Book Review – “From Hectic To Healthy” by Craig and Mary Jutila

About a month ago I received a complimentary autographed copy of Craig and Mary’s book.  I was excited to dive into it because I had already read the first chapter via a free download on their site.  Let me just say, this book is a life-changer.

Like many of you, I have been blessed by Craig’s ministry for the last decade or so via his position as Kids Pastor at Saddleback to his incredible leadership materials and teaching resources at Empowering Kids.  I was saddened when I heard several years ago that Craig was having a difficult time, but was unaware of any of the details as to what he was going through.  This book chronicles much of the journey Craig and his wife, Mary, went on during that time period – as well as lessons learned from the journey.

In the book, Craig and Mary discuss how their lives had spun out of control due to driven, workaholic personalities and a desire to change the world for God.  Through it all, their marriage suffered, their family suffered, and their personal connection to God suffered.  They found themselves in a cycle they refer to in the book: SPIN.  In classic Craig fashion, this is an acronym that stands for Seasons, Priorities, Isolation, Neglect.

Without giving away too much of the content of the book, let me say that it was refreshingly candid and inspiring.  It is far from a “tell all” memoir.  Craig points no fingers of blame to others – instead, he takes full responsibility for the damage he brought to his family.  “H2H” is a glimpse into the hearts of an incredible couple who got swept away in the demands of public ministry.  Craig and Mary never take a “know it all” approach, instead they confess to being fellow strugglers who are continuing to learn and grow.

If you are someone who finds yourself living dangerously out of balance due to the constant busyness of ministry, this book is for you.  In fact, it is a book for ALL of us who labor in the fields of ministry – as a guide to maintain a healthy balance between ministry demands and family priorities.  It will challenge you, inspire you, and refresh you.

For more info and to order your copy of “From Hectic To Healthy:  The Journey To A Balanced Life”, click HERE.

Stop Being So Defensive!

Defensiveness is an issue that causes a lot of harm in mentoring relationships – or any relationship for that matter.  When we are challenged, confronted, or questioned as Kidmin leaders – sadly we often respond with a knee-jerk, reflex response that does more harm than good.

For years, my insecurity caused me to struggle with being defensive.  Under the hurt feelings and protests is a deep sense that I’m not adequate, personally or professionally—or both.  No one is above correction, and we can all learn to handle it with grace.  Sometimes, I do a pretty good job of controlling my outward appearance when someone criticizes me, but I’m dying inside.  When this happens with my pastor, his perception kicks in.  He tells me, “You’re doing a great job in controlling the tone of your voice and looking relaxed while you’re still being defensive.”

He nailed me.  When I bristle from correction, I need to look into my heart to see what I’m trusting in.  I can then choose to thank God for his love and grace, and I can accept the correction as a gift instead of a threat.

Here’s the principle: When your actions are corrected, it doesn’t mean your character is being questioned.  Chill out and learn from the challenge instead of defending yourself to the death!

“Kids In Worship” – Great Idea for Kidmin

This past Sunday we had our annual “Kids In Worship” experience.  I thought it would be good to share the concept behind this for all of you.  It is an amazing opportunity for the whole family.

“Kids In Worship” is an evening of worship, led by our Elementary Kids Department.  The children are in charge of the entire service in the Sanctuary.  It is an evening of worship, led by the kids.  The entire family comes together for a night of singing and worship.

We rehearse for months prior to this night.  Rehearsals are on Sunday afternoons from 4:30 – 5:30 prior to our Evening Worship Service.  The kids put together a set of familiar modern worship songs (to allow the adults to enter in) mixed with some new and original songs.  Several children memorize some of their favorite passages of scripture and share them with the congregation between songs.

There is always a time where a group of our oldest children step off the stage and allow the adults to come forward for prayer.  These kids pray earnestly for the needs of the adults.  We have had people healed and delivered on these nights.  It’s amazing!

It’s one of my pastor’s favorite services of the year.  There is something incredible about a group of kids who are passionate in worship of their God.  It is inspiring to all of us!  Why not try your own version of “Kids In Worship?”  If you have questions, ask them using the comment section.  I read each of them and will respond.

 

MOMENTUM KILLERS

We all love those moments in ministry when everything seems to be clicking.  The team is rocking, the place is growing, the numbers are climbing, and the morale is as high as its every been.  It’s what many leaders call “The Big MO” – a.k.a. MOMENTUM!

Momentum in ministry should NEVER be taken for granted.  You never know how long it will last.  You want to make the most of it and capitalize on it.  If you aren’t careful, you might lose it.  Here’s a quick hit list of some of the biggest MOMENTUM KILLERS.

PRIDE – There is nothing worse than you starting to believe that the reason for the momentum is YOU.  Although it’s true great momentum can happen when a team is being led by a strong leader, there is not a single leader alive who can bring about momentum for an organization ALONE!  Give God the praise!  Give your team the credit!

CONFLICT AMONG TEAM MEMBERS – With momentum comes growth.  When an organization grows, it’s systems can become stressed and strained as they are pushed to new limits.  This tension can sometimes lead to conflict.  Remember to keep the finger on the pulse of your leaders.  When you sense tension or conflict, remember to resolve it biblically (Matthew 18:15-17).  Do not allow feelings to fester.

LAZINESS – Things come easier when you have momentum.  It’s easy to lay back and let the momentum do the work.  We all have a tendency when things are going great to spend a little less time in planning, vision casting, and organization.  Don’t let it happen!  It will bust your momentum!

SIN IN THE CAMP – Momentum brings growth.  Growth brings more work.  Things get busy and it is easy for our personal prayer and spiritual time to fall to the wayside.  When you allow that to happen, you open the door for temptation.  Nothing will kill momentum like sin in the lives of the leadership team.  Don’t wait until you notice the problem – prevent it.  Make prayer and The Word a #1 non-negotiable priority in your life.

Momentum is a wonderful thing.  It is a precious gift from God.  Don’t squander it.  Be aware of these momentum busters – and guard it safely!

What about you?  Are you aware of other MOMENTUM KILLERS that I didn’t list?  Please share those in the comments section so that the other readers can benefit!