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Anything worth doing, is worth reviewing, so we can see how to do it better. From worship services, to events, to camps & retreats, we have a responsibility to continue to improve and give God and our families the best experience possible. One of the ways to continually improve is to celebrate the wins and evaluate and plan for things that need improvement. Debriefing meetings designed to celebrate the contributions of your team, evaluate the furtherance of vision, and examine the logistics are beneficial opportunities that can lead to ministry enhancement and growth.

Every Sunday is coming! Events are necessary to continue to build relationships amongst ministry members! And everyone that is involved and giving energy to those things wants to win. Both worship services and special events take the talents of people to ensure their success. Even if the event doesn’t go according to plan, and things didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated, leaders must take time to show appreciation to the people who serve. People have an innate need to feel valued and know that their contribution matters. Take time to celebrate the things that went right before commenting on anything that needs improvement. Then end in celebration as well. Encouraging words make us feel like we can win. So even if as the leader, you don’t feel like the event or Sundays have been winning, point out pieces that went well and then next time your team might win, or at least come closer to it. Everybody wants to be a winner!

In order to keep kid and student ministry from being a plethora of endless events with no definitive direction, the ministry needs a strategy, with goals and objectives, that all point to the accomplishment of a vision. Evaluating and debriefing worship services and events according to that vision keeps everyone on the same page and keeps the ministry on track. The vision (where you want to go) is influenced by your strategies (how you plan to get there). Each worship service and event should have goals and objectives connected to one of those strategies and that is designed to further vision. Before the event, ensure that the goals and objectives meet the strategy. Then during debriefing, evaluate if the goals and objectives were accomplished, if the ministry strategies were met, and then discuss how the event accomplished vision. If the worship services or events are not furthering vision, then reevaluate and reconstruct their design.

While vision is essential to keep us on track, policies, procedures, and practices keep us safe spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Policies, procedures, and practices also sync up expectations in regards to what is acceptable and unacceptable norms and behaviors within a group of people. During a debriefing meeting, highlight those policies, procedures, and practices that were done well. Then discuss the ones that weren’t executed so excellently, determine where the breakdown happened, and come up with solutions to remedy them from breaking down in the future.

Debriefing meetings should be purposeful, evaluate vision and strategy, and take into account policies, procedures, and best practices in order to minimize the subjectivity of varying opinions and to keep your team on the same page of standards. Debriefing meetings can further a team’s ability to work together and improve programming for families.

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We are halfway through 2017 and before we hit the end of another year I wanted to repost a blog I wrote at the end of 2016. The mid-point is a great time to look in the mirror and see how we are doing on a self-care and spiritual growth this year. So here's a little reminder...

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We’ve made it to the end of another year, and this new year brings the opportunity for new beginnings. Before we set goals and resolutions for this next 365 days, let’s take time to look at where we’ve been and what was accomplished over the last 12 months. But wait . . . let’s make this assessment, not about our ministries or churches, but our ourselves. Let’s ask some self-assessing holistic questions. Let’s do a 365-spin, an inside-out look, in the self-assessment mirror and assess our whole selves.

God created each of us as spiritual beings with a soul that lives in a body. We want to make sure we are taking care of every part of His creation. When we work in the Church it is easy to lose track of our spiritual health but because we use this the most, it is essential that we stay spiritually healthy. So, let’s ask ourselves:

  • Did you spend time in worship when you weren’t working?

  • Did you take study time that wasn’t connected to preparing for a lesson or a talk?

  • If ministry stopped right now, would your relationship with God still be one of joyful excitement and engagement?

  • Are you spiritually strong? Have you stayed spiritually healthy this year?

If you find yourself with nothing to say in prayer, annoyed by the thought of Bible study, and church is now a burden, you might find that this year took a toll on your spiritual health and you want to spend time intentionally resting and rejuvenating as we begin another 12-month journey. On the other hand, you may feel spiritually strong and enthused about your relationship with Christ. Assessing and evaluating this area will let you know if you’re strength is up and you’re ready to move forward, or if you have to do some intentional building of your spiritual self in order to continue to serve others from a healthy place.

