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Kid's Ministry Coffee Break | 5-Minutes of Spiritual Refreshment for Children's Ministry Leaders

Kid's Ministry Coffee Break | 5-Minutes of Spiritual Refreshment for Children's Ministry Leaders

By Sunday School Store
Quick encouragement for children's ministry leaders! Kids' Ministry Coffee Break podcast is 5-minutes of inspiration to help you focus on what matters - sharing the love of Jesus with kids. Church ministry leaders, take a break! Kids' Ministry Coffee Break helps you connect with God and share the love of Christ with children. This podcast is powered by The Sunday School Store sundayschool.store and hosted by Rev. Joseph Sanford. Find more encouragement 10bibleverses.com/ and sundayschool.works/ and youthgroupministry.com/
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"PETER AND THE SHEET (THE BOB DYLAN FACTOR)" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 30: Learning to expect the unexpected and embracing change will lead us into a fruitful life of faith and ministry.
"PETER AND THE SHEET (THE BOB DYLAN FACTOR)" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 30: Learning to expect the unexpected and embracing change will lead us into a fruitful life of faith and ministry. If you don’t know this story, you can find it in both chapter 10 and 11 of Acts. https://sundayschool.works/lessons/peter-and-cornelius-acts-10-sunday-school-lesson-and-activities-for-kids/ It’s a crucial part of the story of Luke volume 2. Things are changing in the work of the Holy Spirit through the church. Suddenly…hundreds of years of tradition and practice are changing…because Peter had a vision and then saw the Holy Spirit working in a new way. It’s a great story…both times. And it’s our story. The times are always a-changing, aren’t they? At times it feels like we live in a different world than we did 2 years ago. Remember pre-pandemic? Remember gathering close together with other human beings and NOT thinking about what was in the air all around you? The world is always changing. The church is always changing. While God is not always changing, our understanding of God IS. Do you think the same things about God today that you did 2 years ago? or 10 years ago? Chance’s are very strong you’ll experience more change in the years to come. Some people fear change. They resist it. They try and stop it. They get all worked up and paint a picture like the sky is falling when things change. Change is how it works. Peter came to know that. First he stopped being a fisherman… Then he learned all about a new definition of Messiah… Then he learned about a new understanding of the power of God in the face of death… Then he suddenly was able to speak in different languages through the Holy Spirit… Then he learned he could raise people from the dead… Then he saw a sheet and blew the whole tradition wide open when he entered the house of a gentile and saw the Spirit at work. People like Peter, Paul, Aquila, Mary, and many others had to reach a point when they knew change was going to keep coming into their lives and into their understanding of God and into their life of faith in Jesus Christ. https://youthgroupministry.com/lessons/youth-ministry-lesson-acts-10_1-33-peter-and-cornelius/ The Holy Spirit is ALWAYS bringing change. Our real joy comes when we can learn to expect the unexpected… When we can celebrate the new things God is doing… When we can be open to change and no longer afraid… The times, they are a-changing…because that’s what time does; it brings change. We are moving more and more into a future that is closer and closer to what God has already established as accomplished in and through Christ. If we are to get to that place…then things must change. So…spend some time in prayer and reflection understanding why you may struggle with change. It’s okay to struggle—every single biblical character struggled with change. You are not alone. But consider the joy and promise that change provides. Dream about the kind of change that excites you. Pray for the kind of change that frees you and others for a life more well-lived. Ask the Holy Spirit to stir you up and move and mold and make you into something new…something your ministry setting needs for today…tomorrow…and then the day after that. When we can live a life embracing change and welcoming shifts…life begins to get really fun, meaningful, and…heavenly. https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/evangelism-scriptures-bible-verses-on-soul-winning-and-evangelism/ Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). Music by The Muse Maker
06:49
May 16, 2022
"KEEP GOING, KEEP GROWING" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 29: In a life of constant demand and planning and responding and etc... we have to maintain our own faith walk, as ministers--to keep going.
"KEEP GOING, KEEP GROWING" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 29: Is life busy, for you? Do you struggle to fit everything in to the time you have? Have you ever wished for another hour in the day? Better yet…we’d love to have an extra hour in the night to sleep, AMEN?! The grind is wonderful many days…and difficult many days. It can get to the point where we find that our weekly routine is about keeping up. Well…I’m going to recommend you change that routine, my sibling in Christ. We are children of God, too. We have personal goals of faith, as well. We are on our own walk of faith…just like the people we serve. I wonder though…when is the last time you tended to your own personal progress? Have you read a book lately that inspires your faith? Have you attended a worship or conference that was solely for you as a person—not one you helped run or plan? What is the last thing you learned in your faith development or discipleship? If you are having trouble thinking of one…if you cannot immediately give a sentence or two about what you have recently learned…then it’s time to devote some energy into your own faith walk. An author I love offers a definition of sin that is simple…it’s the refusal to grow. “Growing is living,” they say. We can look around at every other creature or living thing on earth and see…it’s either growing…or it’s dying. We are a living creature of God, too. If you aren’t growing…then it’s no wonder you feel tired and unmotivated and uninspired. We must keep going in our own spiritual life. We must keep going…we must keep growing. https://ministry-to-children.com/keeping-close-to-christ-when-im-busy/ A fun activity is to go to a bookstore near you and just walk the book aisles until something grabs you. Then…grab it, buy it, and read it. Or…find people who are your kind of people—a fellow minister or close friend who walks a similar path in faith—and ask them what they have read or learned lately. If they have a book or study or devotion or anything else…borrow it or order it. Is there a conference coming to your area in the coming year for ministers like you? If so, order tickets and go. If you don’t have the money in your budget to order tickets, talk to your church or your mentor or your friends or your family and tell them to help you buy tickets as a birthday present. Go…see…learn…grow…and live. Jesus is not done talking to you. The Holy Spirit is not done teaching you and shaping you. In a life full of distractions, you’ll have to look out for yourself at times to keep going and keep growing. And if you feel like looking out for yourself is selfish…it isn’t the bad kind of selfish at all. In fact, by doing this for yourself, you’ll be modeling for others how they can do it, too. Live by example, teach by example. Keep going, friends… and keep growing. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). Music by The Muse Maker https://sundayschool.store/collections/free-downloads https://youthgroupministry.com/youth-group-games/ https://ministryanswers.com/category/bible-verses/
05:55
May 13, 2022
"BATHING MY HEAD IN OIL" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 28: There is a line in Psalm 23 which can offer us a beautiful example for how God leads us so that we can lead others.
"BATHING MY HEAD IN OIL" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 28: You may have heard of Psalm 23, right? Everyone has heard of this Psalm, I’d imagine. If you don’t know it by name, you know it by “The Lord is my shepherd…” https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-passages/psalm-23/ or “Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death….” It’s a psalm used in some way at about every funeral I’ve ever attended. Songs are written about it. It’s very familiar in church circles. A few years ago I learned something about a little detail in the poem. It’s about that bathing my head in oil part. The poem is all about a shepherd—The Lord. The work of a shepherd is then spelled out as one big metaphor for how The Lord is a part of our lives—like a shepherd. We lack nothing, We are led to what brings life, We are guided to right paths in our living, Even in the most difficult days, we are not alone. We are protected. We have a place even in the midst of struggle. Our heads are bathed in oil. So…that last line has always been a bit strange, for me. I can figure out most of the rest, but what gives with the oil on my head? Well, as it turns out…part of the life of a shepherd in that part of the world involved a particular fly. There was a particular biting fly which came at a particular season. Shepherds would rub oil on the head of sheep to repel the biting fly. Sheep are social animals—which makes sense for the metaphor…because so are humans. If there is trouble in the flock, the sheep won’t lie down. If there is tension, if there is a predator, and if there’s a parasite. So the shepherd, who leads the sheep to lie down in rest, would protect the sheep from various things…including the biting fly. Chances are small that the sheep made connections between the actions of the shepherd and why those actions occurred. The oil would have been poured on the sheep’s heads to deter the flies. The sheep would then not be anxious and tense trying to protect themselves. Imagine the change that would occur. The flies show up, the sheep get agitated, then the shepherd bathes there heads in oil…then the flies stop bothering them…they stop being agitated…they calm down. I love this image in the metaphor. As ministers, we are referred to as shepherds with a flock. We recognize how God is the shepherd in our lives…how Jesus is the Good Shepherd…and then we tend to the flock ourselves. John 21 connects this Psalm to our own ministry. What is causing agitation in your flock? What is keeping things from being calm? What is disrupting life in the church? How can you be a source of oil upon the heads of others? How can you help bring peace to the agitation to allow the flock of social people experience the calm, still, and restful waters of faith? Next time you see things getting restless, stop and picture God pouring oil upon the heads of everyone—imagine everyone calming down…lying down…and finding life and rest. Picture it…then then let that image guide you. Be calmed yourself, and then be a source of calming. Even in the tensest moments…may you know and embody the truth that God is with you all and leading you all to green pastures ahead. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford).  https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/anointing-oil-in-the-bible-verses-about-anointing-oil/ https://youthgroupministry.com/lessons/mary-anoints-jesus-john-121-8-youth-bible-lesson-on-gifts-of-great-value/ Music by The Muse Maker
06:19
May 11, 2022
"CARRYING DIRT" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 27: God's graciousness is always available for us to lean upon in our faith. We must lean upon it so that we can extend that grace to those whom we serve.
