He knew….

Ten years ago I was a children’s ministry director at a church and needed childcare workers for an event.  Little did I know that the owner of the company I used would become the consultant who would help me launch a small business when a family emergency required a move and a new source of income.  I didn’t know, but God knew.

During my time as a children’s ministry director, I was encouraged to read many books on leadership and developing leaders.  Little did I know how valuable that education would be for me as I launched my new business.  I didn’t know, but God knew.

As I began baking cowboy cookies and putting together marketing materials to drop off at churches, little did I know that one of the first churches I approached had just lost their childcare coordinator the day before and they needed someone to manage their 230 hours per month of childcare.  They didn’t know that my last paycheck from my former job would be November 30th when they asked me to begin December 1st.  They didn’t know, but God knew.

I had no idea that when I approached one particular church that in addition to needing childcare,  they needed a part-time children’s ministry director.  I felt led to pursue the job even though I was still building my own business.  Even though things were going very well with KidMin Care, I just felt drawn to this church.  I didn’t know that two weeks later my business would be put on hold and my only income would be the management fee from one church and part-time children’s director from another church.  I didn’t know, but God knew.

God is so faithful.  I am sad that I have had to put my business on hold until churches can begin to meet again.  I felt such joy in being able to help my employees earn money to care for their families.  I know this is a temporary hold and I am confident we will pick up right where we left off, but it is still disappointing.  But, in my disappointment I continue to watch God work.  I feel such a peace – an unnatural peace – that He is going to work this all out for my good.  I don’t know what the future holds.

But God knows.

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:32

 

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Getting swallowed up by the world

Today as I was reading my One Year Bible, I was struck by the passage in Numbers.  Moses and the Israelites are in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.  Chapter 16 starts with this story –

One day Korah son of Izhar, a descendant of Kohath son of Levi, conspired with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, from the tribe of Reuben. They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly. They united against Moses and Aaron and said, “You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the Lord, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?”

When Moses heard what they were saying, he fell face down on the ground. Then he said to Korah and his followers, “Tomorrow morning the Lord will show us who belongs to him[c] and who is holy. The Lord will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence. Korah, you and all your followers must prepare your incense burners. Light fires in them tomorrow, and burn incense before the Lord. Then we will see whom the Lord chooses as his holy one. You Levites are the ones who have gone too far!”

Korah was a Levite.  The Levites had been set apart by the Lord for special jobs within the Tabernacle.  Korah should have known better than to start a rebellion against Moses.

Meanwhile, Korah had stirred up the entire community against Moses and Aaron, and they all gathered at the Tabernacle entrance. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to the whole community, 20 and the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Get away from all these people so that I may instantly destroy them!”

This rebellion angered God.  Instead of doing the job they had been chosen to do – an honor actually – to lead the people in worship, they became jealous of Moses and wanted what wasn’t rightfully theirs.

22 But Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground. “O God,” they pleaded, “you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Must you be angry with all the people when only one man sins?”

23 And the Lord said to Moses, 24 “Then tell all the people to get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”

25 So Moses got up and rushed over to the tents of Dathan and Abiram, followed by the elders of Israel. 26 “Quick!” he told the people. “Get away from the tents of these wicked men, and don’t touch anything that belongs to them. If you do, you will be destroyed for their sins.” 27 So all the people stood back from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Then Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the entrances of their tents, together with their wives and children and little ones.

These men are the LEADERS in their homes!  They have their wives and children standing with them!

28 And Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. 29 If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave,[f] then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the Lord.”

31 He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. 32 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. 33 So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel.

Oh how sad this passage made me!  Because of the sin of the fathers, the wives and the children were also swallowed up and buried.

I believe that this happened literally, but I also believe we can take something away from this passage figuratively.

It is so important that parents lead their families well.  If we are not careful sin can creep in and swallow our families whole.

How does this happen?

All we have to do is look at God’s commands.  He tells us to have no other God’s before Him.  Yet, we make the world and all it’s glitter a god.  We are swallowed up by consumerism.  If I can just get that new car, the latest phone, the most up-to-date gadget.  Before you know it, we are swallowed up in debt, or pride, or jealousy of others.

We spend so much time chasing after things that we THINK will make us happy, only to be swallowed up by exhaustion, and irritability, and anxiety.

The saddest part – none of this only affects self.  Our sin swallows up our children and spouse too.

The saying that more is “caught” than “taught” is a true one.  What you demonstrate to your children through your actions is far more impact full, than what you say.

Be careful, my friends.  Don’t allow yourselves to be swallowed up by the world.  Instead, keep your eyes on eternity and those things that REALLY matter.

 

 

 

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A plea to pastors.

It has happened again.  Another prominent pastor has found himself embroiled in controversy over statements made recently.  As I watched the video of John MacArthur saying “Go Home” in reference to Beth Moore, I was saddened.

