Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A letter to aspiring Children’s Evangelist


A letter to aspiring Children’s Evangelist

First of all let me congratulate you for desiring to reach out to the most unreached group of people on earth today. There is a huge need for children’s Evangelist. There are way too many churches in America, way too many people dying and going to hell, and way to few people reaching children with the Gospel for there to be any competition among Children’s Evangelist. The Bible says in Romans 10:13-15, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 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? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Below are a few statistics that I have collected over the years.

  • • Of the 5 billion people on the earth today, 50% are under the age of 14.
  • • By the year 2000, 50% of the world's 9 billion people were under 8.
  • • 40 million children in the United States have never been to church.
  • • 2 out of 3 children in the United States do not know JESUS.
  • • In the United States, 21 percent of the population is under age 15
  • • 86% of all people who receive Jesus make that decision before age 15.
  • • The years prior to age 12 are when a majority of children make their decision as to whether or not they will follow Christ.
  • • Only 10% of all the money put into the gospel is directed to the ministry of children.

Billy Graham said that, “The age of 7 is the age a person is most receptive to the Gospel.” After a person turns 18 they are less likely to make a decision for Christ. The older people get the less likely it is that they will receive Christ.

After seeing this why do 99 percent of evangelists go after adults? That’s why God has called you to reach children! Probably 95 percent of people traveling in children’s ministry today are entertainment for kids & families. We do not need any more Christian entertainers. We need people that are reaching children & families with the good news of the gospel and changing lives for the kingdom!

In the great commission Jesus told us to, “Go into all the world and make disciples.” He did not say go into all the world and entertain the masses. Make sure that your ministry is leading people to the Lord and helping them to become his disciple.

I would assume your motives are right in wanting to get into the field of Children’s Evangelism or you would not want to pursue such a calling. It is probably one of the most underrated, overlooked callings in the church world in America today. When churches go to set there budgets for the year with guest speakers a children’s evangelist or guest speaker for the children is probably the last thing on most churches list. I had one pastor I worked for tell me that I was one of the best children’s ministers in the country, so why would we need to have a Children’s Evangelist or guest speaker come to our church. My reply was the following; “Pastor, your one of the best pastors in the country, why do we need to have guest speakers come to minister to the adults?” The same reasons we need adult guest speakers is the same reasons we need guest speakers for the children.

Saying all this, I am going to spend the bulk of this letter on the more practical side of being a Children’s Evangelist. I often have people contact me about becoming a children’s evangelist. I have at least 2 or 3 people contact me each year wanting advice on how to get started, sometimes more. Maybe this is because I have been a Children’s Evangelist for over 20 years. Over the course of the last 20 plus years, I have seen many Children’s Evangelist come and go. Many of the Children’s Evangelist who were traveling when I started and plowed the way for what I am doing have moved on to becoming either a pastor, or are now struggling to get meetings because one of two reasons: One, they have gone on and off the road and when they returned they find it hard to reestablish their old contacts, and two, because their style has become outdated and for one reason or the other they are not able to become relative again. I have also seen that very few people that start traveling as a children’s evangelist stay on the road for over a few years at a time.

I will endeavor to be candid as possible during this letter by often times sharing some of the more negative sides of being on the road. This is not for me to share my pity party or to try and discourage you from being a children’s evangelist. I wish someone would have been this candid with me and shared with me the things I needed to do to be successful on the road. I learned from the school of hard knocks, a little from Bible College, and a few things from Willie George’s conferences that I attended long ago. Very little information was available in the late 80s early 90s on being a children’s evangelist. I just had a desire to reach children and went for it.

