Here’s your guide to The Myth of Balance Workshop Series

 

Here’s the guide …

Here’s your guide to week 1 of The Myth of Balance Workshop Series, which begins Monday, July 10.

To avoid overloading your inbox, we’ll post each week’s guide in the Facebook group the week before, on Wednesday. So, on July 12 check the Facebook group for week 2, on July 19 download week 3, and so forth.

To download week 1, click below:

Download the Guide

If you haven’t already joined the Facebook group, click below
(and be sure to introduce yourself):

Click to Join

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

  • Every Monday at 1 p.m. EDT, join the Facebook group for a LIVE video of Frank discussing the next chapter of the book and walking you through its practical applications.
  • Every Tuesday from 1–2 p.m., join Frank in the Facebook group for discussion of your questions and comments.
  • Every Wednesday, check the Facebook group to download the next week’s guide and to stay in the loop.

See you July 10!

Join Us LIVE Today On Facebook

 

If you’re feeling the stress of juggling ministry, work, and life, then it’s time to reclaim your schedule. The Myth of Balance Workshop will help you create your own custom plan for managing your time and your ministry in a way that helps alleviate some of that burden, guilt, and stress. Visit MythofBalance.com for more details.

Join us today on the Orange Leaders page for a Facebook Live video! Frank will be telling us more about the FREE Myth of Balance Workshop Series, starting July 10. (Don’t come alone! Tag your friends who need to know. There could be a free giveaway involved.)

Cut It Out! Finding the Best in Less

As seen on Orangeleaders.com

As a child, TGIF was a big part of my family’s weekly routine. At 8 p.m. every Friday night, we would huddle in front of our 19-inch TV to watch the Tanner and Winslow families navigate life. Steve Urkel would whine, “Did I do that?” and Jesse would make us all smile with his, “Have Mercy!” The biggest laughs always came when Joey would say his catch phrase, “Cut it out.” It was his way of saying stop, you’re embarrassing me . . . but don’t really stop.

It’s interesting how preparing for this blog post about pruning programs for ministry led me to a childhood memory. When the to-do list seems insurmountable and there aren’t enough volunteers to make it all happen, most of us would say we are open to the idea of scaling back programming. We’re open to it . . . until it’s time to actually make the required changes. Cutting back in ministry is extremely difficult because people have come to expect what we offer. Families have fallen in love with pieces of our ministry. Volunteers have grown to enjoy the routine they’ve established. Most of the time, change doesn’t feel like opportunity, it feels like sacrifice.

Read the rest by clicking here…

Defining A Leading Lady – STRENGTH

 

In college I majored in communications. In all of my studies, there was a repeating theme: give the facts, be honest, but write and speak from a personal place of vulnerability. People connect with authenticity. Today, I’m going to be really honest and very vulnerable.

My husband is currently working four to five days a week in Atlanta, while I manage our household and the inner workings of a life with four children. I also write and consult on the side. We’re finalizing the adoption of our fourth child. My daughter is a competitive dancer (Yes, I’m a dance mom. No, dance moms are not as crazy as television portrays them to be). My boys are active in spring sports, and we’re preparing to move states in two months. My life is hectic on a normal day. This week it was another level, code RED. I already had a few extra errands and appointments when two of my four children fell ill with the flu AND strep throat.

As I sit here, in the parking lot of the dance studio, I’m tired from lack of sleep due to administering meds all hours of the night. I have a headache…again from lack of sleep. I’m worried about the health of my kids, their missed school work, and I’m running out of time in this day to complete all my errands. I have my daughter’s dance competition to pack for this weekend. I really need to start spring-cleaning so we can begin to show the house, and I just received a Powerschool notice that my adopted son is, once again, failing math. I’m wondering if I have what it takes to parent a child that has endured significant abuse, neglect, and starvation, and on top of everything, I’m behind on laundry. I HATE being behind on laundry. The weight of my circumstance FEELS overwhelmingly heavy, but if I allow my FEELS to strip the validity of my KNOWS, I’m setting myself up for defeat. Let me explain.

I FEEL tired. I FEEL like I can’t go on. I FEEL like I’m failing as a mother. I FEEL unproductive. I FEEL lonely and isolated.

I KNOW the Lord is my strength. I KNOW He has given me everything I need to face this day. I KNOW He created within me a mother’s intuition. I KNOW He has given me a grand purpose. I KNOW He has placed Godly influences around me to lean on for support when life gets tough.

