This past week was our Wisconsin District Conference. For the past 5 years or so, we have been holding our annual conference in various churches instead of hotel conference centers. This year it was held at our church. One of the nice things when conference is held in your home church is that you get to go home at night and sleep in your own bed.
Anyway, ever since I learned that we would be hosting District Conference this summer, I started using the occasion…
To think through some updates to our facilities.
You know, look through the eyes of others and see what might or might not be out-of-place. I am constantly thinking about things I want to add to the walls, games to our large group room, and re-painting rooms to look better.
As time went on, however, I began to realize that I would not be able to “dress” up my children’s ministry areas like I wanted and I got really bummed. I started to think: “They are not going to be impressed.” Or, “They are going to think I’m an average children’s leader instead of an above average or exceptional one.” Or worse, “He acts like he has it all together, but he doesn’t.” Ouch.
These were imaginary conversations and comments I was having with myself and the supposed visitors to our facility.
About a month ago I caught myself.
I realized that not only did I put unreasonable expectations on myself, but I had been idolizing (putting my hope in) my facilities and my expert expertise, rather than let people see who we really are.
Don’t get me wrong, I think making your facilities look nice and clean and fun is important, but it shouldn’t be to impress or get attention, rather it should be one section of the picture that assists to disarm and helps kids and their parents feel comfortable and eager to engage in learning about God.
My facilities had become an idol and not a tool. My image of expertise had become an idol and not reality.
On the flip side of the coin, there are those who covet facilities because they don’t have what they want. Believe it or not, I’ve visited churches who have invested millions — yes, millions — on theming and decorating their kidmin facilities. When I entered those creative spaces I was jealous of the budget they had as well as the amount of space they had. I was coveting what they had and at the time didn’t appreciate what our church did have.
The corrective for idolizing and coveting is simple:
Believe the Gospel!
When we realize that we deserve nothing and we have been saved by nothing other than the grace of God, then wanting what we don’t have or idolizing what we do have falls apart in light of God’s grace. Being thankful for what God has done for us should renew our hearts to live with what He has currently, in the moment, given us no matter how big, small, or anywhere in between our church size or facility budget is.