leadership

Five Ways to Keep "Love Your Neighbor" Going All Year Long

Reports are coming in from all across the country. Children and their leaders have taken part in an amazing effort to “Love Your Neighbor.” For our tenth annual Children’s Ministry Day, we encouraged you to get out there and seek out inventive ways to serve those closest to you. But now that CMD 2017 is over, where do you go from here?

Here are 5 ways you can keep “Love Your Neighbor” going all year long:

Children’s Ministry Day: Growing, Maturing, and Making Mistakes

Last week, my son, Evan, turned 9 years old.

During his lifetime, I’ve watched him grow, change, and mature.

I’ve also watched him make more than a few mistakes along the way.

That’s the nature of growth and getting older.

Evan’s mother and I regularly pray that he will learn from his mistakes and continue to mature into the man God intends for him to be.

Children’s Ministry Day is 1 year older than Evan. This February, we celebrate the 10th annual Children’s Ministry Day (CMD)!

Over the years, we’ve had thousands of children across North America participate in hands-on ministry opportunities in their communities. Children have fed the hungry, visited shut-ins, collected clothes, and helped with yard work, all in the name of following Christ and putting their love into action.

Children’s “Faith into Action” Day 2017

By now, we’re sure you’ve heard all about Children’s Ministry Day 2017. It’s been the subject of a multitude of blogs, popped up on social media, and may have even found its way into your inbox. But now that you know, what are you planning to do?

The belief that our faith should inform our actions is one that runs deep in our hearts here at national WMU. Just about everything we do here is done in an effort to inspire and empower Christians to take an active role in God’s mission. Our purpose is to challenge “Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God.” We want every Christian to be aware of God’s work in the world and to feel equipped to be a part of that work.

There is a passage of Scripture from the book of James that speaks to this marriage of faith and action in a profound way:

Following Well: 3 Secrets Great Leaders Know

While leadership sounds appealing, many consider following to be subservient. “I’ll never be a follower” is a statement we often hear. In the course Follower Skills, Danette High states, “We will spend far more of our lives following than leading. Following is not a place to let your guard down, or to take a break from leadership.”

Great leaders understand the vital and dynamic relationship that must exist between leaders and followers. They also know when to lead and when to follow. These leaders remain excellent followers. Danette compares following and leading to a couple dancing. “Both have their own moves, but if the leader and follower truly partner, that’s where the beauty occurs.”

Since developing follower skills is practically non-existent in leadership training, many leaders have no idea how to do so. There are at least three secrets that great leaders know about following well.

Pray About Everything

I’m using Mark Bethea’s book, 30 Days of Hope for Peaceful Living, as part of my devotional material for January. The topic of Day Five is Prescriptive Prayer. Mark writes, “Paul declares that if we are not to be anxious about anything, then we pray about everything. If we mix prayer with rejoicing and add thanksgiving, we have a recipe for living free from our anxious tendencies.” Later he outlines the exact prescription for dealing with anxiety and living with the peace of God.

 

We pray.

We pray about everything.

 

What a great reminder as we begin 2017. As we try to discern God’s future for us, let’s pray. Let’s pray about everything. When friends, family members, and colleagues have hurts both large and small, let’s pray. Let’s pray about everything. When we are overwhelmed by our list of tasks to accomplish, let’s pray. Let’s pray about everything.

The Unsuspecting Father

The Christmas season is full of amazing stories. Each year, we roll out the old favorites to tell and retell in growing anticipation of the Big Day. But of these Christmas favorites there is one story which always seems to leave me scratching my head in wonder year after year.

Through the Gospel of Matthew, we receive a unique recollection of the Christmas story through the eyes of an unsuspecting father. Joseph was a regular guy. Part of a family tree with roots firmly planted in his native soil, he had his own feet firmly planted on the ground. Joseph must have brought in a dependable income from his talents as a craftsman given his status as an expectant groom. Sturdy, stable, dependable, grounded. These are a few words I would use to describe the man about to take Mary as his bride.

Spirtual Formation as a Leader

We all have opportunities to lead and to follow, and in both cases, our spiritual formation makes a difference in how we treat one another in those roles.

The Bible says that God knew us while we were in our mother’s womb and that He knows our days—including every experience we’ve had. So, often with gaping wounds, we limp into positions of leadership. We want to present ourselves to everyone as a whole person, and we hope that they won’t notice our bandages and scars. Yet the more we try to hide our wounds, the more we expose them.

How does this relate to spiritual formation? In the words of Dr. Noel Forlini, “Spiritual formation is a process of presenting our whole selves to God in order to experience the love of God, so that we can love God, others, and ourselves.”

The whole self includes everything—even the parts that we’ve worked so hard to forget about. Our hidden wounds are actually an important part of our spiritual formation. If we present them to God, we will find ourselves more able to love God, others, and ourselves.

Where, Oh Where Did It Go?

“I know I put those keys right here! Where did they go?”

“I’ve got to go to the bank today and sign some papers—if I can ever find the papers!”

All of us know the frustration of trying to find misplaced items, whether it’s keys, important papers, or the assignment that is due today!

How is it that those things go missing? How can we not remember to store those things in a more secure location, one that we will not quickly forget?

That same frustration can be found as we try to locate valuable information online. We know we saw a video or an important extra activity for the month, or even more information about a missionary being studied this month. But, for the life of us, we can’t find it now. Sound familiar?

Eternity-Based Leadership

 

It is no secret that we often focus much of our lives on results-based leadership, which doesn’t seem to be biblical. Sometimes this pull for results comes from our deep desire to be found worthy in our jobs. We desire to be considered a bargain—pulling more than our weight and contributing significantly. Yet, as we read Scripture,we find something different.

In the first chapter of 2 Peter, we see a man who has walked with Jesus coming to the end of his life. What is it that Peter most wants to leave behind? And how does it compare with what we want? For Peter, he wants the believers (the brethren in KJV and my brothers and sisters in NIV) to make every effort to confirm their [your] calling and election so that they will not stumble. He wants them to have a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ. Why does this concern Peter so much, and why should we be concerned about eternity rather than the results we want to see?

Turning a Ministry Project into a Missions Project

As a Girls in Action leader, it can be challenging to plan projects that give GAs the opportunity to take the lessons they have learned during their GA meetings and apply them to the needs in their community. It can be especially challenging to make sure the majority of the projects are missions projects and not simply ministry projects.

You may ask, “What is the difference between the two?” Missions is sharing the gospel in words and through actions. A missionary is someone who goes into the world to share the gospel. A missions project is an opportunity to share the good news that God loves the person you are helping.

Pages

Back to Top