I just passed six months as the new Children’s and Family Pastor at First Baptist Church Valdosta. Just an aside — How long will I be the “new” Pastor of Children and Families? I think you have to be at FBCV like ten years before they throw you a banquet, so six months may get me a high-five. The first half of the first year was filled with figuring out how “things work,” where things are located, who I need to talk to deal with various “issues,” and settling into exactly what my job/ministry entails. There are always what is expected and once you begin in a new place, there are many unexpected job responsibilities once you get there. I can honestly say that the church has been a place of acceptance and regular encouragement.Â With only half the year under my belt, we still have some pretty big events coming up like VBS, a family mission trip, Centri-fuge, Children’s Retreat, Miss Patty Cake, (yes I did say, Miss Patty Cake!) etc. But if these events were like our Fall Festival and Christmas season then it will be spectacular. No worries.
Coming from a smaller church to FBCV I am reminded that human nature is the same wherever you go. For example, a blurb in the bulletin like “help is needed in (enter whatever ministry need)” gets little, if any response. A human conversation and “face time” (no, not the iPhone kind) is required in order to make projects move forward. Personal interaction and spending time with people is still very important (even in the day of Twitter and Facebook.) Also, people are busy no matter what the size of the church. So when we ask them to give up their time to focus on an event, teach a class, or serve in some way, it should be apart of a bigger plan where we are making families stronger and leading children toward Christ.
We all need to be reminded of the reason why we do what we do. Why is Church important? Why should we attend regularly? Why is Children’s Ministry important? Why can’t Drew do everything, isn’t that what we pay him for? (luckily, I have not had to deal with the last one). But is still begs the question of what staff should do and what the expectations of the congregation should be.
I have enjoyed eating dinner with my family and various others on Wednesday evenings, and I have relished seeing my children learning about music and singing to the Lord. There are many other blessings the Lord has poured out upon us in our short “tenture” at FBC, and I know that there are many more to come.
So in light of what I have experienced so far and reaching toward an awesome “second half” of the year I sit and prayerfully consider the rest of the year. The following are a few thoughts and ministry directions so you can pray for me and our ministry (and perhaps be the most awesome person on the planet by volunteering to do more) —
* I need to visit more families (so call me and invite me over), and kids at their school (so you may be getting a letter asking for your “ok.”).
* There needs to be a parent planning team (to chart out the year and help with various projects). I need a group of people who say, “How can we help?,” and “have you thought about (enter fantastic idea) and I will help put this together!” I am not really looking for people who readily identify problems but have no desire to help solve them. Having said that, I do welcome all loving, gentle, and well thought out constructive criticisms, just solve them first.
* We need to begin to focus on “tweeners” (5th and 6th Graders) — once we have a Youth Pastor in place I will ask for him to make it an initial top priority. The puppet ministry gig is still open — just saying.
* I need someone to help with weekly administrative tasks so I can focus on visiting families, elementary schools, hospitals, etc.,Â and other “pastoral” duties. Note: see earlier note about broadcast requests not working — so I’m looking in your general direction right now.
* I need to put some things in writing (like a mission statement, a ministry manual, a yearly calendar, etc.), and make sure everyone on our team, and all parents know what it is and why we are doing ministry the way we are. What are trying to accomplish? It doesn’t help you or your family if it’s all in my head.
* How can we be more outward focused in our children’s ministry? How can we regularly reach out to new families? We need a plan.
* Does anyone want to get a CDL in my place?
Well, just a few ideas that I thought of in-between sips of a grande vanilla latte at Starbucks. Â Thoughts?