Thursday, July 28, 2011

Being Intentional about Mentoring

When we mentor someone else we advance the Kingdom of God by empowering others to do ministry. Mentoring is multiplication of ministry impact. One thing I know about mentoring is that you have to be intentional in order to be effective. Being intentional helps you to not miss opportunities, allows you to focus, and keeps you from making excuses. How do we start? Where do we begin with mentoring? Here are a few key elements to become intentional with mentoring.
  • Filter and Focus > You have to know who you are intentionally investing in and then focus. You will always want to mentor more people but because our time is limited we have to filter and focus in order to be most effective. How do you know who to mentor? You must stop, pray, and process before jumping into a mentoring relationship.
  • Be Patient > Mentoring is a marathon and not a race. In order to invest in someones life you can't give up on them when they don't move as fast as you would like. We are not making clones but rather we give our lives away.
  • Create Opportunities > You have to find time for the people you mentor. Play golf, set up lunch meeting, serve together on a project, or read a book together. Make sure you make an intentional effort to block off time for people you mentor.
  • Challenge and Encourage > Sometimes you have to say hard things and other times you simply need to be a cheerleader for the people you mentor. They need both.
  • Push People Forward > The people you mentor need a chance to step to the front and lead. You have to take risks and allow others to be up front, lead, and make mistakes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

why mentor?

This is a  picture of Grant Caldwell on our mission trip to New Orleans. Grant interned with our student ministry this summer and has done an amazing job. Grant also was a part of our student ministry as a high school student. Grant is a leader I'm mentoring. By mentoring I mean I'm investing in Grant as we live life together. I would call Grant a friend and mentoring comes natural when it's not forced. Why do I believe mentoring matters? Mentoring matters because we advance the Kingdom of God when we empower and equip others to do ministry. Ministry is not a solo adventure. The Kingdom is God always advances from one life to another life. When we mentor another leader we allow our ministry DNA to impact future generations. We share who we are and what we know so that another leader can move forward father and go farther for the Glory of God. We mentor because the true measure of our ministry is not marked by buildings, budgets, or numbers but rather in the lives we invested in. No matter where you are on your ministry journey you need to start the process of mentoring other leaders. You are ready right now to not only be mentored by a leader but to also mentor someone else.

Monday, July 25, 2011

my new job

I am so excited to have a new job and not be moving! For the past 4 years I have served as the Family Pastor here at Grace Community and I have loved every minute of the journey. When I joined the team here my goal was to set up a structure that would allow us to invest in the lives of the next generation and partner with families. I also had the joy of linking arms with some amazing volunteers to found Relevant Student Ministry. Over the past few months I worked with my pastors to figure out what God wanted me to do next. Was I supposed to leave family ministry and student ministry? Was it time to plant another campus...or a church? Was it time to focus on creative elements here at GCC? At the end of much prayer and processing God made it clear that I was supposed to focus. This year my role here is changing to Student and Family Pastor. Yes I have been leading our student ministry but for the first time in four years I have the chance to focus most of my attention on student ministry. I will still be leading our family ministry team but we are adding a new part time Systems Coordinator to help take our team to the next level organizationally. (I will blog about that addition another day) I can't wait to dive back into student ministry with focus and clarity. God used several mentors this past year to show me that I can grow older and still have influence with this generation of teenagers. God also revealed to me several new ways to think about systems and structures that will help our team take steps forward this year. So here we go...year five and GCC and a new job. Thankful for the team I work with, thankful for the chance to start over.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Why you need to check out Google +

Yep...I'm on Google+ and there it seems like everyday I find a few more things I like about it. I know a ton of people are wondering why we need another social media tool. Don't we have enough? I though so at first but I think the G+ team might have something to add...Found this video this week and had to share! Check it out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

TEAM (who will be on your next mission team?)

We decided several years ago that we would be very intentional with who we asked to join youth mission teams. Our goal is simple...we want a team that is going to work together with one single goal of serving others. The people you select have a direct impact on how much you accomplish in the lives of others and how much God can shape the lives of your team. The level of life change increases when you have the right team in place. When we build a team for a mission trip this is who we are looking for...
  • Leaders who will lead and serve // Your team leaders set the tone for everything that happens on a student ministry mission trip. You may be an amazing student pastor but if you have distracting adult leaders your team will have a hard time being effective. Make sure you bring the right leaders so you can make the greatest impact in the life of other teens and the people you are serving.
  • Teens who get it // It is important to have teens on a mission trip who are already serving in your student ministry, city, and church. Teens that have a heart to make a difference will show it all year round. Make sure you have plenty of these leaders on the team.
  • Teens in process // Look around and find teens you see God working in and are ready for another step forward. It is so amazing to watch teens "get it" while serving others. God can work in powerful ways while on a mission trip. Serving opens up people like nothing else.
  • People who are flexible // This is big. Make sure you bring people who will be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. I have never led a mission trip that went according to plan. Make sure you take people who will follow your lead when circumstances change.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

STRATEGY (what is the plan for your mission trip)