Finances:

The number one reason people do not continue to be a children’s evangelist is because of finances. Therefore, I will endeavor to share with you some of the things I have leaned over the past 20 plus years

  1. Don’t quit your day job: Too many people jump out on the road cold turkey with no preparation. They quit their children’s pastor job or other job and jump out on the road with no financial preparation. I tell people all the time to transition out of a normal more stable job to life on the road. I made this mistake and went through years of extreme poverty. We were so rag tag in the beginning that I had a pastor that felt so sorry for me that he gave me shirts out of his own closets to wear because mine were so bad. One winter when all of our utilities got shut off, God had to deliver me from the mess I had gotten myself into by a pastor hiring me to be his children’s pastor for $1000.00 per month.
  2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare: If you are thinking of transitioning out of a children’s pastor position or secular employment into life on the road save up enough money or raise support for at least one to two years. Get all the equipment you will need to do your ministry while you still have a paycheck. After you go full time most of what comes in will need to be used to keep you and your family alive.
  3. Get out of debt: Before you take the leap of faith to go full time it is highly advisable to get yourself out of debt. Get use to living a simpler lifestyle if that is what it takes. This does not mean that you have to stay there. God will promote those that are faithful. If you have debt hanging over you or cannot control your spending, it will become a burden while trying to get started.
  4. Develop a business plan: Most people in ministry have no business sense at all. They blindly take the leap of faith into full time traveling ministry with no idea in the natural what they are doing. An instructor at my bible college once said “The Natural and the supernatural coming together make an explosive force for God.” You can have all the faith in the world, but if you don’t know how to handle money you are doomed for failure. To be honest we have to put money aside during our busy season to make it through our slow season every year. This takes a lot of planning, self control, and living a simpler life sometimes. The notion that you will get rich from being a Children’s Evangelist is simply not true. You can be successful and live a decent lifestyle, eventually God will bless and promote you as you make wise decisions and put him first.
  5. Love offering VS Honorarium? An adult evangelist blesses adults and when takes up an offering people will give. A children’s evangelist blesses children when children might have a few nickels and dimes to give. I would encourage you to figure out what you need to live each month. What it takes to pay all your bills and continue to travel. Then let churches know up front what you need. To be honest pastors have no idea what it takes to keep a ministry such as ours on the road. I haul around 7000 Lbs. of equipment in a 20 ft. trailer with a suburban that gets about 10 miles per gallon. Travel costs have gone through the roof as of late. If all your income goes to pay your travel expenses, then what will you live off of? Do not under charge for coming to minister at a church, however starting out do not over charge for your qualifications or you will not get any bookings. Our ministry survives off of honorariums, sales of merchandise, and very few monthly supporters. I have not figured out a way to get people to become a monthly supporter of our ministry. I refuse to use any manipulative methods to raise funds. Always be flexible with smaller churches that cannot afford your cost but remember you have to live also.
  6. Merchandise: Willie George said one time, “If you are going to make it as a children’s evangelist you must have good, quality product to sale to supplement your income. He had good curriculum and a video club that was very popular in the late 80s and early 90s. I have taken this approach of offering quality concert type gear such as; T-shirts, hats, beanies, jewelry, and a few other things that you might find at a concert setting. I have also offered a few resources for children’s workers over the years. This takes an initial investment, however it has paid off for our ministry. Be careful not to offer trinkets and things that parents are really hesitant to buy for their kids because they end up in the bottom of the toy box or on the closet floor. Our merchandise is a quality product that children can wear. That reminds them of our ministry, or has a good Christian message on them. Do not be cheesy in this area!
  7. Winter cometh: Be advised that it is much harder to book events in the winter months from November 1st to March 1st than it is in the spring through fall. It is like a roller coaster for us each year it starts building around March peeks in the summer and starts declining in the fall until November. It usually stops dead with an occasional booking in December, January, and February. If you are not prepared for this you will starve in the winter months and it might actually drive you off the road all together. I know of only one Children’s Evangelist that stays booked all year except December. All others that I know of go through this same cycle. Some have developed holiday themed events for November and December however, there is a limited market for this and a limited time slot that it can take place. Usually the more ministry minded evangelist this is harder forbecause churches are not looking for powerful ministry during these times as much as warm fuzzes for the holidays. You must either put away money during the busy season for the slower season and live a disciplined lifestyle, or go get a job each winter which cuts back on your preparation, and advertising time for the following season.

Advertise, Advertise, And Advertise!

