and the intricacies of bathroom cleaning, then we might see that turnover number go lower.

Jeremiah 3:15 – “‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Innocence and Theology

Mark 10:14 – But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

The other day I was driving my daughter home from her work. She works for a local Christian camp. She was talking about how she was writing Bible studies for the half-day students because the current series was not directed toward the age group she was responsible for. She wanted to do an entire weeklong series on “Finding Jesus.” As she was explaining it to me, she was explaining the plot line of the Disney movie “Finding Dory.” It was pure innocence, using the story of a fish-finding story to explain how we come to know the risen Creator of the universe.

As she spoke to me I found all these ways to poke holes in her theology.

But I kept my mouth shut and listened.

She explained how easy it was to find Jesus. She pulled a few Bible verses here and there, used a lot of Disney references, and showed a lot of passion in her voice as she explained it to me.

If a seminary graduate who has studied hermeneutics, Greek and Hebrew would listen to her speak, he would stop her from teaching this to the younger minds than hers.

But I sat and thought about it for a minute.

First, I thought about what Jesus said about children.

Matthew 18:1-3 – At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Now, please understand me that Jesus is not talking about becoming like children in ways of wisdom, but in innocence.

As adults, we tend to overthink situations so much more than children. If a child is angry or happy or sad they show their emotion and then, unless there is a significant outside influence like abuse, divorce, and death, the child will remember the major points of why they feel the way they do, but the details will be foggy. According to one study, “early emotional experience literally become embedded in the architecture of their brains.” (“Children’s Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of their Brains,” National Scientific Council on the Developing Child)

While children are imprinting their brains, they simply do not have enough history to distort their realities. Adults, on the other hand, color everything we experience with our past.

Colossians 2:8 – See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

I think of it this way, what is the main thing at church?

When we look at church today, we focus on a lot that is not Jesus.

We package it up as Jesus, but it isn’t Jesus.

Music is great, but music isn’t Jesus.

Small groups are awesome, but they aren’t Jesus.

Mission journeys are needed, but they aren’t Jesus.

But people tend to make them Jesus.

Just like holidays. I think of holidays that celebrate the military or freedom. During those days in church, when freedom or the flag or the military is announced, the applause gets louder, there is cheering, and the church gets a great feeling.

The amount of excitement around those topics outweigh the excitement for hearing about the Savior of mankind.

But let’s look at the Hebrew church for a moment.

By the time the book of Hebrews was written and delivered, there were up to 100,000 Christians inside of Jerusalem. The majority of those Christians were members of house churches, what we would consider either a small group or an underground church. Most of those house churches had approximately 20-30 adults at it. That means there would be about 4,000 churches in Jerusalem during the distribution of the book of Hebrews.

The book was written to Christians in Jerusalem.

Now, before this letter came to those churches, what did they use? They used other letters.

So when the messenger brought the Letter to the Hebrews to the first church in Jerusalem around 60 AD, there were still 3,999 other churches that had yet to hear this amazing book!

The churches would spend all night studying the Word. They would consume it!

Matthew 4:4 – But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

We don’t consume the Word.

We consume the music. We consume the fellowship. We consume the opportunity to serve those who don’t have as much first world stuff as we do.

But we don’t consume the Word.

The church in Jerusalem consumed the Word.

And they changed the world.

They were able to affect people across several generations.

And they were able to build a foundation for faith throughout further generations.

They consumed the Word with an innocence and excitement similar to how my daughter shared the Word as she understood it with those younger kids.

Being a Dad

Proverbs 4:1-5 – Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

As I lay in my bed writing this Father’s Day is coming up this weekend.  But even more importantly, my children are growing older by the minute.  I just left my ex’s house where my daughter was getting ready for her 8th grade formal.  I remember growing up and going to middle school dances, but they were nothing formal and it was never an event to behold.  Today, I was almost in tears as she emerged from the bathroom a beautiful young woman.

20140613_165114_resized_120140613_164952_resized_1

I looked at her and was so excited, saddened, joyous, scared, young and old all at the same time.  My little girl.  How did she get so big?

So I though I would run through a pictoral look at my kids as they have grown.  I’m sorry this is more a sappy post about my family rather than something theologically poignant, but, hey, it’s Father’s Day weekend.  I’m allowed to go down memory lane. 😉

3 John 1:4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

I love some of the old pictures of my kids.  When they were little, we could dress them up in so many different ways or take pictures of them in embarrassing moments and they wouldn’t care.  It was like having a dog that you dress up in those ugly sweaters.  I could pose my kids any way I wanted and it came out cute.

