Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

Top Women’s Ministry Blog

I got this e-mail last night:

Dear Anna,

Congratulations! Jen here, and your blog, Anna Light Ministries, is a
Master Blog of Women in Ministry!

We’ve scoured the web looking for amazing blogs that not only are great in
content, but informative and helpful when needed.  And we’ve determined your
blog to be such!  We like to call it a Master of its category!

You can see your blog and others right here

Click on the link and see who’s number 4! Pretty cool.  Thanks for making my little corner of the world a place others feel is worth knowing about.

Complainers Get More Attention

Saturday was our one year anniversary. Cody treated me to a day at the spa, some shopping and my favorite: Sushi.

We were seated at a popular Sushi place in downtown Oklahoma City, next to a table with another couple. As we put in our drink order, and waited, and then finally put in our appetizer order, and waited, we noticed our waiter was a little distracted. Amidst our conversation we observed him as he waited on both our table and the one next to us. It was clear the man seated at the table next to us was not a happy customer. More than once he sent something back to the kitchen and even the manager came out and talked to him and his lady mid way through the meal.

First of all, he ordered steak. I mean, you don’t go to a sushi bar and order steak. Who does that? But that’s not what I’m getting at. As we watched this little episode unfold it was apparent that we had been forgotten.

Complainers get more attention.

Now, I’m all for good service, and good food, and I understand if you’re not satisfied with your experience you want someone to know. But from where we were sitting it didn’t seem like this guy was complaining because of the service. That waiter seemed to be at his beck and call. It didn’t look like his food was wrong–unless the steak tasted fishy (it’s a sushi restaurant!) what it looked like to me, was this guy and his lady were complaining just to complain. Every time the waiter would leave their table they would laugh quietly like the waiter was the dumbest guy in the world. This man even went so far to send back a knife that wasn’t to his liking.

Meanwhile, we’re trying to pay the check without a pen, feeling sorry for our poor waiter the whole time.

Complainers get more attention. Why is that? Why do we allow the naysayers to dictate where we spend our time and energy?

As I thought about this on the way home that night I realize the same is also true in our lives. When we find out someone doesn’t like us, what do we have the tendency to do? Spend the time and energy figuring out why they don’t like us.

I run into this problem a lot working in ministry. If I’m not careful I could spend most of my time with the people who are unhappy about something in the ministry and leave those who would bend over backwards for it in the dark. I learned a leadership principal early on that says to spend 80% of your time with your best players, customers, or volunteers and just 20% of your time with the complainers.

This might be a good concept for people waiting tables. After all, those complainers aren’t going to leave a good tip anyway. And if you leave your other customers to fend for themselves, they won’t either.

In the end, no matter how hard you spin your wheels to try to win over the complainers, while leaving your fans in the dust, you may never get there, and then you’ve lost both.

What to do when You’re Told “You Suck”

I wrote a post a couple weeks ago called “Development–The Fine Art of Telling People They Suck.” Then a friend of mine, @jeremydbaldwin, asked if I would write a follow up post about what to do if you are on the receiving end of that development. I thought it was a great idea so I bring you this:

What to do when You’re Told “You Suck”

Now, that’s putting it pretty harsh. I hope the people around you who are developing you are a little more tactful than that, but even if they’re not, having constructive criticism is an important part of our development.

I read somewhere that feedback is the number one motivator of people. Without feedback how do we expect to get better at anything? I’m pretty passionate about development, not only helping others develop but making sure I’m getting developed as well, so since Jeremy has been on the receiving end of some of my development, and because I’m always looking to be on the receiving end of development, I’d like to bring you 3 things to always do when you’re told “You Suck.”

1. Put Your Pride to Bed. Let’s be honest, we all need improvement. None of us are perfect at what we do, and if you think you are, you need more development than you think. Lay down the pride and ask a few trusted people to speak honestly into your life. Make sure you have people around you who will develop you. If you want to develop in a certain area, ask them to observe you in this specific area and then give you feedback.

2. Listen. Now, it’s also important that you listen to the feedback they give you. The quickest way to go no where is to do nothing with the constructive criticism that is given to you.

3. Don’t Take it Personal. Actually, take it as a compliment. If someone is giving you feedback it means they believe in you. They know you can be better and they are willing to spend time and energy investing in you to pull out your full potential. When someone wants to give you feedback, don’t get defensive. It is for your good.

What do you do when you’re told “You Suck”?