"CARRYING DIRT" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 27: In 2 Kings 5, there is an intriguing and wonderful story about Elisha the prophet. The general for Israel’s enemy’s army learns from a captured Israelite woman that an Israelite prophet can heal him from his skin disease. The fast version of the story is that Naaman eventually goes to Elisha, does what he says, and is healed. Much of the story is controversial, but there is an act of faith which leads to belief. Naaman now wants to serve Elisha’s God. Elisha won’t accept any of Naaman’s gifts for the healing. Naaman says he will have to bow before the God of his native land, Aram, because he escorts the king in…but his heart now belongs to the God of Israel. He then asks for two mule-loads of dirt. A funny thing to ask. He could just find a piece of land and take dirt and no one would think much of this, I’d imagine. When is the last time you heard of anyone being territorial over a few square yards of soil? Elisha permits him to take it—to bow before the god of Aram—and to go on his way. Naaman wants the dirt because, to him, Israel’s God is god of that land. Once he goes back to Aram, he’ll be in the land of that god. He wants to take some of Israel back with him so he can bow down upon it and worship the God of that dirt. Now…Elisha knows this is not necessary, that God is god of the the whole world…but he let’s Naaman take the dirt. He could stop him and explain to him what he has come to know and correct Naaman’s thinking, but he doesn’t. Elisha blesses Naaman by allowing and affirming Naaman to worship the only way he knows how. That is grace, my friends. As ministers, we often come across situations and conversations where we have to decide…is this worth speaking to? Should I correct this kind of thinking? Should I make sure this person, student, or parent understands things like I understand them…or do I bless them by affirming them to love and live the best they know how? There are times when teaching is the right thing. But there are times when we nod and let people carry on the way they know how. …because God is already there for them. God will be what God will be (that’s the very name of God, actually), so we can let God be what God will be. Chances are strong we have a different understanding of God and faith today than we did 10 years ago, right? Chances are just as strong we will have as much of a different understanding 10 years in the future as we did 10 years in the past. God has met us where we are every time. So praise God for that! Smile at God’s grace. Whatever it is that is your mule-load of dirt today—whatever is a simple enough understanding—celebrate God’s gracious love to welcome it. And extend that grace to others. We serve a beautiful God, don’t we? God is good, all the time…and all the time…God is good. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). Music by The Muse Maker
06:22
May 09, 2022
"FIND A MENTOR" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 26: In a vocation where it's easy to feel isolated and alone, the need for a mentor is more important than ever.
"FIND A MENTOR" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 26: In a vocation where it's easy to feel isolated and alone, the need for a mentor is more important than ever. I’ve had dozens of different jobs in various commercial venues in my lifetime. I searched long and hard until I finally answered the call to ministry. Of all the jobs I’ve ever had, MINISTRY is the easiest one to find yourself on an island. Do you know what I’m talking about? If I were a gambler, I’d bet you know exactly what I’m talking about. We have our calling which leads us to devote our time and energy to learning and growing and pouring ourselves into people and programs and ministry… Pretty soon we see the world and the church and ourselves in a very different light than the average lay person. It’s not “better” or “worse” per se, it’s just different. We carry on conversations many times with people who are in a different stage of faith than us or who believe and understand God in different ways. We nod along, speak their language, and meet them where they are…all the while holding back some things we really are thinking and feeling. Because you are a minister, it’s much harder to have true friendships in the church. Our role and authority mean we cannot have relationships with members of our church that we could if we weren’t in our position. Even other ministers often think, feel, understand, and operate in different ways. It’s so easy to be evaluating things they are saying or doing through the lens of your own theology…that you find you cannot even open up fully to them. Your friends and family even have new dynamic when you are a minister.  It’s easy to feel alone. It’s easy to get burned out. It’s easy to go 6, 7, 10, 12 months without taking time off to just be a person outside of your role. So…one helpful solution to the struggle we face as ministers…is to get a mentor. Chances are strong you’ve encountered someone who has helped guide you along the way in your calling. Even if you aren’t a minister, you’ve had people who have helped you learn and grow. It’s very important as a minister to find a person—or a group—to establish a relationship with where you can be completely open, honest, and committed to learning and growing. It’s ideal to find a mentor whom you look up to. Someone who has characteristics you hope to see in yourself as a minister. Maybe a strong leader, maybe a compassionate listener, maybe a creative thinker, maybe someone who has a great depth of understanding regarding leadership, maybe someone who inspires you to dream, maybe someone who is a step or two further down the road of faith, (if they are too far down the road, it will be hard to understand them), maybe someone believes in you, Ask that person or people to commit to one hour a month…or one hour a week to just connect via telephone or face-to-face over a meal to connect. If you already have a person like that in your life, then commit to making time with them regularly. https://10bibleverses.com/biblical-reference/encouraging-scripture-for-pastors-and-church-leaders/ Find someone who can see you and your life from an outside perspective and whom you can trust to vent to, confess to, and struggle with. God places these people in our lives, so open your eyes and notice them… Then ask them to commit to you. Chances are strong that people will be honored to do this with and for you. Every biblical character I can think of had someone to help guide them along their path. Find yours today. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). https://sundayschool.store/collections/the-sanford-curriculum Music by The Muse Maker
06:29
May 06, 2022
"TITHING YOUR TIME" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 25: Ministers are called to serve their congregations AND communities. It's the community part that can be overwhelming, especially these days."
"TITHING YOUR TIME" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 25: This is a simple idea that comes from my work as a minister concerning issues that are present in my community—probably in yours as well. I live just outside of Louisville, KY. Over the past few years, there have been a handful of situations that have occurred here which involve issues of racism. You may have heard of Breonna Taylor—if not, you can read about what happened to her pretty easily on Google. Perhaps you have had things occur in your community that bring us, as ministers, into a hard arena of conversation and work for justice. No matter who you are or how you vote, we are all affected by issues of justice. If you’re like me, you have wrestled with the question, what do I do, as a person…as a minister…as a human being? How much impact do my efforts even have? How much change could I actually bring? You can fixate on these questions until you find yourself either 1. motivated to get involved…or 2. overwhelmed by the mountain of brokenness which stands before you. If you don’t get involved…you may struggle with a feeling that you aren’t helping to make things better. If you do get involved…you may struggle with knowing how much is enough? I’m several years into this arena and I’m still wrestling and asking questions of myself. I’ve started a social justice ministries team at our church—albeit, a small one, and we are working to grow the church’s awareness and involvement. But still…what is enough? What is not enough? What is too much? Is there a TOO MUCH? In this current season, I’ve come to a place of resolution for myself as a minister. I’ve certainly lost sleep over wondering what I’m called to do and how much… Where I’m at currently is embracing the idea of tithing my time. You know the word “tithe,” right? It means 1/10th Literally, the word means a tenth. We often use it when it comes to worshiping and giving to God in gratitude for all we are given. It took my wife and I a while to commit to tithing my money, but we got there and we are so glad we did. Well…when it came to figuring out how much of my time I give to issues of community issues and social justice, I decided to operate with the same mentality. So…1/10th of my time goes to that kind of work in my ministry. I suppose my expected time per week is 40 hours, so I work to give 4 hours of that to this kind of work. I have had so much more peace about my commitment and involvement with this type of work since committing to tithing my time. That time consists of reading, studying, teaching, connecting with people outside of the church, and having conversation at opportune times. I’m committed to 1/10th of my time—and having a peace that THAT is enough. Maybe something comes along that has me re-think what I commit to give, but this was a “start somewhere” kind of approach to it all. It’s helped me to actually be committed, but not feel overwhelmed. Whatever pulls at your heart…whatever inspires you in your work and ministry and community as a person and minister, consider tithing your time each week to devote your effort to what you feel called to be and do. Start there…and just see what God can accomplish in and through you. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). Music by The Muse Maker
05:51
May 04, 2022
"THE LORD'S PRAYER" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 24: There is an approach to the Lord's Prayer which can offer us a way to be grounded on the Kingdom of God for today in all we do. Here is that way.
I want to offer short homily today on The Lord’s Prayer. I once learned of a way to understand this prayer which has been such a blessing for me. I’m hoping it is a blessing for you too. Now…I’ll assume you know this prayer from Matthew 6. I’ll also assume we all know this prayer in different ways. Some of us know the oldest version which does not have the final line… and most of us say this prayer weekly which DOES include the final benediction line. Whatever translation you know… whichever one you use… whichever you prefer… This approach to the prayer can be a blessing. Our Father who is in heaven, uphold the holiness of your name. Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven. Give us the bread we need for today. Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us. And don’t lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. The basic idea to the approach I want to share concerns with helping us be present and founded upon today. https://sundayschool.store/products/the-lord-s-prayer-5-lesson-sunday-school-curriculum-for-kids It’s all about focusing on what is right in front of you and allowing yourself to not fixate on something that will or might happen tomorrow or that happened yesterday. It works like this: Our Father in heaven, uphold the holiness of your name. (honoring God as a close and connected parent—the word for father is Abba…the word used by small children when addressing their daddy.) the second line is about our desire to focus on the Kingdom coming to earth for us and through us. We call upon God to bring divine reign to our lives and world while we also commit ourselves to living under the full reign of God right here and now. Who we are, what we do, how we talk and respond to others and devote our time…is about what God would have us do. We will live today as if heaven is already among us. then we turn to the center line of the prayer. give us the bread we need for today. This is more than food, but certainly includes food. What we need—to live—we trust you will provide. We need more than food in our stomachs. We need wisdom and life and purpose and meaning and joy and growth. We trust God to provide it. If our needs for today are met—we can focus all the more on living in the Reign of God in all we say, do, and are. Forgive us our wrongs as we forgive those who have wronged us. Don’t lead us into temptation and deliver us from the evil one. Essentially, may we know our future is secure in you…so that we are not distracted today from living in God’s Reign. It’s all about living in God’s Reign today. We trust that God will be our God. We commit to living into the reality of God’s eternal Reign We trust our day’s needs to God. We trust our past to God We trust our future to God. With our needs, past, and future secure…we can focus on what is right in front of us. And through that focus and commitment to God’s Reign in all we say and do…we will find life in every step. what a blessing, indeed. May you continue to say this prayer. May you say it daily as you reflect upon each line. May it help you receive the joy and life the Reign of God offers you today and may you offer it to others in all you do. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford).  https://10bibleverses.com/biblical-reference/what-is-a-devotional-how-to-have-a-quiet-time-with-god-using-prayer-and-bible-study/  Music by The Muse Maker
06:28
May 02, 2022
"MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 23: Everyone to which we minister is different and learns differently. There are resources to help us connect with as many people as possible.
