Remembering our own Administrative Professional

April 21 – 27 is Administrative Professionals’ Week this year; with April 24th being Administrative Professionals’ Day. I wanted to recognize someone who has contributed greatly to the ministry of this church by working hard week after week doing routine tasks.

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It was the fall of 2007. Our church secretary at that time, Jen Stahl, had asked for some days off and we were looking for someone to help fill in. One of our “new” members, Monique Dorow, emailed me on October 23, 2007:  “I spoke with Jen and I’m on board for filling in next week and in the Dec./Jan. stretch.  I’ll go in for a little training before she is gone next week.”  When Jen took maternity leave for Addilynn (Addi) in the spring of 2010, Monique was ready to step in and fill the position temporarily. Later that year at the October meeting, the congregation voted to hire Monique part-time, to share the 25 hours with Jen.  With Andy on the way, Jen submitted her letter of resignation in December and Monique took the position. As the demands of the job have increased over the years so have her hours. She now commonly works over 40 hours a week.

Bulletins, newsletters, prayer requests, entering attendance, entering new people into our church database, providing reports to track newcomers’ progress towards membership, i.e. cookie delivery lists, putting together new member packets, staff meeting notes, scheduling rooms, creating post cards, sending post-cards, keeping schedules, annual reports, tracking membership, copying materials, keeping the copier supplied, keeping track of people, sending reminders to staff, including me, are just some of the things that Monique does all the time.

Besides the many routine demands, Monique comes up with creative solutions time after time to do our work smarter and better. She entered much of our information into our current church database and has developed some very useful report formats. While Planning Center Online wasn’t her idea, she did the heavy lifting in implementing this tool and has had several ideas since its implementation to use it more effectively. She found a scheduling app online that keeps team leaders and staff informed on which rooms in our facility are scheduled when. She migrated all of our team leader and church files to Dropbox, an online filing system, for easier access to all the church team information.  She developed a custom spreadsheet report for tracking our visitors. She recently found a tool that allows her to schedule visits on my calendar. As we are on (or over) the brink of needing more administrative support, she recently developed an incredible tracking tool to identify how many hours of her month go to each staff member and to which tasks.

Beyond the job description, she cares deeply about people in this congregation and the staff. Until recently, she had been Jim Kramer’s personal IT support person. And like a true professional IT support person, her first line was always, “Have you tried shutting down and restarting your computer?” She gave people who didn’t have a vehicle rides to church. She remembers important things that I might forget, like this recent e-mail:  “I just noticed this recent widower’s anniversary is this week.” She takes meals to members. She waters plants when others are out.  Through the years she has been a key volunteer in Cubbies, an AWANA Co-Commander, and is now a youth worker (with some of those grown up Cubbies). She engages in caring conversations with some of our elderly members when they come through.  

How blessed we are to have a hard-working, dedicated, caring, support person helping us follow Jesus…further!  This April I hope you will take the opportunity to communicate your appreciation and encouragement to our own administrative professional, the one and only, Monique!

 

Blessings - Pastor Harrison


 
 

Parenting Busy Teens

As a youth pastor, I’m always looking for good resources to help me hone my skills to be a better, more engaged pastor to students. As a parent of a Middle School student, I’m trying to do the same thing for my family. For each of these areas, this might be a book, podcast, or an article that I stumble across. I’m currently reading the book, Your Teenager is Not Crazy: Understanding Your Teen’s Brain Can Make You a Better Parent” by Dr. Jeramy Clark & Jerusha Clark. More on this book in a future newsletter article.  

If I saw most of you during the week and I asked how your family and M.S. & H.S. students were doing, I’m guessing a majority might respond with one word: busy. If you ran into me during the week and asked the same question, my response might be the same.

One of the resources that might be a help to our families can be found on www.thesource4parents.com, written by David R. Smith. Enjoy the challenge of this article and hopefully you can find some application this week in your own family setting.  

Overly Busy Kids by David R. Smith

Simple Tips to Help Manage Hectic Schedules

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School ends at 3 PM. Soccer practice starts 20 minutes later. Dinner is another Wendy’s drive through en route to dance lessons. Afterwards, there’s a yearbook club meeting at Starbucks and then it’s back to the house to do homework for the dual enrollment classes. Yep, the schedule for many kids these days can rival that of a Fortune 500 Company CEO. Their day starts well before the sun comes up…and ends long after it’s gone down.