Development-The Fine Art of Telling People They Suck

I work in an environment of development. What does that mean? It means that almost every conversation that goes on is about how to be better. How to be a better pastor, a better communicator, a better organizer, a better connector. How do we make our teams better? How can we do what we did last year better? It is a constant thought and something that really propels the ministry forward.Development

The hard part is when it comes to development of people. As leaders, developing people is a fine line one must walk across. I have been in dozens of conversations surrounding the “development” of another individual.

“If they would just not do this, then…”

“If they knew how they were around people, don’t you think they’d…”

“That person… they have no clue.”

But in the back of my mind I can’t help but think: If we are leading these people should’ve we give them a clue? If I was the individual, and my leader knew something that could help me, I would want to know, wouldn’t you? I mean, if it’s our job as leaders to develop and help others become better as we allow others to help us become better, shouldn’t we be saying something? Should we, in love, be bringing some kind of self-awareness to certain individuals who display a lack of development? This is tough. I mean, you can’t just walk up to someone and point out their flaws.

I’ve observed both the positive and negative outcomes of this fine art of development and have come to understand at least two things. When you’re in a position to bring about development in someone you must first:

  • Establish a trusting relationship with that person. Your title alone will not help you in the tediousness of the conversation. You must build a healthy, trusting relationship before you have the permission to say anything.

The second observation I’ve made is that:

  • It takes time. Don’t expect to see a change in someone over night. When you bring awareness to someone it will take time for it to fully take root. Development is an oven not a microwave.

Above all, I have understood that you can’t really develop someone unless they WANT to be developed. They have to possess a teachable heart and a willingness to learn. They have to be willing to lay down their pride and admit they don’t know everything.

What a better place to find those traits in practice, than in the people who lead them.

Top Ten Things to Know as a Woman Pastor

Top Ten

10. Don’t forget an extra bra if you are going into the baptism pool!

9. Never say “Period” “Tampon” or “Menstrual Cycle” in the office.

8. Always have someone else with you when you pray with the opposite sex!

7. Keep a bottle of Aleve or IB-prophen in your desk.

6. When you make a call and a woman answers and you ask for her husband, be sure to say you’re from the church!

5. If you’re on the first day of your period, it’s probably better just to stay home.

4. Whatever you do, try NOT to cry when discussing things with your boss or fellow co-workers.

3. If you’re single, men may find you intimidating. If you’re married, or in a serious relationship, he must be a strong guy!

2. Don’t take things personally. They never are!

And the # 1 thing to know if you’re a woman pastor…

1. Don’t kiss random strangers in Brick Town… it could come back to haunt you!

Lost Virtues–Commitment

Next week, begins a new series called Lost Virtues. In this series we will look at a few virtues that seem to have lost their importance in our society. I won’t tell you what the virtues are, but I will share a few virtues of my own that seem to have gone by the wayside.

Commitment–Verb: To give in trust or charge; to pledge oneself, to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance.

I love that the word commitment is a verb. An action word! It takes action to be committed! Commitment in our day and age is a lost virtue. No one wants to commit to anything anymore.

One of the reasons I am so passionate about this virtue is because I work with volunteers. When you work with volunteers commitment is the only thing you have to motivate people. You can’t pay volunteers therefore you can’t fire them. When a volunteer is commited you know it. They show up every week, on time, ready to give what they can. They understand the world doesn’t exist for them, they exist for the world, to give back what they can. (Thank you to all of the commited leaders at N-Dub SWITCH. You enable the ministry.)

I was raised to believe that commitment should be taken seriously. That when you give your word to something you follow through. One of my favorite verses is Matthew 5:37 “Simply let your yes be yes and your no, no. Anything else comes from the devil.” Be a person of your word. Commitment is one of my core values, something I manage my life around and will someday instill in my family.

What about you? Do you believe in commitment? Do you think commitment is a lost virtue? Why?

Which Side of Need Are You On?

NeedI heard a great message yesterday from a pastor at HillSong church, in Austrailia.  He asked a great question that I think many of us need to realize for ourselves:

Which Side of Need Are You On?

He explained that there are two sides to Need:

Needy and Needed

Are you a needy person. Do you live your life with the attitude of “what can people do for me?”

Are you a needed person. Do you live your life with the attitude of “What can I do for others?”

As mature Christ-followers it’s time we see ourselves as people who are needed. We are ministers first and foremost, no matter what organization pays our salaries. We are here to be used of God to meet the needs of others.

Which Side of Need Are You On?

What Do You Flex More?

