I think this is something I hear more than anything else when I talk to weary children’s ministers and family pastors and youth directors: “I feel so alone.” It’s an awful feeling, right? There is nothing to compare it to. Everything feels like an upward battle. You feel exposed and weak and there’s no safety or place to find rest.
Yesterday at CM Conference 2017 by CMConnect, Heidi Hensley told us why. Simply put she said, “We are designed to be with one another. We aren’t designed to be around each other. We are designed to be in community with one another.”
God made us to be with others. He made others to be with us.
So when we are alone or feel alone, it is an awful feeling, because we were made for more. I spoke to Heidi ahead of time and asked her what she wanted people to walk away with from the time with and she responded, “A stronger desire and understanding for the need for community and connection with one another.” That’s exactly what happened. I’m going to just let you read my notes because what she shares from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 shows us just how we were designed to work, live, grow and thrive with one another.
When you are at work
“Two are better than one because they have a better return for their labor” Ecc. 4:9
Whenever we work together, we reap the benefits of the labor together. We realize that it’s not about it. When we work alone, it’s easy to identify “I did that” but when “we” do that, it’s about God.
When we fall down
“If either of them falls down, the other can help the other up. But pity anyone who fails and has no one to help them up.” Ecc. 4:10
Pay attention to your warning lights. More importantly, pay attention to who sees your warning lights going off and that you are close enough to listen to if they point it out? You need people in your life who know your weak spots and see your warning lights going off.
When you get cold
“Also if two lie down together they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” Ecc. 4:11
How can we stay on fire for God without people in our circle who are keeping us warm? And how can those around us stay on fire if we are silent? Look around the “playground” and see who is falling and who is hurt. Look around your church and the churches around you and see who needs encouragement.
When you go to battle
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves” Ecc 4:12a
Sometimes when you think you about to land, a crash landing is coming. When soldiers get in formation for battle, they literally cover each other’s back. They don’t turn around. Their faces are out and weapons we ready. They absolutely trust one another and believe they are being looked out for from the other. We shouldn’t have to turn around and ask to be covered; that should be what is happening. We need to surround ourselves with prayer warriors, accountability partners, and trusted friends.
“A cord of three strands is not easily broken” Ecc. 4:12b
Where do we find relationships like this? When we get close to Jesus, we get close to people. And the closer we get to Jesus, the closer we are able to get to other people.
This isn’t a to-do list.
Heidi was quick to tell us that she wasn’t telling us to run out the doors and set up an accountability group or a secret Facebook page for trusted friends or any number of things. She challenged us to do what this quote says: “I went out to find a friend, and they were nowhere. I went out to be a friend, and they were everywhere.”
There’s a real reason why lone ranger kidmin doesn’t work.
Because we, the people doing the ministry, need each other. We need teams and we need a community. We were never meant to go it alone. How can we help each other find that safe place, where backs are covered, and trust is implicit? I’d love to know your thoughts!!
P.S. Parents weren’t supposed to go it alone either! Parents are called to pass on our faith at home in the midst of a faith community who joined us in our discipleship and supported us in our work of faith formation. It’s an US not a THEM when it comes to discipleship in the home. Click here for more on that!!
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Discipleship in Intergenerational community
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
About this Blog
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family and Seedbed