Take advantage of every opportunity you can afford to let people know that you are available. Use every social network as possible to let people know what you are doing without becoming annoying. Your web site is your front page of your ministry. Make sure it is where you put a lot of your advertising budget into. Everything else should be the bait that draws people to your website which is the hook. A lot of people feel that advertising is self promotion, however if people do not know you are available they will not contact you to come to their church. Make sure to put money aside each year to advertise for the upcoming year. The best time for me to promote for the following year is around the 1st of October before the holiday’s and right after the 1st of the year is also a good time to promote.

Break outside your Realm!

Don’t stay in your comfort zone of your denomination or group. Most denominations do not have enough churches in a certain area to keep you busy enough to support yourself. Market yourself to as many denominations and groups as possible without compromising your core beliefs. I have been blessed to be accepted in several denominations and groups across Christendom. I respect each groups for their specific doctrinal believes and stay on the basics without watering down my message. This is why I know some denominations and groups will not contact me. Many traveling ministries make the mistake of watering down their ministry to be accepted across the board which results in nothing more than Christian entertainment. Keep true to the word, anointing, and real ministry while being respectful to wherever God opens the doors for you to go. I have had to draw lines of what I will and will not compromise on. I would encourage you to do this before you make the leap or you will be tempted to compromise to get an event.

Local verses national:

There is many regional Children’s Evangelist, but very few national. Part of the secret to my success is I am willing to drive long distances between events in a short period of time. I have found that most regions do not have enough opportunities to keep me busy enough to support myself and our ministry.

Do something no one else is doing:

In other words find your nitch and perfect it. Then learn how to market it. Willie George said that to be successful now as a Children’s Evangelist that you must have a Gimmick. This is a sad but true statement. The fact that you have a heart for God, love kids, and want to reach as many of them as possible is not enough to book you in most churches. When pastors and children’s pastors are looking for a Children’s Evangelist they look for someone that can do something that they cannot do. Most Children’s Evangelist that come in with a guitar, a puppet, and a few object lessons do not stay booked enough to support them selves. My gimmick would be all the Multi media, Lighting, and staging I haul around with me. Kidz Blitz would be their game show atmosphere. Some people sing or perform well and that is their nitch. It’s their Gimmick. Most churches are not looking for another clown or magician. The field is swamped and mostly with very amateur ones at that. The ones that are successful are the ones that have risen above the norm. Before Terry Fator and Jeff Dunham came along the art of being a ventriloquists was looked down upon by most people because it was the same old jokes and routines over and over. I remember the statement by the “America’s got talent” judge when Terry Fator walked out on stage with a dummy. “Oh no not another ventriloquists act”.

Family:

The second highest reason people do not stay on the road very long is the toll it takes on their family. Make sure your entire family is on board with the decision to be an evangelist and are willing to count the cost to do it. Make sure everyone is being realistic with what it involves. It can either make you closer or pull you apart! It can take a huge toll on your children if you don’t do it right. I have seen some Children’s Evangelist that the children loved it and are now Children’s Evangelist as adults, and I have seen others that want nothing to do with God or ministry after being dragged around the country while their parents minister.

Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions:

If something is not working do not be afraid to ask why it is not working. Evaluation is good, even if it hurts. The only person the likes change is a wet baby! Don’t continually beat a bush that is not producing the results you want. Someone said, “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always had.” To continually do the same thing and expect a different result is delusional. Don’t be afraid to evaluate yourself and ask others their honest opinion. Do not be afraid of the answers you might get. I have always asked 2 questions when I receive criticism. I ask myself, is it true and can I do anything about it? Some things are true and some thing’s are not. If you find it to be true, bite the bullet and make a change. However, some things cannot be changed. If it is a deep conviction or something that is a trait that it is impossible to change, well it cannot be changed. However, do not be unwilling to change something because of sentimental value or because it’s the way you have always done it. Do not be afraid to change yourself for the better even if it hurts!

