Leaders

Christmas in August Update

As a kid, Christmas Eve was a day I looked forward to all year long! Christmas Eve was when Santa would stop by our house and bring us presents. Every year, I was so excited about what was to come that I’d voluntarily put myself to bed extra early with hopes that the morning would come sooner. I would not sleep under the covers on Christmas Eve. You see, my mother had a rule that we could not leave our rooms each morning (including Christmas morning) until our beds were made. So, on Christmas Eve I would sleep (if I slept at all) on top of the covers so that I could prevent the 2–3-minute delay of getting to my presents!

I often wonder if that’s how Christmas in August missionaries feel as they approach WMU’s focus on their ministries. Are they excited? Curious about what to expect? A little concerned about how many RAs, GAs, or CAs might give in support of their work? More than likely, there’s a mix of emotions going through their minds as they wait for Christmas in August to roll around.

Are you familiar with Christmas in August? A little history might be good at this point.

Change the World with WorldCrafts

Want to change the lives of poverty-stricken and exploited men and women around the world? There’s no better time to start than October, which is Fair Trade Month. And there’s no better way to start than by supporting WorldCrafts, a division of WMU.

WorldCrafts develops sustainable, fair-trade businesses among impoverished people worldwide. Its vision is to offer an income with dignity and the hope of everlasting life to every person on earth.

WorldCrafts is committed to its in-country partners and artisan groups. It develops viable employment for poverty-stricken and exploited women and men.

WorldCrafts is holistic. Its artisan groups meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their workers. Men and women receive job training, comfort, camaraderie, and the promise of eternal hope.

Looking for Pen Pals?

Here’s a plan: Help another church start missions education, and you’ll always have a group to send letters to!

To find a church interested in starting a missions education class, inquire to see if your church, association, or state WMU office has a partnership with another state. Once you’ve found a partnership, contact that convention office and let them know that you’d like to find a church in their area that might be interested in starting a missions education organization. Ask them to help provide a church name and contact person for you to talk to about starting missions discipleship.

What’s next?

Soup’s On! Time to Collect the Global Hunger Offering

The large soup kettle is in place. The congregation waits expectantly until the pastor invites everyone to come forward and place his or her global hunger offering into the kettle. Before long, several thousand dollars have been given. This scene occurs every year at Dorrisville Baptist Church. One might ask why this church, which is by no means the largest church in Illinois, gives so generously to global hunger. The answer is simple: church members’ eyes are opened regularly to the needs of people who are hungry (physically and spiritually) and they are encouraged to make a difference.

Tips for Enlisting Additional Co-leaders

We hear you. You have tried everything! You have prayed faithfully! Yet, again, you are in the midst of the year with too few co-leaders for children’s missions organizations.

In today’s postmodern culture, the quest for adequate leaders is more challenging than ever. It seems every moment of every day of church members’ lives are already filled with responsibilities for family, career, and church.

These 5 “Be” tips will help you develop an effective enlistment strategy.

Be always vocally positive about serving in missions education.

  • Tell stories of what kids are achieving in missions.
  • Emphasize the joy of serving, not the challenges.

Be on the co-leader lookout. Identify people who . . .

  • Assist with events for kids at church or missions events.
  • Have abilities that complement current leaders’ skills or fill a need.

Begin to plant seeds for co-leadership. Ask those identified to . . .

Being a Cool Adult

Last week, my wife, son, and I were driving down the road. My son said to his mother, “Mom, you are cool.” She thanked him for his kind words. For a moment, there was silence in our car. Finally, I said, “Son, what about me? Am I cool?” Evan paused longer than I wish he had, but he finally said, “Yeah, I guess you are cool, too.”

You guess? I’m cool “too?” Seriously? Was that the best he could do?

Well, truth be told, I never really thought of my parents as being cool either. You know how it is. Parents and adults are just old and out-of-touch. Kids think that adults don’t understand what it’s like being a kid these days. Adults don’t dress the right way, don’t talk the right way, and certainly don’t understand kids at all.

Over the years, I have noticed that some kids are drawn to certain adults and see those adults as “cool.” I’ve watched those kids hang out with the “cool” adults, spend time at their homes, and go places with them.

Have you ever wondered why some adults are like magnets to kids and some simply aren’t? Have you ever wondered why some adults are “cool” and some aren’t?

In the Midst of Busyness, Stop, Drop, and Roll

Since my retirement, I have come to understand how easy it is to slip into a cycle of busy activity. Much of this activity stems from the creativity and needs of others. Suddenly, I do not have the constraint of Monday through Friday employment to prevent my “yes” response. So, when I’m invited to participate—from luncheons to a ministry opportunity—I have no reason to decline. My calendar can quickly fill up!

Not everyone is retired. In fact, many women leaders strive to balance work outside the home and their family obligations. But I believe the principle of making choices about involvement holds true for the unemployed (or retired) as well as the working woman with or without family responsibilities.

How to choose? Perhaps there’s some guidance in an unlikely place. The fire safety technique taught to children—stop, drop, and roll—may help direct our decision-making.

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The Right Questions

I like to ask questions, sometimes to the dismay of my co-workers. I also like to have information as I make decisions, and questions help me secure the needed information.

Asking questions is another way of evaluating—something we should continually be doing. While we often evaluate at the completion of an event, the beginning of the church year is another great time to do so. Let’s Connect the Dots by asking the following questions:

Reporting: Share Your Heart

Reporting. It is a word that immediately conjures up negative thoughts in the minds of many. Reporting is often associated with endless facts and statistics, which can lead one to lose interest in the subject that is being reported. It doesn’t have to be that way!

Put Your Socks Back On! A Quick Checklist for Mission Safety

I try not to think too hard about what a crazy, dangerous world it is. Otherwise, the responsibility of overseeing a group of elementary-age kids at church would scare my socks off! On the other hand, because it's a crazy, dangerous world out there, I need to put on my big girl socks and take a responsible look at the plans we have in place to ensure our kids' safety.

Want to take a look with me?

Safety at church

  • Do we have a worker screening policy? If so, have all our leaders been through required procedures and training?
  • Is our classroom safe? Do I know where to find a first aid kit? Where do we go in case of fire, storm, or other weather emergencies?
  • Do I have current contact and enrollment information for each child? Am I aware of allergies or other health issues?

Safety away from church

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