Category Archives: Mentoring

Church Based After School Ministry: Do you do RELATIONAL MINISTRY?

Each new school year provides the opportunity to assess how we did last year and plan how we can do it better this year.

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How did you do last year in developing lasting relationships with each individual child that came through your After School Ministry? How could you do better this year?

 

Below are just a few of the challenges we talk through relating to RELATIONAL MINISTRY in KidTrek After School Ministry Training.

  • The individual who yearns to have a relational ministry must be bilingual; i.e. he needs to have the ability to communicate in the localism of those with whom he desires to convey God’s truth. He must be willing to take the time and spend the energy to get to know those to whom God has sent him to minister.
  • The relational minister will view himself more as a discipler of men than a teacher of knowledge. As a discipler, he will be willing to set aside his agenda when a need is presented.  He is going to listen to what is said, but he will also be reading between the lines.  When Bobby complains day-after-day of being tired, the relational minister is going to ask questions to find out why Bobby is tired.
  • The discipler is going to be sensitive to the environment into which he brings the kids. Is it conducive to building relationships?  Is there a climate of warmth?  Does the kid feel understood?   Does he know you will go the extra mile to reach him?  Is there more focus on the kid than there is on the material being taught?  Is everything well thought out and prepared?CIMG7396
  • There is a willingness to be stretched emotionally. He recognizes the need to grow in patience, compassion, and forgiveness.  The discipler sees each problem that arises as an opportunity for development, his and the kid’s.
  • Because he is called by the Lord, he depends on the Holy Spirit for his strength and believes God will redeem the time so he can accomplish the task that the Lord has set before him. Therefore, the discipler does not view his ministry as being from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., four days a week within the walls of the church.  He recognizes the need to visit the kids in the home, send postcards, make phone calls, etc.
  • The discipler puts the welfare of the kids above his own pride, recognizing that at times he may need to call on the insight of others to meet a particular need of the kid.
  • The discipler continually reminds himself to not fall into the trap of ministering from motivation of making himself feel/look good. It has to be all about the kids’ real needs not the discipler’s wants or needs.
  • The discipler is a friend. As he wishes the kid to trust him, he will trust the kid.  He will pray for the kid and he will ask the kid to pray for him, giving the kid specific prayer requests.
  • The individual called to a relational ministry is a prayer warrior. He acknowledges that apart from Jesus he can do nothing.  However, he believes that with Jesus all things are possible.  He daily brings the kids to the throne of his heavenly Father.

  • The relational kid’s worker does not buy into the victimization of the kids. He knows that with Christ everyone can be a victor.  He is not willing for the kid to dwell in the past but encourages the kid to look forward to what Jesus has for him.
  • The relational discipler has the joy of bonding with kids and watching as the Lord transforms them.

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Church Based After School: WHAT IS YOUR INTENTIONAL GOAL?

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I was living and working in a migrant labor camp in Texas – above are pictures of myself and husband (who I met while serving there). We were VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) Volunteers, part of President Johnson’s war on poverty.  I was just out of college and had such huge dreams of making a difference. 

 Never will I forget the day that Lupe knocked on our door and asked if I would like to accompany her to court.  She was going to court with two boys, both 12 year olds. They had put bricks on the railroad track and derailed a train. 

 I didn’t hesitate – to get out of the heat of the Texas sun and sit idly in the back of an air-conditioned courtroom sounded like an enjoyable afternoon.  LITTLE DID I KNOW WHAT GOD HAD IN STORE FOR ME. As we entered the court I sat in the last row while Lupe went to the front to be with the boys.

The judge came in and asked the two boys to stand in front of him.  Caesar wore a filthy, worn baseball cap. Pedro stood with his head bowed and never looked at the judge.

“Take that cap off!” the judge demanded in a gruff voice.

Pedro and Caesar didn’t move.

“I told you to take that cap off!  Take it off now!.” the judge said in a slow gruff voice.

Again, neither boy moved.

Shouting this time, “Did you hear me?  I told you to take that cap off!  Do so now!”

Again, neither boy moved.

“You, you sitting out there,” the judge shouted pointing at me.  “You’ve come into our small community thinking that you know everything.  You think that you can tell us how to run our community.  Well we’ll see.  We’ll see if you have all the answers or not!  I’m putting these two boys into your custody!

He hit the bench with his gavel.  I sat there not able to move.  What had just happened?  This was supposed to be an easy afternoon, a little time out of the heat.  Now at 21 I had custody of two twelve-year olds.  What do you do with two boys who are about to become teenagers? Were they to live with us?

As we drove back to the Labor Camp Lupe and I talked about the options available to me.  We decided it would be best for the boys to spend nights with their parents and spend days with us.  Joe and Ellen, my two roommates and fellow Vista Volunteers, had a good laugh as I explained what had happened –  that is until they realized how this impacted them too.

One of the first things we learned was that Caesar wouldn’t remove his cap because he had a scalp disease and his hair was all patchy.  Joe took him to town to pick out a new, clean cap.  A daily routine was making sure his head and cap were clean.

