If you enjoy watching substandard sporting events, you should come to my recreational volleyball league at the YMCA. It's filled with "post prime" adults, like myself, who are trying to hold onto the dying flame of their athletic glory days. It's a little bit funny, but a whole lot of fun! If I had to evaluate my volleyball skills a month ago, it would have looked something like this: Passing: Average
Serving: Poor Do you see that? Serving: Poor! I didn't think my serves were terrible, they just weren't anything special. I couldn't get the power or placement that I wanted, so I started playing it safe and floating my serves to the other side. But then something happened. One of our players couldn't make it one week, so we had a girl from another team fill in. While we were warming up, she said to me, "I'm just glad to be on this side of the net for once. I hate being on the receiving end of your serves." My face scrunched in confusion. "I think you've got me confused for someone else," I said. And I wasn't kidding, I really did.
Minutes later, the game had begun and it was my turn to serve. As I took my place behind the line, I overheard a girl on the other team say, "Get ready, he's got tough serves!" This was the 2nd person to say something and I began to wonder if maybe it was true. So I tossed the ball in the air and instead of floating it over, I gave it good whack. Ace! They couldn't return it. The girl looked frustrated. "His serve has a lot of top spin. Be ready for it to drop hard," she said. And I began to believe it. More than that, I began to live it. My next 7 serves in a row were the best I had ever had. Most of them dropped to the floor uncontested. Thanks to the unwitting encouragement of two people, I had a new identity: "The One Whose Serves are to be Feared!" And with that new identity, came new abilities. That's the power that words have! And it's a power that you can use in your children's ministry. Kids are usually the last ones to realize they're good at something. Conversely, they're often the first ones to know (or think) that they're bad at something. But you can change that. In next weeks blog, I'll talk about how. But for now, think about this: encouragement is a powerful thing! In fact, it might be one of the most powerful (and neglected) tools that you have in your children's ministry tool belt! With very little effort, you can use your words to transform a child's life. It doesn't work if you don't use it, though. So use it! Start small. Think about one kid in your ministry who needs the power of your positive words. Then let them have it! Give them a new identity that calls out the best that God has made them to be!