Sanctity of Human Life

Jonathan Cliff  —  January 20, 2012 — 1 Comment

Churches all over the country will be observing Sanctity of Human Life Sunday  this January.  It’s not an  argument   it’s not taking stand against anything, it’s not picking a fight; it’s about mirroring God’s heart towards all life.  He chooses life, and so do we as Christ followers.

To those struggling with the choice of what to do with their unexpected, unborn children…we offer them hope and ask them to choose life.

To those struggling with the consequences of their past decisions to have an abortion…we offer them hope and ask them to now choose their best life in Christ.

In the midst of all these conversations this time of year, I found this video and think it illustrates exactly the response that believers should have for life.  The 3 most dangerous words in the world, “It’s a Girl.”

I’ve had the opportunity in the past two years to visit many other churches and see and hear how they are doing ministry in their local church family.  Along with those opportunities, I’ve had the privilege to sit and talk with many children and student leaders on a local church level about the things they are doing (attempting) in their churches.  In all of the conversations, I can’t help but filter all that I see and hear through the lens of what I am involved with here at my church home.  That has helped me be a better leader.

When processing, listening, observing, and critiquing what others are doing; I’m really setting myself up to view my own space in a new way.  I’m using new eyes to look at what have become old things.

Here are the things I’m learning through the process:

  • I’m so much more blessed to be where I am than I give myself credit for.  There ain’t nothin’ like eating some of that grass on the other side of the fence to know how good your own grass is!
  •  Everything is a season.  When I talk to people on either side of where I’m currently working, I can see the story being weaved where I am.  I’ve been where some people are, and I’m looking forward to being where other people are now!
  •  Things need to change.  There are times that I hear and see what others are doing, and  immediately  know that I need to get our team to play catch-up real, real, real quick.  You may call it inspiration, I call it conviction.
  • I need to champion my team more.  Spending time with other leaders (and no offense, please) makes me appreciate the team I work with.  I work with some real all-stars, and hearing from others always help me see that.  Then I need to bring that gratefulness home and share it!
  •  It feels good to share.  I love sharing what I’ve done and am doing, and I’m so grateful that others are willing to share with me where they are.  I always walk away from conversations with other leaders encouraged .

What in your area do you need to look at with some new eyes?  Are there things you read online that help you to see the old as if it were new again?  What is your conviction…or inspiration to change?

CPC Orlando Recap

Jonathan Cliff  —  January 17, 2012 — Leave a comment

I had such a blast at my first Children’s Pastor Conference, and was able to meet many of you that participate here at the website.  What a great few days in the warm weather of Central Florida, enjoying meeting old friends and making new ones.  Some of my favorite highlights from the weekend were getting to hear Reggie Joiner continue to share his passion for families and hearing Beth Guckenberger speak about God writing the story in all our our lives.

If you missed it, then you can still attend in San Diego in February.  Make some plans now to attend!

You know the whole “glass half full vs. glass half empty”  debate?  Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle with my personality type.  I’m one more prone to ask who drank half my glass of water.

Well in leadership it’s important that we be positive people, looking for the good in others and affirming their steps towards improvement.  However, there is a time to be negative.  There is a time to shine the light in dark places.  There is a time and place to be critical.  If we guard against becoming critical in all our interactions, we can actually use Negativity to our advantage.

How Negativity Can Help a Leader

  • The things that bother you, probably bother others as well.  That sign that is always crooked and covered with fingerprints?  If it bugs you, I can guarantee you that it bugs someone else.
  • If you aren’t finding negative things in what you do at times, then you’re not doing it right.  We all make mistakes.  We all do things wrong.  We all have room for improvement.  If you evaluate yourself and can find nothing worth improving…there is something wrong with you!
  • Negativity helps you to answer the question, “What is the worst that can happen?”  I believe we should be able to answer this question at all times.  Have you thought out the worst-case scenario?  Have you planned for a quick recovery if things don’t go your way?
  • Critical eyes bring improvement.  While we are careful to not let our criticism become a nag to those we lead, we also want our criticism to bring about real change.  Let yourself see things for how they really are.

Proverbs 27:5-6  ESV /  Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.


Looking Forward to CPC

Jonathan Cliff  —  January 10, 2012 — 5 Comments

I’ll be heading to Orlando, FL this week to make my very first visit to THE Children’s Pastor Conference.  I’ve never made it to this gathering of Kidmin leaders, and I’m looking forward to so much as I escape the relatively cold climate of West Texas in January for the relatively warm climate of Florida!

What I’m looking forward to:

  • My friends are gonna be there.  The short ones, tall ones, smart ones, curious ones, and even Matt McKee.  Seriously, I love anything that  incorporates  the leadership of Sam Luce, Jim Wideman, Craig Jutila, Gina McClain, and so many others.
  • Experiencing some of Michael Chanley’s new ideas.  Michael is the newest Executive Director of INCM, and I know that he brings a ton of connecting ability to the organization and conference.  I’m super-excited to see all he’s told me about played out for everyone to experience.
  • The 5 Initiatives.  What are the 5 Initiatives?
    1. Impart God’s truth to this generation
    2. Provide a safe and relevant environment
    3. Communicate with families
    4. Network with a community of leaders
    5. Pray for the international children’s ministry community
  • The INCM Certificate Program.  Basically, it’s a way for you to specialize in something and take it back home to your church as a expert in that area.  I’ll let Michael explain it in more depth HERE.
If you aren’t able to be with me in Orlando, would you consider the next CPC in San Diego?  It’s at the end of February!  Register today!