Drop The Excuses

We all have our favorite excuses why we haven’t done the things we know we should do.  Taking risks, expanding our horizons, making significant life and habit changes – all of these things are held back by our favorite excuses:

*  I’m comfortable with the way things are, so I don’t really need to change.

*  I’ll probably fail, so why even try?

*  It’ll take too long to change.

*  People will criticize me if I try this.

As I write in my book, I Blew It!, excuses are perpetual blinders.  With them, we can stay stuck for a lifetime.  When we find the courage to open our eyes to the truth, amazing things can happen.  To make real change a reality in our lives, we have to be willing to get rid of every excuse we’ve used in the past.

Excuses aren’t unique to people today.  When God called Moses, he had all kinds of reasons he couldn’t step up and be the leader of God’s people.  God told Moses he was the one who would lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt to the Promised Land.

It’s time to eliminate your excuses and your rationalizations.  Make a declaration: I’m not going to live by my excuses any longer!  After Moses had given God multiple reasons why he couldn’t lead Israel out of slavery, Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it” (Exodus 4:13).  As it turns out, all of his excuses were only smoke screens.  The real issue was that Moses flat out did not want to do what God had called him to do.

Is that you?  Have you been making excuses to cover up the fact that you’re unwilling to do what God has called you to do?  It’s time to be honest.  Be honest and trust God to change your life.

Is Your Greatest Strength Also Your Biggest Liability?

A Keystone Easter

In my book, “I Blew It!”, I write about a crazy story where I ended up accidentally wearing a Keystone Cop hat on stage during the most serious moment of our Easter Production.  I had tried to be funny backstage and ended up forgetting I was wearing the hat.  It’s hilarious to read, but wasn’t so funny when it happened.

My greatest strength in kids’ ministry was my sense of humor.  The children loved it, and the volunteers enjoyed it, too.  I was able to play goofy characters like Skittles, the Candy Rapper, and a host of others.  I was quick-witted and funny.  I could make the kids laugh at almost anything, but I had a problem: I allowed this strength to run wild and unrestrained, and it became my greatest liability.  This can happen in all of our lives, and it doesn’t just apply to the strength of humor.

—A person who is driven can work so hard chasing his vision that he leaves a trail of ruined relationships behind because people feel used. He may accomplish his goals, but he hurts people in the process.

—A person who is extremely relational can spend all her time socializing and seldom get any work done. She focuses on the person in front of her, but she often misses the big picture and kingdom goals.

—A person who has empathy and senses the pain of others can find himself “taking up the offenses” of others, taking sides, and causing discord and disunity. He may develop tunnel vision by focusing on the hurts of a few but fail to notice the opportunity to have an impact on the many.

—A person who is diligent to manage details may be determined to do things exactly right, but his perfectionism makes him rigid, judgmental and offensive. He never feels that his work is finished, and he never thinks yours is done, either.

—A person who has grand and glorious visions may be impatient with others who are slow to get on board.

Any strength or skill, when it is taken to an extreme and isn’t tempered by wisdom and love, can become detrimental to the person, the team, and the organization. As the old saying goes, “Too much of even a good thing is still too much!”  The solution isn’t to deny or minimize the strength, but instead, to use it in the right context with the right motive.  In addition, we need to learn to value the skills and traits that complement and balance our strengths.  We can get into trouble when we rely too much on our own strengths.

How about you?  Which of your strengths also tends to become a liability in ministry if not used properly?  Comment below and share it with the Kidmin Community.

Book Review: “Jumping The Track” by Roger Fields

When I first began seeing Roger tweet about the book he was writing, he was billing it as “The Kidz Blitz Story.”  That is a major understatement!  While this book does chronicle the story of how the Kidmin phenomenon KIDZ BLITZ got started, it is so much more than that!

“Jumping The Track” is Roger’s story.  It’s the story of a man who refused to follow the mold set by others in ministry.  It’s the story of a man’s struggle with his own overwhelmingly shy personality to become a mesmerizing stage host and people-person.  It’s the story of a man who broke through tradition into a dynamic faith experience.  It’s all that and much more!

