Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kid’s In Ministry

Don’t get so busy ministering to the kids that you forget kids can minister too!

 I wanted to help. It didn’t matter to me that I was just a kid. I wanted to do more than sit on a pew. I agree, I wasn’t qualified to teach the class, but there were lots of things I could do. Although my Sunday school teacher couldn’t imagine her class doing anything more than listening to her talk, the state director of the girl’s ministry saw potential. She understood that girls wanted to be involved and she let us. She asked us for ideas that would make the reward ceremony extra special. She let us file and make copies. We carried out trash and we thought we were the most important girls in the world because we were helping.

I remember helping stock the shelves in the Home Mission closet where pastor’s wives of struggling, young churches came to pick out basic supplies for their homes. I will always remember one lady’s joy as we packed her box with sheets and towels. We wrote each other for years after that. What a powerful impact that experience made on my life. I saw first-hand what it meant to pioneer a Home Mission work.

There are children in your class that need to become involved in ministry, before they catch the deadly Pew Potato Disease that is destroying our churches. Churches are filled with pew sitters that haven’t done anything for God in years. If we want children to be involved in ministry then why wait until they have lost that natural desire to serve and then suddenly begin to fret and whine that no one wants to help you in children’s ministry. If you want to raise-up pew potatoes, all you have to do is nothing. But if you want to raise-up a group of children that will love the church and love serving others, then help them take ownership in their church by getting them involved. 

Maybe you are thinking “what can kids do”? The list is endless. They can pick up paper around the church. They can use puppets in outreach settings such as the nursing home and parks. They can share object lessons or short stories in a younger Sunday school class. They can sing specials or as part of a praise team. They can file visuals or make bulletin boards. Children can write notes to the visitors or absentees. They can serve as Watchman on the Row.  They can perform a number of janitorial duties. They can serve as the sound and lighting crew or any other technical requirements. They can put together newsletters or manage your web site. Children have talents that need to be used.

I believe there are three vital steps in involving children in ministry:

1. Help them see the need.

2. Train them.

3. Give them opportunity. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Great Basket

Check out my cool basket. It came from Sarah’s Cross Stitch. I love, love my basket. I always have stuff to use as visual aids, so as I plan my program, I stuff my basket. Then when I’m ready to speak everything is in one convenient place and easily accessible. It folds flat for easy storage.  The embroidery is absolutely beautiful! The basket is light, attractive, durable, and it is so cool to have my name on the basket. And people really like it. Everywhere I go, people ask me where I got it, so I thought maybe you’ll like to have the resource link as well. The link is Sarah’s Cross Stitch  (

They do amazing work. I have another bag from Sara’s that has a beautiful hummingbird on it. I keep it with me everywhere I go. I treasure that beautiful bag as well, but it is not a ministry bag. Her bags could be used for gifts for visiting evangelist, special awards, contest prizes or anytime you want something that really shows someone you appreciate their ministry.

Their specialty is embroidery. They embroider shirts, patches and almost anything you need. They have no set up charge and no minimum! Wow! That makes them great for children’s ministries on a tight budget.

The folks at Sarah’s Cross Stitch are amazing believers who love God. Every time I get with them I’m inspired to walk closer to God. They are active in their church teaching a Small Group (not in size or effectiveness -  why are they called small groups?) in their home and children’s ministry on Sunday mornings. They are creative puppeteers using visual arts to take their puppetry to higher dimensions. They are good, honest people that are great to do business with. If you have any embroidery needs, I hope you’ll contact them. And tell them Pat Holland sent you!

Sarah’s Cross Stitch - Virginia
10316 Oakton Rd.
Chesterfield, VA 23838

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pack Light

I love to travel. We have been to some glorious places. We’ve seen the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, Mt. McKinley in Alaska, the London Bridge in Arizona and the Sequoia’s in California. We don’t go for the touristy places, we want to explore nature, old landmarks or museums.  I love meeting people and hearing their stories. But basically, I just love to “go”.
I get my love for traveling honest. My grandmother loved to “go” too.  I remember so clearly, my mother would ask Mama ( that’s what we called our grandmother) “Wanna go home with me?” Almost, every time, she would say "let me change my apron". She’d find a fresh apron, lay some clean underwear inside her apron, roll it into a tight roll and tuck it under her arm. She’d return to the living room with it tucked under her arm and a smile on her face and say "I’m ready”. That woman should have won a medal for “lightest luggage” or something. That has to have been some kinda record.
I’m not recommending you travel that light, but with the fees airlines are charging these days for luggage we are all packing lighter. I have three suggestions to help you pack lighter.
Pack for where you’re going. Not where you are.
                How does a Florida girl pack for Alaska? She doesn’t pack shorts and sleeveless shirts, that’s for sure. I wanted to have clothes that would be warm enough and appropriate for where I was going. It didn’t matter that I was from Florida; I needed clothing that was appropriate for Alaska. So I called a friend that had just returned from Alaska. He knew exactly what I should and should not pack.
     1. You gotta know where you’re going. What do you want to accomplish with your life or ministry? What is your goal? What is God’s goal for your life? What is your passion?
     2. Unpack your past. Unpack fear, pain, offenses and prejudices. Unpack jealousy, the dirty clothes, the scraps of paper and junk that litter the bottom of your suitcase from your last trip.
     3. Know what you need. What skill sets will you need for where you’re going? If you want to write, take a course in writing. Start sharpening your skill sets and your knowledge base for where you are going.

