Tag Archives: lessons

What I’ve Learned After Three Weeks In A New Position


Three weeks already? Has it really been that long? It’s been crazy busy. Not really the work… but learning how to work in a new environment. Nearly everything is new and what isn’t new is done differently. Procedures I learned from one place have really messed me up on this end of things (I pressed 4 to delete a voicemail… should have pressed 2).

Things are wonderful, don’t get me wrong… but rather than talk about the awesome stuff, I’d like to hash out a few things I’ve already learned about starting a new position (aka, things I messed up).

1. Don’t Get Friendly Too Quickly

Wherever you go, there will be people in each church who are similar. Just because knew one of them very well in your old church doesn’t mean that relationship transfers to the new person. One week is way too soon to be making ‘Yo Mama’ jokes.

2. Don’t Snap Judge Anything

When you move positions, you carry along your experiences. Most of those will come in very handy and help you bypass a whole lot of mess. On the other hand, some of it will cause you to assume certain things that were true in your old place to hold true in the new. This is not necessarily the case. Kid flag teams are not always the cheese.

3. Don’t Talk Non-Stop About Your Old Church

Nobody cares what they did there… how hot or cold it was… how good or bad it was. You may have been there for a decade… but God has moved you forward and upward. It’s time to leave those things behind you and press on to the goal that God has for you. That being said however, at my old church… we did a lot of cool stuff.

4. Watch Those First Impressions

The first time people see you they will make a snapshot of you for their future reference. They will choose how they speak to you and what they say based on that snapshot. Make sure you present your true self even if you’re not at all impressed with it. You cannot maintain an image for any long period of time anyway. If you don’t speak in a southern accent normally, it’s not a good idea to adopt one just because you moved South.

I’m all about getting any advice from any of you readers who have made a move such as mine. Any tips you would add? What mistakes have you made? What did you learn? Drop them in the comments.

Grace And Discipline


Two different children acting out in two different ways sparked the idea for this post today. One was a 3rd grade boy on our Rangers class… the other was my 1.5 year old son. They both were acting out in ways that were unusual for them… and because it was unusual… grace was given.

My son, or “Dunder” as we call him, was having a rough day yesterday. He was crying uncontrollably any time his Mom walked away from him. He was sensitive, whiny and just all around bad… but in a weird way. Just when we were about to pack him in a box and ship him away we theorized that he may be teething and gave him some baby Tylenol. His behavior improved within the hour. The boy was in pain apparently.

Later that evening at our Wednesday church services I was brought a couple of young men who had exchanged blows while picking up the game room for pre-class worship time. I listened to the excuses and issued my standards. I told them I’d be talking to their parents and that I wanted to be able to tell them that the boys had been good the rest of the evening. I told them to sit separately and go back into worship. One of the two was crying uncontrollably the entire time… which was unlike him… but I figured he was just upset I was talking to his parents.

Later that evening I got a call from his teacher. He was causing problems in class and was refusing to sit in time out. I was ready to put the fear of God in this kid. I was going to lay down the law and be absolutely sure he knew that he could not act this way in class and expect to get away with it. I was going to call the parents out from church… and possibly read them the riot act as well.

I had the child meet me out in the hall with the teacher… I felt my heart soften toward the boy. Kids who cause two sets of problems in same night, who don’t do it every week, are probably going through something. I asked him what the trouble was tonight. He looked to the ground and said that he hadn’t slept well the night before. I now noticed how red his eyes were. The boy was exhausted! No wonder he was acting out.

All of my plans flew out the window… grace for his situation came in it’s place. I told him that even when he’s sleepy he needs to make good choices. That while I was still going to talk to his parents, I didn’t want to add to it that he wasn’t obeying his teachers. I told him that he would go back into class and service his time… but that he could lay his head on the table for the rest of class if he wished to rest.

I tend to be a person who sticks tightly to the rules and policies… and this serves me well most of the time. But I always run the risk of doing so blindly, with little consideration to the people involved. My prayer is that God will help me and those like me to always be ready to forget what they deserve and be ready to give the grace that He has shown me so often.

A Lesson I Learned About Kid-Focused Ministry From A Sneeze Guard

When I was in my first year of full-time children’s ministry kids camp was a new experience for me… especially when it came time for lunch. It was very kid-centric fare featuring hamburgers, hotdogs, cold mac-n-cheese and applesauce and the like. The best part were the kid-sized portions they gave even to the famished adults. I can’t wait to tell Paul the Apostle how I suffered for Christ.

The servers were volunteers, so I made sure to be polite to them. They were serving exactly how they’d been instructed after all. I noticed that to make eye contact I was having to either stand on tip-toe or hunch down to see past a home built sneeze guard over the serving line. Every day I got a little more annoyed at this small inconvenience. I thought, Why don’t they hang this thing about two inches higher so we can see through it! Doesn’t anyone believe in excellence anymore? I know this seems ridicules… and it was… but stinky boys, unrelenting heat and little food make for an easily irritated man.

One one particular day near the end of camp as I went through the line, I noticed the kids around me getting their food. Many of them would look up and thank their server as I had done… but without ducking or toeing up. I ducked down low to their level and looked up at the servers. I had a perfect view of every face. Then it hit me…

This thing wasn’t hung for me… it was hung for them.

This became one of my core values immediately. Everything in my ministry had to be passed through that filter. To this day whenever I do anything, like set design) I will go and sit low in a chair in each major section to make sure every child can see. I don’t use cursive fonts because lower elementary can’t read them yet. I keep the lights bright in my chapel because some kids are leery of dark places… especially first time visitors.

Here are some questions I constantly ask myself:

1. Will they understand it?

2. Can they see it?

3. Are they scared of it?

4. Can they apply it?

5. Is it too long for them to pay attention?

6. Could they repeat it? Re-teach it?

7. Are they being bad, or being their age?

8. Will they get it?

9. Will they want it?

10. Will they remember it?