Today’s break is called “Multiple Intelligences” I’ve tried to bring some resources to light for you all — there are so many good ones out there to help us become better and to bring new energy into our passion of ministry. Multiple Intelligences is a resource you may have run across before. If not, the basic idea is about how to create an environment that maximizes the ability for everyone in the room to learn and connect with what you are trying to teach. Some people can listen to what you say and just get it—they understand. Others won’t—they need a relationship connection. It’s how you respond to their questions that will help them connect. For others it’s about how the rest of the room is connecting. They learn through others. Some learn because you bring a song into the environment that teaches the main point through notes and melody. Some will learn because that song has motions and they motions help them connect the words to their hearts through movement. https://youthgroupministry.com/youth-group-lessons/Others will connect most by being outside in nature—they will encounter God and the mysteries of our faith through mountains and stars and trees and animals. Still others will learn because of the way you decorated the room. Or how you had them sit or stand or follow in a line or do a craft. Everyone is different. The temptation for us is to focus on the intelligence that best fits with us. I’m ALWAYS trying to give people books to read…because that’s how I learn. It’s natural for me to think, “I loved this book and it changed my life…of course it will change theirs too.” But…it probably won’t. They may need to watch a video or have conversation with me about it. They may need to poke and prod. Or they may need to participate in a small group who discusses it. Or they may need to go to an art exhibit that connects that lesson with visual wonder. Some people learn best from my sermons because I use slides—they would’t get it otherwise. Or some need me to use an object lesson…or a story to better illustrate it. Jesus used parables, stories, fish, trees, healings, water, and much more to help reveal his message and purpose. You get the idea. When you plan your stuff, whatever it is…bring multiple intelligences into it. You can Google “multiple intelligences” and find plenty of resources to help you better develop your skill at involving multiple ways for people to connect. Have fun, expand your repertoire…and keep doing what you do best, my friend…keep ministering for Jesus Christ. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). https://youthgroupministry.com/ Music by The Muse Maker https://sundayschool.store/collections/curriculum
05:00
April 29, 2022
"IT'S NOT YOU" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 22: Our line of work can bring us face to face with some difficult people who are responding poorly AT us. It's important to maintain a healthy perspective.
Today’s break is called, “It’s not you” I did some work as a chaplain in a hospital intensive care unit as a part of my training. I walked with many people through incredibly difficult times. One family was in a small room with myself and the doctor as they were being told their loved one had a tragic setback from which they could not revive her. I had been in this particular room many times with many families. Everyone responds differently. After the doctor left, I sat next to a family member and asked if they would like me to pray. Another family member a few chairs away looked at me and screamed, “I want you to get out of this room, right now!” I had never encountered that response before. I maintained composure and slowly left the room saying, “I’ll be right out here if anyone needs anything.” I walked out and noticed I was full of tension and anxiety. I was shocked by it all. My mind flooded with questions like, “What did I do?” “What did I say?” Suddenly, my training kicked in and I realized, I didn’t say or do anything to bring that kind of reaction. That person had just met me moments prior. All that had happened was they received terrible news. They didn’t kick the doctor out of the room—or maybe they would’ve if the doctor hadn’t already left. What I came to realize is that I represented God to them. As the chaplain, that is normal. They were mad at God and they needed to kick God out of the room. Honestly, I was honored to give them that opportunity. What they needed was to be angry. I doubt they stayed in that angry state forever. I’m hopeful they made peace with God. If I hadn’t had my training, I would’ve fixated on what had happened and would’ve thought it was my fault. It’s not always our fault, friends. When someone gets upset with you or something you did or said or taught or changed… More often than not, they aren’t angry at you. Rather, you represent something that makes them angry. You give that something a face and body to which they can react and respond. Many times, outside of the chaplain setting, I’ve received angry comments and responses from people. Maybe the worship service didn’t have the exact kind of music style people wanted that day. Maybe a committee they are a part of didn’t approve their idea. Maybe they had a fight with their spouse or friend that morning and are still angry. Maybe they found out they have a disease that no one knows about yet and they haven’t worked through their anger—and I was just in the wrong place at the right time. It’s healthy for us to take a moment and discern—and most helpful when we do with with a mentor or peer. Many times, it’s not you, my friend. Remember, Jesus was killed by people who could not have possibly been angry with Jesus. He loved and welcomed and healed and blessed and redeemed those who had been cast out. Jesus represented their fear that they were in the wrong. Jesus represented the truth they already knew, deep down. When we follow Jesus as ministers, we follow him into the same line of work. Try and stay focused and remember, it’s not you. Maybe you can even serve people in that moment by letting them kick you out of the room. Whatever it is, we can serve them with love while also not letting ourselves get dragged down. May you be blessed and encouraged as you serve your people—especially when your service is in the midst of pain and anger. In those times, may you look to Christ and remember that we sometimes are called to walk his road to crosses. May your road be like his…and lead to new life for you and those whom you serve. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). Music by The Muse Maker https://ministry-to-children.com/winning-over-stubborn-church-members/
06:58
April 27, 2022
"PLANTING SEEDS" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 21: Ministry means being called to serve a person or people in a particular time and place. We are called to serve faithfully in THAT time and space.
There’s this great scene in one of Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth. The scene is familiar—some of the people of that church are arguing about whose teaching they will follow. Some say it’s Paul, some a guy named Apollo, and others Peter. Basically, these three have a different focus when it comes to following Jesus Christ. They are on the same team striving for the same things, but in different ways. Paul responds with a beautiful question: Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you, or were you baptized in Paul’s name? A couple of chapters later he asks, “After all, what is Apollos? What is Paul? They are servants who helped you to believe. Each one had a role given to them by the Lord: I planted, Apollos watered, but God made you grow.” What a poignant message for us, as ministers. It’s tempting for us to get the idea that it’s all up to us. I’ve even heard some ministers say that. Someone’s life, their salvation, their entire eternal existence falls on your shoulders. No, Paul says. We have a role to play and it’s God who truly brings the growth, healing, and life. Maybe our role is temporary. For children and youth ministers, we know this better than most. We plant seeds, like Paul. Sometimes, though rarely, we get to see those seeds grow and mature. Many times we do not. We know what it is to trust God to continue to work in a person’s life long after they are no longer being watered by us. Sometimes, we can see a person growing down the road through someone else’s ministry. That can hurt at times. We wanted to be a part of what is happening in a person’s life. Maybe we don’t quite agree with everything that young person is being taught later. We would have done it differently. It can haunt us. But I encourage you to think like Paul. Sometimes we plant and others water. Sometimes others planted and we water. We have our role and calling in a person’s life for a particular time and place. That particular time and place is up to God. Do the best you know how to do—even though chances are strong you’ll think much differently 10 years down the road than you do now. Trust that you are where you need to be for others who have been placed in your care. Trust that God is working through you and will continue to work through others for the sake of each and every blessed soul you nurture. Remember that it is Jesus Christ who was crucified and it’s God who brings the growth through the Holy Spirit. It’s not all on you. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! https://sundayschool.store/collections/the-sanford-curriculum Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). Music by The Muse Maker https://ministry-to-children.com/best-childrens-bibles/ https://youthgroupministry.com/youth-group-lessons/
05:18
April 25, 2022
"THE BIGGER PICTURE" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 20: Our Good News is that the battle is already won for all of Creation. Sometimes we get wrapped up in smaller battles when we shouldn't.
I’m a big fan of football. I love to watch it, play it, talk it and learn it. Something happened several years ago that I come back to time and again. There was a team that had battled all the way to the end of the game. They were up by 1 point with less than 10 seconds to go in the game. They had the other team backed up about 30 yards out of field goal range meaning the game was all but over. Just stop the team for one or two more plays and get the win. But what happened next was just mind-boggling. The opposing team ran a play and were stopped. So…victory was even closer…EXCEPT…there was a penalty. This means that the clock is stopped preserving time for the opposing team. AND…the penalty was an unsportsmanlike conduct—basically…someone lost their cool and let their emotions get the best of them which led them to do something that had nothing to do with the game. Not only did the clock stop, but the opposing team got to move the ball 15 yards. Just a few seconds left to run one last play. They stopped them again…EXCEPT…they got another unsportsmanlike penalty. The clock was at zero, but a game cannot end on a penalty, so they moved the ball forward another 15 yards which means the opposing team got to run one last play IN field goal range. They kicked the winning field goal. The team who had the lead gave the game up because a couple of guys were getting into fights on the field instead of playing the game. Victory was theirs…but they lost sight of the game and got into little games that had nothing to do with their team. All they had to do was remember the bigger game and they would’ve won. _______________________- We do this sometimes, don’t we? https://sundayschool.works/bible-verses/bible-verses-for-anxiety/ We are Christians who know that the ultimate outcome of Creation has already been determined by our faithful God through our obedient Lord, Jesus Christ. One day, the Apostle Paul says, “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” The revelator says in the bible’s final book that the earth and heaven will be united and come down in the form of a new city. All of the nations will be healed by the new Creation. The victory is won. But we know of plenty of people who get wrapped up in other little games that have nothing to do with the bigger victory. We lose our heads at times about what we do or don’t agree on. We contemplate being divided over things that don’t really matter. We have trouble keeping dogma and doctrine clearly distinguished. Maybe you struggle with this. Maybe some of your peers or colleagues do. Maybe your church is struggling with this. It’s easy to get wrapped up in it all… to lose sight of the bigger victory. Today, my hope is that you will remember to take a breath and look up at the scoreboard—to use the football game metaphor. Look at the score…see the victory already secured…remember it’s just a matter of time. Keep your mind and heart focused on the bigger matters you are called to work towards. Let the smaller stuff remain small. Trust in Jesus Christ who trusts in you to be a disciple and minister. The fight we needed fought is already won. Praise God! Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). https://sundayschool.store/collections/the-sanford-curriculum Music by The Muse Maker https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/earth-day-scriptures/ https://ministryanswers.com/
06:15
April 22, 2022
"EARS & EYES" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 19: Misunderstanding other people is a normal part of our lives. We can and should embrace diversity as an intentional part of God's plan for the church.
