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10 Things I Wish Old Jim Could Teach Young Jim

  1. Commit to the long haul. Jim, are you telling us when you were younger you thought about quitting? I sure did…every Monday for a while. It took me a while to stop looking at what I was seeing and have a vision of the finish line. Here are some biggies I wish I had known.
  • Don’t talk about leaving every time you experience pushback.
  • Be willing to put your dreams on the back burner to serve someone else’s dreams. Every dream I ever had came true by being willing to help others see their dreams come true.
  • Be secure in your calling. If God called you, and He leads your steps, the things you are experiencing, good or bad, are not a surprise to Him, so trust Him to lead you.
  • It’s my job to remember leading is all about serving. I’ve found when I am consumed in better ways to serve kids and families—serve those who help you and serve your pastor—it helps me not be the center of attention.
  • One of the things I’d love to tell young Jim is to be on the lookout for fear. Anytime fear is around you’re about to head backward instead of forward. Never give into fear. It will always stop you short of the finish line. The two fears that I had to face the most were fear of failure and fear of losing my job. You might face different fears. The key is to face them head on and replace fear with faith.
  • Another enemy of finishing strong is trying to do everything overnight. Too much too quick is always trouble. Do things in phases or steps, and learn to live by priorities. Have realistic expectations for yourself, and don’t stop until you hear God say it’s done.
  1. Don’t take part in power plays! I don’t know why even as adults we sometimes act like kids. Don’t try to get your way all the time. There’s no “I” in team. Old Jim would tell Young Jim that thinking about the well-being of others will always lead you to being the team player you need to be. Look for every opportunity to esteem the team. I’ve never enjoyed being around pouters, so I have to examine myself and don’t pout. I’d also tell Young Jim that there’s no place for threats in the workplace. Don’t threaten to leave, and don’t ever pull out the “God said card” in a meeting. If God said it, that’s a discussion stopper. Know when you need to lose a battle to win a war. Anytime I enter a negotiation I have to know what I’m willing to give up to take new ground. I’ve also found out that sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and not defend yourself so it will not appear like you’re arguing. Old Jim knows God is your Defender and He gives grace to the humble. When it comes to staying away from power plays, don’t make someone else look bad to get your way. Old Jim knows that blessed is the peacemaker. Anytime you have the opportunity to make peace, go for it!
  1. Take care of your health! Old Jim is being forced to do this today. Exercise, sleep and good nutrition are essential to you finishing well. Making time for important things is something that will help you at any age. I wish Young Jim knew that making time for exercise has to be a part of your weekly routine, just like meetings and ministry. I know firsthand that everyone makes time for what they really want to make time for. Old Jim would tell Young Jim to make time for the right things. I realize now I’ve been guilty of working on the wrong temple. Neglecting one to work on the other was not real smart. They both deserve our best and both need a plan of action.
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Jim Wideman is an internationally recognized voice in children’s and family ministry. He is a much sought after speaker, teacher, author, personal leadership coach, and ministry consultant who has over 30 years experience in helping churches thrive. Jim created the Children’s Ministers Leadership Club in 1995 that is known today as "theClub" which has touched thousands of ministry leaders each month. Jim believes his marching orders are to spend the rest of his life taking what he has learn about leadership and ministry and pour it into the next generation of children’s, youth, and family ministry leaders.