Team Needs

Your Team has Needs
Ministry teams need things too. Even if your team consist of one or 12 volunteers they have needs concerning the ministry. 

courtesy of  Frits Ahlefeldt
1 - They have a need for clarity - most people have a difficult time separating vision from strategy, which includes specifics.  Sharing your vision without some specific plans is a mistake.  

2 - They need for the leader to model steady emotions, avoiding extreme highs and lows.  There are moments you just need to be strong and steady for your team.  Break down in the prayer closet, He can handle it.
3 - They need to take action after making decisions are made and the new direction is set.  Moving in the right direction can build momentum.  Making decisions and never move on them, only clouds the team with doubt and mistrust.
4 - They need security, to feel safe and to know you are for them!  Even if they make mistakes, are you going deplore them, ignore them, or restore them? 
5 - They need to make significant impacts.  The team wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  The team wants to be a part of something great and meaningful.  Even in the hum drum setting up and tearing down they want to make an impact. They want to know if God is in on this. Make them aware of evidence's of grace in them and in the ministry.  Ask yourself: Are they more aware of their shortcomings, or the evidences and manifestations of God moving and impacting their life and the lives around them?

6 - They need a Sabbath.  As a leader it is easy to get excited about momentum and not wanting to lose it.  It's easy to get caught up in building momentum, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but never reaching it. Jesus didn't drive the disciples, He led them.  There were days Jesus and the disciples got caught hanging out in the wheat field, picking grain. Not for ministry  but for restoring.  Your team needs a break, take them on a retreat, let them breathe, take them out to dinner and you pay.

What are some ways to meet the needs of the team? leave a comment


Keeping Track of Your Notes

Do you take notes and then never look at them again? Why take them in the first place? 

Taking notes is another part of journalling and I find a very important part of journalling. Taking notes is suppose to help you remember all that stuff you don't want to forget. The problem is do you really go back to your notes? And if you do, can you remember where you put them, and then the crazy task of going through all those notes for a specific topic?

I take a lot of notes, I want to be a good steward of the ideas and creativity God sends my way, sometimes it's a blog, a website or even a facebook quote I don't want to forget.  Sometimes God sends people with a wealth of wisdom. When this happens I take notes. Isn't that a great way to respond to His careful attention to your growth?  When you do this for a while organizing these notes can be a real task. For instance, I took notes at a conference on the topic of entitlement, (Lisa Bevere is an amazing speaker)  what do I do with it then? I file it in my head hoping to remember exactly what journal I wrote it in and where? Yeah, that doesn't work out so well for me. I am not Google. I can't remember every little tidbit that made an impact on me on a particular day, in a particular mood.

I have discovered this really nifty application.


This is an application that I have downloaded (FREE) to my mac, ipad and iphone.  I can capture or collect ideas that inspire, make me go hmmm, and even make me say "really?"  Does your browser have a favorite list a mile long yet? Evernote will sync the note to all my devices which means all that note taking is totally accessible anytime and anywhere. 

Then if that wasn't enough Evernote organizes these thoughts, notes and ideas by indexing them into different notebooks and even tags to make everything I write and collect totally searchable. For instance, I have a notebook for each ministry I'm involved with.  I also can make a note and put it in any notebook and as many notebooks as I want.

And it's all searchable, making it easy for me to find fast today ideas that intrigued me a few months ago.  

How do you organize your notes?

What do I write, again?

Journal prompts 

1- what am i thankful for
2- 20 things I love
3 - 10 things I hate - I think God had 14 hmmmm
4- what is my pastor's vision
5- what is my vision
6- creative ideas no holding back, if anything was doable what would your next event look like
7- what kind of conference do I want to go to
8 - what does your favorite verse in the bible mean
9- favorite quote and why?
10 - what's your life quote
11 - got dream?  Had a dream from God, write it down
12 - who are you in 300 words or less
13 - 31 days of wisdom - 1 chapter of Proverbs a day, what is jumping out at you from that chapter
14 - draw a picture even stick people work
15 - tape a memento from today into your journal and describe why
16 - what's your prayer today
17 - what's your prayer for your kids/ your church/ your pastor/ the president/ the person that irks you the most :)
18 - favorite book and why
19 - favorite person and why, careful with this one (whatever you write someone will read)
20 -  favorite sermon and why
21 - best vacation
22 - best birthday
23 - wedding memory (just one)
24 - mom memory (go ahead and splurge)
25 - the most influential woman in your life
26 - find a topic any topic (maybe a topic that God has been wanting to instruct you/correct you in) study it and report your findings.  For instance: I am currently go through the topic "Mercy" 
27 - Who is Jesus to you, really!!! not just what you know, but who is He to you by personal experience.  For instance; Jesus is my Rescuer why? there is a rather long list of rescues
28 - Your top ten "How Cool is that!" list
29 - Your top ten "How dumb is that!"
30 - 10 things you would like to see stop
31 - 10 things you would like to see start
31 -  Local landmark what is it and why is it
32 - favorite food and why
33 - besides money what do you need more of?
34 - hobby? 
36 - where do you THINK God is leading  you?
37 - Where has God led you in the past? Hind sight is 20/20
38 - What has God been showing you lately?
39 - 5 favorite movies and why?
40 -  Wanting to get to know God more, what was His personality like today in your devotions
One humorous story from the Bible. Something you find funny and why.