Do you ever have moments when your people don’t seem to understand you or one another? Or maybe you don’t understand them? Or maybe other ministers from other churches are doing/believing/practicing/preaching things that just don’t make sense or connect with you.  It can lead to all sorts of questions. It can be unsettling. It can even lead us to judgment and resentment and frustration among other things. Are you with me? Has this happened to you? You are not alone.  The Apostle Paul dealt with this time and again. He traveled around Asia Minor and helped found churches among all sorts of people and cultures. He got to know a myriad of people with a myriad of perspectives. And he did this without a single Gospel narrative!! There was no Christian scripture at his disposal. He couldn’t read from any of the 27 books we now read from regularly. I don’t know how he did it, honestly, except by the Holy Spirit.  Multiple times he wrote letters to groups who were struggling to understand one another. Multiple times he uses the image of the body to help people find peace with unity that was not uniform. (By the way…that’s what we’re after…unity…but not uniformity) —this is why I love that we have different denominations. People will connect with you church that wouldn’t connect with the church across town…and vice versa.  I turn to Paul’s image of the body to help me. He says in 1 Corinthians 12 we are all different parts of the same body. This can be applied to a congregation… and it can be applied to congregations who are part of a denomination… and to denominations part of the whole worldwide upper case C, Church.  He gives this funny account of an ear telling an eye they aren’t part of the body because they aren’t an ear. An entire body of ears couldn’t do much, right? It would be excellent at hearing…assuming it had a brain to process the sound. A body of eyes would be great at seeing, right. But neither body holds a candle to a body with both an ear and an eye. The ear can’t say to the eye, “You don’t belong.” First off, without a mouth, the ear can’t say anything. And, without ears of its own, the eye can’t even hear what the ear is saying. In fact, if the ear and eye were able to have a conversation…could they even explain to the other what they do? How do you explain sight to an ear? How do you explain sound to an eye?  So many times today, I wonder if various groups of Christians who are debating the things they debate are just like a group of ears and eyes trying to explain what is unexplainable. They have an entirely different sense of what is going on…and they expect the other group to understand. Sometimes…we can’t. And that’s ok! It’s even good! This is what makes us diverse and far more able to accomplish our mission on this world than a bunch of churches that are all eyes or ears or hands or feet, etc.  We need each other. And we need each other to be different for the sake of better serving the whole body.  So…the next time you find yourself struggling with someone’s point of view or understanding…just picture yourself as an eye and the other person as an ear…and know that, perhaps, you aren’t even able to understand one another. But you can still praise God for the abilities you both are offering for the good of the body. You can trust the Spirit knows what its doing in bringing it all together.  Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford).  https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/10-bible-verses-for-encouragement/ https://sundayschool.store/collections/free-downloads 
06:26
April 20, 2022
"GROUNDED IN THE MOMENT" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 18: Sometimes we all need a moment to connect to the moment. Here is a simple tool to help us pause and be grounded in what is happening right now.
4/18 Grounded in the Moment Alright! Easter has arrived! He is risen!! He is risen, indeed! This is an exciting time. I hope your Easter services were wonderful and inspiring and packed with faces you’ve never seen before. Maybe you saw a large crowd of Chreasters or CEOs…or perhaps you saw some people you’ll be seeing again next week. This is a great time. I want to share with you a simple exercise that can help us take a moment and be grounded in the now. If you ever feel disconnected from the moment—because maybe things are too exciting… or maybe things are overwhelming… or they are happening too fast… or you have too many good ideas all at once… or too many bad realizations… A quick way to reconnect to the moment is to become aware of what you are sensing. The exercise is simple—and you can participate in it right now, if you’d like…or you can write it down and try it later. First…name 5 things you are seeing right now. Go ahead…what are five things you see. Name colors or objects or whatever. 5 of them—go Now…name 4 things you are hearing. What are four different things you can hear with your ears. Name 3 things you can feel. Maybe a breeze on your skin. Maybe your clothes. Maybe your breath on your lip. Name 2 things you can smell. Name 1 thing you can taste. And suddenly…you are grounded in the moment. You are noticing where you are and what is happening around you in within you. This is a great method of grounding. If you are feeling like the moment is rushing by you…try walking through the senses. Mix up how many of what sense you name. If you need to slow down…or savor the moment…or calm down…try this. Also, this is a great tool to use for someone who is anxious or a bit panicky. If someone is overwhelmed, sit or stand close to them and walk through the senses 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and have then tell you what they are experiencing. Watch as they slow down, calm down, and become grounded with you. It’s simple, it’s beautiful, and it’s helpful in a variety of circumstances. You are doing a great job, my friend. You are serving God You are witnessing for Jesus Christ You are sharing in the life of the Holy Spirit Keep up the good work and, if you need it from time to time, find ways to be grounded in the moment so that you don’t miss a single thing. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). Music by The Muse Maker https://sundayschool.works/lessons/mothers-day/ https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/mothers-day-bible-verses/ https://ministry-to-children.com/mothers-day-lesson/
05:49
April 18, 2022
"VISIT OTHER CHURCHES' WEBSITES" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 17: The resources available to us are endless; are you taking advantage of this gift? Connecting and learning from others is key.
4/15 Visit other churches’ websites One of the greatest things about being in ministry is the age of our trade. People have been ministering for Jesus Christ and The Gospel for 2,000 years. There are 380,000 churches in the United States alone. —all striving for the same mission. They strive in different ways, yes, but they have the same goal. When is the last time you visited another church’s website? When is the last time you called another church and had conversation or met for coffee with the minister who serves the same group you do? Google is amazing. Or Bing, or whatever you use to search. Search for churches in your area. Find a few churches that share in your identity: Baptist, Methodist, Non-denominational, DOC, COC, Roman Catholic, or whatever your church’s identity is. If there aren’t any churches that share your identity, then look for one that’s about your same size—in a community close in size to yours. Look at their website. What are they doing in ministry? What activities are they creating? What does their ministry page look like? What do you see? Can you find contact info for their minister? Email or call them. Introduce yourself and arrange a time to meet. Ask them about their ministry Tell them about yours Share ideas Share experiences Learn from each other Teach each other You are not in this calling alone. You are a part of an ancient tradition. Find people whom you can partner with as peers. Find a conference you can attend and gather with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of fellow ministers. See what ideas are out there. Every idea that’s ever been done in ministry was inspired by the same Holy Spirit, yes? So glean from the work of the Spirit in others’ ministries to help your own inspiration. Take an idea, play with it, adapt it, share with your volunteers, pray over it, and let the Spirit help mold it for your ministry in your context. Then share with other ministry leaders in your community about it. Help them learn and grow. Become a community of ministry leaders and take advantage of this wonderfully large community of Jesus Christ disciples at our disposal. Iron sharpens iron. But that can only happen when you actually bring the pieces of iron together to connect and impact one another. Visit other church’s websites. Call and connect with your peers. Share ideas. Share in prayer. Help each other get better. And put the calling of unity into practice for the good of the calling. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). Music by The Muse Maker https://ministry-to-children.com/the-best-childrens-ministry-podcasts/ https://ministry-to-children.com/lessons/ https://ministryanswers.com/
05:21
April 15, 2022
"WHERE ARE YOU PLANTED?" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 16: Being aware of where you are planted (using Psalm 1 as a guide) is crucial for ministry leaders. Knowing this can help you stay on task.
4/13 Where are you planted?  As ministers, we have perspective on life and ministry others do not. We see behind the curtain of activities, programming, and meetings. We can get caught up in the group-think of our people and not realize it. Group-think is not inherently bad—not at all. We need to be in community. Our faith is personal, but it certainly isn’t private.  As a church, we are to be united as sisters and brothers. As a ministry leader, we are to help our church by being critical thinkers. We need to evaluate the group-think to make sure we are staying on task for our mission.  Psalm 1 has this great opening set of triplets. A triplet is a repeated phrase (repeated three times—go figure) which helps land an idea. The opening lines of the book of Psalms features a fascinating triplet which is not efficiently translated in every version.  The triplet reads: Blessed is the one who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the manner of living of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers but their joy is in the law of the Lord, and on the Lord’s law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, they bring forth fruit in its season and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.  This movement from walking to standing to sitting is a perfect image for what we do. In our humanity, we are always striving for wisdom. We might find a source of wisdom in a group of people: maybe a church, maybe a political party, maybe a local community, maybe a sorority, fraternity, whatever. We start walking with the group. Then…we stand—more firmly founded upon their character and manner of living. Then…when we are really committed, we sit down because that is the place we choose to reside.  When you’re walking, you can change direction When you’re standing, you can move fairly easily to a new location But when you sit down…you are planning to be there a while. The second triplet uses the image of being planted. Hebrews love trees, so it’s no wonder we have this image here. When you place your joy in the Lord and the Lord’s law—meditating day and night—when you choose to reside for a while in God’s way…  You are like a tree who not only finds the ability to dig your roots deeper into the soil to find greater sustenance, but you also become fruitful and can benefit everything around you. You produce fruit for its season—sometimes the fruit changes from season to season. You can adapt to what is needed. Your life-source, your leaves, will not wither. and everything you seek to do…you will prosper in…because God’s way and manner of living is the ultimate source of LIFE.  Have you meditated on Scripture through this process?  As a leader, we must meditate day and night upon where we are choosing to walk, sit, and stand. We must be mindful of where we are putting down our roots. We must be ready for the changing needs of each season. And, when planted firmly on the way of God, we can be confident in the changing of the seasons…because, in all we do, we will prosper.  What prospering looks like may change from time to time…and it does. But fear not. If you are planted in God…you can rest assured. Even if the season is one of dormancy, you need not worry. God is your source of life.  Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford).  Music by The Muse Maker https://youthgroupministry.com/youth-group-games/ https://sundayschool.works/lessons/easter-sunday-school-lesson/ https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/bible-verses-about-miracles/
06:43
April 13, 2022
"THE BIGGER YES" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 15: Saying "no" can be difficult, as a minister. Learning the practice of knowing your bigger "YES" will help you discern how to know when to say, "no."
