Tag: ministry

If I Only Knew

Have you ever had an, “If I only knew,” moment? The kind of moment that you look back at something wishing you would have known ahead of time so you could have done something different.

If I only knew that buying furniture on credit as a young couple would spiral into a mess of credit card debt, I would have….

If I only knew that the company I worked for was going to downsize this year, I would have….

If I only knew that my friend would be shot and killed today, I would have…..

If I only knew that the children in that neighborhood didn’t have shoes, I would have….

If I only knew that there was a need in ministry for this, I would have….

If I only knew that God was leading me in this direction, I would have…

If I only knew my kids were feeling this way, I would have….

Life would look different if we had some crystal ball or mirror we could look into and see the future, but that’s just a Disney movie. But God can see what is, was, and will be, for each of us.
Have I not commanded you?
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.” Isaiah 43:1-3, 13 NLT
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel, and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” Psalms 139:1-6 NLT

God knows our struggles, the struggles of others, and also what each of us needs. He sent his son, Jesus to the earth to live a life as human, yet as God, to reconcile us to his purpose for eternity. Jesus told the woman at the well, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” (John 4:10 NLT) When the woman at the well discovered that she was in the presence of the Son of God, the Messiah, she and many in her village became believers.

13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:13-15 NIV)

It is my responsibility as a Christian, (and of every Christian) to make sure others ‘know’ the story of Jesus. To listen to the life stories of others so I know what is going on in their life, how/what to pray for, how I might help them and how to connect God’s story with them. It’s my responsibility to know what’s going on in my neighborhood, what’s going on in the schools, what’s going on in the ministries and the lives of my friends by asking critical questions often.

We must put aside the excuses of saying…
IF WE ONLY KNEW

Written by Jeff Shicks, Executive Director at Youth for Christ, Nashville, TN. To find out more about Jeff or Youth for Christ, visit www.nashvilleyfc.org.

5 Ways to Grow Your Worship Team

Over the past 10 years I’ve had the privilege of being part of worship teams all around the country. Now as a Worship Pastor of a growing church, I often am asked “How are you growing your worship team?”

So I thought I would share with you 5 simple ways to grow your team.

Build the Culture

When we talk about building the culture we want to first talk about having a vision for your worship team.So ask yourself this question. Why should people want to be on the worship team? By sharing the vision, your team will know if this is something that they can get behind or not.  Do not be afraid to lose teammates over casting a vision. King Solomon said it best, “People without a vision will perish.” So, what kind of culture do you want to build?

Worship Team Commitments

Worship team expectations or team commitments are essential for building your worship team.  It is a way for people to not only see the vision of the team, but to also have a good idea of what they are getting into and what is expected of them. You may also want to include a vision statement as well as a list of your team believes. i.e. We believe every week something powerful happens when we worship Jesus.

Ask People to Join

There is a true and real statement in the worship world when talking about worship teams, “Excellence Attracts Excellence”! Though this is true, the simple truth is people want to be asked. Try not to assume they don’t want to play with the team. Maybe they are just waiting for someone to ask them? You never know until you ask.

All Team Nights

As a volunteer at our church, you are not just on a team but you are part of a worship family. We love to get together and one way we do this is by having All Team Nights.  This consists of all our worship and tech team coming together once a quarter.  We have a time of worship and encouragement. We talk about upcoming events as well as changes that we are going to be making. This is truly a great time for the whole team to be unified.

Build a Lead Team

If you can, build a lead team. This is so key as it helps cast the vision and unite. Your lead team will also be able to see things that you as a worship leader may not see.  They will help you dream and implement new ideas that you may not be able to implement yourself.

Try to find a time, each month, to sit down over coffee or a meal and talk about how things are going. Always try and answer the question, “Are we better than we were 3 months ago?” Trust me when I say this is a game changer!

Written by Derek Harsch. Derek is the Marketing Director of Froot Group, a worship staffing and consulting company.

The Power of Excellence

I’m a perfectionist! It’s one of my greatest assets and one of my greatest struggles! Perfection is actually not a healthy goal. It’s actually not even a healthy mindset. And it’s definitely not biblical. So why do we strive to be perfect, when we know for a fact it’s unachievable? I mean the reason that Jesus gave his life for us was to be the perfect sacrifice that He knew we could never and would never be. So why do so many of us struggle so much with this ideal of perfection? Because it’s Godly, and we are called to live a holy and pleasing life? Maybe?

