Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Part 2 - Expectations still high for Kidmin 2012 - just different.

Part 2 - Expectations still high for Kidmin 2012 -  just different. 

What can I tell you?  After such a successful and timely restoration experience at Kidmin 2011, I registered for Kidmin 2012, not even know what I'd be doing or where I'd be in October of 2012.

Within two months after Kidmin 2011, my ministry life took a surprising change with new challenges.  Without a local Ministry position, I was freed up to pour myself into my family, friends and clean my own house. I also discovered more time to serve God outside the boundaries of a local ministry position.
  • I was selected to be a contributor for Children's Ministry Magazine's Discipline Q&A Column. I'm honored to share the column with the more qualified, Anthony Prince and Chris Webb
  • I started this blog.  OK, I might not have a lot of readers, but it made me practice the craft. 
  •  I followed Jesus' call to go to Stellenbosch, South Africa to write curriculum for a global sports ministry. Teaming with my good friend and colleague, Gloria Lee, has been the most stimulating and challenging experience of all. Ubabalo & OneHope, provided the soccer professionals and editors to refine the lessons.
As I got deeper and deeper into the writing process, I realized I not only needed co-writers and editors, I needed to sharpen my skills, examine how kids grow spiritually and learn how to provide experiences to enhance their faith journey.  I was yearning to dive deep into new areas of interest so my work would produce effective lessons to transform, not simply inform children.

Good thing, each year at Kidmin, we are free to create a unique conference experience to meet the new challenges of ministry life.  There's an option for where ever you are, whatever you needs! 

With a totally different focus, I pulled up the Kidmin 2012 brochure on my laptop.  Unlike last year, I wasn't workshop shy.  I was immediately drawn to the Deeper Track on Spiritual Formation lead by Gordon and Becky West. I registered immediately.  It literally jumped out at me like a message from God as a perfect fit for my current challenges.

Here's a God Sighting for ya.  Not only were Becky and Gordon West, the presenters at my first ever Children's Ministry Magazine LIVE, they were the first Children's Ministry teachers I ever had! Yep, I'd been in ministry only a few months and every idea they shared that day was like a nugget of gold.  True story! I'm getting chill bumps just thinking about this little parallel from God reinforcing my choice.  

Diving even deeper, I added a Pre-Conference selection.   I picked Greg Baird's Leadership Matters in Children's Ministry Pre-Conference to sharpen my skills and open myself to new ways to lead effectively. It's a bargain at $59 for a day of great training.

Whew! That's three times more workshop sessions than last year. No one's more surprised than me!  I'm also surprised I'm bringing more energy and focus TO Kidmin 2012 than I gained at Kidmin 2011.

Even with some changes in expectations, I'm STILL looking forward to connecting with my kidmin peeps, worshiping, volunteering and moderating a ministry conversation. I'll have plenty of time for all that between workshops, at meal times, during General sessions, coffee breaks and late night event. I'm like a girl on a mission, or as my girlfriend describes me - a dog with a bone.

So, tell me about YOUR expectations and your plan for Kidmin 2012?

I'm praying your Kidmin2012 experience is exactly what God has planned for you, an experience to equip you and sending you out to continue the work He's already planned for you.

 BTW - Please join us for the "More Than Sunday Morning" Conversation - Friday at 3pm & Sunday during the lunch break.   Come share how God is using you, 24/7!  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Part 1 - Expectations still high for Kidmin2012 - just different

In less than two weeks, the already "sold out" Kidmin 2012 will begin in Chicago.

Part 1 - Expectations still for Kidmin 2012
                                      ...but vastly different from Kidmin 2011.

Last year, at this time, I was looking forward to Kidmin 2011 for some much needed rest,  restoration and time to seek God through worship. I realized I was  burning my candle, not only at both ends, but fighting heat from all angles.
  • Heat from my friends to spend more time with them. 
  • Heat from my church to attend yet one more meeting. 
  • Heat from my family to "be there" for them.
  • Scorching heat from myself to just be better and everything would be OK

Looking back with a year's perspective, I had no idea the heat was so intense.  NOR, did I know I was in danger of melting away into a total burn out. Not doubt I needed a BREAK and Kidmin 2011 would deliver.  Basically, Christine Yount Jones invitation to come, rest, take a nap, reflect, regroup and re-energize was all I needed to hear. I knew no matter how I felt, I had permission to let God guide me to create my own conference experience.