Feelings are not truth. When I go to scripture, I find clear direction when I’m weary. “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11 (NIV) In my prayer time this morning, I felt a blanket of peace settle over me. God was saying, “I’m here. My strength is yours. You’ve got this.” I don’t know if God speaks in modern-day vernacular, but it’s what I heard, what I experienced. As I mulled the words over in my mind, I came to a conclusion. Strength isn’t a grand show of brawn or might. Sometimes strength is simply moving forward, taking another step, advancing despite the onslaught of emotions that beat us down. Strength is saying I FEEL one way, but KNOW the truth. Here’s the truth. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NIV). The scripture is clear. Your strength comes from a conscious decision to rely on the maker of heaven and earth. Let’s take a few moments to examine that further.

 

Strength is…DECIDING TO BE OKAY.

Not every circumstance can be changed, not every problem immediately rectified. Sometimes, strength is deciding to look to the heavens, acknowledge your blessings, take a deep breath, and stay the course. I once heard my pastor say, “Your next level may be one praise away.” Change starts with you, with your mindset. When the enemy begins to stir your emotions, tries to make you FEEL inadequate and alone, close your eyes and praise Jesus. Find your steady in the unwavering faithfulness of a God who is always with you.

 

Strength is…DECIDING TO TAKE ACTION.

Sometimes, a situation is out of our control. Other times, there are actions we can take to improve our circumstances. I’m overwhelmed in this season with housework and yard work. I can choose to forgo that new pair of shoes I’ve had my eye on and reallocate those funds for a little assistance around my house. For you, it may be that you despise the negativity of your work environment. Maybe you should invest in a good set of headphones or ask to switch cubicles. Maybe you’re lonely. Find a small group. Choose to intentionally connect with those in your same season of life. Sometimes strength is deciding, “I can do something about this.”

 

Strength is…DECIDING TO SEEK HELP.

Life is messy. Things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you find yourself in a maze of emotions and every turn leads to a dead end. Maybe you’ve experienced the death of someone dear to you, or even the death of a life-long dream. Maybe someone you loved walked away and left you feeling inadequate and vulnerable, or maybe it’s a million things piling up. Seeking guidance and support is also a sign of strength. It shows you are self-aware enough to know a breaking point is near. Sometimes strength is saying, “I can’t overcome this on my own, but I know God wants more for me and I’m going to choose to share my burden and find unity in the body of Christ.”

Just because you don’t FEEL strong, doesn’t mean you aren’t equipped with the strength of a higher power. “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”  Psalm 18:32-34 (NIV)

A Leading Lady decides to be strong. She decides to be okay, to take action, and to seek help when she needs it. You may not FEEL capable, but you KNOW a God who makes you strong. Advance, move forward, take another step and be encouraged you are never alone and your backup will never fail you.

Join us again next week here at FamilyMinistry.Church as we continue to define a Leading Lady.

 

Jess Bealer

 

Defining A Leading Lady – KINDNESS

 

My life had just been turned upside down. Frank’s company had relocated us to the Charlotte area. I had never lived beyond the city lines of my tiny East Tennessee town. I had three small children, knew no one, and survived solely on GPS. Frank traveled extensively, and I found myself alone and overwhelmed most days. I was still trying to lose excess baby weight and spent most days in the gym. One morning I pushed myself a little too far. I was doing some resistance training and found myself lightheaded and seeing stars. I woke up minutes later on my back staring at the drop ceiling of the YMCA, an oxygen mask held to my face. Frank was several states away, my kids were checked into childwatch, and I had no way to even get home. The staff at the YMCA checked my emergency contact information and contacted Frank. He called a new acquaintance we had recently made at church. She dropped what she was doing and came to my rescue. One hour later, her and her husband dropped me, my kids, and my car at my house. They picked up lunch on the way, and even helped put my toddler down for her nap. When they left my house, I was smiling, despite the rough start to my day.

This one small act of kindness was a defining moment in my life. Until then, I was unsure I was cut out for “big city life.” I was experiencing serious doubt about my solo parenting skills, and I felt isolated and apprehensive. It wasn’t until I realized I wasn’t alone, I had a tribe of people ready and willing to love and support me, that I finally felt at home and able to smoothly transition into the next season of my life. That next season would include volunteering in the children’s ministry at Elevation Church. That season led to the next one, in which both Frank and I took staff positions and began to develop an innovative strategy for family ministry that would soon receive worldwide recognition. And it all started on the floor of the local YMCA when a Christian man and woman came to my rescue.

If I were to ask, “Who is your closest friend? What do you admire most about them?” I guarantee in your assessment, you would include the descriptors, loving and kind. Benevolence is so often lost in today’s culture and when you meet someone who is a reflection of the love of Christ, not only does it stand out, but it draws you in. Love and kindness soothe, console, encourage, and bring hope. In 1 Corinthians 9:22 NIV, Paul says, “To the weak I became weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” Paul is trying to teach us that the love of Christ is most often acknowledged and accepted by those you are ministering to when a relationship is first established. More often than not, relationships begin with a kind word or a loving act. As Leading Ladies we must steward the trust others have placed in us. We must act in a way that takes into consideration the interests of those around us. The greatest kindness we can offer is to lead from a place of love.