If you are going to lead a team on a mission trip then your strategy will determine much of the success of your team. When I talk about strategy and missions I am simply asking what are you going to do and how are your going to do it. Having the right plan for your team can help you make a real impact. Having the wrong plan and make a trip miserable. Our strategy for mission work revolves around kids because we are a church that is focused on reaching kids. We have tons of teens who serve children every week. The bridge for us has been natural to connect missions and working with kids. The three factors that will shape your strategy on a trip are...
  1. What is my church passionate about? Many times the heart of your church will shape how you develop your mission trip strategy. Like I said, Grace Community is passionate about working with kids and parents and that desire shapes what we do on mission trips. We believe if you change the life of a kid you shape the future of a family.
  2. What skills do my leaders have? The skills of your team will help you decide your mission trip strategy. Your leaders need to be doing things they really enjoy. Is it construction? Is it youth ministry? Is it evangelism? Is it working with the homeless? Make sure your team is passionate about your plan!
  3. What are my teens doing during the rest of the year? If you lead student ministry then you need to check out what your teens are involved in the rest of the year. Our teens work with kids...they do great working with kids on mission trip. Check into what your teens are good at and build your plan around the gifting of your teens.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

LOCATION (why we've committed to a city for our mission work)

Location, location location. If there are any factors that shapes a mission experience the location and culture have to be at the top that list. When you are thinking about the right mission experience for the ministry you lead, location is a big deal. Location shapes what you will be doing. Location determines who you need to take with you. Location determines your budget. Our team has decided that when it comes to location we want to find a city and make a long term commitment. We want to make an impact in a community and a church. We want to be part of the solution but just a group of tourists doing good deeds. We choose the city of New Orleans four years ago and we are excited about year five in 2012. Why did we choose a city and stay focused?
  • passion //  God simply gave us a passion for New Orleans and as we have served in the city our passion has grown stronger. We know God will make it clear we are to move on when we loose our passion.
  • relationships // The more we serve one city the stronger our relationship base grows. We have a strong relationship with several churches. Parents in our target neighborhoods trust us. We see many of the same kids every year and get to invest in them. Staying in one city for several years helps create relationships of significance.
  • consistency // training, strategy, improvements...when we serve in one city we have consistency for our team. There is no greater help in a stressful week than to have a general consistent flow for the team.
  • growth // when we commit to a city we get the chance to see growth in the lives of the our team. We also get to try new things because we have a stable platform.

Monday, July 18, 2011

SHOCK (what happens when we take teens on mission trips)

Shock...I really like using that word when talking about what happens when we create mission opportunities for teenagers because that is what happens. When we expose teens to other cities, countries, and people groups we help them experience a side of life they may have never seen. Poverty is shocking. Injustice is destructive. Lack of love is tragic. Hopelessness is draining. These words are a reality for many people living in our world. They exist even if we have never experienced them. When we gather a group or teenagers and leaders and go away to do nothing but serve we expose them to needed shock. Mission experiences...
  • Help teens see that much of the world is broken and that they have a part to play in making it better.
  • Give teens a glimpse of the impact their life can make on others.
  • Provide a basis for generosity in the heart of a teen.
  • Develop needed leadership skills.
  • Help teens share the message of Christ.
  • Place teens in a place where they have to trust God or fail...there are no places to hide on a mission trip.
  • Direct teens to the very heart of the God they serve. Many teens have no idea what serving the poor is about or what their role is in God's plan to rescue the hurting in our world.
Shock can be a good thing and every student ministry needs an element of it in order to help teens embrace our call to serve the world. I hope this year you will make sure you make helping teens serve in your a mission your their schools a priority. Teens are ready to serve now so stop asking them to wait.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

a week can change everything

One week serving others can change everything. This week a team from Relevant spend 6 days pouring into the lives of kids in the 8th and 7th ward of New Orleans. A week later we are changed. Many kids are changed. Kids were shown the love of Christ and that was our simple goal. After one week nothing is the same. Our perspective has changed. Our hopes are different. Everything is different. I was simply too busy last week to blog so I wanted to dedicate this week to processing what we have learned about the power of serving others to change us. God has used the idea of serving to change life after life in our student ministry and our church. Serving leads to change. I'm so excited about processing it here on the blog this week.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Back...Rested...ready for a mission trip!

Our family had an amazing, restful, and fun vacation. The time was simply priceless. What made the 2 weeks so great...
  • Time to was great to put the mac away and lay the iPhone down.
  • Time to play...we had so much fun just being with the girls. Loved making memories! Also did not mind hitting the golf course several times. Played way too much Madden on the PS3 at night also. I needed a football fix.
  • Time to through 2 books and started a 3rd!
  • Time to pray...this year it seemed like my time with God was simple and focused on listening and conversation. Great to have time just to listen.
  • Time to to cook on vacation. My grill time was excellent. The fresh seafood was amazing this year.
Now we are back and leave Sunday for a mission trip with some high school students and a group of amazing small group leaders. Next week I hope to blog about mission ideas for student ministry. Looking forward to getting back to writing after the break.