So how do we shift our perspective and objective to be healthy and pleasing, rather than unhealthy and trapping? The answer is something I’ve spent years learning… excellence. Excellence vs perfection is something that will release you from disappointment, shame, guilt and  burn out. Not only as a human being, but as a team and even a church.

Working out the freedom of excellence is a very important lesson to learn! Excellence is simply doing the best you can, bringing your best offering, working to be the best you can be at your gift, calling, job! And letting go of unrealistic expectations, so that you are free from burning out or giving up on some impossible goal you may never achieve.

A mentor once told me “the only person you can compare yourself to is the you that you were yesterday.” This is a mantra I carry with me! As long as I’m trying to be better today than I was yesterday at the task at hand or the gift I find myself using, I’m doing okay!

Cultivating this mental shift within yourself and your team, will release an atmosphere of excitement, learning, and grace! You will ignite a passion for the things you can achieve and set goals that you work towards with realistic standards. The end result will be a much healthier mental space, a much healthier team, and a much healthier church!

So release yourself and your team from perfection and strive for excellence and see how God will work in and through you!

Written by: Kelli Wright

Kelli is the Consulting Director at Froot Group, a worship staffing and consulting company.

What do you use to encourage your team? Do you tell the speaker that they just preached a great sermon after that early Sunday morning? Do you tell your favorite worship leader that their voice sounds angelic every time they steps on platform? How about the chairs team? Do you thank them for all their hard work and faithfulness to the church, and the ministry that God is using them for? Absolutely. Continue reading

So…you’re looking to build a greeting team? Here’s how to get started!

Your greeting team is one of the most influential parts of church growth. These are the first people that your guests will get to interact with. Some guests will even base their overall experience off the first impression of your church.

Growing up in the church, the greeting team or guest experience team was never something that our church did. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to do it, we just didn’t know where to start or how to get people on board with the idea. Here are a couple things to think about when starting your greeting team!

What will you call this ministry?

There are many of great names out there like greeting team, guest experience, first impressions, and hospitality team. There is no right or wrong answer, choose one and let your church know!

Who will lead this ministry?

Is this a paid position, or is this a volunteer spot? Sometimes the best answer as to who should lead this ministry is the one person who is asking for it!

How will you get people to join, and who should join?

Asking people to join is one of the easiest and most effective ways when building a team. A simple email, sign-up sheet, or face to face invite are just a few ways you can gather a team. It’s always a good idea to find people that are outgoing. Greeting complete strangers is very intimidating, especially for the introvert.

Do you have team expectations?

Most people enjoy getting involved, but sometimes we forget to explain to them what they will be doing and what is expected of them. We can communicate this through team training.  Finding a night that works best for all team members is ideal. There you can share the vision and ideas they will need when greeting someone for the first time!

What are a few items needed to get started?

Find the funds to purchase nametags for all your greeters. Nametags are a great way to personalize your greeters and the team.

Here are a few simple tips for your greeting team:

  • Before church, say things like, “Hi, Good Morning, Welcome to Church!”
  • And after church saying things like, “Hope you have a fantastic day! See you next week! Thanks for coming!”

Church should be the most fun, joy-filled place on earth! Don’t forget to smile.

Written by Derek Harsch

Derek is the Marketing Director at Froot Group, a worship staffing company.

 

Are you taking care of your garden?

Last week, my husband and I were out in the garden pulling weeds and getting things ready to lay mulch for the summer. We talked about what bulbs we wanted to plant and which shrubs needed transplanted. So much work was already going into this flower bed and so much work still lies ahead. Every year we do this in hopes of having one of those flower beds that make you feel like you’re in the Garden of Eden! Let’s be honest though…that never quite happens! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still beautiful and well worth the effort. It’s just that it would take a fortune, not to mention the time, to plant something that’s even a fraction of something similar to “The Garden”!

So what do we do?

We fill in with bits and pieces of what we can afford and set aside small pieces of time to work in our garden to maintain it’s beauty. We take pictures of our labor and share them with our friends and family. We water, pull weeds and take care of each blossom, fruit and vegetable.

