Tell your Story

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Did you know your church is always searching for more leaders? No matter how big the church you serve in is, there is always a need for more people to invest in the lives of the children there. As a small group leader, you play a huge role in this “recruiting” plan.

If your church leader could clone you, they would! You are the one your leaders are attempting to replicate, and you play the oh-so-important role of recruiter for your ministry. You know the people in your world, and you know who would make an awesome SGL. Part of fulfilling the responsibility of “Creating a Safe Place” is to make it a safe place for new kids and for the times when you can’t be there. So, tell your story!

Invite Someone You Love. Most of us serve because we were asked by somebody we trust, so pay it forward by doing the same for someone else. What we do always carries more meaning when we do it with someone we enjoy being with. Don’t keep it to yourself, invite others to share the experience!

Read the rest of my contribution at the Lead Small blog at: http://leadsmall.org/elementary/tell-your-story/

In Summer || Starr Cliff

Homemade ice cream.

Mornings on the porch with coffee and the dawn song of birds singing.

Visits from family and friends; highly anticipated,  and always better than hoped for.

Floating the river.

Baseball games.

The pool.

Bright nail polish.

Big beach hats.

Georgia awash in green.

Fireflies temping us outside…mosquitoes driving us back in.

Sweet tea in mason jars.

Loud music with the windows down.

Fresh, sweet tomatoes and fragrant basil from the garden,  devoured with slices of  mozzarella.

My gorgeous kids with tanned legs and golden hair.

Skinned knees and bug bites.

A slower pace,  a lighter heart.

SummerCollage

From the time I was a little girl and waited all spring for it to be warm enough to water-ski again, summer has always, always been my favorite. I could go on and on with things big and little that fill my heart in the summer months. These last few months have been hard ones for us (hard is relative of course,  and we are acutely and keenly aware that we have much to be thankful for).  I’m so truly grateful for the timing: that this figurative hard “season” of life has coincided with my literal favorite one. Seeking God and finding Him faithful just comes a littler easier to me with the sun warming my face.

As summer threatens to turn to fall, I’m admittedly a little anxious about what our future holds. But I trust He will be there in the turning and changing of the leaves just as He’s there in the easy,  natural comfort of summertime.

Letting My Kids Amaze Me

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I want to be surprised by my kids. Not the “Is that a snake in your hands?” kind of surprise, but something a little more meaningful. I spend a large amount of my time with these children of mine, and there is a tendency that I have to not see the amazingness that comes from them on a daily basis. It’s my prayer that I never stop being amazed by them.

Let me be amazed at how quick they learn. Seriously, if I can be patient enough to invest the time teaching them something new, they have a tendency to master it quickly. Even if it takes them weeks to learn to ride their bike, that’s still pretty remarkable.

Let me be amazed at how quickly they recover from pain. I’m a parent, but also someone that has worked with kids for over a decade. It’s often times taken advantage of, but it’s crazy how fast our kids can move past painful moments. All three of my kids process things differently, but they all process much faster than I do.

Let me be amazed at how easy they forgive. One of my best parenting gifts, is the ability to ask my kids to forgive me. And they do. Every single time. They live with a willingness to forgive those that hurt them, and that’s amazing. I’m going to need this ability in my children to parent them through the dark times of their lives, and I’m thankful for what I’ve seen thus far.

Let me be amazed by their laughs. My kids don’t always laugh at my jokes, but when they do it blows me away. I love the things that make my kids laugh. I love to hear them laugh when they makes themselves laugh. Their laughter will be missed in my house when their gone, I can’t even imagine not having the laughter.

Let me be amazed by their faith. Like all of us, they want to believe in something greater than themselves. The ability of children to quickly come to faith in the supernatural, is even something Jesus talked about. It’s amazing to watch them grow as people of faith. My oldest has started journaling, and it makes my heart joyful to see him write his prayers to a father that loves him more than I could ever hope to.

Trophy Child: Saving Parents from Performance (Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2012)

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What a great book for parents! This is a book more about parenting motives than parenting strategies, and it will force you to answer some questions you may have been avoiding. Chocked-full of family devotion ideas, and of course since it’s a Ted Cunningham book…some practical marriage help as well. I love what David C Cook has published here, and I hope those parents out there looking for something new and unique would give this one a chance!

 

 

“Having kids who look out for the needs of others and who truly
love and serve the Lord—that’s what every Christian parent longs
for! Without relying on formulas or easy answers, Ted Cunningham
helps moms and dads understand what it means to instill character
in their kids. This is a great book!”
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family

 

“Let’s face it—parenting ain’t for wimps. We need to let our kids
do their own homework, learn how to lose a few games, and deal
with the consequences of their decisions. This book will give you a
backbone without turning you into a tiger mom.”
Dr. Kevin Leman, New York Times bestselling
author of Have a New Kid by Friday

 

“Ted Cunningham is a gifted communicator who is renewing the
way this generation thinks about marriage and parenting. The
thinking behind Trophy Child won’t just make you a better mom or
dad; it will make you a better follower of Jesus.”
Margaret Feinberg, author of Wonderstruck and
Scouting the Divine, www.margaretfeinberg.com

Choose Their Friends

Friends

Did you know that if you’re a parent, you can decide who your children are friends with? This plan doesn’t work entirely if you start trying to do this when they are teenagers; but there is some merit to the idea. When your children are little, you are the one that decides who they spend time with and how much time they spend with everyone. Use the opportunity when they’re young to begin doing the little things, and planning for the pre-teen and teenage years.

Screen their friends. It’s simple really. Encourage quality time with those people you want them to be around, and limit the time with those less positive influences. Just don’t become judgemental and separatist in your behavior.

Awareness. Become aware of who they are spending time around and become involved in their social life when the opportunities are there. Regular conversation with the

SchoolBe involved in the social parts of school life. Friendships at school are totally different than church friendships, and can quickly become a loud voice in your kids life.

Be Smart. Specifically in regards to smart phones. A parent who doesn’t know their kid’s FaceBook password is a parent who doesn’t know the company their kids keep.

Make yourself friendly. Make it a goal of yours to become friends with the friends of your kids. Volunteer to drive kids to events, host get-togethers at your house, and do whatever it takes to responsibly become a part of the lives of the kids around your children.

I Corinthians 15:33 “Bad company corrupts good character.”