This post isn’t about his interpretation of 1 Timothy.  I lean towards the conservative side myself.  We are going to disagree with interpretation of scripture.  That has gone on for years.  What I do take issue with is his tone and demeanor.  It reeked of arrogance.

Over the past few years I have watched other prominent pastors lose their influence due to their arrogance.  Mark Driscoll, Perry Noble, Bill Hybels and James MacDonald to name a few.  These are just the ones we know about due to their high visibility in the media.

Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”.  I know I’m guilty.  The enemy loves to whisper in my ear – You should have gotten the recognition for that – it was your idea.  Or – You would have done a better job than they did if you had been given the chance.  None of us are immune to the whispers of the enemy.

But when you are a leader – especially when you are a leader – it is imperative that – in the words of Barney Fife – you nip it, nip it, nip it in the bud!

Pride is sneaky.  Pride creeps in slowly.  It tells you things that make you feel good about yourself.  But ultimately, it tells you lies and those lies lead to death – often the death of your ministry.  Pride is one of the seven deadly sins.  Let that sink in.

I’m sad when I see leaders who have been so effective in ministry get caught up in their own selves.  What needs to be done?  HUMILITY.  Humility is the antidote for pride.  John MacArthur needs to humble himself and apologize publicly to Beth Moore.  Apologies are POWERFUL – Way more powerful than arrogance.

Please, please, please dear Pastor friends….please keep a check on your pride.  Please be quick to apologize when you have wronged someone.  Please be tender to the Holy Spirit when He speaks to you and calls out your pride.  Please don’t let another ministry be compromised because of your arrogance.  I beg of you.

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Dealing with disappointment

imagesI had to disappoint one of my little friends today. It made me really sad. I had hoped to be able to accompany her on an overnight field trip for school, but the date happened to correspond with a required work date. It broke my heart to have to cancel and to hear the disappointment in my little friend’s voice.

Disappointment in life is inevitable, so how can we help our little ones deal with disappointments?

First of all, we need to help our children learn to deal with small disappointments so that when the bigger problems come, they are not so overwhelming.

I see parents every day trying to keep their little ones from being upset. From fixing special dinners, to running themselves ragged to get their child to every activity, to buying clothing that is not needed. The list goes on. Parents, it is OKAY to tell your child no. It is OKAY to let them be a little hungry. It is OKAY for them to miss an event. It is OKAY for them to experience disappointment.

In the case of my little friend, I tried to help her look at this from a different perspective. What if God is protecting her from something? What if He wants her to be at school that day to meet a new friend? What if His plan for her is better than the plan she wants for herself?

The sooner we learn these lessons and pass them on to our children, the more content we will all be.

I know of a child who was never told no. All through his years growing up he was given anything he wanted. His parents were divorced when he was very young and both parents felt some guilt about that. So, they tried to make up for it by never allowing him to experience any disappointment. Going out to eat? He chose the restaurant. Going to the movies? He chose the movie. He didn’t want anyone else to play with his toys or video games? They were locked in the closet so he wouldn’t need to share with anyone who came over. This went on his whole life. He grew up to become a very self-centered teen.

He had never been one to get in trouble, but one day he did something at school that caused him to be called into the principal’s office. He had to suffer the consequences of his actions. For the first time in his life he had to deal with major disappointment. And, he couldn’t deal with it. He ended his life that very day. Sixteen years old. His whole life ahead of him. But, he had no idea how to maneuver through this situation. He had never had to deal with disappointment.

Jesus told us himself in John 16:33 –“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We are going to have trouble. We are going to have disappointment. There is no getting around it! But we can trust God that his plan is better than our plan. When things don’t go our way, we can know that Jesus can give us peace.

So please parents – you do your child a disservice when you don’t allow him to learn how to work through the small disappointments of life. When you help your child maneuver through disappointment, you are helping to set a foundation of trusting God. And when the bigger disappointments come, your child will have the tools they need to handle it.

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The value of TEAM.

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I was watching the Olympic Women’s Road Race this afternoon and something struck me as I watched. The American, Mara Abbot, was in the lead by over 30 seconds with a few kilometers left in the race. After a horrific crash by the Dutch cyclist, Abbott was alone in the lead. Behind her were three women, all from different countries. The three cyclists began working together as they cut into the lead. They would take turns leading, allowing the other two riders to draft, which allowed them to each conserve energy for the end of the race.

Slowly but surely, the three women cyclists began gaining on the lone leader. She had no one to work with – no one to draft behind. My heart sank as the three cyclists passed the leader with the finish line in sight. The American cyclist who had been leading for so long ended up in 4th place while the other three cyclists took the gold, silver, and bronze. Sadly, there would be no medal stand appearance for American Mara Abbott.

Team matters. Working together makes a difference.

I remember early in my marriage when I would have a disagreement with my husband. Lee would often remind me – Kathy, we’re on the same team. We’re better together. And, 31 years later, I would say he is right.

