After being away at Kidshaper Conference, I feel God has given me a fresh vision and zeal for serving the churches and families that I work with. I have taken some time to write what I have learnt at Kidshaper, and hopefully encourage you too!
August is my favourite month for 3 reasons. It’s cold – I love winter, it’s my birthday month (hooray!) and Kidshaper conference. It’s an amazing conference by the ACC Kids ministry, and it leaves me refreshed, encouraged and inspired to run this race of reaching kids for Jesus with zeal!
As a result of my time away at the conference, I feel like God has refreshed and renewed my vision for reaching these kids and families, and so I thought I would share why, and a little bit of what I have learnt in the last week after spending time with great leaders and other like-minded, fiery, passionate advocates for the littlest members of our society.
Lesson 1 – Andy Kirk: Matthew 7:24-27
First of all, the conference was themed around “Building something of Worth.” I was challenged to go beyond just building a great children’s ministry that looks great on the outside- fun, colourful, attractive- with all the bits and bobs we so know and love about kids ministry (You know what I mean; the team t-shirts, the state of the art audio-visual gear, the colourful banners and upbeat music), and to build something that truly meets children where they are and teaches them the gospel. God’s crazy love for the ones He sent His son. I was encouraged by Andy Kirk, national leader of Acc Kids, to start by building a good foundation. He challenged me to assess first my own walk with Christ, and ensure it was truly my foundation for ministry. If I try to achieve anything in ministry asides from what is built firmly on the rock of Christ, in troubled times and the storms of life- what I have built will wash away. He spoke of 2 signs that show us our foundation is not on Christ but on ourselves:
1. You are hearing what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. How many times in ministry have “we really felt” that God was calling us to something, and gone ahead with it based on our own desires. We build a foundation based on what we desire instead of waiting on God’s direction. We may even ask ten people for wise advice, and instead of listening to the 8 wise people who told us to wait on God and not go that direction, we take the 2 peoples’ advice we like and move ahead anyway. We find Bible verses that back up what we want to do rather than wait on God to speak. Certainly God calls us for action and faith despite our circumstances sometimes, but more often He guides us through His Word and our Godly peers what direction we should take. But when we are so set on building our own empire, we base our foundation on whatever suits us best! Building on the rock of Christ will always be a solid foundation, rather than on our sandy foolishness. When we make decisions for the direction of our ministry to children, do we make them based on what Christ has asked? Or do we base them on what we want to do for ourselves? It’s a hard question, but it’s worth asking!
2. You are focusing on the storm. When you have a firm foundation under your feet, you don’t fear the storm. In a large house, with a strong foundation, you may hear the storm, hear the wind rattle the windows, and even see the lightning, but you don’t fear the storm because you know you are safe in your home. If you pitch a tent in the sand, a storm is sure to scare you, and you will listen for every wave of wind and crack of thunder. We start to ‘fix’ things ourselves: a poorly constructed tarpaulin here, a few extra pegs there. It’s a haphazard job, and given a big enough storm, no matter how great the ‘fixits’ are, the tent will wash away. When we are firmly and definitely founded on Christ, no matter what comes our way, we don’t fear the storm, we can weather it. We are not moved because we are assured that God has called us to where we are in that moment. If you are focusing on the storm, on the trouble around you, it may be worth asking, am I worried because my foundation isn’t strong enough? You are not strong enough to base your whole ministry on, only Christ can be the foundation for our ministry, all other attempts to build something of worth are futile.
Don’t wait for your house to crumble around you before you assess your foundation! Take time to inspect the direction you are heading in, and maybe realign your vision with what Jesus has actually asked of you! What a relief to know that the weight doesn’t need to rest on us, but that Jesus asks us to cast everything onto Him. There is freedom in that!
Footnotes: http://acckids.org.au • For more information on Kidshaper conference, or ACC Kids, have a look at their fantastic website full of training and resources!!
Post date: 01/09/2014 • Post Author: Sally Contessi