4/11 The bigger YES There’s a scene in Luke 4:42 where people ask Jesus to stay with them and continue to heal those in need. Jesus tells them, “No.” It may seem harsh, but Jesus has a bigger YES. There are times in ministry when a variety of people have ideas about the work you are seeking to accomplish. There are times when you have a great number of ideas and opportunities before you. Sometimes, these great numbers can be overwhelming. After all, you can only accomplish so much. With a large amount of choices and opportunities inevitably comes the difficult moments when we must say, “No.” Or maybe someone needs you to serve in a capacity that is beyond your particular role. Maybe you’re paid staff or a volunteer who is serving in a ministry leadership position and another need of the church pops up and YOU are asked to help fill in. As a minister, I am very sensitive to burning people out. I am mindful of not overwhelming people with requests and duties. It’s so easy to just keep asking someone to do additional things. One more small thing is no big deal, but several small things can add up quickly in the amount of time and energy required beyond what a person was already doing. No one wants to say, “No.” Some of you are good at saying, “No.” And that’s a great thing! Others of you are not good at saying, “No.” I want to offer a perspective that might be helpful in moments where you realize you are wanting to say, “No” to something being asked of you. I call it the “bigger YES” We all were called into ministry—no matter in what capacity you serve. You were called…and you said, “Yes.” Perhaps your, “Yes” was largely due to a specific vision you had… or you have a particular passion for the ministry… you said, “Yes,” because you knew your gifts would serve the need well. But then you were asked to do more…or something different than what you feel called to do. There are many times we are asked to do more than we are able. What is the most important part of your calling in ministry for today? Will this new thing being asked of you interfere with your BIGGER YES of calling? If not, then…maybe you should consider doing this new thing. But if this new thing WILL interfere with your BIGGER YES, then you have to decide which thing you will say YES to: the first or bigger calling…or the new thing? What is your bigger YES? To say YES to your bigger yes, you might have to say, “No” to something else. You aren’t doing anyone or anything wrong by staying true to your deepest or biggest commitments. In fact, saying, “No” to something else can, at times, be the best way to honor your deepest and biggest commitments. Sometimes the only way to say YES to your bigger YES is to say NO to something else. One of my bigger YESes is my family. If taking on more evening meetings and more out-of-town conferences means I’m spending more evenings away from my family each week than I get to spend WITH them…then I have to say NO to some really great, exciting, and wonderful opportunities. I cannot say YES to everything. So…what is my Bigger YES? And how can I best honor that today or this week? Prioritize your YESes. Rank them. List them in order. Honor the bigger YES…even if it means saying “no” to something else. Message brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum (Student ministry resources available on The Sunday School Store written by he and Lauren Sanford). https://sundayschool.store/collections/curriculum https://sundayschool.store/collections/curriculum https://youthgroupministry.com/youth-group-lessons/
06:40
April 11, 2022
"BREATH PRAYER" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 14: Breath & prayer are wonderful spiritual partners to help us embrace peace in the moment; here's a simple tool to help you be grounded in the Holy Spirit.
Breath prayer is a simple prayer technique that can offer tremendous comfort, guidance, help, and calm amid the busyness. The idea is simple: Close your eyes and take a slow breath in. As you breathe in, silently offer up a title for God. Jesus, Jesus Christ, Lord, Savior, Creator, Father, Mother, Giver of Life, Holy Spirit, Sustainer, Redeemer, etc. Whatever title you feel like using…use it as you inhale. Then exhale as you offer a prayer. you can make a request or offer praise or simply make a statement. Give me strength, Holy are You!, you are the giver of life, you are God, help me!, etc. Then repeat this prayer as you continue to breathe…in/out…in/out…until you are ready to open your eyes and resume your day. One of my go-tos is “Holy Lord, I am Wholly Yours.” In moments where I’m struggling to maintain composure, or keep my cool, or not lose it, or freak out, or get angry…I close my eyes and breathe deeply while saying, “Holy Lord, I am Wholly Yours.” It’s a good reminder as well as an accountability statement. Holy Lord—you who are set apart…who doesn’t look or act like anyone else… I am Wholly Yours—You are my God and I am your child…every part of me…not just 50% or 99% or the part that is able to keep my cool…every part…so I need to let that identity guide me in this moment. I…am…wholly…yours… In/out, in/out, in/out. It gives us a soul time-out It lets us get out of our heads and get out of the moment and simply dwell in a Holy Peace using the very Divine Breath we were given at our birth. Try this the next time you need to decompress or take a soul time-out. In the thick of Holy Week…when you are trying to soak every ounce of glory and meaning you can from the Easter events are happening around you…while at the same time trying to implement your ministry with students…when the moment becomes less-than-calm and holy for you…take 30 seconds and try a breath prayer. In the morning…before you begin the day Later when you enter your office and sit down…before you get to work When you sit down at a table with food…before you eat When you enter into your ministry space with your students…before you start the activity When you get home and switch gears from the busyness of the day to your own time of rest and relaxation… When you lie down in the evening…to remind yourself of our place with God Whenever, wherever, however…offer a breath prayer And let your God-given breath be a source of peace, power, and presence for you Today's message is brought to you be Rev. Joseph Sanford of Sanford Curriculum -- children and youth resources created by he and Lauren Sanford.  These are available on The Sunday School Store. https://sundayschool.store/products/the-lord-s-prayer-5-lesson-sunday-school-curriculum-for-kids Music by The Muse Maker https://10bibleverses.com/biblical-reference/what-is-a-devotional-how-to-have-a-quiet-time-with-god-using-prayer-and-bible-study/ https://ministry-to-children.com/five-finger-prayer/
06:12
April 08, 2022
"TODAY IS A NEW DAY" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 13: God's grace gives us the chance to start each day anew. Let us reflect upon this grace with intention to remind ourselves of Divine love in Christ.
Coffee Break 13 - Today Is a New Day It’s about grace today. God’s grace is beyond our full understanding. Even when we have glimpses of it and bask in it…we eventually go back to thoughts that lead us to think that maybe God’s grace has limits. To illustrate this better, I want to tell a joke. There was a Priest who had lived in his community for years. He was well loved and respected. He was seen as a very upright man of the highest integrity. One day, the priest hears from some of his people that a woman in the area is telling everyone that she talks with God. Like…has audible conversations with God. The priest is skeptical. After hearing this talk from a number of people…he goes to investigate. The woman answered the door when he knocked. He said, “Good day, daughter.” “Good day, Father” she replies. “I hear from people around the area that you are talking with God.” “Oh yes, Father. We talk” “Well, can you talk with God now? I’d love to be a part of this miraculous interaction.” “Oh, no, Father. God hasn’t talked with me today. I don’t always know when I’ll be able to talk with God.” “Hmmm.” said the priest. “I’m struggling to believe you talk with God, please forgive me.” “Well, I understand, Father, but I truly do talk with God.” “Would you mind, then, the next time you talk with God, ask what I confessed in my last confession…and then you could tell me. Would that be okay?” A bit hesitantly she replied, “Sure, Father. I’ll ask God what you confessed in your last confession and I’ll tell you what was said.” “Wonderful! Thank you for your understanding and help.” “My pleasure, Father.” A few weeks later the priest hears talk about the woman talking with God again, so he goes straight to her home. “Hello, Father. I thought I might be seeing you today.” “Hello, daughter. I hear you’ve been talking with God and I wondered if you asked God about my last confession.” “Oh, yes, Father, I surely did. I asked God if you had confessed lately. God said, ‘Yes.’ So I asked God what you had confessed in your last confession.” “And…?” “Father, when it came to your last confession, God said, ‘I don’t remember.’” A silly joke, but one that communicates God’s grace well. Every day can be a fresh start for us and God. It doesn’t mean our relationship with other people don’t need confession, reconciliation, forgiveness, and grace too… But we can know that we are restored to God through Jesus Christ. You are a child of God, learning and growing and maturing every day. God loves you so much to come to you where you are, but God loves you too much to leave you there. Trust in God’s grace.  Let go of the things that are holding you back. Give yourself grace…because God has given grace to you in Jesus Christ. As the great theologian, Chicken Little, said in the Disney movie… “Today is a new day.” Live like the moments when you needed God’s grace yesterday have already been forgotten. Press on, Live better today, and let yesterday be a stepping stone on the path of growth. Message brought to you by Rev. Joseph Sanford from The Sanford Curriculum written by Joseph and Lauren Sanford and available on sundayschool.store Music brought to you by The Muse Maker: themusemaker.com https://sundayschool.store/collections/free-downloads https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/bible-verses-about-faith/ https://ministryanswers.com/
05:08
April 06, 2022
"WHAT INSPIRES YOU?" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 12: We need to know what inspires us--what we are passionate about--so we can participate in our God-given calling. Here's how to get started.
Coffee Break 12 - What Inspires You? No one stumbles into ministry. We were all called. No one would choose this unless they were called, right? Ministry is hard work—much of which is done behind the scenes. Sometimes we can get caught up in the routines of the work to the point where we run out of time to do the things which really inspire us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for emails and texts…but they don’t inspire me. I love meetings, but I’m rarely inspired by them. In my training I participated in a course called Christian Vocation. We explored what it means to live out a calling. One day we focused on what inspires us. They had an exercise for us to do to identify our inspiration. We did free-writing for 5 minutes on two statements. Free-writing is when you don’t stop writing for a designated amount of time. You just start writing whatever thought comes to your head. If you don’t have anything to write, then you write that—I don’t have anything to write—until something come to mind. We did 5 minutes of free-writing to finish two statement…one at a time. The irst was this, “I love it when…” I began writing for 5 minutes based on that intro. I love it when… I wrote and wrote about things and instances and dreams which brought great joy to me. The second was, “I get angry when…” 5 minutes: “I get angry when…” https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/what-are-the-top-10-bible-verses/ I wrote and wrote about things that really bothered me and incited anger within me. After we finished, we divided into groups of 3 or 4 and took turns reading each other’s free-writings. I was amazed at what I saw. No one wrote about what I did when it came to what they love or what made them angry. I had written about unity, connection, respect, dignity…and then lack of unity, connection, respect dignity. A friend wrote about nature and trees and then pollution and destruction. Another wrote about women’s rights and then about sex-trafficking. The point was to figure out where our heart was focused. On what work inspires us and fulfills the longing of our souls. We were encouraged to get involved in some what with the things that inspire us. I don’t know why I had assumed people loved and got angry about the same things I did. They didn’t. And I didn’t spend time dreaming and steaming about the things they did either. We realized that we are all given gifts and perspectives that vary. As a group of people, we were inspired to address a very high number of things in our community and world. It’s as if…we are all needed and all inspired to serve different needs. Which is, of course, the truth. You are needed and the need God has for you involves your inspiration. You may assume others see what you see, but they don’t. Others may assume you need to be inspired by what inspires them…but you may not be; and that’s okay. If you’ve been feeling like something is missing… That you love life and ministry and your family and everything else you can name…but you also feel like there’s more for you… try free-writing to see what it has to teach you. We are made to be inspired. We are made to be uniquely inspired. We are made to be a part of a larger body where many needs can be served together. So, my friend, go and find yours. Find what gets your heart pumping with both joy and frustration. Spend time in prayer about WHY those things get your heart pumping. Offer a prayer to God to help you live into what inspires you…and see where God takes you. Message brought to you by Rev. Joseph Sanford from The Sanford Curriculum written by Joseph and Lauren Sanford and available on sundayschool.store Music brought to you by The Muse Maker: themusemaker.com https://sundayschool.store/collections/easter-curriculum-for-childrens-ministry https://youthgroupministry.com/lessons/prodigal-son-youth-lesson-luke-15-gods-forgiveness-lesson/
05:30
April 04, 2022
"FIXING OUR EYES" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 11: Maintaining our course in ministry is a skill we must develop. Keeping our eyes on where we are headed is, in fact, how we get there.
