The Rewarding yet Endless Pursuit: Wisdom (3 Ways to Gain More)

By Mack Fowler, III

One of the things that has been a constant theme in my life, is my desire for more wisdom! I can remember back to the days in children’s church when my children’s pastor would teach on a proverb each week for a few months. If I think back, those lessons and day in children’s church are the lessons and services that have passed the test of time and still carry with me today! So, I want to give you three steps to becoming wiser.

1. Build Your Life on Christ

Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter seven, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood-waters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

I have read that Scripture many, many times! But what I have recently discovered in my life: that if you build your life and more importantly your relationship with God on Him and Him alone, you are like the wise man. Paul says in Ephesians 2:20, “Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.” The wise man was wise because he built his house (life) on Christ. When the rain, flood-waters, and wind (trials & rough seasons of your life) come, you will not crumble and collapse with a mighty crash.

2. Fear the Lord

Furthermore in Proverbs, chapter nine, verse 10, the Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Now, you could probably say that this should be number one because the Bible does say this is the beginning, but between knowing Him and fearing they are both very important. Anyway, what is the Bible saying when it says, “Fear the Lord?” I believe that there is an aspect of respect and honor for the Lord that is very important, but I also think it means literally having a level of fear of God.

I had a dream in which Jesus visited me, and it was the most vivid dream I ever had! In this dream, Jesus simply flew into my room in all his glory, and power, and holiness and floated above me with His arms held out. He never said a word or even moved from the place He stopped in. My only reaction was complete and utter fear. Actually, I was terrified! Jesus in all His glory was right in front of me, and I was a sinner who deserved to die. I had a new understanding to what Isaiah felt like in Isaiah chapter six that he was a man of “unclean lips.” I was saved at this point in my life, but I felt the weight of every sin in my life. I put the Holy One, who is standing before me, on the cross! When I woke up, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in my room, and He shared with me that not only is He my Father and Savior and that He loves me very much. He also is a Sovereign, All-Powerful, Glorious King who rules with justice and holds the power of life and death in His hands. So, do we respect and honor him? Yes, but we also need to remember: He is a King who is Sovereign, All-Powerful, and Glorious!

3. Be Teachable

Finally, Proverbs 9:9 says, “Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.” A wise person will hear instruction, follow it, and become wiser. Be quick to learn, ready to gain understanding, and be available to pull Godly wisdom from anywhere—even the most ungodly people. God is humorous sometimes and will show you wisdom from people or things that you wouldn’t expect to find wisdom from!
One of the goals in my life is to be a person who is always willing to learn! Whether it’s learning more about the Lord, learning in academics, or simply life lessons from those who have lived longer than I and have gained wisdom through those years. I always want to be one who is willing to learn, and be taught.

I pray that these three things will help those of you who share my desire to gain more wisdom! For all the wise out there: There is always more! And those who are seeking: apply these three principles, ask God for more wisdom, seek wisdom, and you will find wisdom. Start with the book of Proverbs. Set yourself around people who have spent much of their lives with God and just listen to them and receive. Then, continually ask God for more wisdom, because He will surely give it. I think wisdom is one of those things that God just can’t wait for us to pray for, because He really wants to give it to us! He gave it to Solomon, and all Solomon did was simply ask.

“My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
And find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.”
Proverbs 2:1-7 (NKJV)

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, comments, praise reports, or prayer requests, please feel free to comment or send a private message through the “Contact” page.

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Thank You!

I want to send pout a special thank you to all my faithful blog viewers in the United States, Brazil, Italy, and the rest of the world! I am glad you have been encouraged. I am very excited at the direction we will be going together in 2015! Here is a review of what happened in 2014 with and through this blog site.
Once again, Thank you!
Mack Fowler, III
Blog Host of

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Stronger Anointing on the Children is Coming!

An encouraging word from Becky Fischer of Kids in Ministry International:

During a twenty-five year period between the 80s and the early 2000s, there was a plethora of prophetic words that went out over the largest generation in world history—the Millennials. They came from the most familiar names in prophetic circles like Rick Joyner, Cindy Jacobs, Kim Clement, and others. I posted many of those words on this website here. These words captivated me and all those who were called to raise up a supernatural generation of believers.

They included revivals that would sweep through schools and day care centers. Creativity and new inventions. They prophesied entire hospitals would be cleared out when children prayed, and so much more. We have seen many of these events come to pass around the world even in our own ministry.

A New Generation is Here

But there is now a new generation born who barely has an identity. They are yet to be fully named, but which some are calling Generation Z for now. The oldest of these are only about 12 to 14. This is targeted to be the smallest generation (percentage-wise) in comparison to the Millennials.