God gave us a soul that consists of our mind, will, and emotions. The soul is the part of us that makes us special as individualized beings. It is the part that gives us our personality and often dictates the decisions we make every day. What soul strengthening did you do this year? Maybe you started therapy. Maybe you strengthened a journal habit. Maybe you forgave someone or something that was controlling your emotions and habits. Maybe you learned how to differentiate your wants from God’s will. Maybe you learned how to control your thoughts so they wouldn’t lead to non-productive behaviors. Whatever it is, did your mind, will, and emotions grow healthier over the last 365 days? Proverbs 4:23 warns us to, above everything else, guard our hearts because everything else concerning our lives flows from it. If your heart has been strengthened, stressed, or strained this year, every decision flows from that emotional space. As we enter a new year, this is a great opportunity to make a self-assessment and ensure that your decisions are being made from a healthy place.

The spirit and soul are housed in our physical bodies so this is a great time to assess how we did physically this year. While our bodies carry the ministry God has given us, this can be the most neglected area of our lives. We get busy and forget to eat, eat too late, drink too much caffeine, don’t get enough sleep, don’t drink enough water and the list goes on! Did you take care of yourself this year? How did the exercise goals do? Did you do better with your water intake? How about those eating habits? What health habits can be improved as you start out the new year? Even if there were health challenges this year, this is a great time to be honest with ourselves (and even if we avoid the scale while doing it) and assess the care we give to our bodies.

If you didn’t meet your goals from last year, or maybe even years before, self-assessment may seem like a difficult or pointless practice. But, even if the goal wasn’t met, this is a good time to encourage yourself by evaluating any progress that was made. And if after honest evaluation there was no progress, this is a great opportunity to evaluate why and perhaps re-write the goal with smaller steps. Make your goals about continual progress and stay encouraged when you see forward movement. As we move into the new year, let’s all take time to assess where we are and put realistic goals in mind to move us forward.

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Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Day has always been my favorite time of the year. When I was a kid and when I was in college and graduate school, it was my favorite time of the year because I had the opportunity to rest, relax, spend time with love ones and do things that I didn’t get a chance to do when life was full of responsibilities. Over the past few years, this season has been one of my favorites because I was excited to get the chance to work uninterrupted checking things off my list that I had been trying to get to for months! Isn’t it funny how times change? From excited about rest to taking rest time for work! Like the adage says, everything I need for life I learned in Kindergarten because I should have stuck to the first sentiment of taking these breaks to actually break from the work routine. Over this next week, when most of us in ministry will benefit from several off-days in a row, let’s take this time to rest from the responsibilities of the vocation.

I was speaking to one of my good friends last week, she is a next gen leader, and I was shocked when she told me that her email is not connected to her cell phone. Surprised I said, “what do you mean?” She said “No ma’am! I need the opportunity to disengage uninterrupted!” Let’s all take our cue from my friend over this next 7-10 days. If your job will allow you, and your email is connected to your phone, go to your settings and delete the work account. Okay…if this suggestion makes you hyperventilate at least disable your alert notifications. Cut on your auto-reply and let the messages wait until you return to the office recharged, rested, and refueled.

Most of us have some type of computer, laptop, or net book at our houses. Resist the temptation to remote into your office and work on appropriating next year’s budget to the events coming up in the first or second quarter. Determine that you will not log on and start working on lessons and sermons for the end of January or the beginning of February. Force yourself to not get on and spend countless hours organizing your computer files. That work will be there when you return but the rest time will not remain. It is not ongoing. This season will soon be over and your body and mind need the rejuvenation time.

Proper rest is necessary for continued health, excitement, and strength. During graduate school I had a job at the local L.A. Fitness. When I was in training for the sales department, we were told to encourage new clients to come to the gym every-other-day because muscles need time to rest and heal if they are going to grow properly. If they insisted on coming every day, they should work different muscle groups as to not overly tax and possibly damage muscles that were over exerted. Unfortunately, we see the results of ministerial muscles that have been overtaxed, overworked, overexerted and not given the opportunity to heal. These overtaxed and overworked muscles show up in our spiritual lives and feelings of cynicism, frustration, despair, and depression. Refuse to let your muscles become damaged. Allow God to massage the muscles you have been working so hard over the last year and take time to rest. Enjoy the holidays! Enjoy your family and friends! And refuse to let the holidays become work from home days.


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