We checked with the school to see how they were doing.  Because they were the children of migrant laborers and moved a lot the school was basically warehousing them.  We requested they be tested.  It took a little pressuring but eventually the tests were administered.  Caesar had an IQ of 69, Pedro’s was 48.

Caesar and Pedro had no idea what the consequences would be when they placed those bricks on the railroad track.  They were merely having fun trying to balance the bricks.

For the next few months I worked hard with the school and their parents figuring out what would be best for them.  In the end we were able to get them enrolled in a residential school for mentally challenged children.

I remember the day I took them to the school.  They were excited and I knew that they were going to receive training that would give them skills to function as adults on their own.

As I drove out of the school grounds I had a sense of accomplishment, a sense I had done something good. 

Caesar and Pedro were American invisible children – there was no one in their lives who cared enough or had the sophistication to get them the help they needed.  Little did the judge realize what a blessing it was for those boys when he placed them in my custody.

But as the years have passed I have often felt that those boys may have been left behind. 

Not once did I speak to them about Jesus.

What did I truly give them if I gave them the whole world but they lose their souls?  Mark 8:36

Years later, when I was concerned about the outcome of my own children the Triune God taught me what motivates most of us in what we do as we serve others. Motivation for What We Do   In the years that I served in inner cities I saw this motivation over and over again. Just one example of what I observed.

WHAT IS YOUR INTENTIONAL GOAL?

Church Based After School Ministry: Teaching Children To Pray

One of the most important tools you can give a child to walk through life is prayer.

When was the last time you took time to teach the children about the importance of prayer.

One of my passions is to teach children to turn their self-talk into an on-going conversation with Jesus. There isn’t a moment in the day that we can’t be talking to Jesus and expecting Him to guide us and direct us.

 

What do you do with prayer? 

When a problem arises, where is the first place you turn?  In your day in/day out living, how often are you in a conversation with Jesus Christ?  When your life is going good, do you share with Jesus the excitement of what is going on in your life?  What about when life is difficult?

 How will you teach the kids to pray without ceasing if this isn’t your lifestyle?

How will you challenge them to move toward a victorious walk with Jesus if your walk isn’t victorious?

A lesson on prayer

Below is a prayer I’ve prayed for you.

 Jesus,

I lift this faithful laborer up to You today.  Let him/her grow in his/her depth of conversation with You.  As s/he comes to You, bless him/her with a sense of Your presence.  Speak to him/her in his/her inner most being.  Oh Lord, I know You long to have a continual conversation with this child of Yours.  Please Lord; teach him/her how to speak with you constantly.  In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Church Based After School: Be Intentional With The Kids You Serve

Dimitri was a child full of anger — he had a right to be angry.

His mother was a prostitute and he had to deal with whatever man mom brought home that night. One night mom brought home a drunk who picked Dimitri up and threw him across the front of his car. Dimitri’s face was cut by the car’s emblem from his forehead to his chin.

Dimitri will live with the scar for his entire life.

Though he was full of anger he was so loving with our new born son. He would carry Joseph all over the Boys’ Club. I was never fearful — he loved Joseph. Dimitri was also in and out of our home.

Years later Joe was at a meeting in a nearby community when a young man with a large scar walked up to him, “Uh, are you by any chance Joe Parker?”

They hugged and Dimitri continue, “I want to thank you. I’m a probation officer now but I wouldn’t be what I am if it hadn’t been for what you did for me. All the time you spent with me — and you trusted me with your son.”

Children need long-term relationships with adults who are productive, empathetic and wise.These are the characteristics we want to see replicated in children that they too become self-sufficient adults.

Below is a chart showing some of the real needs kids have if they are going to become the self-sufficient adults we all hope they will be.

Below are some things that kids need to learn to be able to function as adults.

How are you being intentional in the mentoring of the kids so they will have these qualities as adults?

What Do Kids Need?

Training Secondary Nurturers

What Kids Receive From Secondary Nurturers

Church Based After School: A Secondary-Nurturer’s Story

 Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to continue my education and expand my capacity to minister to the children and families…

…on my way home I knew that I would be passing by my community.

I have been in the process of getting to know about five families to build rapport and trust with the parents so that they will allow their children to be involved in our programs and summer camp.

I began to pray and ask God,

“Lord, please open up an opportunity with a family so that I can pour out your love this afternoon.” 
I picked up my phone and called “Toony.”

She is a single mom who had recently moved to escape the difficulties she and her children were facing…her ex-husband just got out out of prison for attempted murder…

Toony’s son is ADD/ADHD and is sometimes abusive towards her; and her daughter gets in fights frequently because other girls pick on her.

I called three times. No answer.

I called one more time, she picked up, and after I reminded her of who I was her voice lit up and she was so excited to hear from me.

I asked her if I could come by and meet her son. She said yes.

What on earth was I going to talk with a 13 year old boy about? 