I also looked forward to connecting; leading a Connect Group, moderating a Ministry conversation panel, volunteering on the IT team and meeting with as many old and new ministry friends as time allowed.  Those kind of activities revive me and inspire me like a good Bible study or Starbucks, or both.  I was anxiously eager to rediscover Jesus in the midst of heart-felt conversations. 

I prayed and prayed, but just couldn't muster up enthusiasm or motivate myself to sign up for the high caliber workshops being offer by the best of the best in Kidmin.  Every time I sat down with the brochure to choose a Deeper Track or pick out some individual workshop or pre-conference workshops, my ADHD and lack of motivation overwhelmed me.  I'd circle a few.  OK, I circled WAY too many only to mark them all out and start again.

BECAUSE Kidmin is a "make your own conference" experience,  Kidmin 2011 met all my expectations.  I sampled a few workshops, but I focused on those things I WANTED and NEEDED to do.

  • I found solidarity through intimate and corporate conversations with some of the most passionate and effective kidmin people I'd ever encountered.  
  • I saw Jesus shining through so many Kidmin participants. Each had their own compelling stories and deep desire to introduce Jesus to children and guide them to love and serve Him. 
  • I found rest in my comfy queen-size bed at the Hyatt.  Not at much as I needed - Those late night events were just too much fun! 
  • I experienced real worship minus the responsibilities of a normal Sunday of ministry responsibilities.  I just wish I'd packed some waterproof mascara. I cried buckets of tears from laughter, awe and pure joy. 

Sure enough, I returned home from my weekend in Chicago refreshed, rested, inspired and focused on Jesus and His children.  

Kidmin 2011 was a God Sighting for me, because only God knew three weeks later He would call me to resign my church position.  Because everything at Kidmin 2011 bolstered my faith in Jesus, I was prepared for a drastic change in my ministry life.  Not only was I open to hear God, I was able to totally depend on and trust Jesus to guide me through a healthy and positive ministry move.

So what about my expectations for Kidmin 2012?

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 ....  This is quite enough for one post. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

From taking care of busyness to taking of business.

I'm usually a very happy and content individual, as long as I am productive. 

I'm not talking about being busy, for busyness can be the most unproductive activity of all. When I'm taking care of busyness instead of taking care of business, I'm creating something to do as a way to rescue myself from boredom. 

It begins by...

  • Shopping with no specific purchase in mind.
  • Creating projects that require shopping
  • Playing with iPad apps.
  • Checking Facebook and Twitter again and again throughout the day 
  • Reorganizing my unmentionables drawer by refolding and color coordinating the panties by color and style. 
Next thing I know...

  • My mind is a clutter of doubt.
  • I find myself  ruminating over every decision I've made in the past month.  
  • When I DO sleep, I don't rest. I awake the next day feeling I've been hit by a train.
  • I don't do my daily chores until late in the day or not at all.
  • I blog whining posts then erase them before posting.... only time will tell if this post qualifies for publication.... 
Once I realize I'm in a downward spiral, I remind myself I CAN get over myself and....

  • Immediately STOP whining... even if the whining is only in my head.
  • Clean something - better if it's a chore I've been putting off for a while.
  • Pray for forgiveness. For example, "God forgive me for being such a lazy selfish sloth."
  • Pray for specific direction. God created a plan for me, so checking in with him for the next step should be a no brainer. 
  • Get moving - preferably do something so physical it takes total concentration and clears my head so I'm open to hearing God when he directs me. 
  • Drink a tall glass of ice water. Rehydrating really does restore energy. 
It always amazes me how within a few hours, the phone rings, the email or text I've been waiting for arrives and I'm flying through my "to do" list readying myself for an upcoming event.  Before I know it, my mood is lifted because I'm called into service and back into production mode.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Riding the big waves and failure

Hurricane Issac showed up while we were at Kure Beach. No way he was going to let me alone after I taunted him so badly.  Even though Issac was hundreds of miles away, there were some outer bands of weather passing and with a seasonal higher than usual tide, the waves were huge - Pacific coast size.

The first day, I watched with my jaw drooping as the surfers braved the 6 and 8 foot swells. I was way too intimidated to go in over my knees. The second day, I realized I could give into the intimidation like a whimp OR suck it up and take advantage of the rare opportunity to body surf the monsters and test my body surfing abilities to the limit.

With a sense of adventure and resolve, I quickly put my hair in a pony tail, took off my hat and sunglasses and marched into the foam.  It was glorious once out past the breakers. For a while I enjoyed floating with the smooth rolling swells as I waited for a worthy wave to ride in.  

When I spotted my first ride, surely a 6 footer, I timed my launch just perfectly and dove in at just the right moment.  Assuming the rigid board like body surfing form, I was propelled forward by the churning curl until fearing it would smash me into the shore, I dropped a knee to stop myself.  From the wave's point of view, the ride was NOT over, so it dragged me a few more feet forward resulting in a skinned knee.  Oh, shucks, the thrill of the ride was worth the small injury, so I walked it off as I headed out for another ride.   

I successfully caught and rode three more monsters, each bigger than the last, but as the surf got rougher I decided the next wave might eat me. I wisely retreated to my beach chair to watch others crash and burn on the big boys.  

Some days are like that. You choose your moment, pick your battles and emerge victorious.  Maybe, you are a bit battered, but triumphant just the same. Days like these I am sure I could conquer anything coming at me.  We ALL like those kind of days whether body surfing or managing a normal day of challenges.  It's nice to feel so competent, brave and successful... if only for a day.  Days like these remind me God is with me and he celebrates with me in my accomplishments. 

Then, the next day comes.  The waves looked the same height, the surf looked no more intimidating than the day before and besides I was the same expert body surfer I were the day before. What could go wrong? 

Day two, I caught a few beauties and sailed right on in.  I owned them and shamelessly crowed like a champion.  I even took a moment and thanked God for waves, the ocean and loving life. Maybe, the crowing has a little bit to do with what happened next, but I'm thinking it was just that winning streaks end. They always do.  Sometimes, they leave you in a heap in the sand and other times roll you over and under then mercifully allow you to land on your feet.  

This was one of the good days... at least it turned into a good one. 

My last wave was tenuously chosen and my timing was just a tiny bit off.  I started out okay, but jumped in too late which caused the wave to tip me forward.  Instead of fight it, I curled into a ball allowing the eight footer to roll me head over heels until my feet again touched down and I popped upright again.  As I popped up out of the foam, I shouted, "Wooah, that was the best ever!"

I think my surf side audience's reaction abruptly veered from relief to surprise. They witnessed my pending failure the moment my feet pointed to the sky and the wave consumed me.  When I emerged reframing my body surfing failure into a completely new adventure, their perspective changed too. No doubt I failed to body surf my wave, but in giving into it, I discovered the thrill of being tumbled by a curl.  

Reflecting on the ending of my body surfing streak, I can't help but think how great it would be if failure in life and ministry could be more like that day. What if at the inevitable end of a great streak of success, others would let you push the envelope right up through the first failure?  Without fear and judgment maybe we'd waste less time on blame, worry and regret.  

God already lets us do that. Just read the Bible and see how many times His faithful crashed and burned with His full support. If those around us who watch us and supervise us would follow God's example and lighten up, I bet all of us who get out there and dare try something just a little bit more challenging wouldn't feel so beaten and battered.  We'd be able to learn to look forward to the adventures that live in the midst of our failures.  We might even learn to enjoy the experience by reframing even our most awkward mishaps into new discoveries which could expand God's kingdom. We might learn to get over ourselves and forgive each other more often.    

I'm sure you understand I'm not advocating surf rolling as a new sport or failure for the thrill of it all. All I can tell you I am a better body surfer now I know how to abort a bad ride with grace. Better than that, I know I am going to be a better Christ follower once I get over myself and learn from my failure  when my good works streaks end. 

Go Ahead - Google it!