Got any suggestions? Leave a comment.

Write it Down

I believe in journalling. 

 I believe in writing stuff down and sorting things out on paper.  It allows me to come back to it and see how God has worked it out or me out.  I believe we are to be good stewards of the things that God gives us, in particular those creative ideas.  Writing them down is a way of responding to His thoughts.  I don't want to forget anything He tells me. It all has a purpose and it is so powerful. It's ALL worth writing down.   

When I have counseled and encourage leaders to journal I met many of frustrated looks. I hear the "I try to journal, I do it for a week and then quit."  I have found that a lot of those frustrations are because they are either journalling with the wrong type of journal or the "what” and “how” they are journalling didn't fit their personality. 
Different styles of journalling.  
A journal doesn't have to be a long drawn out description of the day’s events.  That may work for some, it doesn't work for me.  A journal could be sketches, random thoughts and ideas, thank you's to God, even prayers and their answers. I take the journal to church and will take notes from the sermon in it.  I have even saved memento's from the day and taped them to the page with a description of why that meant something to me.  Maybe God spoke to me in a powerful way I write it down.   The point is just write something down, it doesn't have to be a novella. It could be something so simple, a one liner.  Let it fit your personality and your lifestyle. If you make it work, or drudgery, then your not going to want to do it.  Let it be something you look forward to.  
Different types of journals.  
I had a hard time journalling at first because of the type of journal I was carrying around.  It was way to big and intimidating.  I had this crazy desire to fill it up all at once and that just didn't work.  What really got the ball rolling was a little tiny journal I could keep in my purse.  Composition books worked for a while.  As I became more passionate about journalling I went to moleskins because they have a bookmark, smaller and had a pouch in the back to save things like ticket stubs, pictures, business cards.  I have evolved into a journal called Ecosystems.  By far my favorite.  The point is the type of journal needs to be consistent with your lifestyle.  If your active and on the go why would you carry this big notebook around.  If your an artist, then a big sketch pad is your thing.  If your a homebody, then maybe your journalling is on the computer.  It might take you a few trial and errors to find whats right. 
Don't get discouraged and frustrated.  

It might take a few stabs at what to write and what to write it on, but you will eventually get into a groove.  Don't get legalistic about it either. You don't have to journal like anyone else, and you don't have to journal the same way every time. There are no set rules to this.  

Got Peace?

Taking a risk doesn't have to be as scary of some people make it out to be.

 Yes. there is the unknown when stepping outside the box.The whole "what if's" scenarios will want to keep you up at night.  Yes, there is a level of apprehension when launching a new ministry. Your faith will go on display for all to see, and you will be a spectacle. Yes, there is going to be some naysayers in the crowd. Every crowd has one or two.  Yes, there is a lack of experience when trying something new. Who wants to sound foolish when learning a new language? 

There is something that Jesus gave us for these very moments.  He left it in His will for us.  He bequeathed His peace. (John 14:27)
Taking a risk? Get your peace on!

Part of the armor we are to put on is shoes of peace. (Eph. 6) 
Peace isn't about flip flops.  

If peace is loosely fitting in our lives, in our affairs, in our emotions we can be knocked around a bit, even out of place.  Peace gives us a sure foundation that we can step out in confidence, without being knocked off track by what we see or hear.  
Have you ever worked for someone that would flip out and flop about whenever there was an inkling of a storm arising? Women's ministry can be like that, women can be a bunch of drama queens.  A leader that stays composed and keeps her peace is a leader people will gravitate to. Why because when the storm hits, she will be the first person they will call. She becomes an anchor, with sure footing. 
Peace is so strong and effective it will prevail in any circumstance. 

We can plan and prepare too much when taking risks.  There will always be an element of unforeseen circumstances.  There are just somethings you can’t predict. No matter how chaotic it may seem, keep your peace.  Sometimes it might mean “hold your peace.” Get duck tape if you have to. 
Peace will keep your legs from getting knocked out from under you. Check the areas of your life, the different areas of the ministry.  Access if there is peace or chaos, or tremors going on in those areas and deal with them. Do you have a pebble in the shoe? Get the pebble out before it injures you or the ministry. 
Let peace call the shots. 

