Tuesday, August 2, 2011

{Leadership Lessons} Coaching

Yes, it's been a while. Sorry. Ok here goes...

On January 1st, 2011, I officially started my position as Children's Ministry Director at New Life Fellowship Church in Elmhurst, NY (a town in the burrow of Queens, NYC). I heard myself saying to myself "Uh... why did you say yes?! Do you not remember what vocational ministry is like... especially in Children's Ministry?! Run the other way!"

Previously, I had been employed at a church as a Creative Director for Children's Ministry. It was a very large church that I had grown up in as a teenager.  It was my church and I loved it there. I had
volunteered in Children's Ministry for many years under some of the most loving and most phenomenal children's ministers I've ever known. I loved it. And it was there that I had found what I believed God was calling me to. Which was to communicate God's love and truth to the youngest among us. It was life giving, it was exciting and it was the best place to be, in the center of God's will.

The center of God's will... Sometimes that can be the hardest place to be. As I started my job as Creative Director of Children's Ministry I was bright eyed and ready to conquer the world.  I had new exciting, innovative and creative ideas and wanted all of them to come alive RIGHT NOW!  I was ready to hit the ground running. Unfortunately, my experience was something I, nor anyone for that matter, could have foreseen.  It was a time that God used to build character and sense of what I did and didn't want out of life and ministry. I left my first experience being in vocational (full-time) ministry broken, defeated and lost. I wanted nothing to do with Children's Ministry ever again.

Yet here I was faced with an opportunity to dive into Children's Ministry at another church.  I was terrified.  I knew that the call God had placed on my life was still there, but I wanted to ignore it. I volunteered a bit and "got a taste" reminding me of how sweet it is to serve God with your gifts.  After much prayer, consultation, prayer and prayer, I took the position as Director of New Life Kids.

So, here I am 8 months later and it's still pretty sweet.  Don't get me wrong it's a lot of hard work, and you never finish your to do list, but as I talk to and interact with the kids, parents and volunteers... there is no place I'd rather be. I'm so honored to be serving the families at New Life and can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the next couple of years.

As I first started my position as Children's Director an awesome opportunity came up.  Now, I'm an information junkie, so I wanted to make sure I was well informed about what's going on in Children's Ministry across the country.  How can I best serve New Lifers?  Who can I connect with in children's ministry so that I can have support?  It's just me right now and I NEED HELP!  So signed up for Google Reader and followed every Children's Leader known to man (well most of them anyway).  And as I was reading blog posts I stumbled upon one from a blogger/Children's Director I had been following way before I joined Google Reader.  It was from Gina McClain.  She was starting a leadership coaching group with just a couple of spots open.  When I read that, I jumped at the opportunity and signed up. Now Gina is big time!  (At least in my book she is).  She's been leading people in Children's ministry in different environments for a while and I was so thirsty for support, guidance and just someone to come along side me and say "Hey, I know you feel tired and overwhelmed... that's normal". I needed someone to normalize and validate my journey as a Children's Leader, and to provide great insight on the Children's Ministry experience.  This was my only chance to get that one-on-one attention I couldn't get from reading blogs or attending conferences. So I signed up hoping to get a response back.

Now, I NEVER, win anything!  Even when I crack open a fortune cookie it usually ends up being some sort of scolding or correction than a good fortune, like "You will stumble upon a quarter today." So I had low expectations of being called to be a part of the group.  But low and behold I found an email in my inbox from Gina. I rubbed my eyes to make sure I was reading it right and then jumped out of my seat to go and tell Rick (my husband). I was thrilled.

I have been a part of this group for about 6 months now and It's been one of the major things keeping me sane as I strive to build a growing, healthy Children's Ministry that serves the people and the littlest members of New Life Fellowship. I've learned so much from the other members in the group (who are also from other parts of the country). Just hearing their experiences, their learnings and their passions has given me great comfort and made me feel like I can take on the world. And, I thank them for sharing their stories and time.

Now, Gina is like my Yoda (minus his age, the green skin, robe, and backwards talking he can't seem to shake no matter how brilliant this Jedi master is). Does she have all the answers? No. But she asks great questions! And this is the sign of a great mentor.  Someone who asks you questions that make you think and challenge you. I haven't had a whole lot of conversations with Gina but the ones that I have had with her have been a time of refreshing, refocusing and growth. I thank her for her willingness to serve us leaders as we strive to serve the local church.

I can go on and on about Gina and what a blessing she's been but then you'd probably stop reading and head back to Facebook or YouTube in hopes of finding  some thing more entertaining. So I'll just leave you with this thought. Who's asking you questions? Is there anyone challenging the status quo in your life, personal or professional? There is so much value in being and growing in community. I'm learning that more and more everyday.

I have so much respect for leaders who invest in and develop other leaders.  And am so grateful to be on the receiving end right now.  My hope and prayer is to begin to develop the leaders I see around me now, right in my own church in the Children's Ministry. I want to take every opportunity I can to do as Jesus did and invest in the lives of others. One of the best ways Love God and to Love your neighbor as yourself.

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  1. awesome, rosie! so excited for how God is using you at new life. your'e an amazing leader in your own right. so glad for God to be bringing the right people around you like gina.

  2. Rosie,
    What a great post, I learned a lot from reading it, and look forward to being one of those people you see around you that you will guide as well! Somehow, I neber feel like I want to get to Facebook or anything else once I am reading some of your thoughts!


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