I am delighted with the Council of Eighteen’s recommendation of Mike Hess as the next national representative of the GARBC. Mike and his wife, Christina, will bring a strong ministry skill set that I believe God will use to expand the association’s influence. Mike will be introduced and will speak to the churches during our 2018 GARBC Conference, June 26–29. I ...more
MINISTRY HOUSE OFFERS PASTORS AND FAMILIES REFRESHMENT
Calvary Baptist Church, Quincy, Illinois, is making available a furnished home on its campus for ministry couples and families. Pastor Wayne Manago states, “We are calling the home the Ministry House and it is available rent free and utility cost free for short-term, first-come stays. It can be used for those needing a ministry ...more
MIKE HESS, NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE
Mike Hess, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is the Council of Eighteen's selected candidate for the position of GARBC national representative. The Resource Center staff is grateful to the Council of Eighteen search committee for their diligent work in the process of selecting a candidate. At the 2018 GARBC Conference, Mike will ...more
Give Me a Break! Facing a fall schedule that is jam-packed with activities and responsibilities? As the wife of a pastor who is also a Indiana state representative for Baptist churches, Kathy Schroeder knows the value of time off. Though originally written for pastors' wives, pastors and ministry leaders would benefit from reading this article.
Have you and your spouse ever felt like everyone wants a piece of you, but you have no more pieces left to give? If you do, then you are not alone. Welcome to the Pastors and Wives’ Club!
Recently I went through a time when the last place I wanted to be was in the ministry. I felt so spiritually distant from the Lord that all I could do was cry out to Him in prayer, “Lord, restore unto me the joy of my salvation!” After a very stressful year of ministry, personal surgery, and having our basement made into an apartment so my mother-in-law could move in with us, I was emotionally drained and physically spent. A cloud of sadness and discontent settled over my life, and on top of this, my husband was also worn out and tense with all that was going on in our lives. God knew that we needed a break. Our vacation came at the perfect time, and the Lord was good and merciful to protect that time for us.
The stress of life and its many surprises can make us weary, but we can also become weary in doing good as we serve others. When the joy of being in the ministry drains from our hearts, it is time to find the reasons and do what is necessary to regain that joy. Maybe it just means that you stop being like Martha in all your busyness and take time to be like Mary, spending time at Jesus’ feet. Or maybe it means that you and your husband need to get outa’ Dodge!
All pastors and their wives must be aware of the dangers of overload in ministry. For those of us in it full-time, it is important to get away for an extended period in order to maintain a proper balance in life and allow our spirits to be renewed. Sadly, we have seen devastating effects in the lives of some pastors and their wives who sacrifice and work so hard for the Lord that they experience burnout. As a result, they become bitter and leave the pastorate, or they fall into immorality and disqualify themselves for ministry. Satan is out to destroy marriages and ministries, and one of the ways he does it is by subtly tempting pastors to believe that they are indispensable and that their churches can’t make it without them. This thinking puts undue strain and pressure on both the pastor and his wife.
Psalm 127:1 and 2 is a good reminder of one of God’s important steps in stress management in ministry.“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.” The Lord can and must be trusted with your church. It is, after all, His church and not yours, and out of His goodness He will bless it even while you are asleep or if you are away for awhile.
In Psalm 103:14, David says that the Lord Himself "knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”We can apply this verse by recognizing that we are not supermen or superwomen and that from time to time we need to get away and take a break.
Since my husband began his ministry as a pastor 30 years ago, we have taken at least a two-week vacation every one of those years. In our opinion, one week is not long enough. It takes my husband the first week just to unwind so that he can really relax and enjoy the second week and feel recharged to go back at it again. As pastors’ wives, we must gently encourage our husbands, without nagging, to get away for at least two weeks or longer. Our husbands may be fearful that their churches will fall apart while they are away, but that is not the case. Granted, there may be some new problems to deal with when he gets back into the office, but time away will be well worth it for the long haul of staying in ministry.
Ladies, you can help your husband in this area by praying for him as well as for a specific time, place, and the money for a family vacation. When our children were in middle school, I had such a strong desire to take them on a trip out west. I talked to my husband about it and began praying for God to work out all the details. He did! The church leadership agreed to give my husband a month off, and the Lord provided the exact amount of money we needed for our trip through an unexpected financial gift from someone in our family who knew nothing about our desire. So that my husband would not have any added stress, I offered to plan every detail of our vacation. All he had to do was drive, and I pointed the way.
Every vacation we have taken throughout the years has been so special for our family. What wonderful memories we have of those fun and precious times together! Vacations are also a perfect time to catch up on reading. When we pack for our getaways, my husband and I always have a stack of good Biblical books that we want to read. We appreciate all that we have learned through the years from the books that have challenged our thinking and energized our souls for a more effective ministry.
