Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Unfolding Story…

I remember moving to Germany almost 9 years ago…  We were so excited!  We knew that God had big plans for us and we ready to get going.

We left a great job with people we loved and trusted in order to follow God’s plan for our lives.  We KNEW this was the right thing to do, although it seemed crazy.  We felt as if we were jumping out of a perfectly good airplane without a parachute!

And we KNEW what God’s plan for us was (or so we thought).  He had made it clear to us that we were to come to Germany to train European youth leaders and to minister to European teens.  We also felt we were to help a church and Bible school in Bonn, which we did for 7 years.

Three years ago something in our hearts began to change.  It was as if God was broadening the “call” on us to train leaders.  All of a sudden we were doing as much training and mentoring for pastors and other church leaders as for youth leaders.  And this new “call” has served us well for the past two years.

In retrospect we can see that God has been preparing us for the leap of faith we’re taking right now (again jumping out of an airplane without a parachute).  In planting a church in Freiburg, we can see that THIS is the reason He called us to Germany.

The epiphany I’ve recently had is that, as we grow in our relationship with God and our spiritual maturity, God’s plan for us also grows.  Every step of obedience creates new opportunities.  That’s why the path to our destiny is never a straight line.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Feeling stuck…

I got an email from a person that is feeling stuck in a ministry position they don’t want to be in.  This person’s pastor asked them to take over the kids ministry in their church because another person had to step down… and because this person had helped out with the Children’s Ministry before.  This person doesn’t like working with kids but wants to serve their church and help out the pastor. 

Their pastor promised them some help and asked them to stay, even though they said they didn’t want to.  They asked for my advice on what to do. (I realize this paragraph isn’t grammatically correct, but it protects his/her identity) 

Here is part of my reply…

Has the situation gotten any better?  Did your pastor find you some help?

Let me give you some suggestions (in case you still don't want to serve in this area of ministry)...

1. Try to recruit as many helpers as you can.  It's always more difficult to serve alone.

2. Tell your pastor you’d like to commit to a certain period of time (6 months, 9 months, 1 year, etc) while he finds a replacement.  He shouldn’t have a problem with that.  And by that time you will have had the chance to see if this is what God wants you to do. 

As I told you before, the longer I was with each age group I never wanted to work with (10-12 year olds, children, etc) the more fun I had and the more I enjoyed it.  Sometimes the road of faithfulness takes you in a direction you don't want to go, but it always opens new doors of opportunity!

If at the end of this time you still don't feel that this is a good fit for you (not just you wanting to avoid responsibility), give your pastor at least two months notice that he will have to find a replacement.  When he does find a replacement, help the new person succeed.

3. Ask another church which curriculum they use... there are a lot of good resources out there for Children’s Ministry.

4.  See if your pastor will give you a weekend off so you can spend some time observing a larger Children’s Ministry in another church... it’s helpful to see how others are ministering to kids.  Helping out is one thing.  But it’s not until you've done it yourself a few times you really know what questions to ask!

Friday, August 6, 2010

What to do when you don’t know what to do

Here’s a suggestion: Make some alone time and get quiet before God.  This is why the monks and ascetics practiced the spiritual disciplines of fasting and solitude.  It doesn't cause God to speak.  It positions us to hear... or better yet, it helps us quiet ourselves.

Another thought... the path to our purpose is never a straight one.  Faithfulness is following God even when it seems to be leading in the wrong direction.  It always leads us to the place we need to be... where our life really counts!  Sometimes we have to die to our plans in order to be able to live for His plans.