Saying all this I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes. I am not sure who originally said it but it goes like this…


DREAM A DREAM SO BIG THAT UNLESS GOD DOES IT, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN!

Jerry Moyer

Jubilee Gang Ministries
Website http://www.blogger.com/www.jubileegang.com
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Are You Sure You're Saved" by Rick Renner



I highly recommend watching this sermon by Rick Renner called "Are You Sure You're Saved" its in 4 parts at the links below...

Rick Renner " Are You Sure You're Saved Pt 1"


Rick Renner " Are You Sure You're Saved Pt 2"


Rick Renner " Are You Sure You're Saved Pt 3"


Rick Renner " Are You Sure You're Saved Pt 4"

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who Cares? by General William Booth

Who Cares?
General William Booth

On one of my recent journeys, as I gazed from the coach window I was led into a train of thought concerning the conditions of the multitudes around me. They were living carelessly in the most open and shameless rebellion against God, without a thought for their eternal welfare. As I looked out the window, I seemed to see them all… millions of people all around me given up to their drink and their pleasure, their dancing and their music, their business and their anxieties, their politics and their troubles. Ignorant-willfully ignorant in many cases – and in other instances knowing all about the truth and not caring at all. But all of them, the whole mass of them, sweeping on and up in their blasphemies and devilries to the throne of God. While my mind was thus engaged, I had a vision.
I saw a dark and stormy ocean. Over it the black clouds hung heavily; through them every now and then vivid lightning flashed and loud thunder rolled, while the winds moaned, and the waves rose and foamed, towered and broke, only to rise and foam, tower and break again.
In that ocean I thought I saw myriads of poor human beings plunging and floating; shouting and shrieking, cursing and struggling and drowning; and as they cursed and screamed, they rose and shrieked again, and then some sank to rise no more.
And I saw out of this dark, angry ocean, a mighty rock that rose up with its summit towering high above the black clouds that overhung the stormy sea. And all around the base of this rock I saw a vast platform. Onto this platform, I saw with delight a number of the poor struggling, drowning wretches continually climbing out of the angry ocean. And I saw that a few of those who were already safe on the platform were helping the poor creatures still in the angry waters to reach the place of safety.
On looking more closely, I found a number of those who had been rescued, industriously working and scheming by ladders, ropes, boats, and other means more effective, to deliver the poor strugglers out of this sea. Here and there were some who actually jumped into the water, regardless of all the consequences, in their passion to “rescue the perishing.” And I hardly know which gladdened me most-the sight of the poor drowning people climbing onto the rocks, reaching the place of safety, or the devotion and self-sacrifice of those whose whole beings were wrapped up in the effort for their deliverance.
As I looked on, I saw that the occupants of that platform were quite a mixed company. That is, they were divided into different “sets” or classes, and they occupied themselves with different pleasures and employment. But only a very few of them seemed to make it their business to get the people out of the sea.
But what puzzled me most was the fact that though all of them had been rescued at one time or another from the ocean, nearly everyone seemed to have forgotten all about it. Anyway, it seemed the memory of its darkness and danger no longer troubled them at all. And what seemed equally strange and perplexing to me was that these people did not even seem to have any care – that is any agonizing care – about the poor perishing ones who were struggling and drowning right before their very eyes, many of whom were their own husbands and wives, brothers, and sisters, and even their own children.
Now this astonishing unconcern could not have been the result of ignorance or lack of knowledge, because they lived right there in full sight of it all and even talked about it sometimes. Many even went regularly to hear lectures and sermons in which the awful state of these people drowning creatures was described.
I have already said that the occupants of this platform were engaged in different pursuits and pastimes. Some of them were absorbed night and day in trading and business In order to make gain, storing up their savings in boxes, safes, and the like.
"Who Cares?", an illustration of General William Booth's vision depicting the Church's apparent lack of concern over the fate of lost souls. (William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army). This oil painting was commissioned in 1993 by   Last Days Ministries (founded by Keith Green). Read William Booth's   "Who Cares?" article. Order a 25" X 17" poster of this painting through LDM's website.
"Who Cares?"
An illustration of General William Booth's vision depicting the Church's apparent lack of concern over the fate of lost souls. (William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army). This oil painting was commissioned in 1993 by Last Days Ministries (founded by Keith Green). Read William Booth's "Who Cares?" article. Order a 25" X 17" poster of this painting through LDM's website.