Coffee break 11: How many times are you caught up in the details of what is right in front of you that you suddenly look back and realize you’ve not been headed in the direction upon which you set out? Maybe you accepted your calling into student ministry with some very specific ideas of the direction God intended you to go…but then…over time…you got caught up in some of the details and side issues that arose along the way…until suddenly you realize you aren’t headed in the direction of your calling anymore. https://ministry-to-children.com/childrens-ministry-is-the-highest-calling/ We can even forget what our calling is because of getting distracted and focused on the wrong details and situations that inevitably come in a life of ministry. Traditions, rituals, routines, and distractions have a tendency to demand our eyes look down from the course which we are on… they want our attention to be on them instead of them being the tools we use to accomplish our goals. Traditions and rituals can, over time, without us aware of it, become the very goals themselves! Suddenly we look around and realize…our path has taken a wrong turn. Throughout the Gospel stories Jesus was headed toward Jerusalem—to the center of religious and political power—to stand face to face with corruption. If he’d gotten side-tracked along the way… If he’d allowed the many things that popped up on his journey to divert his attention… He wouldn’t have stayed on his obedient path to the cross. He had his eyes fixed on Jerusalem. Even when he was headed in the other direction, he knew he was ultimately headed to Jerusalem. Where are our eyes fixed? On Jesus, yes, but how or why? What is your calling? What direction did you set out on when you said, “Yes” to ministry? Is your path still headed there? Have you gotten distracted? Have you gotten lost? Fix your eyes on the calling given to you by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Look up…let your eyes find what you need to be headed towards…and focus on that. Pretty soon you’ll be able to look back and see that you have been headed exactly to what and where you’ve been called to go. It’s okay to spend time looking at other people’s rows, but only for the purpose of building others up and offering encouragement as we all work together for the purpose of the Reign of God advancing on earth in the name of Jesus Christ. (Special thanks to Charlie Ketchen—who was the one who asked my dad about his rows and originally offered it as a devotion for his peers in his ministry work as a chaplain) https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/reward-bible-verse-gods-reward-scriptures/ Today's message is brought to you by Rev. Joseph Sanford from Sanford Curriculum -- where he works with Lauren Sanford to develop resources for children and youth ministry and is available on The Sunday School Store. https://sundayschool.store/ Music provided by The Muse Maker
05:28
April 01, 2022
"ALL I CAN DO" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 10: In the moments where you feel overwhelmed and outmatched, trust your calling. Relax, think, pay attention, and do the best you can...and let it be enough.
Coffee Break 10 - All I Can Do On February 14th, 2008 I was a server at a restaurant which no longer exists. It was a hotspot for Valentine’s Day reservations. In the thick of the rush the manager comes to me and says…he didn’t ask…he says, “Joe, one of the serves is being sent home and you’re going to take over their tables. They have 3 tables, 2 of which have people just arriving right now.” 5 tables needed visited to say hello, get drink orders, address questions, and then I had to get their drinks quickly enough to then start taking orders all while not ignoring any of the 6. In that moment, my heart sank to the floor. This is too much. It was a living nightmare—because I had nightmares all the time of exactly these circumstances. Maybe you have them about your job—the ones where everything goes wrong and you are completely overwhelmed. There I was…in the thick of the rush…completely overwhelmed and frozen in my tracks. The manager walked away—probably seeing the look on my face and making a fast exit before I could respond. What do you do when you have more to do than you can do? What do you do when the expectations are beyond your capability? A calm washed over me in that moment. A realization came to my head—I can only do what I can do. And then…I claimed that truth. I said it out loud, “I can only do what I can do.” I cannot do what I cannot do. I cannot expect myself to do what I cannot do. No one else can expect me to do what I cannot do. Whatever comes from this evening—good, bad, ugly, embarrassing…it’s beyond my control. I decided in that moment still standing there that I would simply take my time and make the most of every decision I made. I wasn’t going to run around like a maniac, because that would only cause more problems for me and my peers and my patrons. I walked calmly the whole night. I did all of the drink orders at once. If I had to take a trip to the back of the restaurant for a drink or napkin or whatever, I took a few seconds to think about other things I could accomplish in that trip. I gave my best effort to be as intentional and excellent as I could. And I trusted that to be enough…because it had to be. That was all I could do. People at the tables did not have the fastest service of their lives, but I didn’t make mistakes. I took my time talking with them. I looked at every drink each time I walked by to see if I could go ahead and grab one or two on my next trip to the back so that I wouldn’t suddenly find 10 glasses needing refilled. The night ended up being joyful. Stressful, but joyful. I made the best tips of my life that night. That night was not what I had planned. But I have looked back to that moment in front of my manager dozens of times since. In moments when I feel overwhelmed and the task before me suddenly becomes a mountain I wasn’t prepared to climb…I remember that calm. I can only do what I can do. I cannot do what I cannot do. I cannot expect myself to do what I cannot do. And no one else can either. I’ll do all I can do and trust that is enough. Because it has to be. Some people say, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I prefer to say, “God will help you handle all you’ve been given.” Sometimes the results aren’t as joyful as that night at the restaurant, but that’s okay. As long as I know I’ve given my best effort and been intentional with every step I took, I can be at peace. I can learn from mistakes, but I can also be at peace. If you are facing a monumental task today, breathe…pray…and let God’s peace wash over you. Just do all you can do. Do it as best as you can. Message brought to you by Rev. Joseph Sanford from The Sanford Curriculum written by Joseph and Lauren Sanford and available https://sundayschool.store/ Music brought to you by The Muse Maker: themusemaker.com https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/bible-verses-about-calling/
05:39
March 30, 2022
"ENNEAGRAM" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 9: An ancient Christian tool is available to provide us with insight about ourselves; what motivates us, drives us, and helps us discover who we really are.
"ENNEAGRAM" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 9: You were created by God. In the beginning of your life, you were raw and pure innocence and being. You were this precious baby who came into the world as a blank slate. You had no concept of color even in your first days, let alone the concept of guilt, shame, evil, sin, or judgment. That all came later.  All children have this innate sense of being and self. You can see a person’s personality and passions at a very young age which, mostly, do not change. Your authentic self is who you are in your heart. What you love, what makes you laugh, what makes you sad, what makes you angry, what excites you…all a part of your authentic self. Your adaptive self is the part of you which came in response to being in the world. You got a strong sense of what was expected of you at a young age. You learned how to make people happy, how to make them sad…or angry…or excited. You then adapted to the surroundings you were in…to survive and thrive. Some of those adaptations were great and wonderful things. You adapted to the etiquette of your culture to make good impressions. You showed to interview for your job having adapted to expectation…which paid off Some were not wonderful things. You may have felt like you were never good enough as a child, which is why you are ALWAYS trying to live up to expectation. You may have been made to feel lazy because you don’t particular activities. Maybe you prefer art to manual tasks. You may have felt like you needed to always be helping people at all times to the point where you feel shame if you aren’t serving someone in some way. Whatever it is…good or bad…your adaptive self is not your authentic self. Adaptive self is not bad.  There are 9 types of people in the Enneagram. Knowing your type can help you understand your authentic self and adaptive self better. This can help you love yourself better. I’m a 9—if you didn’t know. I’m a Peacemaker I see things from other perspectives. I’d be a terrible politician because I would see the legitimacy of all people’s views at the table. I’d struggle to make a decision because I would be perceptive more than able to make strong judgments. I tend to recoil when conflict arises. Now…because of the Enneagram I am aware of my adaptive self and why I struggle in certain situations. This means I can recognize how I need to apply myself and have grace with myself in those moments. I make decisions now knowing that I’ll not be fully comfortable with it. I can be present in conflict understanding why I am so anxious about it. I can also see through the adaptive tendencies to better understand who I am authentically. I can see how I’ve stifled parts of my soul because of my context. Now I’m working to set myself free in new ways. Jesus is always interested in who people are in their heart in scripture. Jesus is constantly healing people from the harms of their adaptive selves and reminding people that they are loved and valued for their authentic, precious, God-given passions and personality they entered this world with. You are precious to God. You were created authentically beautiful. You entered into a world full of flaws—this is what we refer to by original sin in my faith expression You’ve been hurt and had to adapt along the way. It’s okay. It’s part of being human. But I invite you to explore the Enneagram or whatever helps you embrace who were created to be in your heart. You will find joy, passion, strength, confidence, and purpose in this quest. Get the book “The Road Back to You” or “Self to Lose, Self to Find" to learn more. Message brought to you by Rev. Joseph Sanford from Sanford Curriculum found on The Sunday School Store. https://sundayschool.store/ https://ministry-to-children.com/the-best-childrens-ministry-podcasts/ https://10bibleverses.com/ Music brought to you by The Muse Maker.
