I am excited about my next. It is this great season in my life where everything has this new feel to it. My daughter has left home to go to college, so that means no more PTSA commitments. That also means I no longer have to be a chairperson for anything. It means I don’t have to run up to the high school to deliver a pair of pants because the pants she chose to wear didn’t fulfill the dress code even after I told her they were not ok. It means there are no midnight trips to Walmart to start the project that is due at 7:30am the next morning, and well, I could go on and on. Maybe your list doesn’t look like mine because I was an overcommitted mom, but it is nice to wipe some of those things off my plate. I now have space in my daily schedule to be creative, knit more, read more, travel more, and do whatever the heck I want to do! Can I get an amen?! But, this means there is also space to be lonely because no matter what I fill the mom space with, I'm still missing my kiddo. Let’s just not go there…I haven’t cried in weeks about the empty chair at the dinner table every night, so…moving on.
I decided that my next would not be in the walls of a church. There are many reasons that shaped this decision, but listing them would be an entirely different blog post. I really felt like it was time to move out of my youth ministry role, but I knew I still wanted to work in a ministry of sorts. I also knew I wanted my next to involve using my coaching certification.
So in walks Orange. Orange is a strategy. It starts with two individual influences in a student’s life. Home and church. When we combine the home and church we will have a greater impact to ensure that the student has a better future. From this strategy, Orange has created some amazing resources to partner with families and churches. I love Orange. I have been using their strategy for years in my church ministry. I know and understand the impact it can have on families, and I have seen first hand the impact Orange's strategy has on communities. I am truly sold out for what Orange stands for! So my next is Orange. I am now employed as an Orange Student Specialist. You can read more about that here. But essentially I get to coach other youth pastors on how to maximize the Orange strategy in their ministries. I get to see how Orange is making a difference in the life of churches and communities around the globe.
The best part of my job at Orange is that I get to talk with small churches! I have a heart for small churches because that is where I came from. An impact can be made in the life of a small church. Ministry doesn’t have to happen at only mega churches; ministry can happen with three students. I love empowering our small churches because they too can lead change in their community! So that is my next. Well, Orange…and some new knitting projects!
Coaching. It's a word that means so much to me because it has changed my life both personally and professionally, but many people feel like the c-word means something negative.
Coaching is about helping you reach goals and planning your next steps. It allows someone from outside your daily life and routine to give you insight into your current reality. Many people think they are somehow being punished when it's recommended they seek out coaching. Many others see working with a coach as a sign of weakness. Using a coach doesn't mean you're failing. In fact, when you say yes to coaching it means you truly care about what you are doing, and you want your work to produce the best results possible.
The bottom line is this; your current actions and attitude are working together right now to perfectly produce the results you're getting. Reversing this logic shows us that in order to produce better results, you need to have better actions and attitude.
The logic above seems simple enough, but the the reality is, most of the time, it is really hard to see how to better our actions and attitudes. This is where your coach can help. Coaches are trained to see your greater potential and challenge you to achieve that potential incrementally over time.
I recently met Chris, at a retreat for his students. While at the retreat, Chris signed up for a 30-minute coaching session with me. The coaching sessions were offered for free to youth pastors during the scheduled free time for the day. Not many people took advantage of the coaching for the same reasons I listed above, but Chris was different. He was early and waiting on me because he couldn't wait to get started.
Chris is part of a trio of dads who run their church's student ministry. All the dads have full-time jobs and volunteer on their time off to run the student ministry. Chris wanted to meet with me because he wanted to discover the best way to move his church's ministry forward.
So, here is what's so incredible about Chris. He not only leads this ministry voluntarily, which brought 17…SEVENTEEN…students to this retreat, but he also cared enough about the future of the ministry to seek out coaching.
There is SO much that I love about Chris: his heart for ministry, his passion for guiding students to Jesus, and his love for the other dads he leads with. Since meeting with him at that retreat, I pray for him everyday. I am so moved seeing Chris' love for Jesus push him to be his absolute best for his ministry and his church. May we all have the drive to be our best for our students!
Interested in a coach?
If you are interested in working with a coach or know someone who is, feel free to contact me. Please fill out this coaching request form, and I'll contact you to setup a time to talk.
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Here are the directions for the Master Chef Cook-Off game I spoke about with in my interview with Shawn Howell. This could be a great youth group game to tie your message to something fun and memorable. You're group is sure to remember a message with “fancy” appetizers!