But instead of making themselves rich, many of these kids are simply making themselves tired, anxious, and depressed.

Academics, extracurricular activities, sports, and personal interests can take their toll on a kid’s schedule. Football season bleeds into basketball season which bleeds into baseball season and so on. It’s not uncommon for a kid to leave the practice field of one sport to attend tryouts for a completely different sport starting the next week. Many schools and communities offer an endless buffet of clubs/groups that cater to almost every facet of life. Toss in a part time job, or college prep responsibilities such as community service, or something as simple as a personal hobby, and you’ve got a really, really busy kid.

And I haven’t even touched on entertainment media or screens….

As a former youth pastor, I’ve noticed at least three casualties that accompany crammed schedules: loss of sleep, a decrease in family time, and lackluster spiritual development. We know what impact sleep loss can have on grades. (My wife is an elementary school teacher. Almost every single day, one of her little girls falls asleep – and literally falls over onto her side – during circle chat time.) Of course, those setbacks are nothing compared to the dangers of drowsy teen drivers. While there is debate about the actual amount of time families spend together, some studies claim it’s not very much. And of course, a super busy teenager doesn’t have much time to study the Bible, pray, or serve others because of all the other demands filling the calendar.

Injecting Calm into the Calendar
The good news is, our kids – and our families as a whole – don’t have to be held hostage to hectic and hurried schedules. There are very simple ways to inject some rest and freedom into our calendars. Here are a few ideas:

1.) Assess your current family schedule to see if changes need to be made. Maybe your family has already struck a great balance with respect to activities, quality time, school, etc. But maybe you’re swimming upstream wondering why you never get anywhere. You won’t know until you examine what you’re doing and where you stand. The best way to shed light on this is to routinely ask questions of yourself and your family members. For example:

a. When was the last time you had a meal with your entire family?
b. Do your kids complain of having too much homework?
c. Are your kids’ activities fun…or have they become a grind?
d. When did you last take time off work (whether for a vacation trip or not)?
e. When was the last time you felt rested?
f. Has there been a significant change in your kids’ attitude, grades, health, etc.?

This is an ongoing conversation my wife and I have with each other. We’re always trying to figure out if we’re doing too much. She teaches. I’m a church planter. And our kid likes to play football, basketball, and guitar. If we’re not careful, we can easily take on so much that we don’t have time for friends, fun, rest, or each other.

  1. Identify what’s truly valuable…and make that a priority. It’s quite likely that you and your spouse may value something your kid cares nothing about, and vice versa. For example, most teenagers don’t think about debt-to-income ratio or life insurance policies. Then again, many parents don’t really try to keep up with the Kardashians. That’s to be expected. But it never hurts to know what everyone in your family thinks is important. Again, asking questions of yourselves and your kids will help you identify that. For example:

a. Why do you play XYZ sport? Or, why did you join that club?
b. Of everything you do, which do you enjoy the most?
c. If you had to cut something from your life (not school!), what would it be?
d. If you could add one thing to our family, what would it be?

Prioritizing means you’ll discover which things are super important – and which things are expendable. Now you’re ready for the final step….

  1. Don’t be afraid to scale back. Yep, “doing less” is absolutely an option! Sure, you may face some initial questions – and maybe even a few objections – but at the end of the day, we have to realize that there’s an end to the day! We only have so many hours! Knowing what’s important (through prioritization) will help us know where to scale back so we can invest more into what truly matters.

Our kids don’t have to lead rushed lives. It’s very possible for them to enjoy a balanced, happy, and healthy childhood/adolescence…but it will take leadership on our part as parents to help them achieve it.

 
 

 
 

Children’s Ministry Renovation Project

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Congregational goal approved at our annual business meeting in January: 

Renovate church basement to enhance functionality, security, and attractiveness for Children’s Ministry.

By achieving this goal:

  • We will improve the overall layout of the basement, consistent with our current (and future) growing ministries and passion to reach children. 

  • We will enhance the safety in the basement by having exclusive children’s ministry designated locations for our weekly ministries and provide improved adult/youth designated meeting spaces/classrooms. 