Many spent their time in amusing themselves with growing flowers on the side of the rock, others in painting pieces of cloth or in playing music or in dressing themselves up in different styles and walking about to be admired. Some occupy themselves chiefly in eating and drinking, others were taken up with arguing about the poor drowning creatures that had already been rescued.
But the thing to me that seemed the most amazing was that those on the platform to whom He called, who heard His voice and felt they ought to obey it at least they said they did those who confessed to love Him much and were in full sympathy with Him in the task He had undertaken – who worshipped Him or who professed to do so – were so taken up with their trades and professions, their money saving and pleasures, their families and circles, their religions and arguments about it, and their preparation for going to the mainland, that they did not listen to the cry that came to them from this Wonderful Being who had Himself gone down into the sea. Anyway, if they heard it they did not heed it. They did not care. And so the multitude went on right before them struggling and shrieking and drowning in the darkness.
And then I saw something that seemed to me even more strange than anything that had gone on before in this strange vision. I saw that some Of these people on the platform whom this Wonderful Being had called to, wanting them to come and help Him in His difficult task of saving these perishing creatures, were always praying and crying out to Him to come to them.
Some wanted Him to come and stay with them and spend His time and strength in making them happier. Others wanted Him to come and take away various doubts and misgivings they had concerning the truth of some letters which He had written them. Some wanted Him to come and make them feel more secure on the rock-so secure that they would be quite sure that they should never slip off again into the ocean. Numbers of others wanted Him to make them feel quite certain that they would really get off the rock and onto the mainland someday; because as a matter of fact, it was well known that some had walked so carelessly as to lose their footing, and had fallen back again, into the stormy waters.
So these people used to meet and get up as high on the rock as they could, and looking toward the mainland (where they thought the Great Being was) they would cry out, “Come to us! Come, help us!” And all the while He was down (by His Spirit) among the poor struggling, drowning creatures in the angry deep, with His arms around them trying to drag them out, and looking up oh! so longingly, but all in vain to those on the rock, crying to them with His voice all hoarse from calling, “Come to Me! Come, and help Me!”
And then I understood it all. It was plain enough. That sea was the ocean of life-the sea of real, actual human existence. That lightning was the gleaming of piercing truth coming from Jehovah’s throne. That thunder was the distant echoing of the wrath of God. Those multitudes of people shrieking, struggling, and agonizing in the stormy sea, were the thousands and thousands of poor harlots and harlot-makers, of drunkards and drunkard-makers, of thieves, liars, blasphemers, and ungodly people of every kindred, tongue, and nation.
Oh, what a black sea it was! And oh, what multitudes of rich and poor, ignorant and educated were there. They were all so unalike in their outward circumstances and conditions, yet all alike in one thing all sinners before God all held by, and holding onto, some iniquity, fascinated by some idol, the slaves of some devilish lust, and ruled by the foul fiend from the bottomless pit! “All alike in one thing?” No, all alike in two things not only the same in their wickedness but, unless rescued, the same in their sinking, sinking… down, down, down… to the same terrible doom. That great sheltering rock represented Calvary, the place where Jesus had died for them. And the people on it were those who had been rescued. The way they used their energies, gifts, and time represented the occupations and amusements of those who professed to be saved from sin and hell followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The handful of fierce, determined ones, who were risking their own lives in saving the perishing, were true soldiers of the cross of Jesus. That Mighty Being who was calling to them from the midst of the angry waters was the Son of God, “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” who is still struggling and interceding to save the dying multitudes about us from this terrible doom of damnation, and whose voice can be heard above the music, machinery, and noise of life calling on the rescued to come and help Him save the world.
My friends in Christ, you are rescued from the waters, you are on the rock. He is in the dark sea calling on you to come to Him and help Him. Will you go? Look for yourselves. The surging sea of life crowded with perishing multitudes rolls up to the very spot on which you stand. Leaving the vision, I now come to speak of the fact a fact that is as real as the Bible, as real as the Christ who hung upon the cross, as real as the judgment day will be, and as real as the heaven and hell that will follow it.
Look! Don’t be deceived by appearances men and things are not what they seem. All who are not on the rock are in the sea! Look at them from the standpoint of the great white throne, and what a sight you have! Jesus Christ, the Son of God is, through His Spirit, in the midst of this dying multitude, struggling to save them. And He is calling on you to jump into the sea to go right away to His side and help Him in the holy strife. Will you jump? That is, will you go to His feet and place yourself absolutely at His disposal?
A young Christian once came to me and told me that for some time she had been giving the Lord her profession and prayers and money, but now she wanted to give Him her life. She wanted to go right into the fight. In other words, she wanted to go to His assistance in the sea. As when a man from the shore seeing another struggling in the water, takes off those outer garments that would hinder his efforts, and leaps to the rescue so will you who still linger on the bank, thinking and singing and praying about the poor perishing souls, lay aside your shame, your pride, your cares about other people’s opinions, your love of ease and all the selfish loves that have kept you back for so long, and rush to the rescue of this multitude of dying men and women?
Does the surging sea look dark and dangerous? Unquestionably it is so. There is no doubt that the leap for you, as for every one who takes it, means difficulty and scorn and suffering. For you it may mean more than this. It may mean death. He who beckons you from the sea however, knows what it will mean and knowing, He still calls to you and bids you come.
You must do it! You cannot hold back. You have enjoyed yourself in Christianity long enough. You have had pleasant feelings, pleasant songs, pleasant meetings, and pleasant prospects. There has been much of human happiness, much clapping of hands and shouting of praises, very much of heaven on earth.
Now then, go to God and tell Him you are prepared as much as necessary to turn your back upon it all, and that you are willing to spend the rest of your days struggling in the midst of these perishing multitudes, whatever it may cost you.
You must do it. With the light that is now broken in upon your mind, and the call that is now sounding in your ears, and the beckoning hands that are now before your eyes, you have no alternative. To go down among the perishing crowds is your duty. Your happiness from now on will consist in sharing their misery, your ease in sharing their pain, your crown in helping them to bear their cross, and your heaven in going into the very jaws of hell to rescue them.
Now, what will you do?
by General William Booth

