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Over the years I have certainly heard the argument that Gospel Magic is of the devil…

that it’s associated with witchcraft or sorcery… that we are in league with Harry Potter etc. And for those situations, I have always had with me either a document by Randy Christensen: “The Magical Method”

…Or Bob Hill’s: “Should a Christian Do Magic?

Just copy and paste the text into your favorite word processor and create a document or brochure you can hand out – be sure to include the author’s name and copyright information.

But to be perfectly honest with you, the biggest complaint I’ve heard over the years from people about Gospel Magic is that people end up remembering the magic and NOT the message. The performer or presenter was a great magician… but had a tough time “Marrying” the Method and the Message together.

The second complaint I’ve heard over the years is that the magic was just a gimmick to get the audience interested in what the presenter had to say… the presenter, then, turned out to be a very boring and/or long winded speaker. In which case, they don’t remember the message and didn’t care about the magic because the audience felt duped into listening.

The reasons I hear this complaint are as follows:

  • Wrong Motivation
  • Poor Prep
  • Poor Presentations
  • Un-Assessed Presentations
  • Performers/Ministers Unwilling to Make the Changes

Come on people! WE can do better than this!

We are talking about presenting the Word of God. And the last time I looked into my Bible, it says that if we aspire to teach others the Word, we will be held to a higher standard:

“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
–James 3:1

I don’t care if you are a Pastor, Evangelist or a Performer who presents the Word… YOU have be entrusted with the greatest message in the world! Take that as a challenge to your motivation, preparation, presentation, assessment and the willingness to make the change.

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Perception is a powerful thing.  Everyone has a bunch of perceptions that order their world. And, everyone has a bunch about you and your ministry that may order your world.  So play to it.

In other words; the vast majority of people in your church have a perception about you and your ministry based on what they experience with you and your ministry… That means that they experience the weekend with you and your ministry.

What they see and experience on the weekend is typically their perception of what the rest of your world is like. That can be a good thing or a bad thing.

The good thing is that if you pull off a successful time of ministry their perception of you and your ministry is that you are successful for the most part and that you have stuff together and are moving forward.  Don’t let them make you a liar!  If you pull off a successful time of ministry and their perception of you and your ministry reflects the same, make sure the rest of your time, during the week, is as quality as it can be.

But this also means that there are less opportunities for what I like to call the “Compensation Factor”. This factor is when you have had a great week: You and your team have planned, strategized, worked hard and have had a successful week.  Now comes the weekend.  If one of your team members makes a mistake, shows up late or forgets something… you as a leader use the “Compensation Factor”. You say to yourself: “Sure they were late, but they worked hard this past week and they’re hardly ever late.  No harm done, let’s just keep going!” You compensate.

Unfortunately, the average church-goer-parent-type-person wasn’t there for the previous week.  They didn’t see the hard work this team member did or the extra effort made.  They only know what they see over the weekend. Therefore, they cannot compensate. Suddenly, there is a perception created that this is how it always is.

So, how do you play to other people’s perceptions? How do you build better perceptions in others? The answer: Just be perfect all of the time. Easy enough, right?

There is only one thing that creates a stronger “Compensations Factor” then seeing the hard work earlier in the week.  RELATIONSHIPS.

If you and your team are creating relationships with the parents in your church, there will be the perception that you and your team are personable, relational and pastoral. But don’t let it stop at a perception – Don’t let them make you a liar… make it who you really are!  Relationships are powerful. When someone has a relationship with you and they know that you care; if there is a mistake, an oversight or a transgression in your ministry, they can compensate with: “but, they care – and I know it”.

By no means does this give you license to let your ministry fall all over the place. Always do your best. Plan on having successful times of ministry.  Because those days will come when everything falls apart in a comedy of errors. It’s in those times that it’s nice to have relationships with the people around you to help you get back on track and pull it all back together.

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So I was thinking back to a sermon that was once preached and then re-preached many times by other Pastors… the sermon title and concept was along the lines of “What if every Church-Goer was Like Me?”  And the sermon went on to  implore the congregation to ask them selves the following questions: What if everyone in this church gave like me? Served like me? Worshipped like me? Had the same attitude as me? (name your quality here) like me?  The point was then presented: Would this church have an abundance of resources or would this place be broke? Would this church have more than enough workers and volunteers or would we be closing the nursery and shutting down ministries? Would this church be full of incredible worship that usher’s in the presence of the Holy Spirit or would this place be dead? And so on…

So, my questions to the many #KidMin peeps that are out there that peruse this blog are these:

What if every #KidMin Leader was like me?  What would the entire world of Children’s Ministry look like?

What if every #KidMin Leader taught the Word like me?  Would kids all over the world be learning the Word and walk away from childhood knowing how to apply it?  Or, would they know a lot of games and understand the importance of candy incentives?

What if every #KidMin Leader taught on praise and worship like me?  Would the power of God overcome as kids entered into the very presence of an almighty God? Or, would they know a lot of actions and fun lyrics?

What if every #KidMin Leader Lead like me?  Would there be armies of volunteers that are equipped as leaders to take these kids to the next level? Or, would there be a world full of burned-out one-man shows?

What if every #KidMin Leader prayed like me?  Would kids and the many CM leaders in your ministry know that they are covered in prayer and follow your lead? Or, would you constantly feel defeated and your team sense that there is no hope?

What if every #KidMin Leader taught stewardship like me?  Would we have a generation of kids that understands the value of the tithe, faith-filled giving and generosity so we could advance the Kingdom? Or would you have a world of kids who expect to know what’s in it for them?

What if every #KidMin Leader taught on missions like me?  Would you have fervent prayers for missionaries and a lifelong, infused sense that those on the field need support in every way – would there be future missionaries? Or, would kids never know what it takes to reach others just like them in places where the gospel needs to be preached?

Please don’t think that I am above giving away prizes as incentives, or that I hate fun lyrics and engaging actions, because, I do that stuff!  Please don’t assume that I don’t like to have a good time with kids in my church – read the post on how kids interpret their world… I’m simply advocating that we go a step further – no, several steps further. Realize that ministry to kids happens now so we can secure the future of the church.  Go ahead and add to the list if you care… but continue to ask yourself: What if the #KidMin Leaders, all over the world were just like me?

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