  • We will make each children’s ministry room attractive both to the children we are currently reaching but also to new families as they visit and get plugged in to our children’s ministries. 

History on the project:

Since Crystal Carroll was hired (June 2017), The Transformation Team has been brainstorming possible renovations that could be made for the purposes stated above. Much thought and effort has gone into this process. In September, the Stewardship Team heard a proposal by Pastor Bryce about potential plans for the basement. All were in favor of the proposal, but they had the good thought of putting a full team in place with a variety of people from the church to continue to brainstorm the best solution for the basement remodel. The benefit of putting a team like this together was to make sure that a lot of eyes and brains are behind a plan in order to ensure we don’t miss anything and “do things right.”

The Team:

We have an awesome team in place! Roxanne Lindaman, Deb Johnson, Crystal Carroll, Blake Richie, Jacque Williams, Teresa Perry, and Bryce Roskens agreed to serve on the Children’s Ministry Renovation Team. The plans that have been discussed would meet our goals for children’s ministry now, but they also take into account numerical growth both in Awana and our Sunday School ministry in the future. The team has come up with a good, general layout for the remodel that achieves our goals for the basement space as a children’s ministry. They will continue to work on plans for design, décor, media and technology needs, and a proposed timeline in conjunction with the Stewardship Team.  

Finances

The Stewardship Team brought a motion to our annual meeting to put $10,000 into a fund dedicated to the Children’s Ministry Renovation Project. What a blessing to see this motion pass and the fund be started! Since there is no money in the 2019 budget for this, our focus in the next few months will be fundraising as much as we can for this project. Jenna Jones has been approved to head up this team and she is really excited about the possibilities of fundraising. The Renovation Team & Stewardship Team will work hand in hand to make sure that a budget is set that is achievable, practical, and yet fulfills the objectives of this exciting goal. When finished, the proposed plan and cost will be brought to the congregation for a vote. As of now, we have 3 contractors looking at our plans to come up with a rough estimate of the building/remodeling portion of the project. These bids will be weighed by the Stewardship Team and they will then decide what our next steps will be as a church. 

Some of the potential plans: 

  • Expand & update the old youth room to a Children’s Ministry “Sanctuary” for large group teachings, worship, etc.

  • Remove the middle wall in the current Preschool classrooms for a larger space. Remove wall at the bottom of the stairs to accommodate a safer and more effective parent pick up location that doesn’t congest the stairway.   

  • Add security door to the east of Classroom #3 door to secure children’s ministry from unauthorized individuals.  

  • Create space for a dedicated M.S. Sunday School room. 

  • Provide a permanent and uniform check-in counter in Main Street to match the design of the lower level. 

  • Add décor and staging in hallways and classrooms to make this a fun and appealing area for our children and volunteers. 

  • Hallways & classrooms painted to match the overall theme. 

  • Remodel existing ceilings that are not finished. 

  • Addition of lighting in dark hallways & stairways

  • Addition of ceiling fans in classrooms

  • Update media/technology in classrooms 

  • Proper signage installed

  • Update current basement bathrooms

  • Replace broken and stained ceiling tiles. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 Blessings - Pastor Bryce

 

 

Come to the Mane Event

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Get ready to ROAR with our 2019 Vacation Bible School. 

This year’s theme is “Roar, Life is Wild, God is Good! 

VBS will be June 17-20 from 9-noon (lunch provided)

We are very excited to introduce our 2019 Director, Michelle Kennedy. Michelle will be working with Jacque Williams, Jenny Smith (as mentors), and myself to put on a special week to learn about a special God! 

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Each year we have such a great time coming together and putting on this amazing week. We are always so impressed by the outpouring volunteer support for our Vacation Bible School. Last year alone over 130 different children came through our doors and discovered God at our event. We were able to feed dozens of hungry kids and have true fellowship with them and each other. I say it often, you get to know each other a lot easier, faster and deeper when you serve together. Volunteering at VBS is such a special opportunity. Our Volunteer Registration is OPEN! We hope you’ll consider registering with us to volunteer. Let us know you’ll be joining us! 

Questions? Feel free to email our director michellekennedy810@gmail.com

 

In Christ — Crystal Carroll

Children's Ministry Coordinator