Your challenge this week, as a Leading Lady, is to open your heart and your eyes to the needs of those around you. Welcome the opportunity to say hello to the quite cashier at the grocery store. Offer your assistance to the overwhelmed mother struggling to load her minivan. Make time for heartfelt conversations with those you lead. Compliment a coworker on her new shoes or hairstyle. You never know when you might be the vehicle that propels someone into the next season or brings a smile when it seems all hope is lost.

Join me again next week as we continue to Define A Leading Lady or read previous posts here.

 

Jess

Getting FIRST TIME GUESTS to come back: Part 2

Part of Multisite Monday

 

In the first part of this Multisite Monday article, we focused on the first time guest experience, how to make a lasting impression, and compel guests to come back. While that first visit is crucial, a pleasant experience doesn’t guarantee a return visit. Life is stressful, frustrating, difficult, not to mention busy. The experience your guests enjoyed last Sunday fades as days pass. It gets pushed to the back of their minds and what felt like a decision for Christ gets disregarded as unnecessary in the face of a demanding schedule and endless distractions. Unfortunately, there is no way for you to combat those influences. Wait. What? I know what you’re thinking, “Why even write this article if we can’t influence their decision to make church attendance a priority?” The answer…YOU can’t, but HE can. God has a plan for every child, student, and family that walks through the doors of your church. As you follow-up with those individuals, your goal is to remind them of the encounter they had with God, and to make room for the Holy Spirit to move. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes. What would make you feel welcome, accepted and loved? A personal relationship with Jesus is just that…personal. Your strategy to connect people to the love of Christ should be as well. Below you will find several ideas to get you thinking and considering how to do just that.

 

First Time Guest Gift

This is a t-shirt, mug, water bottle, or even a tote bag with your church or ministry logo. The goal of this gift is to make your guests feel special, anticipated. “We were waiting on you to come and now we’re celebrating your arrival!” If your logo is present, it will not only remind your first time guest of his or her experience at your church, but also serve as a walking advertisement for your ministry each time he or she uses the gift. For kids, think of something fun and entertaining, a slap bracelet, custom frisbee or sunglasses, even neon shoelaces with your kid ministry logo.

 

Second Time Guest Gift

Not only does it make for a great second experience, but letting your first time guests know in advance there is another gift awaiting their return, provides additional incentive to come again, ESPECIALLY FOR KIDS. It’s why once every three or four months parents reluctantly forfeit a Saturday morning to Chuck E. Cheese. Kids beg and plead to visit the mouse’s den, knowing they are leaving that place with loot. If you could ensure a prize on the second visit, kids would no doubt drag their parents to your church. While I do believe in the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, we’re talking about kids. They’ll do just about anything for a prize, and if a secondary gift allows for another chance to minister, my next question is, “How many should I order?”

 

Email

Keep it brief, no more than three or four sentences thanking them for coming and giving them contact information should they have questions. The more personal you can make this the better. If it feels like a form email, the reader won’t get beyond the first sentence. The best emails come from those who personally greeted the family at the door, or the volunteer that spent time teaching or caring for their child.

 

Phone Call

In the day and age of messaging, a phone call stands out. This may seem like a waste of time. You might be thinking, “No one picks up their phone anymore.” And you would be right, but that’s not the point. It would be great to have a one-on-one conversation with each guest that attends your church, to answer questions and possibly get feedback, but even if it’s just a voicemail, the energy expended isn’t wasted. Time is a hot commodity. When you dedicate a portion to a first time guest, a virtual stranger, it communicates value and esteem. The call doesn’t have to come from the Senior Pastor or Children’s Director.  If your church is large and has multiple locations, it may be wise to assemble a team of volunteers who can communicate well and are familiar with the heart of the house. Let those individuals own this part of the follow-up process.

 

Text

So much can be done through a simple text. Think beyond words. Pictures, links, gift cards for coffee, series promo videos, even voice memos can be a great resource if done well. Technology makes the world smaller. Remember to keep it brief, relevant, and personal.

 

Letter / Card

A signed form letter is ok. A personal hand-written card is better, and before you say, “Where would I find the time?” let me assure you, it can be done. eKidz at Elevation Church ministers to nearly 6,000 kids every weekend at more than a dozen locations. Following a first time visit, every child receives a hand written post card from the volunteer who led his or her small group or cared for them as a baby or toddler. The card is often adorned with stickers or written with colorful gel pens. The more personal, the better. It’s not complicated. It’s a system, thoroughly thought through and put into action. A letter is better than nothing, but always think of your actions through the lens of impact. The effort expended is directly related to the impact it will have. If you want guests to feel welcome, honored, and loved, a personal touch is essential.