This whole gardening project made me think of the volunteers in our churches. Are you taking care of your “garden”? As ministry leaders, we need to make sure that we take care of the people serving in our ministries and show appreciation for what they do for our churches. These people have jobs, full time…part time…family…activities, yet they’re taking time out of their schedule to serve in your ministry. Have you stopped to thank them? These people get tired and depressed just like everyone else and would probably appreciate an acknowledgement of their service. Just like you, they might even question if they’re really making a difference in the lives of those they’re reaching. How are you taking care of your volunteers? How are you showing them that you appreciate them? If you’re looking for some ideas of your own, check out the small list that I’ve put together below to get you started. Comment if you have a great idea that’s worked. We’re all looking for something new to use to say “Thank You”. From all of us at Froot Group and MinistryJobs, THANK YOU for what you do!

Volunteer Appreciation Ideas

Written by Meggan Jacobus

Meggan is the Staffing Manager at Froot Group, a worship staffing company.

The Cat, the Dog, and the Rabbit

Last night our cat brought a live rabbit into our house!! At first I heard this crazy commotion and I thought it was one of our dogs chasing the cat…..it happens!! It wasn’t until I heard this crazy noise, something in-between a cat meowing and a tornado siren, that I decided to go and check on them. That’s when I found the cat, the dog, and the rabbit! It just so happens that my husband was out of town and I was home alone, my first thought was “why me?.” So I did what most people would do, grab an oven mitt and a broom and attempt save the rabbit!! Too late! The cat had already eaten half of the rabbit. I had to leave the scene of the crime because I was afraid I was going to get sick! Only the lower half of the rabbit was left for me to clean up! This was an emergency in my book!! I’m texting 911 HELP to people who couldn’t actually help me!! I had to suck it up and do it myself! When you serve on a ministry team, you never have to handle life’s crazy moments alone! You have your team members, your coach and your ministry leader there for you! They want to serve you as you serve Jesus by serving His people at your church!! That’s a whole lot of serving going on!!!

Speaking of serving, I recently watched an incredible guest services team link arms and serve with excellence as torrential rain poured down with a tornado watch going on! Way to go incredible volunteer team members!! As leaders, I hope we always remember the sacrifice our volunteers make to serve Jesus! Take a moment to tell them thank you this week!

For those of you who don’t already have communication in place for emergencies, I have attached an example of something I have used! For more information or if you would like help creating custom emergency procedures, please feel free to contact me at swindover@frootgroup.com.

EXAMPLE Emergency Procedures

Written by: Stacey Windover

Stacey is the Guest Experience Coordinator at Froot Group, a worship staffing and consulting company.

Getting Ready For The Big Dance

March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year. I love basketball, I love Nate (my husband), and I love watching basketball with Nate! It can’t get any better than this! There’s just something about this time…these few weeks. The Selection Show is just the beginning. We sit on the edge of our seats as the teams are picked. We fill out our brackets together and most times he takes my advice. Not to brag but I’ve done pretty good with my brackets in years past. I love the challenge of it all. I love breaking out my two colors of highlighters to mark the W’s and L’s. Nate laughs at my traditions but I must confess something. After the tournament is over, my brackets look like a work of art! Anyway, another reason why I love this time is because you get to find out about these kids…these players. They’re not just talented basketball players. They’re actual people with a story. A testimony. I was just watching Dwayne Wade’s story today and it showed clips of when he went to Marquette and what his “story” was at that time. I have to admit…it got me. Choked me up a bit. That’s what I love! I love the stories behind these people…where they’ve been and what they’ve experienced.

Think about the people who are on your ministry team. Your team is just like the basketball teams playing in the “Big Dance”. Just think though…your team is helping to get people ready for the biggest dance of all time! Have you invested in them? Do you know their story? Do you know what makes them tick and know their sweet spot? Do you know their family and where they’ve come from? Your team shouldn’t be people who just fill a spot on your schedule. Your team shouldn’t be people who make up a teacher quota for a classroom. They shouldn’t be people who just hold a door open for visitors or play an instrument up on stage. They should be people who you rally around. They should be people who you celebrate with. They should be people who you do life with. Invest in them and they will invest in you! Invest in them and they will invest in the church! Invest in them and they will invest in their community! Invest in them and they will invest in the Kingdom! Who’s ready for the BIG DANCE?!

Written by: Meggan Jacobus

Meggan is the staffing manager at Froot Group, a worship staffing & consulting company.

Who Are The “Shooters” In Your Life?