I’ve pondered the great lack of prophetic words over this generation. Surely God has not forgotten them just because their numbers are small! Will they not also do great things for God?

Finally, here and there, there are new words coming for this new generation. Take this one from Paula Baker Ministries:

“There is coming a stronger anointing on the children than we have seen in the past and the children will be preaching and prophesying and laying hands on the sick. The children will begin to direct the flow of the service. They have a willingness to obey the directions of the Holy Spirit with boldness.

Children will be praying over the prayer requests in simple heartfelt faith. The glory of the Lord will come upon the children and they will have visions and give very accurate prophesies. Now is the time to step up to the plate and begin to train them and disciple them as you would any adult. Make room for the children!!!!”

David Akondowe MalawiChildren Will Have Divine Intelligence

Recently Patricia King spoke: “God is moving powerfully in and among children in this hour. You will see MANY children raised up to preach, heal, prophesy, move in miracles, signs and wonders. Numbers of young children will be visited by the Lord in areas of “Divine Intelligence” and many will go to the mission field at an early age.

“Healing Rooms will be filled with children working miracles. Children will be one of the most powerful and effective voices for “justice” and will astound many. Those who have faithfully served children in obscurity in the past will come into more visibility and receive the reward of their labors. Many will receive calls to serve God’s purposes in children.”

Restoring Faith and Hope

During a particularly powerful worship time led by KIMI Ohio Director Alicia White at one of her family events came a powerful prophetic word. Two girls in the room, named Faith and Hope, sneezed exactly at the same time. Immediately the Lord began to speak to Alicia.

“Tonight I have promised to restore both Faith and Hope in this generation in and through these boys and girls here tonight. In this hour where there is so much hopelessness and unbelief, I will use these ones who you have planted in good soil, to bare much fruit in a barren land. Just as Elisha imparted life into the Shunammite’s boy and he sneezed seven times, you have imparted my words of life into these young ones. Let their sneezing be a sign to you that Faith and Hope has been imparted this night. Let this stand as a promise to their Mothers and Fathers that I will keep their children and they will be Faith and Hope to a dark land. They must stay close to me, stay close to my word, and stay close to my presence and glory.”

Connie Kepner Davis 2012Our Invitation

We know that when God speaks, his words are so powerful they can come to pass all by themselves. If He wanted to do things by Himself, he would just bypass us altogether. But He doesn’t. Most of the time today His words are invitations to us.

He is inviting us to participate in what He wants to happen in this earth. Let us as parents, grandparents, church leaders, and children’s ministers take these prophetic words to heart and pray over them. May we be faithful to prepare a generation of Samuels to know their God and be in position to be used by Him at a moment’s notice!


Becky Fischer

Founder & Director of “Kids in Ministry International”

Culture Starts at Home

By Seth Dahl, Children’s Pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, California.

Culture Starts at Home.

My children pray a certain way because they’ve seen the way my wife and I pray.  Indeed, imitation is a crucial part of child development.  What children see around them, they often mirror. As parents, we have the incredibly important job of instilling culture into our kids.  When we hear the word culture, we often think of the values and customs of a certain country, city, or even a church; but culture is always formed at home.

In the United States, our children do not learn English from the school system, but rather develop it further. Children do not go to school to learn English; they go to school with English. They’ve spent their entire lives in a home where English is consistently spoken, and they pick it up easily from being around it so much.

In the same way, we want to have children who come to their church, school, and city, already living a supernatural lifestyle. In fact, whether or not culture is expressed through the children is the way to truly recognize a culture.

Here are a few ways that my wife and I create a culture in our home that demonstrates and guides our children to see and connect to God in daily life:

1. Let Your Kids Observe Your Relationship With God

My wife and I ask God questions out loud throughout the day, whenever and wherever!  Our desire is that our children can observe our relationship with God and how this relationship works in real life. Of course, we make a point to ask these questions in a way that doesn’t seem like we’re talking to ourselves or “over-spiritualizing” our lives.

We also lead our children to ask God questions too! When they don’t know something or need direction in an area, we’ll encourage them to talk to God about it.

2.  Teach Your Kids To See God’s Story In Everything

As you may know, I get some of my greatest revelations (and sermons!) from watching children’s movies.  I, personally, look for Jesus and God’s story in everything, so for me it’s normal to see Him in everyday life. When I watch movies with my kids, I often point out the gospel to them.

For example, when we watched the movie Frozen, I explained to my kids that the main character, Anna, is a great example of Jesus. I told them that we are like the older sister, Elsa, who struck Jesus in the heart by our sin. Our sin killed Him at the exact same time He gave His life to save us. We killed Him and He gave His life simultaneously.