3 or more student “chefs”
2 or more adult “judges”
•10 or more random, food ingredients you’d normally mix together to make a meal
•Fancy paper or plastic plates
•Squeeze bottles containing sauces to decorate the entré for presentation points
Amidst the craziness of the last few weeks, my good friend Shawn Howell and I were able to sit down and discuss how to setup and play a few fun and messy games with your middle schoolers. Also, be sure to check out Shawn's Prayer Lights YouTube channel after you watch the video!
There are 21 weeks until my daughter leaves for college, and everything we've taught her about how to live her life in a Godly way will begin to be truly tested for the first time. 21 weeks until invitations and opportunities begin to bombard her integrity. 21 weeks until she begins to stand up for her own decisions and choices to be the amazing young woman she is meant to be.
There are 149 days left to just hang out at the table playing cards, laughing, and enjoying each other's company. 149 days left to work through our, sometimes heated, disagreements about how to live, how to learn, and how to grow with love, integrity, and grace. 149 days left to lie awake in bed waiting for the front door to open, so I can fall asleep knowing she's safe at home. 149 days left to treasure the smell of waffle cones trailing every step she makes through the house when she comes home from work.
Regardless of how we think about the time in weeks, days, hours, minutes, or seconds, we have to be conscious of the fact that it's constantly ticking away at the same rate. 24/7. It's easy to trick ourselves into believing we have more time when we think of it in larger values like 12,881,753 seconds. But no matter how we spin it, it's still only 21 weeks.
Orange filmed a mini-documentary of the LIFT mid-week experience at Grayson United Methodist Church. Over 200 middle schoolers walk from school to Grayson UMC for their mid-week experience. It's been great to partner with XP3 to showcase the middle school ministry at Grayson UMC. I am blessed to have been a part of such a great ministry, and I'm excited to see LIFT continue to build disciples of Christ.
Yesterday my 17 year old daughter stood in our kitchen screaming at my husband and I that she was an adult, and we needed to treat her as such. Now my first instinct was to tackle her to the ground and try to expel the demon that had taken over my sweet daughter's body, but in a calm voice I talked to her about what injustice had taken place to make her loose her mind.
I remember being this age. I probably had the same heated conversation with my own parents. In one moment we are asking our daughter to make adult choices – she is looking at colleges and trying to decide where to head in the next season of her life. In the next minute we are reminding her for the 27th time to pick up the towels off the bathroom floor. It's hard because as her mom I am still driving the helicopter, but I am trying to back off. I swear.
This next year will be hard for all us as we tread through some uncharted territory. I'm praying for God to lead us all through it!
I am currently living in the middle of chaos. Homework to complete for my Cohort. Writing a preteen camp. Writing bible studies for summer camp. Confirming summer activities. Making sure all the registration checks are sent for mission trips. You know all the stuff that is required in student ministry that no one really ever wants to do. I feel like I am just plodding along with my head down trying to get it all done. And when I get in these modes I struggle with spending time with God. I mean, you have to get those check requests turned in!
I remember waking her up one morning for school and discovering she had written the name “God” on the bottom of her foot
On Facebook they have those memories that pop up to let you see past posts in your timeline that happened on this day, and recently there was one post that came up that immediately brought me to tears. In the movie Toy Story, there is a boy named Andy who has a bunch of toys that come to life when humans aren't around. Andy writes his name on bottom of all this toys, so everyone know they are his. Most importantly though, the toys all know they are his, and they couldn't be more proud to belong to him. My daughter has always been a fan of Toy Story, and as a family we have watched them all countless times. I remember waking her up one morning for school and discovering she had written the name “God” on the bottom of her foot, just as Woody, one of the main characters in Toy Story, had Andy's name written on the bottom of his boot. At first I was confused, but then she explained, “I'm like Woody, mom, but I belong to God.” Tears started flowing. I mean, how could they not be? When that memory popped up on my screen, I was immediately taken back to the purity of that moment and how simple it was for her to acknowledge who she belongs to. God.
This week as I hurry to get everything done, I remember that everything that I am doing is for His Kingdom. It's all for that one student who doesn't yet know she belongs to God, but will soon find out and hopefully say yes to His call this summer. As for me, I remind myself to keep my heart fixed on Him. Maybe I should get my sharpie out.