Shabbat seems like the perfect counterpart to Fasting. We are not a culture that says “no” often or intentionally self-sacrifices to make space for God in our lives. Fasting & Shabbat seem to directly challenge those principles more than any of the other disciplines. Shabbat is another discipline that is best practiced within the context of the home but must be modeled first by ministers & pastors.
Today I am grateful that Stacy Smith joins our conversation. Stacy is the Associate Director of Discipleship for Alamo Heights United Methodist Church Student Ministries. She and her husband (who is the Worship Pastor) not only model Shabbat as pastors but also practice Shabbat as a family. Regularly. May we all model Shabbat for those we serve and challenge all to honor one of the most beautiful disciplines given by God.
Two summers ago, my husband and I made our way to Israel for the first time in our lives. It was the trip of a lifetime, destined to forever alter the way I saw God, the way I saw myself, and the way my family engaged our faith. Over the two weeks we spent in Israel, we witnessed many traditions and observances that we ourselves found quite appealing—one of which was Shabbat, or Sabbath.
It is my honor to introduce you to Shannon Rains. Shannon is the Children’s and Family Minister at Kingwood Church of Christ. She has been journeying in ministry for over fifteen years. Shannon is currently a D.Min. student at Abilene Christian University and will join the faculty of Lubbock Christian University this fall as the Assistant Professor of Children’s Ministry. Shannon is married to David and has two children. Please help me welcome Shannon to the conversation.
I will never forget my first experience with implementing a change in curriculum. I evaluated our current ministry and made a list of goals for the future. I formed a team of stakeholders: parents, volunteers, and leaders in our congregation. We reviewed curriculum and compared them to our goals. Through prayer and discernment, we made a final selection. The team was excited about the new possibilities. We scheduled a meeting with the teachers and rolled out the new resources.
During the meeting, the teachers seemed excited about the new curriculum. Or, maybe they were a little nervous. In hindsight, they were probably more nervous than excited. I was excited. I misread their feelings through my own lens of excitement.
A few weeks later, reality set in. Continue reading
One day I was having lunch with a church leader. I was still fairly new to Children’s Ministry & (in hindsight) assumed everyone understood why Children’s Ministry was so important. Prior to our lunch, I had given him a copy of George Barna’s book, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, to read hoping it would somehow help our strained working relationship. At lunch that day he told me, “Now I get why Children’s Ministry is important and matters to the church.” All I could think was, “Wait, what?! No wonder we are struggling; you never thought Children’s Ministry mattered in the first place.” It became clear why our relationship had been strained over the previous year and a half: we did not view the importance of Children’s Ministry the same. You don’t know what you don’t know, and he didn’t know he didn’t know.
Like a dog that gnaws on a bone only to bury it for a time then sniffs it out again to gnaw on it once more, the idea of starting a blog has weighed on me off & on for at least a year. When it did I created a convincing column of Cons and pushed it to the back burners of my mind, pretending like I had convinced God that He was crazy.
Until He made Himself abundantly clear, “No, really. I’m not the crazy one.”
My response was very respectful: “Fine! If this is really something you want me to do, You’re going to have to give me a name for this stupid blog…and a purpose…AND ideas.”