A Helpful List for Moms That Want to Serve in the Girls Ministry

Yesterday, my almost three year old heard someone call me by my “real” name.  I didn’t even realize what was happening in his little brain, but as I walked away with him, he looked at me with hesitation and said..”EH-ME-JOOO”?   I laughed at the way he sounded it out and then he said, “That you mommy? Amy-Jo is you mommy?”  It cracked me up and I quickly told him that he calls me mommy still but that yes, Amy-Jo is my name.  It was like he had discovered my secret identity or something.

It got me to thinking about the topic of moms involved in girls ministry. Sometimes we do have the tendency to hide behind the mask of mom and forget that while being a mom is a noble calling…it’s not to be our identity, significance, and purpose.  So I have been personally and prayerfully considering this question:

How can the role of mom cause our ministry to girls to flourish or sometimes shrivel from the presence of “MOMS ON BOARD”?

As a relatively new mother, I have not taken this role lightly.  There has been an ongoing tension as I’ve learned to celebrate and deal with the stretching and tearing of my heart for my calling to minister to girls and my new calling to minister to my son.  I’ve invited trusted women who have gone before me, and those who are journeying with me in this role of mom and girls minister to help speak into some of my questions and concerns.  As I have taken on the title of mom personally, I have made some girls minister observations as well that I want to share with moms and girls ministers who are on this journey. Let’s carefully unmask some of these answers.

1. WE need women of all ages and stages to come alongside students. MOMS included.

It’s biblical!  Titus 2 gives great examples of how women passed along a living Godly example to the community of women they lived among.  They taught, not only with their words, but most importantly with their lives.  And in this day and age, it is becoming more and more difficult to get women of all ages and stages together to do things like this.  When our generations get separated, guess what doesn’t get passed down?  The stories of how God is and has been at work specifically in the lives of the generations.  When we stop getting the chance to share and listen…we miss out on the encouragement, the example, and the teaching of the generations before and after us.

2. We need to recognize that the first girls minister should be the mom AND determine to intentionally partner with them.

Now, some moms have not recognized their calling and their ordained role as girls minister to their daughter and/or son, but it is their role as mom to lead out in conversations noted in Titus 2 first in their own home.  Young girls ministers tend to forget this and in all the fun crazy events they are having with the girls at the church, they don’t know how to reach back to the mom in these girls lives.  I struggled with this personally, because it was natural for me to connect with the girls, but oftentimes I had to seek out the moms.  I regret early years when I didn’t know quite how to bring moms into the conversation better.  Prayerfully look for ways to partner with moms in everything you do.

3. Moms don’t allow deception or lies to distract you from the opportunity to speak HIS truth into the generations. 

We need you as small group leaders.  We need you as cabin chaperones.  We need you on the buses.  And we need you for more than “just being a mom.”  Don’t hide behind the title of mom.  BE YOU!  The role of Mom is a special blessing…but it should not define you.  When you step onto the bus as a leader for a student event—you are not THOSE students’ mom. You may be mom to a few…but You are a sister in Christ. You are a Godly role model.  You are a Godly mentor.  Do not miss out on the opportunities to share testimony of how God works…and call out ways you see Him at work in the lives of the students and younger leaders you are surrounded by.

4. Don’t hide behind the title of mom.

What does hiding behind the title of mom mean?  It means that you quickly label yourself as MOM when you do something for a student. It means you exchange opportunities to “hang out with them” and fall into a pattern of  “cleaning up after them” like you would for your own children.  It means you act for them in the role of mom and may jokingly chide them.  This may seem like a natural thing to do, but I have seen barriers come up between students and these self labeled women. Now there are amazing women who just naturally serve. This is not what I am talking about.  It’s when you feel too awkward sitting down with students that you simply take on the mask of mom and they only see you as that from that moment on.

5. Give yourself permission to participate at an event as yourself.

If you are a mom and your child is participating in an event that you are also participating in as a student ministry leader, please do not try to be their small group leader or cabin leader.  There are some special circumstances that negate this rule, but for the most part it is healthier to keep this rule intact. Use this opportunity to allow God to use you to pour into the lives of other students other than your child.  AND give your child space to flourish under the leadership and care of other adults.

Enjoy watching God work in and through your student from afar. Take notice of how they respond and react to friends and adults, but don’t hover. Don’t abandon other students that have been placed under your physical, spiritual, and emotional care to only focus on your own child. If you are unable to focus on the spiritual care of other students when your child is attending the same event, then this may be an indicator that you are finding your identity in the role of mom.

