Catching up at a wedding with a fellow preschool teacher from way back, she let me know that she has retired. When I asked her when she knew it was time, she responded, “I knew it was time to retire when I didn’t want to learn anything new.”

Alrighty, then! If that’s the benchmark, I am SO not anywhere near there.

I learned so much in 2018 from a whole host of platforms. Let me share with you my Top 3 of 2018 from 3 go-to platforms that has changed who I started as in January into who I am at the end of 2018. They each essentially rocked my world!

Podcasts

The Sustainable Ministry Show presented by Ministry Architects – all about processes for everyone serving on staff in a local church from budgeting to major event notebooks to pruning ministry and more. This is for ANY ministry!

MyCom Church Marketing Podcast presented by United Methodist Communications – all about marking your ministry inside and outside your local church; ideas for ‘throwing seed’ to reach communities. Be intentional about working smarter, not harder. And short!

Set Apart Girl podcast by Leslie Ludy – this Jesus gal needs the words of wisdom from missionaries, saints of the faith, and the scriptures. I was introduced to Leslie Ludy as an author when my now-adult daughter was in high school and she is the real deal.

Books

Sustainable Children’s Ministry – for this ‘people and process’ girl, Annette Safstrom and Mark DeVries lay out in one place how to set up sustainable systems beneath the unforgettable moments of children’s ministry.

Irresistible – Andy Stanley presents a history of the Bible and how we got it for the sole purpose of reclaiming the ‘new’ in the New Testament. The people of God serve a ‘mobile, inhabiting, Spirit God’…think tabernacle, not temple…and that’s just the beginning! Still chewing on this one.

Messy Church – Lucy Moore puts forth a goal of building a fresh expression of community rather than accomplishing tasks in discipleship for the little people and families in the ministry I lead.  McEachern Kid’s Messy Family Christmas is the direct result of how that would look in the local church I serve. More to come on this one especially on 2019’s upcoming fifth Sundays.

People

McEachern Kids Servant-Leader Team –The joy of the Lord has a gravity all its own. The team of Jesus Guys & Gals who invite me into their lives to do the work of ministry with joy and wonder make my eyes tear up and my chin quiver. These are prayerful, hard-working, hilarious, sold-out disciples of Jesus! Jesus never sent out His disciples to ‘do the work’ one at a time, but two, three, and up to 70. And OH, the stories! A year under my belt at McEachern and I am as excited for what God has in store for us together as I was when I answered the call into professional ministry more than 20 years ago.

Staff-Parish Relations & My Senior Pastor – The epitome of folks buying into the vision you bring to the table is to offer assistance in ramping it up. Beginning in January, McEachern Kids will be blessed with the Marvelous Ms. Misty for 15-20 hours each week. Praying for ‘more’, then letting the Lord decide what ‘more’ looks like for the last 8 months. The support of a senior pastor and the staff-parish relations team can make or break your spirit of, “Yes!”. I pray for them. They pray for me. We don’t serve for ‘atta-girls’, but to be heard, encouraged, and equipped by the SP & SPR can give strength when you’re weary and courage when you’re…well, not courageous.

Atlanta-Marietta District Children’s Ministry Networking Group – We’ve met monthly for almost 20 years. Some of the faces have changed, but they feed my soul, make me laugh my head off, talk me off my ledge of crazy, and throw seed (think parable of the Seed & the Sower) like confetti. Kate and I went to the Holy Lands in February with Jesus action figures and started Faith Field Trips last summer. We’ve already met to plan Summer 2019. Sarah is the best story-teller and we connect in mini-meetings at Annual Conference like the true extroverts we are in our little corner of the auditorium. Kelly will be leading our first Wonderfully Made faith and sexuality event for the 5th & 6th graders in our district which I get to host. One is a super volunteer who brings her broken heart until she heals well enough to dock at a new port. Been there. Done that. Rebecca came to networking lunch on her first day back from maternity leave, and we ALL know what her office and in-box must look like. Michelle just started on church staff three months ago.

What are you reading? Who are you listening to? Who are your people?

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Charlie Tremendous Jones

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