06:23
March 28, 2022
"BE WHERE YOU ARE" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 8: It's important for us to take time to be in the present moment rather than reflecting upon the past or anticipating the future.
Welcome to Kid’s Ministry Coffee Break: today’s break is called “Stages of Faith” Have you taken a moment to breathe today? Are you dialed in to this time and claiming your window of rest and refreshment? Do you have your cup? If you’ve had the opportunity to receive education in the field of children or youth ministry, chances are strong you’ve heard the name Rev. Dr. James Fowler. He was a brilliant professor, teacher, and minister. He published a book in 1981 which gave us the stages of faith. Now…the reason I want to bring this up is because it’s helpful to know where people are in their faith development. It’s helpful to know where kids are as well as adults. Have you ever been doing your work and it just seems like some people don’t or won’t understand where you’re coming from? Jesus dealt with this ALOT! And we, as ministers, do too. It’s part of the process and calling of ministry. It’s hard when you are passionate and excited and want to share the joy and wisdom you’ve discovered only to be met with resistance or glazed eyes. Well…there are 6 stages of faith, according to James Fowler. People from one stage may have trouble understanding someone in the next stage. They will almost certainly NOT understand someone more than one stage away. It’s not a hierarchy. Rather than try to measure up…this is a way to understand why we might misunderstand one another. Today's message is brought to you by Rev. Joseph Sanford from Sanford Curriculum -- resources for children and youth created by he and Lauren Sanford and available on The Sunday School Store. Music by The Muse Maker. Download free Sunday School Lessons https://sundayschool.store/collections/free-downloads 52-Week Curriculum https://sundayschool.store/products/52-week-sunday-school-curriculum   Bible Verses on Finding God's Calling https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/bible-verses-about-calling/
05:28
March 25, 2022
"HANDS UP" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 7: When things are beyond your control, trust the One who placed us here and walks with us. Sometimes we just need to put our hands up and enjoy the ride.
Coffee Break 7 - Hands Up This episode is called “Hands Up” Over a decade ago I took a couple dozen high schoolers on a mission trip to the lower 9th ward of New Orleans to help with continued Hurricane Katrina cleanup. We arrived in our vans late on a Sunday afternoon. The leader of the mission site met me at the vans and said, “don’t unpack your stuff yet…I want to talk with you first if you’d come to my office.” O…K… He told us that we weren’t going to be able to stay on site at the mission group headquarters as planned because their new construction didn’t pass code. "We don’t have anywhere for you to stay tonight.” BUT…we’ll figure it out. Do you trust me? (Do I have a choice?) He then addressed the group by describing a rollercoaster. You’ve all ridden a rollercoaster, I hope. When you get in the seat, you latch the belt or pull down the shoulder harness as it locks in place. Then a person goes by each car and checks the belt and harness. Then a second person goes by and checks again. If everyone is latched, away you go up that first hill. Now…there are two responses to the first hill. as you begin your descent…you grab your harness and hold on for dear life Of course…if your triple-checked harness has a malfunction…no amount of you holding on is going to keep you in that car when the coaster turns upside down, right?! You are committing yourself to the worst scenario…and in vain at that. The other response: 2. is to put your hands up and enjoy the ride. The worst case scenario is you aren’t harnessed in and, not to be morbid, you are going to fall out. Again…you are triple checked for a reason. The best case scenario is you have your hands up and experience the pure exhilaration and joy of the ride. Our time in New Orleans was a lot like that. We did find a place to stay. We did have three different homes that week—one of which was a former psychiatric ward at a hospital that had just been renovated and wasn’t in use that week. HA HA!! Isn’t ministry great!!?? Every day that mission leader would ask us, “Are your hands up?” Ask your ministry questions here https://ministryanswers.com/ Are we going to enjoy the ride of today? or are we going to let our imaginations rob us of the joy of what is to come? We have our dream of what happens in our ministry: what we will accomplish what blessings God will work through us the growth we want to see for the ministry There will be days when things seem unbuckled and unhinged. There will be drops in the rollercoaster of ministry and life. But you’ve been secured by The Holy Spirit, friends… What’s going to happen is going to happen. In the scary moments, remember whose presence is within you and who will see you through. Put your hands up, enjoy the ride, and may you do so with the Grace and Peace of Jesus Christ. Message brought to you by Rev. Joseph Sanford from The Sanford Curriculum written by Joseph and Lauren Sanford and available on sundayschool.store Music brought to you by The Muse Maker: themusemaker.com https://ministry-to-children.com/sponsor-a-child/ Download free Sunday School Lessons  https://sundayschool.store/collections/free-downloads
04:55
March 23, 2022
"PLAN B" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 6: In ministry we only ever plan for what we anticipate, but this can be vastly different from what God is planning. We make Plan B until Plan A presents itself.
Coffee Break 6 - Plan B Today’s break is called “Plan B” We connected the other day about disruptions in a mission trip life of ministry. Disruptions during your routine is one thing…but your plans having to change altogether is a part of our life in ministry. I’m no wise sage. Rather, I’ve just tried to learn as a I go and, after 26 years in ministry, I’ve picked up on some stuff that has helped me along the way…because ministry can be tough at times. ESPECIALLY when you try to vision, plan, and lead and then things just get a major wrench thrown in them. You can reserve places, vans, food, whatever…and then suddenly not have the reservation be in place when you need it. You can have all of your volunteers organized and in place…but then a week before the event you have half of your people tell you they can’t make it after all. You know what I’m talking about? So here’s my little personal secret form of sanity in the reality of plans that change. You ready for this little simple nugget? I never make the actual plan. Oh, I don’t just wing it: I organize, reserve, call, schedule, make deposits, and write out every detail of how I anticipate things going…but…I call my plan, “Plan B.” The fact of the matter is…I don’t know what Plan A is. Only God knows what Plan A is. I make Plan B. On good days, Plan B IS Plan A. But on many other days…Plan B is what I planned and Plan A is what actually happens. If I can have it in my heart and mind from the beginning that I’m only creating Plan B until Plan A presents itself, I find it much easier to adapt when things don’t follow what I envisioned. Think of Abraham, Noah, Moses, Miriam, Ruth, Esther… Think of Samuel, David, Elijah, Nehemiah… Think of Mary and Joseph, or Peter, Paul, and about everyone else we read about in scripture. None of them lived out their plan. They lived out plan A…God’s plan…but none of them knew their Plan was simply Plan B. We have their example. We have our experience. We have the knowledge we’ve gained along the way to help us live our life of ministry with more flexibility and, dare I say, appreciation and humor for when things go in completely different directions. I don’t know about you, but most of the stories we read in the Bible would’ve been boring and uninspiring if things had gone as the humans had PLANNED. So…let’s give a smile to the Plan Bs that are on the hearts and minds of everyone speaking and listening this morning that will go completely different than we had in mind. Let’s look up every now and again and give a wink to God and say, “So that’s what you had in mind…” Make your plans, friends. Make the best Plan Bs you can. Who knows…your plan B might just be Plan A after all. But if it’s not… just breathe and remember what a joy it is to be alive and experience the full spectrum of human emotions today. https://10bibleverses.com/scripture-quotes/bible-verses-about-faith/ Message brought to you by Rev. Joseph Sanford from The Sanford Curriculum written by Joseph and Lauren Sanford and available on sundayschool.store Music brought to you by The Muse Maker: themusemaker.com https://sundayschool.store/products/the-lord-s-prayer-5-lesson-sunday-school-curriculum-for-kids
05:26
March 21, 2022
"STAGES OF FAITH" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 5: Understanding faith development by stages can help us be better prepared to minister to our children, youth, parents, and peers.
"STAGES OF FAITH" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 5: There are 6 stages of faith, according to James Fowler. People from one stage may have trouble understanding someone in the next stage. They will almost certainly NOT understand someone more than one stage away. It’s not a hierarchy. Rather than try to measure up…this is a way to understand why we might misunderstand one another. Stage 1: preschool-aged, usually. They need concrete symbols and stories. Object lessons will NOT connect with stage 1 kids. Trying to say that “Jesus is the rock” will just lead to confusion. They may nod and say they understand, because they want to be approved and agreeable, but they don’t get it, friends. Stage 2: school-aged. They deal in strong beliefs about right/wrong. Also, God is going to look and act like a human being. This is the old man in the sky stage. That’s all they can really grasp. The idea of spirit is just not going to connect. https://ministry-to-children.com/bible-verses-about-children/ Stage 3: begins with adolescence and large percentage of people remain here throughout their life: there’s conformity here. Youth will know what they need to conform with for your approval, so they will. They will understand the overall version of the faith story as your church presents it. They will be agreeable to that as their identity as a Christian and conform with those values, more or less. https://youthgroupministry.com/ Stage 4: begins with early adults and most will remain in this stage throughout life. People here tend to take personal responsibility for beliefs, values, systems of meaning, and commitments. Many times, they will claim their own by stepping out of or away from what they were asked to conform with. They MUST do this, friends. They need to let go of what they were given so that they can find what they claim for themselves. It’s such a joy to be a safe person they can do this with. Don’t worry when they reject the version of faith they’ve been given. This is maturity in progress and they just need you as a safe person they can talk with as they find their way—not to guide them, but to be a non-judging person whom they can come to, ask questions, and be honest with. If you don’t do it, they’ll find someone else who will. Stage 5: Conjunctive — It’s rare that anyone is in stage 5. This is where we can acknowledge paradoxes in our faith experience. We will critically reflect upon our faith. The ability to see the validity of other people’s experiences and faith expressions will come here. They will also realize that truth is bigger than any one particular perspective. Stage 6: very rare — this is where people will live their lives with genuine compassion and love for all people of all faiths, all places, and all perspectives. There will not be energy invested in division or defensiveness with perspective here. If this interests you, google it and read up. If this doesn’t interest you, then just know it’s normal for people to not all be looking at faith and life through the same lens. Knowing your people—both students and their parents and fellow church members and from what stage they might be operating is extremely helpful when you encounter some resistance in what you’re trying to accomplish. We’re meant to be diverse here. Different is good. It’d be ideal to have a crew of people you work with who are in different stages. They will help your ministry be well-rounded and able to reach a larger group of people. https://ministry-to-children.com/best-childrens-bibles/ Enjoy the process and don’t let confusion demand too much of your time. Roll on, keep going, and trust that the Holy Spirit is doing the work in people’s hearts even when their mind doesn’t seem to connect to what you’re doing.   https://sundayschool.store/collections/easter-curriculum-for-childrens-ministry
08:43
March 18, 2022
"THE MISSION-TRIP LIFE" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 4: Reframing the unexpected moments of ministry helps us remain open to the movement of God in our routine.