6. Your children need you AND they need to see that you find your identity in Christ…not in them.

I am so thankful to personally know mothers who have intentionally brought other women alongside of them to nurture their children as they are raising them.  Moms in our ministry have done a great job avoiding the territory trap as they were invited other women of all ages on this journey. They never appeared threatened by the presence of these special mentors but rather grateful that someone else was there to echo the biblical truths she was imparting to her child..maybe in a different way or sometimes the same way.

7. Invite other women to pray for you as you remove the mom mask to minister in a Titus 2 environment.

I need Godly women leaders in the lives of our girls.  I need them in the life of me.  I am watching women of all ages and stages and learning from them as well.  I am watching how they handle children and how they handle aging.  I am thankful for the women who have allowed themselves to be labeled FRIEND and not solely a MOM.  I am thankful to know the true identities of my fellow mothers, lifegroup leaders, sisters-in-christ.

Today I pray that all of our women—me included…will allow their hearts to be rooted in Him so that the roles we are given as moms, sisters, friends, life group leaders…will get their identity….significance…and purpose from Him and not from the name itself.

 

 

 

 

Quick Tip: How to silence the chatter so you can have real conversation

One of the small groups I lead is a 7th grade girls group. Wonderful group of girls…but we can’t even get an ice breaker done without subconversation and chatter happening every second.  There are a majority of girls that have something they want to add. There is a minority of girls that sit back and allow the many conversations to wash over them and they get left behind in the chat tide. And then I find myself frustrated that I’m constantly having to corral the conversation. So, last week…we began an excercise in taming our tongues.

Meet our tongue depressors.  This is how they work.

I introduced this as an ice breaker. The girls received a tongue depressor and a label. They could decorate their depressor anyway they wanted as long as they incorporated their real name in the design.  Then I discussed James 3 and how we need to tame our tongue.  I shared that with our group over the weeks, we had become undisciplined in the way we valued other’s words, God’s word, and even the own words that we choose to use.  Instead of considering what we should say, we all were just spouting out words over each other and not having any boundaries.  As a result, we are now going to undergo some tongue taming.  During the bible study time each student will have 5 clips that are given to them on their tongue depressor.  Each student can say whatever they want, but it will cost them a clip.  Now when they toss a clip in, they have the floor until I call on another student or another student tosses in a clip. Reading the scripture out loud when asked does not cost a clip. This was a helpful exercise in instilling boundaries. We were able to actually go deeper in conversation and the girls visibly would shake their heads when they would normally blurt out the first thing that popped in their mouth. You could tell they were beginning to value what was worth saying and what could wait.  Girls that had not talked before were able to enter into the conversation. As they begin to value their words, God’s words, and their own words better…they will get more freedom with our conversations.  This was a difficult thing to implement, but at the end—I got a bunch of the same statements from the girls mouths.  It was the words: Thank You!  What about you? How have you created conversation boundaries?

tipsforcreatingtalkboundaries

5 ways your stress has led to burnout

I’m starting my 12th year in girls ministry at Brentwood Baptist this fall. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great leaders, great volunteers, and great families over the years. Some of those have stayed for a season, a reason and some seem to be in this for a lifetime.

As I continue serving, I recognize that some have moved on from ministry due to stress or burnout. I’ve recognized even in deeply loved friends who serve in other ministries that they have moved from stress to burnout. It’s so sad to me because it didn’t have to be their story. I have watched stress and burnout cause bright-eyed, passionate people forget a call on their lives and settle for something less than what they were created for just because they didn’t set boundaries…or know how to pace themselves.

I read the below quote from the Dr. Arch Hart, author of Stressed or Depressed (2005, with daughter Dr. Catherine Hart Weber)

Dr. Hart says that there’s a clear distinction between the emotions and feelings associated with stress and those linked to burnout. Here are a few of his insights:

Stress is over engagement; burnout is disengagement.
Stress results in over reacting; burnout results in lack of emotion.
Stress affects our physical energy; burnout affects our motivation and drive.
Stress makes a person tired; burnout makes a person feel hopeless.
Stress produces anxiety disorders like panic and phobias; burnout produces paranoia, isolation, and feelings of worthlessness.

What do you do to handle the stress so it doesn’t lead to burnout?  Don’t swallow it.  Have a plan to surrender it and to take care of your soul regularly.  My church requires we take a day a month for soul care and 5 weeks away every 5 years.  I’ve been able to have a soul care retreat with my discipleship team and last week came off of a ministerial retreat with our church.  I was so thankful for the interruption of my schedule to rest.  I came into the soul care retreat with a terrible cold.  Always a red flag that I’m pushing my body past it’s limits.  I needed time for my soul to catch up with my body.  I know I’m not the only one that needs regular soul care.  So…how bought you?