The peace of God will protect your integrity.  It will be the umpire when conflicts and confrontation arise in your emotions. The peace of God will be a great referee. Satan can't play mind games on you when peace is the governor. 
Chaos and absence of peace is a sign post, "Danger! You are going off the marked trail."  Check your life for peace.  Have you deviated from the will of God, are you going down a path of pride, before pointing any fingers and casting blame check yourself first.
Ask yourself and the team:

Do I have peace with God?
If God has been, putting His finger on something deal with it.  Get it that squared away with God.  
Do I have peace with others?
If there are people in your life that you avoid, or is there a hurt you might be carrying around.  Maybe  you hurt someone else.  Be the bigger person and get some peace in the relationships.  We are called to be peace makers not peace keepers.  This might mean humbling yourself, but when you do that you attract God's presence. It's worth it.
Do you have the Peace of God?  
This is that supernatural peace that goes way past our understanding.  God gave this to us as a gift.  When we align our thoughts, emotions and will around God's promises and His ways we align ourselves with this supernatural Peace.  We will walk in the same authority Jesus walked in.

Have you ever worked for Miss Flip Flop or had her on the team?  What would you have done differently? You can leave a comment here. 

Video Pick: Even Superheros Have to Deal With...

Wonder Woman to the Rescue?!

Even super heroes have their moments.  No matter how dressed up we are, no matter how many  times you try to do the right thing, no matter how much study and effort you put into it there will always be a villain here and there to deal with.  You could say a Superhero will have to save the villain every now and then.  Have a great day and enjoy!

Got some Wonder Woman moments that well, weren't so wonderful.  Leave a comment, it's okay we all have them. 

Think Before You Jump

Just Do it! Really?

I'm sure he didn't start out diving from this high up, but he did start somewhere.

Solomon in all his wisdom encouraged us to be prudent by giving thought to our ways (Pro. 14:8)  
What he is saying is think before you jump.  Yes taking risks, getting out of our comfort zones, good.  Chasing a fantasy, living in Fantasyland, bad.
Jesus was tempted by Satan to jump off a cliff! 

How could that have been a temptation?  Well to us, surrounded by fear, that wouldn’t work.  To Jesus, the Fearless One, this was.  It was taking a risk.  Jesus gave thought to this risk.  By His example, taking a risk doesn’t mean jumping off the cliff, willy nilly. Most people who took big risks and succeeded will tell you they -  thought about it and they prepared themselves for it. As you learn to lean on Him more and more the risks get bigger and bigger.  Your faith has grown so it can handle it.  

As a leader you will have to take some risks.
Here are 3 things to do when taking risks that will keep you from chasing fantasy
1- Check out if your heart is into it.  

If your not passionate about it, then slow the train down.  Do a heart check, not a flesh check.  Your brain will reason with you, your emotions will scream of fear, and your body will get sick.  Do you believe the risk is from God?  I love the risk Peter took when he abandoned the safety of the boat during a storm and walked on water.  Before he stepped out he prayed “Jesus if this is you bid me come.”  We can ask for wisdom and God will give it to us without looking down or condemning us for asking.  How cool is that?!
2- For the really big stuff that involves others talk it out.

  Explain exactly what your thinking about taking on.  I have a couple of people I bounce ideas off of, especially the risky ones, they have learned to play the Sam I am game with me, relentless questioning. I try to see every aspect of the risk, even the failure, the success.  Filter it through some wise people.  This is a very important part of taking risks.  Jesus didn't jump off the cliff when tempted, He consulted with the one resource on hand at the moment,  Scripture! 
3- Get your toe wet. 

Take some baby steps if necessary, just take some steps.  If I have a desire to do something and it pops positive with my life's passion yet I don't have experience in it, I take baby steps.  Maybe you could ask someone who has stepped out in that area for some wisdom.  You could come alongside a ministry that is already doing it, serve with them to get the experience you need.

All you risk takers out there have something to add, let's hear it, take a risk, be the first to comment. 

Bath at Your Own Risk

Risks! Risks! Risks!
It seems most of everything Jesus taught and did was about risks.  The Sermon on the Mount was about risks,  I mean really, to be blessed means to be needy, merciful and assured of persecution. There is a risk in there. Then he sends the followers (without Seminary School) to preach "Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is near."  At least the message was positive. 
Hmmmm do we really need a bath? It depends on where your going.
The real risk is not stepping out.  
1 - When we get real comfortable with our own abilities, strengths and cleverness we will show up to minister without Him.