Break 4 - The Mission-Trip Life Today’s break is called “The Mission-Trip Life”  I know that today you have a list of things to do and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have time to get to some of them on top of the little blessed curveballs and interruptions we have along the way. My favorite part of ministry, besides having the moments when I know I am called to be here, is the people. I love people. People are all little works of art with their bits of genius, uniqueness, and even brushstrokes that leave us thinking, “Well…I didn’t see that coming.”  The blessed interruptions are where we often find the good stuff of ministry. Sure, there can be interruptions that don’t feel good at all, but you know what I’m talking about when I say our greatest blessings are often ones we never planned. A unique aspect to life as a Methodist pastor is itineracy.  Part of my ordination was to write about my commitment to living and serving the community I was assigned by the Bishop. This is a major impact upon my family. I had to have conversations with my wife to be sure we were both up for this. Her response the first time was perfect.  I was a youth minister and she was the children’s minister at the same church. We had received the call for me to take an appointment as the Senior Pastor. We were on a mission trip at the time. She would often come on the youth mission trips as a chaperone. We had done several together. We loved the opportunity to escape routine, go to a place and people in need, and serve alongside of youth. We always learned so much about God, grace, the beauty of human beings, and the own journey we were on in our hearts. So when it came to leave this work together into something new…and I asked her if she was ready for itineracy she said, “Our whole life is a mission trip.”   We had heard a call multiple times at that point in our lives. Every acceptance into the unknown was scary, sad at times, and ALWAYS a huge blessing beyond our wildest imaginations. Ministry is living a life of a mission trip.  We NEVER really know what to expect from one day to the next, let alone one season to the next. But no matter what, we have our people…our church…our sisters and brothers… Together, miraculously, we ALWAYS have what we need when we need it… Even when it feels like you don’t have what you need in the moment, we can almost always look back and see where God was at work. For me…it’s the times when I had the greatest confusion in the moment where I can look back and see God’s grace most at work to shape and guide me along this mission trip of a life of ministry. I’d never heard of any of the 5 Indiana towns I have ministered in… Only a life following the lead of Jesus Christ could I have ever come to call those places home and those people family. I have no idea what is coming next…and, honestly, I am comforted and already excited about it… because wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than right where God has led me. Would you?  I hope today is a day when you quickly responded, “YES!” But if it’s a day when you’re wondering… when you’re questioning… when you’re taking a deep breath in preparation for the day ahead… Embrace the disruptions today friends. Embrace your ministry. Embrace the hesitations in your heart. Embrace the joys. Embrace a life of ministry as you live your own mission trip as an ambassador of Jesus Christ in your world. Message by Rev. Joseph Sanford from The Sanford Curriculum written by Joseph and Lauren Sanford and available https://sundayschool.store/ Music brought to you by The Muse Maker: themusemaker.com
05:59
March 16, 2022
"JESUS WANTS YOU" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 3: God called and entrusted YOU. When God called you knew the difficult times that would come and he still chose YOU.
Kids Ministry Coffee Break 3 - Jesus Wants YOU When things get tough in ministry, it's all too common and too human to wonder what YOU are doing wrong.  You may question your calling on the really hard days.  Let's take a moment to remember that YOU were called to be where you are right now during these difficult times.  YOU are who was placed and entrusted to minister. God chose YOU and trusts YOU to complete the mission he gave YOU. God has given you the abilities to accomplish his will in this world. It's up to you whether or not to utilize them, but God still gives you divine blessing because God knows that if it weren't for the power of the Holy Spirit then nothing else would be possible. The biblical concept of a "calling" from God usually refers to God's personal invitation to someone to participate in a specific task or ministry that He has planned for them. The Bible says that we are all called by God to come into the Kingdom and serve God (Mark 12:30), but not everyone is called to the same thing. The Bible says God calls each of us according to God’s plan and purpose for our lives, and God equips us with everything we need to accomplish the task to which we were called. We can be confident that if we are fulfilling the role God has called us to, then we can be assured of God’s blessing and approval. This podcast is hosted by Rev. Joseph, who along with his wife Lauren Sanford write the Sanford Curriculum on The Sunday School Store. Music brought to you by The Muse Maker: themusemaker.com   See more free kids ministry lessons https://sundayschool.works/sunday-school-lessons/ Read more about the calling to children's ministry https://ministry-to-children.com/gods-call-to-childrens-ministry/ 
06:37
March 14, 2022
"ARRIVE" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 2: Building rest and sabbath into your life as a children's ministry leaders. Learn to rest in the strength of the LORD instead of your own work.
Coffee Break 2 - Arrive Today’s break is called “ARRIVE” and it’s all about Sabbath. You probably know this word from the 9 Commandments in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 6 You may be thinking, “Joseph…it’s 10 Commandments, what’s your deal?” Yes, Moses received 10 words upon the mountain which have become our 10 commandments, but…seriously…do you practice Commandment #4 concerning Sabbath? Do you take a whole day for the Lord? I’m not talking about days that you are at church…because you are playing a role at church on those days. You are ministering, serving, worrying, planning, and implementing it all with volunteers and students. You are working on those days.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Sunday mornings. I am filled greatly by the gathering of the body in worship and fellowship. But that’s not a Sabbath day, for me. Sabbath’s origins are with people who were in oppression and slavery in Egypt. For generations, Israelites’ worth and value was determined by how many bricks they made. All day…every day…7 days a week…non-stop When God was re-creating the beloved community in the wilderness, the command was given to take a day for rest. This rest is all about what fills you up after pouring yourself out for the previous 6 days. Sabbath is about NOT-working A Jewish professor I had in school described it as a day of ARRIVING. We are always headed somewhere… on a quest… in pursuit… looking to attain, accomplish, and achieve Sabbath is a day when we stop this pursuing and, instead, arrive. We dwell in a day when everything that needs to be done is done. We have nothing to accomplish. We have nowhere to be. We have nothing to attain. We aren’t running errands We aren’t “catching up” on chores. We certainly are’t planning programming or teaching. We take a break from human-DOING to simply dwell in human-BEING So…when’s the last time you spent an entire day just BEING? https://10bibleverses.com/#bible-verse-of-the-day   Now you understand why I jokingly call them the 9 Commandments. Our culture is so incredibly work-oriented. We are producers. If we DO take a day off, we either spend the day running errands and cleaning up or catching up because, if we don’t, we feel LAZY. We feel guilty about not pursuing…don’t we? This is why Sabbath is so important. The state of Creation is not hinging on us producing and pursuing non-stop. The world will keep spinning if we rest. We are to take a whole day to ARRIVE To find delight and joy To read a book (unless that’s work to you) To spend time outside To be with family and friends To eat good food To sleep To be close with our spouse To lounge To offer gratitude to God for being the sustainer of all things so we don’t have to For one day ARRIVAL It takes practice to develop this routine: start with an hour, then next week 2, then the next week 6 hours, then the next week all day. Taking a Sabbath every week is one of the 10 Commandments, for goodness sake It’s important It’s God-directed It’s God-modeled in Genesis 1 Model this for your people. Show them your value comes from God and not production Teach them through example to accept that good news as well. Find a day for recreation so that God can re-create you for the new week to come. Become a 10-commandment person and watch the blessings come.  This podcast is hosted by Rev. Joseph, who along with his wife Lauren Sanford write the Sanford Curriculum on The Sunday School Store. Don't miss our 10 Commandment Bible lessons for kids.  Music brought to you by The Muse Maker: themusemaker.com  See more free kids ministry lessons https://sundayschool.works/sunday-school-lessons/
06:01
March 09, 2022
"Come and Be You" Kids Ministry Coffee Break 1: An invitation to spiritual refreshment for children's ministry leaders. Enjoy a cup of biblical hope for Christian ministry.
Kids Ministry Coffee Break is a 5-minute recharge for a leaders in ministry to young people. This episode is laying out the Coffee Break mentality as we kick things off. This is your invitation to enjoy spiritual refreshment. Get ready to rest and recharge your soul. Think of it as your personal spiritual mini-retreat.  Church ministry leaders can renew their hope in hard times by spending time with God in prayer, and by reading scriptures that offer encouragement and hope. Kids Ministry Coffee Break 1  -  Come and Be You  This podcast is hosted by Rev. Joseph, who along with his wife Lauren Sanford write the Sanford Curriculum on The Sunday School Store.  Music in this episode is provided by The Muse Maker.  Why do church ministry leaders need spiritual refreshment? Children's Ministry leaders need time for spiritual refreshment because their work can be draining and demanding. Leading a ministry can be a very demanding and draining job. It's important for ministry leaders to take time for themselves to refuel and rejuvenate spiritually. This can mean taking time for prayer, scripture reading, meditation, and other spiritual activities. It can also mean getting away from the church or ministry setting altogether for a while in order to rest and reflect. ministers need time to relax, recharge, and reconnect with God in order to continue serving Him faithfully. We pray our 5-minute children's ministry podcast will become a part of your self-care routine.   About our sponsor: The Sunday School Store  You're invited to download  a free Sunday School lesson from the Sunday School Store. Finding solid curriculum can be hard, especially when budgets are tight. That's why our digital material is so affordable. We help small churches make a big impact with powerful Gospel-centered resources. Now you can focus on your calling to share Jesus with the kids. As a podcast listener, you can save 25% off any purchase using code PODCAST25 at checkout. Here are some Bible verses about Hope from our free Daily Bible Verse website. 
05:44
March 07, 2022