Lately I’ve found myself in the same conversation with many different people. Some have confessed to sin, others admit depression, some want to give it all up. My question in each of these conversations has been the same:

“How is your time with God?”

The answers varied but most landed on: Non-existent. As they were relaying their pains and doubts to me the answer was evident. They had been spending more time flexing their flesh than their spirit. What does that mean, exactly? I’ve always seen it like this:

Our flesh and our spirit are at war within us. They battle for control and inevitably one will win. Which one wins, however, is completely up to us.

Think of your flesh and your spirit like two muscles. Which one do you flex more? Are you giving in to your flesh more, therefore making it stronger? Or are you feeding, working, and flexing your spirit muscle, making it the dominate of the two?

I know for me, I haven’t been feeding my spirit as I should. I can tell a big difference in my attitude and outlook on life when my spirit is starved. It’s not that I’m intentionally starving my spirit,–no one ever does. But by being unintentional I have inevitably allowed my flesh to become stronger.

What about you? Which muscle do you flex more? What ways do you think we can starve the flesh while feeding the spirit?

Confessions of a People-Pleaser

No one wants to admit they are a people-pleaser. The hyphenated word brings such negative connotations, like having no spinning platesbackbone, not thinking for yourself, or being a doormat, allowing everyone to walk over you.  But I’m a pretty opinionated person, I think for myself quite well, and don’t bend over and let others walk on me–but I realized I was still trying to please people.

I realized I was living in this state of mind after reading this familiar verse: Gal. 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

I had read this verse a hundred times. It’s even underlined in my Bible. Every time I would read it, I would think, “Oh, yeah, those people who try to please others… they have no idea!” and then one day I realized… I’m “those people.”

I think the reason I tend to be a people-pleaser is because my personality type is one that says “people are the priority.” I’m passionate about meeting people, connecting people, watching people figure out who they are, that sometimes I try to control situations where people are present. (which is often in my line of work.) Whether it be a life group I lead, the adult leaders at SWITCH, someone I’m mentoring/counseling–I want so badly for people to be pleased with whatever situation they are in, that inevitably, I become a people-pleaser. The pressure of pleasing people was like spinning hundreds of plates and not letting one of them fall. Why did I feel like I was responsible?

But recently, I realized a simple truth: Making sure people are pleased is not my job!

I’m not in control of their reactions. I can’t sway them one way or the other. If someone doesn’t like the way things are going it’s not my fault–nor should I take it personally, thinking “if I had just done more I could have made them like things”… (All of this makes sense to me in my brain… sorry if you don’t understand, but getting it out is good therapy.)

Realizing this truth has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I would say I probably enjoy my job more because I’ve learned how to just be myself and not worry about trying to control others. I would say I’m becoming more of who I really am, unhindered by the the pressure of trying to please everyone. I’ve been freed, and life on the other side of people-pleasing is pleasantly care-free.

Thanks for letting me talk that out. I feel better now. What about you? Do you find yourself trying to please people? Share your thoughts.


I was reading in 2 Thessalonians this morning when this scripture stuck out to me:

“Stay away from all believers who live idle lives…”

The word that struck me was idle.

We hear all the time to stay away from sin, and remove sin from our lives: “Don’t do this, this, this, or this.” But what about the sin of not doing anything?

Idle–(Adjective) Not working or active. Habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy.

Out of all my 23 years of living I’m convinced the enemy’s greatest strategy on the believer is not to lure us into sin, but to keep us from moving at all. As believers, we know about sin. We are well versed in how to confess it, renounce it, stay away from those who live in it and walk blameless lives living under the grace of our Savior, thinking we’ve made it. But deception still lurks in dark corners, keeping us blind to our inactive behavior.

Being a beliver doesn’t just mean we’re forgiven of our sins. Being a believer should mean we’ve surrendered to a glorious relationship that is so wonderful we can’t help but remain active in our excitement. But unfortunately that is not the case for so many of us. I feel as if Christianity has been reduced to a “get-out-of-hell-free” card. We accept Christ’s salvation and then that’s it, like a pail of water sitting stagnant all summer long, stinky, unmoving, ineffective.

I’m guilty of this myself. The reason the scripture above stuck out to me was because it hit me square in the face. I’ve become idle. I’ve allowed the deception to blind me, thinking that if I just don’t sin than I’m a good Christian. But my prayer for myself and others who may see themselves in this is that we won’t allow laziness to to creep into our walk with Christ. That we will allow our fervor and love for Christ to move us forward, not in legalistic duty, but in passionate desire to please our God.

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