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's My Birthday

Today's my birthday. I never mention it, but today I will. I mention it only because I want to share some things with you that I  have learned in life and ministry. I would like to make it a "Top Ten List", but you know how long winded I am. However, since it's my birthday I'll just be who I am-long winded! And you don't want to miss the last one either because it's my personal favorite, but if you're squeamish don't read it. 
  1. I’ve learned to be flexible. Steel flexes, iron snaps. The best laid plans are subject to change. In the middle of an Easter program when the pastor says cut it short, you gotta be flexible or you'll snap. Then there are those times when you have an eight foot stage and seven foot ceiling. Or when you've been told to use one room for your class, but when you get there they give you a different room. My personal favorite is when you meticulously plan an hour and a half program and the evangelist rambles, oops preaches, for three hours. (I can say it, because I am one of those evangelist now.)
  2. Think the best of people. Find good in everyone. They’ll love you when you value them. Love people, because love never fails. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood. I’ve learned not to look down on others because they don’t know what I know; everyone knows things I don’t.
  3. Get behind your leader, but don’t kick him/her as tempting as it may be.
  4. Forget about the wrong, remember the good. I’d like to give you examples of the wrongs, but I’ve forgotten them.
  5. Be careful what you say and who you say it to. Ministry is not the place for motor mouths without an off switch.
  6. Never put an Aaron in charge until he has your heart.
  7. You have to play by the rules of the park you’re playing in; never your rules.
  8. I am responsible for only what I’m responsible for - nothing more, nothing less.
  9. There is a God and His name is not Pat Holland.
  10. People can’t follow you if you’re not going somewhere.
  11. I want to develop participators, not spectators.
  12. Don’t become road kill on the road to success. The road to success is strewn with dead quitters (critters). Forgive, guard your attitude and keep moving upward.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sharpening the Axe- Mini Children's Ministry Conference

Pastor Billy Burns stretched me again. That is one of the things I love about him. He is always encouraging me to go higher, to do something different, or better. He did again this year. He called me several months ago with the request to teach a training seminar at his church. Pastor Billy has an amazing team of workers, many of which have been with him for many years. They are a group of people that love God and are passionate about children’s ministry! His large, yet still growing ministry means he is constantly adding and equipping new team members.

His request was that I teach five sessions that would help his leaders sharpen their axe. Using appropriate tools that are skillfully utilized is vital for any team or ministry. All the workshops would be basic skill sets that every teacher needed, but here’s the clincher, he wanted me to teach each skill set in 35 minutes. You know me, I have a hard time finishing in an hour time frame, but 35 minutes…could I do it? I did, I didn’t exceed my time allotment once. It was so much work to condense and eliminate fluff, but the results was a really concise and practical session.

Pastor Billy’s wisdom is amazing…people are busy…by condensing the sessions we were able to pack an entire day of training into a morning of training. He is a great go to person with tremendous wisdom and experience. Check out his website. And the response was amazing. Pastor Billy’s team is always very loving and appreciative when I minister at Trinity Church International, but even the most experienced teachers were so excited. Teacher after teacher shared with me Sunday about different things they used from the seminar in their classes and how effective it was. I am always so appreciative when I hear things like that.

We all need to keep our axe sharp. From time to time we need to review and renew the basic skills that are essential skill sets that enable us to be effective in ministry. Thank you, Pastor Billy, for stretching me again. You always motivate me to grow, condense and sharpen my axe. I must constantly grow so I can more effectively equip children’s ministry leaders.