IMG_20140529_143341_resized

IMG_20140529_142948_resized

 

As they got older, they got into sports.  When they were young we would take them on hikes when on vacation or have them take swimming lessons.  As they got older, the sport of choice was soccer.  Matt has been on the same team since he was 5.  Kenzi has been on a different team almost every year.  Their skills are amazing.  As a dad, I have to believe they will both turn into Lionel Messi some day.  That is my job.

IMG_20140607_125619_resized_1

20140601_133813_resized20140502_210444_resized

IMG951878

Sometimes, injuries happen.  Almost for the past 10 months, Matt has been tending to a knee injury that he received during soccer.  2 MRIs and a couple X-Rays later, we have no definitive answer to the problem.  It continues to hurt him from time to time, but he just presses on and continues to play the game he loves until the doctors say he can’t.

IMG_20140404_194750_resized

Matthew 7:9-11 – Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Next, I just want to give you a few pictures that shows you how my kids have grown up.

IMG_20140426_133046IMG_1074

kids 80s dance

20140308_183848_resized

IMG_20140601_090400_resized

20140613_165527_resized_1

IMG_20140418_202313

Proverbs 20:7 – The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

Every Christian dad wants their kids to grow up loving, fearing and worshiping the Lord.  Now I am not naïve enough to think that my kids are ready to preach, but I do see them growing in the Lord almost every day that I have them.  No, they are not perfect.  Far from it.  But then again, so is their dad.  But they are covered by the blood of Jesus, and that is truly what matters.

IMG_20140601_110424_resized

IMG_20140601_110237_resized

IMG_20140601_111451_resized

IMG_20140420_124606

Matt praying

At the end of the day, it is because this earthly dad has a Father in heaven that I can know that they are going to grow up just fine.  It is never easy.  I had a LOT of hair before these kids were born and now I am bald.  You do the math.  But I know that God is taking care of these little ones.  They are growing up to be such beautiful men and women of God.  I truly am blessed to call these two my own.

 Psalm 127:3-5 – Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

Post Navigation

boyradd

Forgiven...Loved.....Transformed!

EXPOSED

"Sometimes the story we're telling the world isn't half as endearing as the one that lives inside us." -Donald Miller

The Minstrel's Wife

A worship leader's missus and her views from the pew

Praises & Grace

My life, My walk, My missions

Godinterest Magazine

Godinterest Magazine covering faith, culture, life and all that other stuff

Sillyloquies

We write to remember. To see our thoughts in sentences. So we can hopefully one day figure out what all those words really mean.

this is... The Neighborhood

the Story within the Story

The Awakening

An Ordinary Man Being Awakened By An Extraordinary God

Limbiley's Blog

Life&Love Trials&Tribulations Faith&Fortitude Redemption&Restoration.

Mind's Seat

Set your mind on the things above

J.S. Park: Hospital Chaplain, Skeptical Christian

From Devout Atheist to Skeptical Pastor: A Blog For Busted-Up, Beat-Down People (Like Me)

116 Boyz

Born Again Christian Male Gamers

Jayne Surrena

Fictional Memoirs

juleseddy1

A topnotch WordPress.com site

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

missjordanlee

twentysomething thoughts on grace, life, and health

soma

positive thinking

One Salty Dawg

Recent College Grad's Quest For Meaning

Blonde and Fabulous

some girls were born with glitter in their veins.

Book Hub, Inc.

The Total Book Experience

Morgan Mitchell

• Dreamer, Thinker, Blogger • |Loves Jesus| • College Student • |Living proof of a loving God to a watching World.| • #fivecollective

valeriu dg barbu

©valeriu barbu

Moving at the Speed of God

Sharing the Thoughts and Adventures of David Jackson, Church Multiplication Missionary with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware

philliphowell

Tasting and seeing that the Lord is very good!

My Blog

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

Morning Story and Dilbert

Inspiring, Encouraging, Healthy / Why waste the best stories of the World, pour a cup of your favorite beverage and let your worries drift away…

Tea Cups and Grace

Life, faith and cups of tea.

True Warriors of God

Put on the full armour of God ~ Ephesians 6:13

Write For A Cause

The Spiritually Inclined Deductions by Jenine Silos

newlifer1

http://newlifer1.wordpress.com/

By His Spirit

Reflections of a Female Seminary Graduate

Threshing Floor

Forgiven...Loved.....Transformed!

Forgiven...Loved.....Transformed!

Forgiven...Loved.....Transformed!

Woven by Words

Forgiven...Loved.....Transformed!

%d bloggers like this: