The Procrastination Trap

WEEKLY KIDMIN QUESTION:

“I struggle with procrastination.  I’m a spontaneous type of guy.  Do you think that hurts my leadership?” – submitted by David

As I’ve talked to hundreds of people involved in kids’ ministries across the country, I’ve observed that there’s an epidemic of procrastination.  We excuse it in all kinds of ways, but all our reasons lead to the same result.  Yes, you have to be quick, and you never know what a kid is going to say or what kind of crazy thing will happen next.  But many kids’ leaders believe their enthusiastic personalities and the spontaneity of their ministry give them a license to walk in unprepared.  They try to get by, doing the least they can do, and it shows.

I know what this is all about.  I used to fall prey to this procrastination trap for many years.  I wrote about it in my upcoming book, I Blew It! (the biggest mistakes I have made in Kids Ministry and how you can avoid them)”.  In the book, I tell about how the spontaneity bug bit me and caused me to lose credibility.

There’s no excuse for procrastination in preparing for children’s ministry.  God has given us an incredible privilege and responsibility to lead kids on their spiritual journey to becoming life-long followers of Jesus Christ. Someday, we’ll give an account for our motives and actions.  I don’t want to stand before God on that day and tell Him, “I would’ve been more intentional about my ministry to Your children, God, but I had more important things to do.”

Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the day that’s coming: “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).  There are many good and noble motivations to live for Christ, to pay attention to His purposes, and to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the work He has called us to do.  We serve kids because we love God with all our hearts and He has given us a love for children.  And we work hard to prepare and serve because someday we’ll give an account of our lives.  On that day, we want to see Him smile and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23)

That’s what I want to hear.  How about you?

Great Family Project: “The Christmas Prayer Chain”

Looking for a great and easy-to-do project for your family this Christmas?  My wife, Cherith, started this Christmas tradition in our family when my kids were just babies.  It has meant a lot to our family, and I hope you will find it meaningful as well.

What you need:

25 strips of construction paper (approx 2 inches wide and six inches long); a sharpie marker; glue

What to do:

1)  Prior to Dec. 1st, gather your kids together and take turns naming the name of someone the family will pray for (friends, family, pastors, teachers, and others)

2)  Write one name on each strip of construction paper, then glue each strip together end-to-end, linking each to make a long paper chain (see graphic above).

3)  Place the Christmas Prayer Chain on the mantle or on the Christmas Tree

4)  Starting Dec. 1st, gather the family together to remove one link of the chain and pray together for the person listed on that link.

5)  This is a wonderful way to countdown the days until Christmas and have meaningful family prayer time.

May you and your family enjoy your Christmas holiday!

Lessons For Kidmin From The Penn State Child Abuse Debacle

The news from the Penn State scandal has dominated the news cycle for the last week, and it has dominated my thoughts as well.  I couldn’t believe the heinous crime that was perpetrated on young at-risk boys in such a public place for so long.

There are many lessons to learn from this tragedy and it’s aftermath.  We spent a good deal of time in our staff meeting today discussing this.  Here are some of the BIG lessons I believe we in Kids Ministry MUST learn from this:

1)  We must be VIGILANT in protecting His children.

Every child must be vigilantly protected.  We must have policies, processes, and procedures in place that put safety for God’s children at the HIGHEST priority.  Some of the policies we have in place at HVKM are:

*  Six month rule – an adult must have attended our church for a minimum of six months before being allowed to work with minors.  NO exceptions!

* ALL adults must go through a criminal background check process

*  No adult is EVER alone with a minor – not in a car, not in a classroom, not in a hallway, NEVER.  This not only prevents the opportunity for abuse, but also protects the volunteer from false accusation.

2)  When you see abuse taking place – INTERVENE!

It is not enough to just “pass the info up the chain.”  A child is in the act of being harmed, intervene!  Scream, yell, throw something, call the police, draw attention to the area like a crazy person.  Do whatever it takes to cause the abuse to stop.  Then, report it immediately!

3)  Never allow the failure underneath you to remain.

Coach Paterno wasn’t the one who perpetrated the acts, but he was the one who allowed the person who did to stay on his team.  Then, he tried to just ignore the problem and hope it went away.  When a leader allows a member of his/her team to continue in moral failure (of whatever nature) unchecked, then that leader is equally to blame.  It seems easier to just ignore the problem – it never is in the long run.

4)  The truth will always come to light.

The Bible puts it this way, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” – Numbers 32:23

We need to talk with our volunteers about this issue.  Remind them of the importance of protecting all of God’s children.  They are innocent, fragile, and precious!  They are the gifts God has given us the opportunity to serve.  We CANNOT fail them by not protecting them.  We must be VIGILANT!

Let us also pray sincerely for the victims and their families.  Recovery from abuse can be a life-long journey.  God, in His infinite power, can help bring peace and healing to hearts and lives that have been broken by the abuses of others.

For more great info on this subject, see my friend Roger Fields’ post!