Also, don’t forget date night! What an important part of any couple’s relationship! It will strengthen your marriage to go out together once a week, if possible. I know it is hard to do this if your children are young, so every other week or even once a month might be more realistic for you. Begin praying about doing this, and ask God for what you want. Don’t necessarily wait for your husband to plan it. Know his schedule ahead of time, and surprise him with a mystery date. I have no doubt God will support you in this! After all, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.”Whether it is a walk in the park, a meal out, or just having a cup of coffee at Starbucks, God is good to give us what we need in order to help us flourish in our relationships and our ministries. So take a break! Be renewed! Have some fun, and rejoice again in the wonderful marriage and ministry God has so graciously given you.
Kathy Schroeder, pastor's wife Emmanuel Baptist Church Bloomington, Ind.
GetawayPlaces Would you like to plan a getaway? Did you know that the GARBC website has a listing of pastoral retreats? Included in this listing are Cedarly in Delafield, Wis., directed by retired GARBC Chaplain Andy and Nancy Hagen, and Fairhaven, recommended by Kathy Schroeder, author of the above article.
The GARBC Resource Center also recently learned of Chilhowee Mountain Retreat, from innkeepers Jim and Mary Haider:
Chilhowee Mountain Retreat is a bed and breakfast that offers a secluded getaway for pastors and full-time Christian workers and their spouses. After researching the issue, we found that pastors are occasionally seeking a place to escape their demanding, busy lives for a brief period of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation without a formal program requiring their attendance. Many smaller churches are unable to offer sabbatical leaves to their ministers, but can offer them a few days away during the week. Several missionaries who have stayed with us have mentioned the need for time alone with their spouse and that Chilhowie Mountain Retreat provided such a place.
Our inn is located on top of Chilhowee Mountain just outside of Maryville, Tenn. We have 10 acres of wooded, mountain forest, and our elevation is almost a half mile, which affords spectacular panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The inn offers privacy to the ministering couple seeking a place to rest. Chilhowee Mountain Retreat is easily accessible from Interstates 75, 40, and 81. We are located just south of Knoxville in east Tennessee and our property borders the National Park Foothills Parkway.
8 Mistakes in Recruiting and Keeping Volunteers Where would we be without those faithful workers who regularly give of their time to serve in our churches? I think we all know the answer—in a world of hurt! Dedicated workers are the backbone of any ministry. Churches could not function without them.
But frankly, as I travel, I’ve noticed a growing challenge for our churches in this area. In short, most churches need more workers. The needs seem greater than the number of available and willing servants. Those who do serve often feel overburdened, discouraged, ill equipped, and under appreciated.
As local church leaders, we need wisdom in leading our volunteers: enlisting them appropriately, training them regularly, supporting them effectively, and affirming them constantly. In light of this need, consider some common mistakes to avoid.
Overlooking prayer In our zeal to fill ministry positions, we sometimes overlook the obvious priority of prayerfully seeking God’s guidance. I’m impressed by the commitment of pastors and deacons I’ve met who regularly schedule time to pray for the current volunteer staff as well as about the need for additional workers.
Waiting for people to volunteer on their own Let’s face reality here—while we may expect godly people to volunteer to serve on their own when they hear of ministry needs, for a variety of reasons, most don’t. My advice: don’t waste time reminding your people of how deficient they are in this area (it usually doesn’t work anyway). Just take the initiative to do the necessary enlisting, making individual contacts and sharing the ministry vision and needs.
Seeking to enlist without personal involvement There’s a place for worship-folder requests for help and public announcements in services (they make people aware of the needs and can lay a foundation for a personal contact later on), but we cannot rely on these alone. The most effective enlistment takes place when we take the time to talk personally with someone about a specific ministry need and ask them to pray about getting involved.
Failing to define tasks Confession time: I recall, earlier in my pastoral ministry, seeking to enlist workers without explaining exactly what the ministry job entailed. I just assumed they knew! I’ve since learned the importance of job descriptions for even the most basic church volunteer roles. Keep the descriptions concise and include the desired time commitment (don’t allow a ministry to be open ended), and both leaders and workers will benefit.
Delegating without accountability or follow-up The “dump and run” approach to delegation is all too common. Often we are so relieved to find anyone who will help that we pass the baton of service and disappear forever. In reality, effective workers who stay on the job are those who have regular contact with leaders who provide help and encouragement.
Forgetting to provide adequate training Not everyone, even with a job description in hand, has the ability to accomplish the task of their ministry without the necessary training to do the job well. We provide training venues for church workers through the GARBC Resource Center (see www.rbpstore.org), but leaders can also strategize their own training efforts at the local level.
Neglecting to provide adequate supplies and resources As a follow-up to the previous thought, I suggest that church leaders make sure workers have the right equipment to do their ministries well. It’s a mistake to ask our workers to fend for themselves. Write the provision of supplies and resources into the church budget, and make it a priority to support workers with whatever they need to serve effectively.