 Who wants that?  There is real danger to getting comfortable with our own abilities. We will accept the praise of man much more readily.  Jesus warns us in John 5:44 this will cause unbelief.  You in danger of believing man more than God.  You will look to man for your approval and not God.  
2 - We would be like the guy who buried his talents.

He didn’t invest in those talents and he didn’t invest them, the Master called him wicked and unfaithful. The key here is the guy didn't invest HIS talent.  We need to invest in them, learn more about them, get better at doing them, exercise them and then we need to invest them. Put them to use for others. 

3 -  We will less likely give God the glory, when we stay in our safe comfortable spots. 

This is a real danger, the one that will have you at first bite.  This one is like touching the Arc of the Covenant, it never ends well.  It's hard to give God glory when you didn’t need Him in the first place.

Staying in our comfort zones is taking on huge risks.  I believe there is more risk in the comfort zone than the splash zone.
It is a risk to step out of our comfort zones. However, the more we do the more we will learn to trust the desires God has placed into our hearts. The key to this risk taking is like Sea World. We go see Shamu and have to decide do we sit  in the dry zone (the comfort zone) or the splash zone. Notice the splash zone isn’t in the tank! There’s a difference between stepping out of your comfort zone doing something you like and are familiar with, and stepping out of your comfort zone to do something that makes you miserable. Find the right spot, will mean taking risks.  

Have you ever hesitated and later realized taking that risk would have been a really good thing? Or have you ever hesitated and later glad you did?  leave a comment and stay tuned for tomorrows post is "Think Before You Jump"

Why Paint Cats

The last couple of posts have been on pruning and vine dressing, with the promise of what to cut. You could say this is the first of the “what to cut” series, that will probably be a weekly or monthly staple.  I welcome your contributions on this.
I believe sometimes what to cut stares everybody in the face, except the people doing it.
For instance: Why paint cats?
Here is a book that inverted the national phenomenon of Why Cats Paint, putting up a canvas and letting your cat step into paint and then scratch at the canvas for entertainment.  Wow, having a kazillion games on my iPad just doesn’t sound like fun anymore.
First, why would someone want to paint a cat? Second, have you ever tried to give a cat a bath?  I couldn't imagine what you go through to paint them. And isn't that a little inhumane, decorating cats? Then if painting a cat wasn't enough write a book about it. Not just a book describing this odd behavior but a book on how you too can get your cat painted for $5000. 
I can’t say too much about this I face paint for missions.  Could there be a book “Why Paint Kids?”
Yet what about our lives, do you think that every now and then we spend time doing things that are just as odd as painting cats? Do we step back and really ask why we do some of the things we do?  Maybe unknowingly we are going about our daily business with our dress stuck in our panties.  Having your sisters around to make sure all is in place is a really good idea.  
What about ministry?  Is there something we are doing in ministry that we think is perfectly normal but to the unchurched is sort of like painting cats?  What about the sister’s in your church that don’t come?  Maybe they would like to come but for some reason they really can’t answer the “why do that” question. 
This is a great place to start with what to cut.  The Why Paint Cats stuff.  The stuff your doing that really doesn’t make any sense anymore.  There was a moment in the ministry it made sense.

 Just like there is entertainment value to sort through all the pictures of painted cats, but painting the cat myself is probably not going to work for me.

There is also the painting cats ministry.  You know painting a cat to look like say, a keyboard, a feather even a person.  A cat is a cat.  People are people.  They all have their quirks, that is what makes them unique. I see this a lot when women start mentoring the young adults. A ministry that is trying to paint women on the outside to look like something they aren’t on the inside is painting cats. We might be wondering why the woman we are trying to paint are pitching such a fit. Maybe like the cat, she doesn't want to be painted. 

The kicker here is, you are going to have to ask those on the outside looking in. And listen to them.  Have you ever tried to tell a lady she has toilet paper on her shoe and she gives you all sorts of attitude.  Doesn’t that make you hesitate telling her if it happened again?  Maybe people have tried to tell us, and since we didn’t listen back then, why would they tell us now?  Change the attitude and listen, there might be a painted cat in your ministry.  
Put your feet in someone else’s shoes and see if there are somethings you are doing in ministry that doesn’t make sense. Put yourself in the shoes of the unchurched.  If you have never read the bible would you know what people were talking about in the Bible study, fellowship group, is there a lot of lingo no one understands.  The first time I went to Starbucks I was completely lost, who calls a medium a grande?  Ask the “what’s the point to all this” question. Ask is this a painted cat? if so Why? 

Do you have an experience with some Painted Cats in ministry or know of some painted cats that we could stop? Leave a comment and share.