What’s your plan? Go ahead…get it on the calendar. You have my permission to stop running and rest.   So…Be still. Remember you are not God.  It’s important you remember that–regularly.

 

New Girls Biblestudy #FaithfulOne

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to post. That’s because I’ve been writing a new girls bible study with Lifeway called “Faithful one: a study on 1 and 2nd Thessalonians” that is coming out on May 1st. You can already pre-order it here and pre-order the Leader kit here .   Below are some sneak peeks of the contents of this bible study and some neat features of how to utilize this study.  I am so excited about what the editorial team did with this content.  We tried some different approaches to getting girls to “interact” with the letters of 1 and 2nd Thessalonians.  Not only will there be opportunities for group study, but if girls want to go deeper on their own—THEY CAN!  They can dig into some greek words…they can begin to learn how to interact with scripture by learning some creative techniques for taking notes in their margins. They did a great job of capturing the pictures I was thinking in my mind, to actual drawings in the bible study.  SO EXCITED to see this resource come out in May… Look for more info coming soon on girlsminister.com!

faithfulonecover copy   Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 9.30.45 PM

Snapchat security still not secure.

If you’ve been following Girlsminister.com for awhile, you know that Snapchat is one app that we are not a fan of. The rise in fame of this app has been because of it’s claim to send video or photo snaps to friends or strangers that self destruct and therefore are erased. In talking with students in particular, I have always been clear that no matter what an app or tech is stating regarding it’s ability to “delete” or “erase” something you digitally transfer…there is a way to retrieve it. Therefore, we have a lot of teens and young adults that are finding out the hard way that history cannot be erased.
appadvice.com just released an article that reinforces this fact for Snapchat. Just another reason to apply some filters when using technology like snapchat. If you want whatever you are sending to destruct after so many seconds…take caution that the only that that might destruct is your reputation online. If you don’t want something to be traced or remain after you post/transmit it…then you most likely should not be engaging in that activity. Read below for the update on the security breach on snapchat.

Snapchat has had an interesting year, purportedly receiving acquisition offers from the likes of Facebook and Google while fighting off controversies surrounding the service’s security. Now, in a new report research firm Gibson Security explains that Snapchat still isn’t secure; in fact, users’ phone numbers can even be exposed using one particular exploit, the report notes.

The full disclosure is included in a document which reached us from Boy Genius Report, and in a subsequent interview with Business Insider the folks at Gibson Security provide more information on the state of Snapchat. The research firm actually revealed Snapchat’s phone number hack, which allows a hacker to obtain another user’s phone number, four months ago; despite receiving a handful of updates since then, Snapchat is still vulnerable to many of the exploits outlined in Gibson Security’s first disclosure, the firm notes.

Gibson Security told Business Insider:

Given that it’s been around four months since our last Snapchat release, we figured we’d do a refresher on the latest version, and see which of the released exploits had been fixed (full disclosure: none of them). We [hope] that Snapchat audits their code and improves how security and bugs are handled in the company.
Back in March, we heard that teens in New Jersey had shared images using Snapchat only to find that the photographs subsequently appeared on Instagram; in iOS 7, it was possible to “snap” screenshots of Snapchat-sent images without the sender knowing, however this was fixed in a subsequent update.

Snapchat went on to reveal that it manually retrieves Snapchat-sent media at the request of law enforcement agencies, and an app called SnapHack Pro also made it possible for users to easily save images sent using Snapchat to their iDevice.

Click the below link for the source of the article posted on appadvice.com
http://appadvice.com/appnn/2013/12/researchers-claim-snapchat-still-isnt-secure-security-flaw-exposes-users-phone-numbers

A How to Script for Tough Talks with Students and Leaders


This post was originally published in January 2011. I dug up this post for a friend and thought it may be helpful to others.

Today I was reading Read Ephesians 4:12.

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

“Equipping” is the translation of a Greek word used in New Testament times for mending nets, setting a bone, and realizing a purpose. It means to “put right”.

As girls ministers, we have all sorts of conversations with girls and leaders. Sometimes you walk away from a conversation encouraging a girl to pursue God or to be all that God is calling her to be. Sometimes you get to help her with some faith questions. (It’s always fun when they ask about “the nephilim” in Genesis 6.) Then there are the times when you may have to confront an area of immaturity. These are not easy conversations to have. I had to have a couple of those conversations this week. And I was reminded today that I am called to those conversations too. I’m called to equip as if I were a doctor and I saw a broken bone. I would not ignore it. I would not just give pain medicine. I would need to align the bones and set it in a cast so that it mends and grows stronger. Do not be afraid of those conversations where a student may need you to speak into their life regarding various immaturities. And just like a doctor would be careful with the broken bone, we too must take special care with these students we are entering into equipping conversations with.