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Three ways to raise the bar spiritually while making full use of technology

Jerry Moyer of The Jubilee Gang teaching at Children's Ministry Leadership Conference at Living Word Christian Center in Minneapolis, MN on three ways to raise the bar spiritually while making full use of technology


Monday, February 13, 2012

Taking the spiritual temperature of your ministry

Are you a thermostat or a thermometer?

A thermometer reacts to the temperature of the room. A thermostat sets the temperature in a room.

Do you set the spiritual climate in your class or do the children?

We as Christian leaders need to set the spiritual temperature for our classrooms whether we are a Sunday school teacher, Children’s Pastor, or volunteer children’s worker. It is important that when we enter a classroom that we are spiritually prepared to set the spiritual climate for the class. If not the child with the strongest personality will set that climate.

If a child experienced chaos on the way to the service they will bring chaos to the service. If everyone was up late the night before Sunday morning service and tired, the class will be unresponsive to the lesson.

However, if we enter the room spiritually charged and on fire about our lesson the excitement will spread. If we believe in what we are teaching and show excitement about the subject others will be excited also. True faith is contagious. When someone is so excited about what they believe that they speak about it in confidence with passion in their voice others will believe also. If we are not sure about what we are teaching and are reading it out of our lesson planner, the children will be board and not buy into what we are offering them. Confidence comes through knowing the material inside out. You need to know it so well you can present it without reading it. I have notes every time I speak publicly, however notes are to glance at to keep me on tract so, I arrive at the planned destination. I can expound upon each point of my notes without reading them line for line, however my notes make sure I do not drift off course during my program. I can expound upon each point because the subject is in my heart. It is not something I am not sure about or do not know a lot about.