Roger is a gifted storyteller.  After reading the book, I feel like I was right there with him, Tammie, Terra, Shannon, Mica, and Morgan for the whole journey.  I literally laughed out loud as Roger shared some of his early ministry mistakes.  I was truly challenged as I read about his leaps of faith to start Kidz Blitz.

“Jumping The Track” refers to being willing to abruptly change directions in life at the Lord’s command.  Rather than follow a pre-set strategy and list of long-term goals, Roger suggests that each of us should “hold on loosely” to the trajectory of our lives and be open to the voice of God.  He may call each of us to “Jump The Track.”  If so, will we be so tightly clinging to our long-term goals and human vision that we miss out on His plan?

I encourage each of you to purchase this book.  It will challenge you to think differently about life, ministry, and faith – in a good way!

You Got Served!

I was privileged to spend some time at INCM’s Children’s Pastors Conference in Orlando last week.  It was an incredible conference!  If you have an opportunity to go in the future (there’s another one happening in San Diego in February) I encourage you to make it happen!

One thing that struck me the entire week was the level of service I received from the INCM staff as well as the Disney Resort staff where the conference was held.  While setting up our booth in the Exhibit Hall, we were approached multiple times by a member of the INCM staff asking, “How can I serve you?”  As I walked through the hallway of the Conference Center at Disney’s Coronado Springs I was stopped and asked “Is there any way I can serve you?”

Even after I returned home, I received emails and messages asking me “How can we serve you better next time?”  I was impressed at the level of concern that both INCM and Disney Resorts had for making sure my needs were met and that I was able to concentrate on having an incredible experience at the conference without having to worry about any details.

I began to think:  do I give this same attention to service and detail every week at my church?  Do I try to make sure every detail is handled and that there are no needs or distractions so that the kids and parents can relax and experience everything God has in store for them while they are there?  I have to admit, I was a little convicted.  Disney cared more about details and customer service than I did – and they represent a cartoon mouse.  I represent Jesus Christ.  It was humbling.

How about you?  How is your Kids Ministry doing on serving the parents and kids you are entrusted with?  Do you give enough attention to detail?  Do the parents have to beg you for information or do you freely offer it?  Do the kids feel like you are there to SERVE them or do they feel you are there only to TEACH them?

Jesus said it best, “But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” (Luke 22:26)  Let’s commit to serving our parents and kids.  It’s not just “good business”, it’s our assignment from Christ.

“I Blew It!” Officially Released!

I’m very excited to announce that my book, “I Blew It!”, officially released this week!  This has been a labor of love that was nearly a year in the making (well, 20 years if you want to be technical LOL).  It chronicles my twenty years in Kids Ministry and all the biggest mistakes I have made – plus offers insight and principles to help YOU avoid those mistakes.

I was honored to have one of my heroes, Jim Wideman, write the Foreword for the book.  Jim is a legend in Kids Ministry and has served at some of the largest churches in America.  I appreciate his friendship and willingness to contribute to this project.

This book is filled with hilarious stories of incredible blunders I have made.  You will laugh until it hurts at how stupid I was in my early years of ministry (and probably will identify with many of the mistakes as well).  My prayer is that you will also be challenged to look at failure in a whole new way.  “Failure is never final.”

I was blessed to have some of the top leaders in Kids Ministry read a pre-release copy of the book and write endorsements.  These leaders include Kenny Conley, Sam Luce, Gina McClain, Ryan Frank, Michael Chanley, Karl Bastian, and many more.  I am humbled that these men and women of God with a passion for kids would lend their names and credibility to this project!

Many have asked, “What are the topics you cover in I Blew It!?”  So, I thought I would share those with you – CLICK HERE!

Thanks, everyone, for celebrating this milestone with me!  I pray that this book will be a blessing to you and your ministry – helping you avoid some of the biggest pitfalls of Kids Ministry!