I watched a favorite movie of mine the other day:  Hoosiers.  It’s getting a little dated but I still get “all the feels” whenever I view it.  Hoosiers is such a compelling story.  Having 4 boys at home who are just starting to get into sports, I thought it would be fitting for them to view the iconic basketball “David vs. Goliath” story.

If you’re familiar with Hoosiers, you know it’s a story about the sleepy small-town of Hickory, Indiana where basketball is a religion.  Set in the 1950s, it follows a fictional high school team which goes from nobodies to state champions (spoiler alert).  Along with the overall story of an unlikely team finding sports greatness, the movie has several subplots.  There’s the new coach with the sketchy past:  Norman Dale played by Gene Hackman.  There’s Jimmy Chitwood, the team superstar whose basketball career might be over due to his father’s passing.  And then there’s Wilbur “Shooter” Flatch played by the late Dennis Hopper.  Shooter seems doomed to be stuck in the glory days of his basketball past, as his present-day life consists of alcoholism and begging the town locals for spare change.

It’s the character of Shooter who left an impression on me during this most recent viewing of the movie.  By all estimations, Shooter is an embarrassment at best and an incompetent drunk at worst.  His son Everett plays on the team and to his dismay, Shooter will show up at games slobbering and stammering in a drunken stupor.  Shooter may love the game of basketball but he can’t stay sober even for a couple hours to watch his son play a game.

Despite all of this, it is Coach Dale that decides to risk big and take Shooter on as an assistant.  He realizes Shooter knows the game and has an eye for finding the opposing team’s weakness.  But he takes Shooter on one condition:  he must clean up and sober up.

If you’ve watched the movie, you know the rest of the story.  Shooter comes on board and grows in confidence as Coach Dale gives him dignity he hasn’t had in a long time.  Shooter earns back the respect of his son and even helps the team to a last-second win after Dale gets “kicked out” for disputing a ref’s call.  In the end, Shooter does fall off the wagon but he’s come too far to turn back.  He’s admitted to the hospital and gets detoxed, determined to turn his life around once and for all.

It occurred to me as I watched this movie that the attitude of redemption and seeing something of value in people is a very Christ-like trait.  Although the movie had no direct ties to make this statement, I saw in Coach Dale a small representation of what Christ must see in all the “least of these”.  In those whom society sees no worth and no possible chance of redemption, Jesus sees something else.  He sees worth and value and He puts Himself in the middle of their story.

The Gospels are chock full of encounters displaying Christ’s compassion.  Think of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4).  Or the woman caught in adultery (John 8).  How about the lepers healed in Luke 17?  Finally, even in His death Jesus reaches out to the thief on the cross saying “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23).  In each story, we see our Savior giving meaning to someone otherwise meaningless.  He chooses to give worth to the ones deemed unworthy.

So what does this mean for us?  If we’re honest, we all have “Shooters” in our lives:  people who have been broken by an event either of their own choosing or perhaps circumstances they had no control over.  But that event led to an unraveling and a form of cultural shunning that has left a mark no less obvious than a proverbial “scarlet letter”.  The neighbor down the street who nurses a private painkiller addiction.  The husband and father who lost his job and has to file for unemployment to help pay the bills.  The pregnant and unwed teen who sees no hope and is seriously considering an abortion.  The list goes on and on.

I’m convinced that in every situation, we as Christians are called to minister to the least of these knowing that when we do, we are ministering unto Christ Himself.  We do it because Christ’s love compels us to; His Holy Spirit works within us to produce feelings of compassion and a desire to reach out to the unlovable and undesirable.  It’s a mystery how this happens as we cannot produce these feelings in and of ourselves.   As the Bible teaches our good deeds apart from God are as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).  Society’s best efforts apart from Christ are really just that: best efforts.

The challenge for each of us is to consider, who can I give dignity to today?  Many will never darken the door of a church, let alone crack a Bible or pray.  But we can be imitators of Jesus, putting on His flesh and speaking life to those who are desperate to be looked at as a real person.  We can bring a message of hope and salvation in Jesus Christ.

How about it?  Who are the Shooters in your life today?  What person has been put in your path which the rest of society has passed over?

Written by Derek Charles Johnson. Derek is a singer/songwriter and church worship leader at New Life Fellowship and resides in Aberdeen, South Dakota. To find out more about Derek, be sure to check out his blog here