Monday, July 21, 2014

Day 15 - Putting thoughts on paper

I remember exactly where I was when I first did an outline for this booklet.  It was on the 19 hour flight back from Africa in 2004.  As I said in my last blog, that trip changed everything for me.  Instead of just DOING programs for children, suddenly this message needed to be shared with the adults. 

I realized while writing down the words in this little booklet (click here to read the booklet) that it was the youth leaders, the parents, the pastors, the leaders that most needed to hear and embrace this message.  If I had to give a short synopsis of this booklet it can be found in the conclusion .............

Much focus is placed on youth and youth ministry. Yet, if the churches were building a strong and solid foundation for the youngest child in the body, the youth ministry would be happening and the youth would be leading this ministry.
Children who have a personal relationship with Jesus and are taught to hear and respond to the voice of Jesus, who are encouraged to share, who are filled with the Spirit, and empowered to serve, can change the entire dynamic of a church family.

These are the children who can walk boldly into their world - the schools, the playgrounds and the sports fields - and bring others into the kingdom. They are not the FUTURE of the church - they ARE the church.

So, the booklet was written.  Copies were made and the booklet was read- at least by a few people.  However, I am not so sure that there was any real impact from this book.  I know that it is another one of those lessons in seed sowing.  I felt that the words needed to be said.  So I did that. 
From the perspective of my testimony, however,  the years leading up to this were a very confusing and challenging time for me.  I had resigned from all of my duties doing Children's Ministry.  I made that decision after much prayer and discussion.  It was a time when I really felt adrift with no clear direction.  I wasn't sure exactly WHAT was going on.  But when I was sitting on that plane making that outline, everything seemed to make sense.  Certainly it was good to provide the programs that would meet the needs of the children.  But far more important was the message of this booklet.  The mindset of the adults needed to be changed.  If that happened, then in the future many more children would benefit. 
However, once you have been "pigeon holed" into a position, it is very difficult to get out.  Over and over, it was assumed that I should be with the children.  And even harder for me, was that I have not seen much change in the attitude of most of the church towards children. 
But, here's the thing.  In looking back at the past 10 years, I know that I have grown so much.  Right now I can say that this time of turmoil and unrest and no fulfillment has been so good for me.  I love that we all can learn during these times of walking in the valleys of discouragement.  While it is wonderful to be up on those mountains of success, I think more is gained during those hard times. 
So my story for tonight is all about walking through some tough times when things didn't go the way I thought they should.  And it was a time when I felt that I had missed my own destiny. The truth about these years is that Jesus was working on me during these years.  And He was walking with me through that valley.  I am grateful for the last 10 years.  And I am also thankful that the valley has ended and I am walking up that mountain! 
Jesus, thank you for always giving us exactly what we need, even when it seems to be the opposite of what we thought we wanted.  Holy Spirit, thank you for walking with us when we go through these dark and discouraging times.  Thank you for you plan and purpose for us!   Amen


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