Every Sunday we have hundreds of children attend one of our three campuses. There is NO WAY I could begin to minister to hundreds of kids all by myself. I rely on a team. We MUST work together. The success of the ministry is dependent on it. I am incredibly blessed to serve alongside so many sacrificial servants. I love my team!

Not only do I love to see our children’s team work together, but I love to see our families work together. Often on Mondays I will help count the tithes and offerings from the day before. By far my favorite envelope to open says TEAM Schultz – Every. Single. Week. I LOVE this!!! I love that this family sees themselves as a team. I love how they serve together and work together on service projects. I love TEAM Schultz!

Have you ever seen the acronym for TEAM? – Together Everyone Accomplishes More. There is truth in that statement. Just ask gold medalist Anna van der Breggen of Netherlands, silver medalist Emma Johansson of Sweden and bronze medalist Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy. They can testify to the importance of working together as a team.

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Take care of yourself!

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This year I have had reason to fly much more than in the past. Twin grand-daughters living 15 hours away will do that to you! I’m one of those nerdy people who actually listen to the safety speech as the plane taxis to the runway.

Every single time the flight attendant instructs the passengers that if we lose air pressure in the cabin, the oxygen mask will drop from above. We are to put our own mask on first before helping others.

I’ve heard this analogy before – take care of yourself so that you can properly care for others. Never is this more true than when you are a young mom taking care of preschoolers.

I see young moms all the time who are barely hanging on. They give and give and give to their children until they have absolutely nothing left – and then they give some more.

I want to encourage you moms – you do not have to be a martyr. I would even go so far as to say that being a martyr doesn’t make you a better mother – just a worn out one.

I know you don’t want to disappoint your precious little ones. I know you get tired of their whining and pouting. I know they will wear you down with begging and pleading. I get it. I was there one time. I had 3 boys in 3.5 years. I promise – I KNOW!

Yes, your kids need you. But they need a healthy you and a healthy you can sometimes tell them no, or wait, or you can do it yourself.

Do your kids give you a hard time when you try and drop them off at their classes on Sundays? Do you give in and have them come sit with you only to be distracted and unable to listen to the message? I’m not talking to the parents who feel led to have family worship. I’m talking to the parent who really wants their child to be in children’s ministry, but gives in because they don’t want to disappoint their child or hear their whining and crying. To that parent I say, drop them off and leave. With a pat on the head, a kiss on the cheek, a reminder that they can trust you to return and get them after service, GO. Our children’s ministry staff is ready, willing and able to handle separation anxiety.

Are you exhausted because your children are being clingy, demanding or pouty? You do NOT have to listen to whining. Whiny children were tired children at my house and tired children went to bed early or took a nap. It will NOT kill your children to cry or be upset. You are doing your children a disservice if you never allow them to learn to work through disappointment. Giving in to every whim will only exhaust you and make your children learn what it means to be entitled. Let your no be no and your yes be yes. Walk away and close your door and allow your children to learn that you are in control and they can trust that you have their best interest at heart.

Do you need a rest time? Train your children to sit on their beds and have a quiet time. Start early. Nap when your children nap. Rest when your children rest. The laundry will still be there when you get up. Dads – pitch in when you are not at work. Do not expect your wife to be on 24/7 if you aren’t as well.

Moms – you are the adult. You are in charge. You get to call the shots. You have earned it and the best gift you can give your child – aside from teaching them about God – is to teach them respect and obedience. The sooner those lessons are learned, the more joyful and peaceful your home will be.

So, take care of yourselves Mommas! Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually. Fill your mind with truth from God’s word. Fill your home with respect and honor. Model for your children what it looks like to take care of yourself. Early on, more is caught than taught. Make it easy for your little ones to “catch” what you want them to know and how you want them to behave.

You’ve got this Momma! I believe in you!

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What makes your heart beat fast?

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I had a visitor at Baby Praise today. She is in student ministry at a church in Raleigh, but has been serving as a liaison for the children’s ministry for her church since the resignation of their children’s director.

I realized after spending about on hour talking with Michelle that I came back to my office totally charged up about children’s ministry. I have noticed that this happens whenever I have the chance to talk about ministry with other leaders. I just get so excited!

Sharing things I have learned over the years and hearing how other leaders do things makes my heart beat fast.

Having lunch with a volunteer who “gets it” in relation to kid’s ministry makes my heart beat fast.

Watching my coordinators interact with their teams makes my heart beat fast.

Seeing kids excited to enter our ministry area and not ready to leave when it’s time to go home makes my heart beat fast.

Walking down the hallway and hearing team members interacting with kids makes my heart beat fast.

Visiting a church that I have been pouring into and hearing that something I suggested is working well makes my heart beat fast.

Dreaming about the future of our children’s ministry makes my heart beat fast.

I am passionate about children’s ministry – can you tell?

Everyone on staff was given a sign for our office that says – It is a PRIVILEGE to be on this team. THANK YOU GOD for choosing ME.

I love that sign. Thank you God for choosing me to be a part of children’s ministry. It makes my heart beat fast.

What makes your heart beat fast?

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