Ignoring expressions of appreciation and recognition Most who serve faithfully in our churches aren’t looking for applause. They’re simply happy to do whatever God enables them to do for His glory. But they do appreciate expressions of thanks. Church leaders who regularly honor workers in appropriate ways reap significant benefits in their ministries!
Jim Vogel Associate GARBC Representative Schaumburg, Ill. (Originally published in the Baptist Bulletin)
Helping Students Learn If you are a pastor, you might wish to share this article with children's teachers in your church.
As a children's teacher or worker, you most likely experience a wide range of abilities in your classroom or children's program. Children differ greatly in how they learn and the rate at which they learn---even within the same grade level! Teachers can help bridge those gaps among children by making small tweaks in their teaching practices. By adjusting the length and nature of learning activities to match students' abilities, you can enable every student to learn more of God's Word.
If students experience success in their learning and feel that they are making a valuable contribution, they will enjoy being at Sunday School, junior church, children's Bible club, etc. As you plan learning activities, whether you are using those in the teacher's guide or designing your own, think about how you can adapt them so that all students can experience a measure of success.
If you are a new teacher, you will most likely follow the suggested procedures in your teacher's guide closely. As you gain experience, you will discover other ways to organize your learning activities and present your lessons. Your curriculum---the teacher's guide, teaching materials, suggested learning activities, student books, etc.---are tools for you to use in whatever manner is best for you and your students.
Teaching methods to help you span the wide range of student abilities:
1. Adjust the difficulty level. If an activity or written task is too difficult for some students, allow them to respond in another way. For instance, if the suggested teaching plan is to have students write answers to review questions about a Bible story, but some students have difficulty writing, you could orally review the story together, or students could draw scenes from the Bible story. If some children are unable to retell the Bible story after you've presented it, ask them to share the part that they remember and have other students tell the rest. If children have difficulty memorizing Bible verses, use picture clues to help their recall, or allow them to read part of the verse instead of memorizing it all, or let the group recite it in unison.
At the opposite end of the learning scale, higher ability students may get restless because they complete the activities easily and quickly. Provide some challenging activities. Students could compose Bible quiz questions from previous lessons; design a board game on a file folder, using the setting and characters from a recent lesson; or make a complex word search, using words from the memory verse. If a student enjoys art, he or she might design a poster that pictures the theme of the lesson.
2. Use partners. Pair capable readers with slow readers to practice memory verses. Have older students work with younger students to complete word searches. Have beginning level writers dictate their thoughts to more experienced writers to transcribe. Ask students to share answers to your questions with their neighbors. If a student has difficulty following directions, assign a buddy to help him or her know what to do.
3. Vary the length of activities. If your students grow restless during the Bible story, consider dividing the story into shorter segments. Students with shorter attention spans will have difficulty listening attentively for more than 10 minutes. You can increase their comprehension of the Bible story by emphasizing the main events of the story and omitting extraneous details. Students with learning disabilities may have difficulty completing tasks that require writing, reading, or spelling. Instead of asking these students to complete the entire activity page, have them do the sections that are easier for them. If students need a longer time to complete a learning activity, allow them to continue to work if a helper is available and if it does not interrupt the flow of your lesson. As you work with your students, remember that all students do not have to do the same thing at the same time. It's okay to adjust your expectations and activities to match their capabilities. You may need to expand activities for students who need a challenge. They could set higher goals for themselves in memory work. They might assist you by helping the younger children. You may have ongoing activities available that these students can do when they have free time in class.
4. Vary your teaching methods. Plan for ways to incorporate student participation during the Bible story. Students can help make visuals for the story. If visuals are provided with your curriculum, you can display the visuals for the lesson and have the children find the visual that shows that particular part of the story. If the story involves conversation between two characters, you could type that dialogue and have two students read their speaking parts as in a play. You could prepare a simple skit that communicates the theme of the lesson or part of the Bible story and have students present it. Students can signal responses (thumbs up or thumbs down) to give their opinion about whether a character made a wise choice. By using the students to help you tell the Bible story or having them respond to the story in an active way, you are helping them better comprehend the truth.
5. Use choral reading. Just as children learn songs by listening to and singing with other children, those students who have difficulty reading can benefit from listening to and "reading" with other students. Less able readers can learn memory verses by participating in choral "reading" of the verse if it is written on a large poster. Also, they can repeat the theme of the lesson (e.g., "God cares for us") if you have posted it on the board. By using choral reading, you are actively involving all the students and helping them learn the theme or memory verse.
An exciting part of teaching is that every class is a learning experience for the teacher! Don't be reluctant to try different teaching methods to help your students learn. Christ shaped His teaching methods to match the needs of His students. So take the plunge, try a new way of presenting the material, and guide every student to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).
Daria Greening GARBC Executive Assistant Schaumburg, Ill.