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2020-02-26 to 28 Pictures: Charleston, South Carolina

One of the few upsides of having to cancel our Spring Break trip last March at the onset of the pandemic is that we are "stuck" with a rather large voucher from one of those discount airlines. Last autumn, Tricia and I spent a weekend in Savannah, Georgia and had a...

A John 3:16 Craft for Kids

John 3:16 is one of the most well known and reassuring verses in the Bible. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 (NIV) The following is a little craft I threw...

2020-03-01 Pictures: Lyndsey’s College Signing Day

This afternoon Lyndsey made it official, signing her letter of intent to play college basketball for the Hiram College Terriers starting next year. While she made the decision and committed to Hiram before Christmas, she has been looking forward to this day since her...

2020-02-13 Pictures: Lyndsey’s 18th Birthday

I am little behind on posting photos. These are some of my favorites from a couple of weekends ago when we got a chance to celebrate Lyndsey's 18th birthday. It's hard to believe that my little girl is officially an adult. It was nice to have the family all back...

What is DOCTRINE?

Introduction I love working with kids, and I love teaching them hard concepts in ways they can understand. To that end, for years I have been working on a dictionary of theological terms for kids and teens. In sharing those definitions, there seemed no better place to...

If You Want It Done Right

In all likelihood, you know how the phrase ends: If you want it done right, DO IT YOURSELF! This is a bit of a mantra for me, and frankly, something that I struggle with daily both in leadership and in my Christian walk.  In theory, this is easy to accept. ...

What Does God Hate?

This is the little and humble post that started it all. I happened to be reading through my Bible, and this passage impacted me so much that I posted a little blurb about it on Facebook. That was July 28, 2008, and I've been writing and sharing ever since. (Maybe...

Six Ways to Persevere Through the Sluggish Times in Ministry

Have you ever had one of those days?  You know the kind – where you really aren’t “in to” what you’re doing and you feel like you rather be doing just about anything else.  What do you do when those times correspond to your time in ministry. I wrote this article in 2012 follow one of those days.

On Wednesday night, I run the games for our Awana program.  It’s an-hour-and-a-half and something like 200 kids broken into 30 minute game segments.  Usually, it is one of the highlights of my week, but this week  I just felt rather “ho hum” and worn out when I showed up.  It’s bound to happen.  We can’t always be ON!  And, when it comes to ministry, sometimes you just have to put your game face on and trudge through.  Here is what I’ve found works for me.

1. Pray

Working in children’s ministry, I find myself praying “God, give me the strength!” more often than I would like to admit.  When you’re feeling down or just not into it though, it is essential that you turn first to God.  He renews us day by day, and he can renew us minute by minute.  Always start by asking your Heavenly Father.

2. Remember why you’re there

It’s not about you.  It’s not even about the kids.  It’s about God.  Remember that, in your ministry, you are there to serve a God who died on the cross for your sins.  If He can endure that for me, I can make it through a couple of hours of games, or a lesson on Sunday morning, or whatever the situation might be.

3. Plan Accordingly

When I’m not 100% sold out, there are still things I can do that will accomplish the purpose of my ministry.  For example, when I am picking games for Wednesday night, if I am feeling a bit out of it, I try to pick a game where the kids will have fun and there’s not a whole lot of my energy required.  On Wednesday night, we ran relay races of varying sorts.  My job was to explain the rules and say “On your mark, get set, go.”  There wasn’t a lot of “Ra! Ra!” required from me, which was good because I didn’t have a lot to give.  You can do the same thing when you are teaching.  Just gear your activities to work as much as possible.  This is not, by the way, a reason to slack off.  If you’re feeling down one Sunday, don’t throw in a video just because, but if a video actually works in the context of what you are teaching, go ahead and use it.

4. Strive for Excellence

My friend, Jared Massey, is fond of this term, and I agree with him wholeheartedly.  Even when you’re not feeling it, make it your goal to honor God by striving for excellence in all that you do.  Sometimes, this focus alone will be enough to pull you out of whatever funk you’re in.

5. Remember How you Feel, and Check Yourself

If you are tired or grumpy, it is easy to let that seep into your interactions with the kids in your ministry.  It is important to remember going in that you don’t quite feel yourself and try to keep your reactions in check.  If you are irritable, minor annoyances that wouldn’t bother you on a normal day are going to make your skin crawl.  Make sure that your reactions don’t differ just because you feel differently.

6. Fake it Until you Feel it

I probably shouldn’t say this, but the truth is sometimes you have to fake it.  You have to smile when you don’t feel like smiling.  You have to seem excited when you feel anything but.  But, rest assured that God is in control, and if you are seeking his will, he will provide you the sustenance to get through – so fake it!  The feelings are likely to follow.

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