If we are not confident on our lesson it will show in our body language, tone of our voice, and all around presentation. We cannot give something we do not have. If it is not in our heart then we are just regurgitating an old cold lesson out of a book that really means nothing to us.

The reason young adults are leaving our churches by the droves when they are old enough to make the decision for themselves is that all they have heard their entire time growing up in church is old, cold, regurgitated material that is not relative. It does not apply to them. We have offered exciting programs with all the latest methods but have forgotten the message.

Teachers must be passionate about their faith and what they are teaching. Like I said before true faith is contagious. It spreads like a wild fire. When we hear someone with true heartfelt convictions, we want what they have. If we are around it long enough we will start to crave it. And when you crave something bad enough you do whatever it takes to get it.

Let’s turn up the spiritual temperature in our classrooms.

Our children deserve it.

By Jerry Moyer
The Jubilee Gang
Website www.jubileegang.com
FaceBook www.facebook.com/jubileegangministries
Twitter www.twitter.com/jubileegang
YouTube www.youtube.com/jubileegang

Monday, February 6, 2012

Church Minded Vs. Kingdom Minded


Jerry Praying with 5 children to be born again in Cheshire, CT

We hear a lot today about church growth and church growth is good. A healthy church should be growing just like a healthy person should grow. A healthy church cannot help but grow!

A lot of churches are starting to evaluate every program according to how much it helps the church grow. Evaluation is good and healthy as long as we look at the big picture. The big picture that I am talking about is the Kingdom of God.

Matt. 6:33 says that if we seek first the kingdom of God that all these things will be added unto us. We do not seek his kingdom to get what we want, but as we seek first the kingdom of God our lives and ministry cannot help but grow.

Church growth cannot be the only reason we do certain programs or cut certain programs in our local churches. There is a much higher calling to grow the kingdom of God.

Jesus said in the great commission to go into all the world and make disciples. Those people that need to be reached and discipled in all the world don’t just include people from our local communities that will attend our local churches.

A lot of times when people look at having a Kid’s Crusade or family outreach event they count how many families return after the event and judge whether they should continue having this kind of events in the future.

A lot of times we see great growth in our local churches from such events, but sometimes it does not effect the growth of our local body however it effects the growth of the kingdom of God.

Now I am not saying that we should not evaluate the effectiveness of a certain ministry or outreach events. We should evaluate everything we do to find out if it reached the goals we had for the event and how we can be more effective in reaching these goals during future events. However, our goal should not just be getting new people to come to our church. It should be part of it, but not the entire goal.

When I was on staff as a children’s pastor, I would ask myself what is the goal of any given event and how can we best achieve this goal. A lot of times we do an event just because we have always done this event.

When looking at the event of a traditional VBS and seeing the large budget it required and the manpower from our church, I would ask myself what the goal of VBS was. Was it to encourage the Christian children in our church to grow or to outreach into the community? Being the evangelist that I am and knowing that my children were well taught in children’s church my goal for most large events was outreach.

Then, I would ask myself if we were achieving that goal through the current VBS program. Most VBS curriculums are designed to teach bible truths around a certain theme for the year and not to see children born again and made disciples. VBS programs in some communities have turned into nothing more than a baby sitting service to the parents of the community. Kids jump from VBS to VBS every week during the summer just to have something to do while their parents are at work. Churches even work together to make sure that every week in the summer is covered by a different church and that everyone is not using the same curriculum. Most VBS curriculums have been watered down so that it is not offensive to anyone to get more children to attend. Sure there is a small amount of Bible in the curriculum, but in its self is not anything that will change a life for eternity.

After evaluating the program and seeing that my goal was outreach and evangelism, I decided to change to more of a Kids Crusade format. I do not call it a Kid’s Crusade because the un churched community does not understand the term and usually associate it with the crusades of the dark ages.