How long has it been since you helped your ministry team to sharpen their axe? Wayne and I would love to partner with you to encourage, equip and inspire your ministry team. Contact me at

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Planting the Word

Things to Remember:
    a. Although the church should be a support system, it is your job to teach your children.
    b. If you want to reap a good crop, you’ve got to plant it.
    c. You must cultivate the seed by weeding and feeding.

Let’s look at some suggestions to help you plant good seed, God seed, in children’s hearts.
    1. Recognize and take your responsibility to train up your children in the way they should go.
    2. Make Bible Study a priority in your home. This may mean realigning schedules and activities. It may mean turning off the TV or eliminating activities that consume too much time. Remember the most important thing is for your child to know God.
    3. Get a plan. Decide what are you going to study; theme, subject or Bible reading plan.
    4. Be sure your plan fits your children…their age, interests and needs. Make it age appropriate
    5. Set a time and a place for Bible study. Be consistent, yet flexible. You may discover the back porch has too many distractions for your family, so try a different place. You may find your children are too sleepy for bedtime Bible Encounters. Discover what works for your family.
    4. Understand as with any discipline, getting started is not easy. There will be distractions. Children will not want to sit still. It will take training for them to listen to you if you have never done it before.
    5. Make it fun. Laugh together. Involve the children. Can the children help you tell the story by acting it out or drawing the visual for the story? Let them read or tell the Bible Story, character story or object lesson.
    6. It doesn’t have to be long to be effective.
    7. Don’t substitute moral values only for the Word of God. Give them a biblical base for the values you teach.
    8. Rehearse the weekly memory verse daily. It can be one from church or one that covers a particular area of concern for your family—kindness, faith, fear, etc. Use variety as you go over the verse. Let them use puppets or stuffed animals. Say the verse with a silly voice or really soft voice or squeaky mouse voice. Let them mimic the voice of their favorite cartoon character or let them suggest a voice to use for the memory verse.
    9. Play Christian music in your home. Worship God in your home.
    10. Pray together. Pray for your children. Teach them to pray.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time to Plant Something

Cabbage or Weeds- Part 2
I am absolutely certain the farmer did not plant the weeds in those fields. The weeds grew because the fields had been neglected. Something is being planted in the lives of your children. If you neglect the job of planting the Word of God in your child’s life then something else will grow.

A good intention does not grow cabbages. Hoping for a good crop does not produce one either. If you want to grow cabbages you must plant them. If you want your children to know the Bible and the God of the Bible, then you must deliberately plant seeds of truth in their lives.

Let me sidetrack for a moment. Do children- or adults for that matter- really need a biblical foundation; or are good morals sufficient? This is huge! A biblical foundation is essential because the seed of God’s Word has power to reproduce itself, while morals alone are driven by human will power. While I understand we must exert human effort to do the right thing, human effort alone does not produce the life or energy that is needed to overcome sin. The seed of the Living Word has life potential inside when cultivated and reproduced in our lives. That cultivation of living seed produces a good crop and a great harvest of whatever we have planted; a delightful harvest that gives you tremendous benefits.

But I need to say it again, “If you don’t plant, you don’t harvest!” If this principle is so obvious, then why don’t we understand that we must plant the Word of God in our children’s hearts? Do you think it’s the church or the children’s pastor’s job to invest and plant God’s Word in your child’s heart? That’s not what I see in the Scripture. Proverbs 22:6 KJV “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Do you think the school system is going to train your child? Something is going to grow in the heart of your child…you can plant good seeds there, but wishing won’t plant them.

When I pass by those empty, weed infested, over-grown fields, I’m saddened. I want to see those emerald-green cabbages growing. But I’m not gonna plant anything in those fields. I don’t have that responsibility or desire, but I do for my yard and my garden. I absolutely have that responsibility for my children and even in a support role, my grandchildren.

Is it easy? No! Kids want to be entertained every minute. They plug in a video on the way to the grocery store…they whine if they have nothing to do for 5 minutes…I’m bored. They’re over stimulated; going around and around on a merry-go-round without responsibilities or self-esteem because we have not guided them with purpose and The Purpose. It’s time that believers join the ranks of the Joshua’s that declare and do “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”(Joshua 24:15)

Does it require preparation…creativity…commitment? Yes, it does. God trusted you with those kids; don’t send them out without preparing them for life. You give them swimming lessons to prepare them for the water. Give them the Word to prepare them for life.

Now for some really good news! When you plant God’s Word in their hearts, it will accomplish something. Isaiah 55:11 NLT “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Seeds take cultivation and time, so be patient, believe God and keep planting. You will reap a harvest if you don’t faint.

Tomorrow I will post 10 suggestions to help you plant God’s Word in children’s hearts through devotions.