Many of you have probably heard that Nashville, and the middle Tennessee region, suffered unprecedented rainfall this past weekend resulting in some major flooding. To see so many lose so much has been difficult.
I’ve been wondering about the flood and thinking about life lessons and Kids Ministry lessons that might come from my experiences. With all due respect for those suffering and with absolutely no intention of being insensitive to those who’ve lost so much, I want to share with you some things I’ve been thinking about over the past few days. I’m calling it “Lessons Learned from the Flood.” It may take a couple posts to get them all in, but here goes:
1. Things can change overnight. On Friday evening things in Nashville were pretty normal. I had worked a little late, enjoyed a quiet evening, worked on some projects I had in front of me, and went to bed. Saturday, I woke up to rain. No big deal, right… a lazy Saturday with rain, actually one of my favorite things. As the day progressed the rain didn’t lighten up and actually turned to downpours. The roads started being a bit dicey and being out was a little scary. Sunday morning brought road closures, bridges out, low lying areas flooding, and the rise of the Cumberland, Harpeth, and Stones rivers. It really happened over night. Or at least from my perspective it did.
Kids Ministry is kind of like that. Things are constantly and quickly changing. Five years ago is considered “old school” and even as we speak folks are out there developing the next great big thing. We can’t get stuck in our rut. Obviously there are core values that don’t change, but let’s be careful to not be trapped by our traditions and lose the next generation.
2. Be thankful for bumps in the road. I really had never realized that my house was on a hill until Sunday morning. I was committed to leading a VBS training session on Sunday afternoon, so I decided to get an early start. Church had been canceled due to the severity of the weather (I know, I should have stayed at home), so I decided to get an early start toward the other side of town. When I came out of my subdivision I quickly began to see the value of living on a “bump.” Water had begun to gather in every low lying place and my little bump in the road was keeping everything moving to lower ground.
Sometimes in ministry I whine about the bumps in the road; someone didn’t show up to teach, someone hurt my feelings, the room is too cold, the room is too hot… bumps. Have you ever thought about being thankful for the bumps? I know folks need to be committed, we need to regulate the temperature, but really friends… those are just bumps. It’s often time the bumps that cause us to grow and sometimes those bumps lead to blessings.
3. It’s hard to concentrate when the water is rising. It should have taken me about 45 minutes to get to Springfield Baptist Church but it ended up taking over two hours. I was detoured several times and required to pass several flooded exits before I finally found a route that would take me to my destination. I got set up, enjoyed a quick meal with the church and began my time of training. I guess we were 10 minutes into it when something started going on. The VBS director and her husband began to get up and have discussions with the Minister of Education. It was obvious that decisions were being made. Finally the announcement came, “If you live over the ‘so-and-so’ bridge, you might want to leave. They’re considering closing that road” (which led to the other side of town). It’s not easy to concentrate when the water is rising and folks are abandoning the ship!
I’ve noticed that in Kids Ministry we are often asked to stay focused on a greater goal and let some of the little things go. I’ve even experienced folks “abandoning ship” while the water was rising. Truth is, sometimes it’s just not easy following God and leading folks to do the same. But… that’s what we’re to do. The key to keeping your own nose above water is knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you’re following God, His leadership, in His timing, and at His pace. Concentrate and focus on your God given goals.
4. Friends mean everything. After we finished it became obvious that I was now stuck in Robertson County. Now that’s not so bad, if you live there, but I don’t. I live in Brentwood, several creeks, a couple rivers, and a lake away. I looked to my buddy for refuge and was invited to stay the night (thanks, Jeff!).
As the floods in your ministry come, you’ll need to make sure that you have friends in place. Some friends will be involved directly in your ministry and others will be outside looking in. Regardless, don’t under estimate the value of having good friends. Invest in relationships and develop folks you can count on and talk with. At the end of the day, that’s all we really have any way!
Bottom Line: Everyone goes through a flood or two. Maybe not literally, but certainly things don’t always go as we planned. God is good, all the time. Finding the meaning in it is the key to recovery!
Don’t miss the rest of the story on my next post. There’s still 8 more points!