I have always been a kingdom minded person. Probably because Matt. 6:33 was one of the first scriptures that really came alive to me as a teen.

We will not always see church growth as a result of an event or program; however we must ask our self if the kingdom grew because of the event or program. Now I am not talking about loosely using the phrase …

If we touched one child it is worth it

It is worth it to touch the life of one child. We do not know what that child will become. Maybe this child might become the next Billy Graham or something. But why should we only touch the life of one child during the event? While we are touching their live why not touch the lives of hundreds more. If only one child is reached we should ask ourselves how we can reach more next time and make the adjustments to our program, advertising, and marketing of the event to the community to reach more people.

We recently ministered at a church that had us in and had small crowds each night. Mostly church kids and a few un churched friends attended. The same children came forward each evening during the invitation to be born again. A few people that did not attend the church came forward, but it was mostly the children from their church. I would say around 20 children were born again despite having around 50 children respond to the invitation during the 3 day event. I could see where the pastor might be discouraged and consider not having this type of event in the future because of the cost of the program and the results he saw.

No one new that a friend of mine from facebook attended the service from a neighboring town one of the evenings with a group of children including her 7 year old daughter. She had seen on facebook where we were going to be ministering at this church and wanted to come and check out our ministry.

After the event I received the following e-mail from my facebook friend…

"Thanks for inviting us. I'm sorry we couldn't make all three days. The kids I brought LOVED it, they want you to come to our church. My daughter who's 7 also came with me on Monday night. She has been telling people in her class and in our congregation how she is "born again" and "how God gave her a clean heart". This is HUGE coming from a very Traditional Presbyterian Church. So thank you. You have encouraged me to change my Sunday School curriculum and change the direction of my ministry to be more evangelism based. I'll be back in touch soon after speaking with our finance committee to discuss scheduling a Jubilee Gang event at our church.”

This was worth the whole event to see the lives of these young people changed and to see the possibility of an entire children’s ministry at another church become more evangelistic because of the children’s pastor attending this meeting.

I also received a testimony from a children’s pastor in VA that was born again at a Kids Crusade at a church that he did not attend and never attended except for the Kid’s Crusade where he was born again. Below is his story…

“When I was 5 years old my parents took me to see a traveling children’s evangelist who was ministering in a local church. At the end of the service I asked Jesus into my heart for the first time. My family and I never went back to that church but found ourselves planted in another local church where we grew in Christ.

I often think about that first church where I found Jesus. I’m so grateful that church had a kingdom mindset when it came to outreach. Many churches see the goal of outreach as a way to boost attendance numbers. Outreaches are evaluated by measurable returns, but the Bible reminds us that we’re here to build a kingdom…not just our own church.

I’m grateful for ministries like the Jubilee Gang who spend their time spreading the seed of God’s word into young hearts. And I’m grateful that this first church had a kingdom mindset that allowed me to hear the gospel for the first time. Their measurable return may be considered insufficient by many churches today but I will be eternally grateful to God for them.”

This is what it is all about folks! As a result of this church being kingdom minded this young child was born again and is now a children’s pastor at a large church that is affecting hundreds if not thousands of lives.

It would be wrong to not give a testimony from a church that did not see growth from a Kids crusade at their church. I received the following letter from a church in OK where a child was born again during the kids crusade and went home and told his mother about Christ and led her to the lord…

“Our pastor's wife was teaching a Wednesday night class and a mom was helping. The mom brought in her form that we have everyone fill out before they help in children's church. Pastor's wife looked at the form and saw that the mom got saved in October and asked her about it.

The mom's two kids came to the crusade and heard about being born again. The boy came to the front to pray. (That's awesome at that) That night when they got home, they told their mom about being born again and the mom got saved in her living room that night and has been faithful to church ever since.”

We would have never have know this if the pastor’s wife had not asked some questions. The kingdom was affected by this event!

When evaluating events and programs let make sure that we are not cutting a program that is affecting the Kingdom when we do not see our church numbers increase.

By Jerry Moyer
The Jubilee Gang
Website www.jubileegang.com
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