Monday, December 7, 2009

Keep CHRIST in Christmas!!!!

Today I sent this email out to all the leaders and coaches of GBF's Children's Ministry Team! I think all could benefit from this aritcle...........

Just recently my husband and I saw a billboard that said KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS....which sparked us in a conversation on this very subject. I like the idea behind the billboards, however my husband thinks the money on the billboard could be spent somewhere else..... So therefor, I have been thinking alot about WHY I support this advertisement! Here is a article I came across today that I found very interesting and worth reading.

Getting Christ Back into Christmas Your Ministry

There is a danger in ministry that is easy to miss. During the Christmas season, we often hear the phrase, "keeping Christ in Christmas," or reminders that He is the "reason for the season." But these sentiments have as much to do with our ministry all year long as they do with the celebration of Christmas. While it is certainly disappointing how little of Jesus we see in our culture's celebration of Christmas, and frustrating to see our Savior being systematically squeezed out more and more every year, there is something far more gradual and eternally dangerous than seeing Christ steadily removed from Christmas. And it is happening every month of the year. It is the slow and unintentional removal of Christ from ministry – or at least the removal of a vibrant relationship with Jesus in the midst of Christ-centered ministry.

I have no doubt that children's ministry leaders and volunteers will keep "Christ in Christmas" during this season. I am more concerned about whether we will keep a relationship with Jesus at the center of our life and ministry. Christmas serves as a perfect object lesson on this topic because Christ slips away from our ministries the same way He slips out of Christmas. When it comes to the purpose and focus of Christmas, it is true that there are those who are intentionally and strategically trying to remove Christ from Christmas – but they are easy to identify. However, there is a more subtle attack at play. Too often Christ gets lost, not because of overt attacks, but because He just gets drowned out in the midst of many other good things. Shopping for gifts to express love is a good thing. Decorating to make the world a brighter place is a good thing. Cooking up special recipes to make life taste better is a good thing. Playing with children, volunteering to help the poor, giving to the needy, playing music focused on joy, and promoting peace and expressing love are all good things. They aren't "bad," and they even please Christ – but at the same time, they can distract us from the very One who inspired them.

The same is true with our lives and ministries. We do have an Enemy who seeks to remove Christ from the center of our lives, and often his distractions or downright seductions work – and we sin. But more often, it is all the GOOD in our lives and ministry that can cause Jesus to be lost in the shuffle. We are about so many good things! Creatively teaching the Bible is good. Getting kids to come to church is good. Making the environment fun and inviting is good. Preparing fun games, engaging crafts and yummy snacks is good. Providing resources is good and staffing our classes and programs is good. Developing safe policies and creating attractive bulletin boards, brochures and websites is all good – and most of it is inspired by our desire to lead children into a saving relationship with Jesus. But just as Christ slips out of Christmas while we are busy sipping the eggnog, so Jesus can slip out of our ministry while we are restocking the resource room with apple juice.

Here a few warning signs that Jesus may have gotten buried in the busyness of ministry:

* You haven't read the Bible for yourself in awhile. (Lesson prep doesn't count!)
* If you pray, it's at meals, or when you need something for the ministry.
* Your spouse or kids are starting to resent the ministry. (Or perhaps you are.)
* What used to bring you great joy now seems like a burden. (If you are honest.)
* You aren't really as happy as you appear on Sunday. (You thought no one could tell.)
* You can't remember the last time you got to lead someone to Christ (one on one).
* You are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the ministry. (His burden is light.)
* You are exhausted most of the time.
* You feel unappreciated, undervalued and overworked.
* You don't like who you are becoming privately.
* You have sin in your life that if anyone knew...

How does it happen? How can you be doing so much GOOD and seeing LIVES CHANGED and have so many people impressed and pleased with you… but Jesus seems like a stranger to you?

Friend, Jesus is not only the "Reason for the Season," he is the Reason for your Ministry, too. "Keeping Christ in Christmas" is not the main challenge – keeping your relationship with Him central in your life and ministry is!

Thanks for letting me share this!!!!! Love yall!!!

1 comment:

Red Writing said...

Love this so much!! Thank you for sharing the article--I really needed to read it.

I do tend to agree with Todd on the billboards--funny I wrote a blog post last year on this very topic and basically combines the two view points...and it was after I saw the billboard...

(If you want to read it is under Dec. archives Keeping Christ in Christmas).
Thanks again for sharing this!