 

Pizza

Following our first visit to Elevation, the church sent my family a pizza on Tuesday night. I remember opening the door and there before me was a pizza delivery guy. He said, “This is for the Bealer family. Elevation Church just wanted to set you up for success this week and invite you to join them again next Sunday.” I was floored. Literally, mouth hanging open. I nodded, like a zombie, took the pizza, and closed the door. Within minutes, I was on the phone with every friend and relative raving about this amazing church that had just sent us PIZZA! I’m not suggesting you should add a line item for pizza delivery into your church budget for next year. Well…maybe you should, but that’s not the point. Your follow-up process must evolve. Elevation doesn’t deliver pizzas anymore, but the strategy for first time guest follow-up is just as effective as it’s ever been. Think big, but stay personal. Be willing to try new things, but stay true to who you are as a church or ministry.

 

Your strategy should be multifaceted. Just as we repeat a hundred times the bottom line of every Bible lesson to preschoolers, we must also reiterate our welcome to our guests. It takes repetition to make an impact. Your visitors expect you to send them a letter or call them and thank them for attending. It’s just what churches do. They are not expecting to receive a call, an email, a letter, a handwritten postcard, a text, and a pizza delivered to their door. That would make an impact. That was why we called Elevation Church our home. They cared about my family and they made it known over and over again.

Have you ever been to Disney World? My family has gone a few times since my kids came “of age,” and every time I recall the mouse ear memories I smile outwardly and cringe inwardly. There are two words I feel adequately characterize the happiest place on earth, FUN and EXPENSIVE. Whenever my daughter mentions it, I hold my breath and anticipate her next words, “When can we go again?” I immediately think of all the sacrifices my husband and I had to make the last time we took her and the rest of our children to the infamous WDW. It cost a lot of money! We had to use our treasured vacation days to traipse around a muggy park just to hear my children say time and time again, “How much longer is this line?” Inevitably, we broke the Mickey ears we purchased and lost a hat or two on Space Mountain. We lived on PB&J sandwiches all week because park food costs an arm and a leg, and every single time we made it to the front of a character line, he or she needed a potty break. Ugh! Why would we ever want to go back? Inevitably though, every few months I get a piece of promotional mail from Walt Disney himself (at least I pretend it’s from him). I look at the pictures of the smiling children, the beautiful princesses, and the fireworks over the castle and I can’t help but long for those sweet moments with my family, the squeals of excitement when it’s finally our turn on the roller coaster, the groans of delight when we each take that first bite of a churro, and the cool breeze of the ferry boat shuttling us back to the transportation center at the end of a long day in the Magic Kingdom. It only takes a bit of nudging and I’m reminiscing about our last trip to Disney World, vacation days well spent, expense forgotten.

Your first time guest follow-up is similar. To a family whose routine doesn’t involve regular church attendance, it was a sacrifice to even show up. They set an alarm, forfeited sleep, and put off those plans for Sunday brunch and the dog park. They probably didn’t immediately regret their decision, or at least I hope they didn’t. I hope your church was friendly and inviting, the message was relevant and the worship was moving. Regardless, when Monday evening rolls around they may wish for those hours back. By Wednesday, they desperately need a break and those dog park walks are looking mighty tempting for the upcoming weekend. By Saturday, they’ve already decided on the restaurant for Sunday brunch. But what if you could remind them of the powerful encounter with God that awaits them? What if you could help them recall how they felt during that worship song that spoke directly to their heart? That’s why a strategic follow-up plan is not only important for the growth of your church, but essential to the life-change that awaits your first time guests.

In a multisite model, your first time guest follow-up strategies have to be in synch. They must be universal across all locations. When someone visits your church, they will inevitably review his or her experience with friends and colleagues. Word of mouth is the best advertisement, but if your first time guest experience varies, the hype may not live up to the reality for those visiting a different location. Unmet expectations is the proverbial deathblow to a first time experience at your church. Systemize and standardize. Make plans and make them universal. A great experience doesn’t conclude with dismissal. It doesn’t conclude at all because the point is to connect people to the love of Jesus Christ and the support of the local church body. When you adequately fulfill that calling, you successfully transition first time guests to active participants. Remember, your goal with follow-up is to remind them of their encounter with God and make room for the Holy Spirit to move in their hearts.

I hope you will join me again next week for Multisite Monday!

Jess Bealer