I was empty.

I had nothing.

No agendas.

No expectations.

Would I get there and just hear a silent ringing, or crickets chirping, while we looked at each other in awkwardness?

I decided to bring milkshakes. 

He greeted me as I gave him the milkshake. I shared for two minutes about The Center, gave my testimony, and told him why I have an interest in his life…

All of a sudden he ran out of the room.

He soon returned…with the trophy he had been awarded in football and showed me his team and individual football picture.

He began to share his life.

He told me about his joy of learning, spending time with his grandparents in N.C., and his joy of sports.

He told me about his mess ups and how his mom intervened and took him off the football team as a repercussion for bad grades and getting into trouble and agreed that his mom acted in his best interest!

We talked for over an hour and I shared with him that I’d like to spend some time with him and get him involved in the Center programs.

He said he’d like that.

In fact, he was so excited that someone who cared about his life came to talk with him that he didn’t take one sip of his milkshake!

Maybe I’ll get to see him enjoy another one soon!

  I think I have my first kid recruited into the  program; his name is Carlos.

I picked him up from home, met with the other Secondary-Nurturers and their kids and then we went bowling.

While we were at the church, Carlos saw another young man, Samuel, and they started snappin’ at one another.

Carlos just got suspended from school for fighting and I thought to myself,

“Great. Now he’s gonna’ get into a fight and get suspended from The Center and he’s not even in our program yet.” 

At the dinner table, Samuel was telling Carlos,

“I’m gonna call yo Daddy and tell ‘im you got suspended. Then he’s gonna whoop yo butt!” 

I chimed in,

“Ya’ll aren’t into tattle-telling are you?” 

 As if I were challenging them to grow up a little.

Carlos looked at me and said,

“Joseph, this is my brother. We’ve got different Mommas but the same Daddy.” 

They were chummy the rest of the night, like brothers can be!

Incredible. 

In part one of this story I told you how the Holy Spirit prompted me to call Carlos’s mom, Toony.

What if I had been disobedient, did not listen to the Spirit’s promptings, and gave up when getting the answering machine three times?

I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, but what I am trying to point to is the powerful prodding and unction the Spirit of God puts on us…

…especially when we have a mandate to go and make disciples.

Moreover, my hope is not that doing fun things with Carlos will make him a better person, student, and son…

our center is  just a tool, it won’t save or make a disciple out of Carlos …

…that is my task.

And if I do not carry out this mandate, not only have I failed God, but I have failed Carlos as well.

My desire is to substitute candy for milk and hopefully…Lord willing…meat.

I told him on the way home that The Center wasn’t only committed to having fun but we were…I was… committed to walk with him through life, as much as God permits.

“I’ll be picking you up Friday around 5:30 for the C.O.R.P.S (Christ Our Real Power Source-for the newbies at The Center) retreat, ” I said.

“That’s cool, ” he said.

Next, it’s summer camp. Then, it is the Community Development and Leadership Program, a.k.a.: Discipleship.

God is not only reuniting us to Him, He is reuniting families as well.

Only the strategic and powerful work of Christ can do such a thing…in Carlos’ life…in my life…in your life.

My heart is overflowing with gratitude for allowing me to be a conduit, a clay pipe (connected with others) that distributes God’s life giving water from the source!

God is not only sustaining my faith but ever increasing it to believe Him in his promise that,

“He who began the good work will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6, NLT).

To learn more about Secondary-Nurtuers click below

What Do At Risk Kids Need?

How Secondary-Nurturers Disciple Kids

What Kids Receive From Secondary-Nurturers

Church Based After School: Choices part 3

PRESENTATION OF SCRIPTURE

The Adult Challenge for this lesson is found here

The Reality Check for this lesson is found here

A Bible for each kid

Church Based After School: Teaching Kids To Make Choices Begins With You

When you make a split second choice what is it based on?

Most likely it is based on who you truly are. Not what you live on the outside but who you truly are on the inside. What is most important to you? What do you believe? WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?

WHO IS TRULY YOUR GOD?

If you want to train the kids to make wise choices you must begin
by taking a good look at yourself.

If we attempt to make choices in a vacuum without an awareness of who God is, we are going to be overwhelmed.  We will cower and take the easy way out each time.

 However, if we stop and acknowledge who God is, we will be empowered.  We serve the God of the Universe; He can make the sun stand still; He speaks and the seas are calmed; He can bring a human back to life and He can be everywhere at the same time.  Yet, He loves you so much He sent His only Son to earth to pay the price for your sins.  Almighty God wants to have an intimate relationship with you.

Do you believe God can overcome any obstacle in your life?  Do you believe He will do for you what you need done?

Think back over the past year; how have your beliefs affected the choices you have made?  Have you walked by faith or by sight?  Do your choices clearly tell the world who your God is?

This week you will guide the kids in discovering who the false gods are in their lives.  But they must first know who the one true God is.  Who/what are the false gods in your life?  Ask the Lord to show you.