Monday, November 12, 2007

Always For The Children....

This past Sunday was a new experience for me....a freedom which I had forgotten. Let me see if I can explain without tripping all over myself with well intentioned thoughts......

For the past 18 years, I have volunteered my time in varying degrees of childrens ministry. I've done everything a volunteer can do in the different classes that cater to children from birth to 12 years old. I've done story telling to craft preparation, diaper changing to salvation leading, parent counseling to playdough making. I could go on for pages, but I won't bore with a long list. Just know that I have learned over the years to become pretty versitile. As we branched off from our home church in September of 2001 to start a new church south of the metro area, I had stepped away from being a department administrator over the kindergarten classroom (it was a really big church). With no direction in mind but the adventure that lay ahead, I eagerly sought out what God would have me to do next. That question was soon answered with this thought....we needed a childrens ministry department in our new church. With a gleam in their eyes and complete support, PJ and Co. gave me full reign to create...inspire....minister...and bless.

To be the "buck stops here" person has been such a learning experience for me. Over the past six years I have trained some 60 teachers in varying degrees of function. The first 4 years, my office was in my dinning room. There were shelves and cabinets of supplies, props, and resources everywhere we turned. Sometimes help was scarce and sometimes eager hands were falling everywhere to lift me up and offer encouragement. After all of this time, I think I am finally starting to learn a glimmer of what it means to delegate responsibility. No, I don't have it all figured out, but I am learning. It's by me letting go and giving the freedom to someone else to be responsible that they can step into their giftings, talents, and callings.

A while back, I sat down with PJ and Co. and expressed confusion and fatigue on my behalf. I had been running around trying to be all things by filling in gaps. My thoughts were things like, "How could I know what a classroom needs if I am never in there to see?" or "How could I expect other to teach with eagerness and joy if I don't do it myself?" and "As a leader I should be leading by example, working just as hard as those around me." I was wearing myself out teaching and overseeing 4 classrooms all at the same time.
Wisely, PJ and Co. said, "Sweets you have to take care of yourself. You must duplicate yourself out of a job. We don't want you to burn out. No wonder you are so tired. You can't inspire and seek future ideas if you are running around in circles. We want you to be around for a long time so let's develop a new game plan for you."
You know, in retrospect, I might have even given that same advice to someone else if I were sitting on the cousel side of things. Why are the simplest things always the hardest for me to see?

So, I now have a wonderful person that makes sure the teachers have all of the special supplies they want each week and I am training the last set of teachers to replace me on the classroom schedules. There is a person that makes the reminder phone calls for me, one that brings snacks every week for the kids, and another that sets up the prize tables. That brings me to my beginning statement.....This past Sunday was a new experience for me....a freedom which I had forgotten. I now have a wonderful woman that has come along side me to alternate administration on Sundays so that I can sit in the service. This past Sunday I did just that for the first time in years. I parked in the front of the building (no supplies to unload), walked straight into the sanctuary (no classes to check on), and participated without counting childrens heads or watching the clock for the classroom release time.

It was new and freeing for me.....not that I regret or grudgingly do anything that I do. Simply, I am grateful for the help around me for many hands DO make light work.

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