I believe that God gave us this story, and many others, to help us understand Jesus clearer.  By sharing these beliefs with my kids, I’m teaching that God is speaking to us all the time.  I’m letting them see the way their own dad listens to hear God’s voice and I’m teaching them to do the same.

3. Make Bible Reading Personal

When we read the Bible at home, I’ve noticed my children often want to read the same stories over and over. When children are drawn to a Bible story like this, it’s likely that they’re attracted to the characters in the story because they share a similar calling or characteristics.  We take these opportunities to encourage our children and to speak destiny over them.

For example, my daughter loves the story of Moses. When we finish reading the story, I tell her she is a great leader like Moses and that, like Moses, God is going to use her to help many people, set them free, and lead them.  I also share revelations that God has given me personally about the stories we read, not just what the children’s Bibles say.

As you can see, these are simple ways that we make God a part of our daily life and conversation with our kids.  Our hope is that the norm of having God involved in all aspects of life creates a culture in their hearts.

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I stumbled across this prophetic word about a rising generation of children, teens, young adults, and those of “childlike faith” that will usher planet Earth into the greatest revival and outpouring that has ever been known! It’s very exciting! The best part about it is: that it doesn’t just happen. God is going to and is using these people to bring about this revival. God is moving through His elect. Enjoy this prophetic word by Catherine Brown.



 The Lord has gathered an underground network of praying children and young people. They may not currently meeting in huge numbers, but that is because if “we” (the church) “got our hands on it” too early, “we” would inadvertently mess it up!


“The child prayer movement has not been strong enough to release fully into the public domain until now, but in the next 12-24 months I am going to cause child champions of prayer and faith to rise up in their generation, and their words will be powerful and prophetically anointed.

“They will need to be mentored in like way as Eli mentored Samuel, in order that they can be trained to discern my voice for themselves and respond to me in obedience, for it is my wish that none of their words will fall to the ground. There is a need for this generation to be nurtured and discipled. They are a hungry generation.

“I am teaching children how to develop a personal relationship with me, and giving them an understanding of the need for quality time alone with me as well as time together with other children. I have placed an “all or nothing” desire in the hearts of these children. They cannot and will not settle for any kind of compromised Gospel message. They are hungry for spiritual truth.”


“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you and I will teach you the way that is good and right.” 1 Samuel 12:23

The Samuel generation will posture themselves before the Lord in intercessory prayer for the nations.

“I have convened micro level meetings across many nations, where handfuls of children have gathered to seek my face. I am releasing a fresh mantle upon the children of the nations to gather and for the Dunamis power of my Holy Spirit to move powerfully upon them and through them. I will shake gatherings as I did in the first days of my church (Acts 2:3) as the prayers of thousands of children are lifted to my throne. As the children call out for my mighty hand to move, I will hear and I will answer.

“The children will pray in simple words, but they will not lack radical or extreme love. The prayers of my children are relevant and cutting edge. I am rising up an army of 24-7 children who will have their hearts rights before me. These children are sold out in intimacy for me and are ready to die for love of God. They are martyrs of my mercy. Many children from persecuted nations will give their lives for my namesake, and will remain faithful to the end (Acts 7:59,60).”


“I will raise up for myself a faithful priest.” 1 Samuel 2:35

“For I will raise up a faithful generation for myself from among the children of the nations. They are a missionary generation with a vision for revival, to love their Lord, to the love the lost, and to love the church. I am restoring the priesthood to be a worshiping, interceding, prophetic evangelistic people. The Samuel generation represent such a people and includes many children.

“The Samuel generation will be the church that acts! The Samuel generation are the paradigm. Radical holiness, purity, devotion, and availability are required from this generation. They are called out, set apart, and sanctified for me and by me. I am rising up a Nazirite generation of little children whose posture before me will be to place their relationship with me as priority. They will confront corruption in the purity of chastity. I will not treat their offerings to me with contempt because they are offered from pure hearts.”


“Return to the Lord with all your heart.” 1 Samuel 7

“The Samuel generation will be a voice to the nations and a voice to the church, calling the lost into the Kingdom and calling believers to devotion to Christ. They will speak forth revelation to the church about the Kingship of Christ. This end time generation of children will be prophetically accurate and what they prophesy will come to pass (1 Samuel 9:6; 1 Samuel 3:19).”


“And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and favor with the Lord and with men.” 1 Samuel 2:26

“This generation of boys and girls will know the fear of the Lord. They will know my favor and will be held in esteem by both God and men. The children will help to usher in my Kingly anointing. The Samuel generation heralds a new season, whereby spiritual barrenness is broken and new birth will come forth in my church. For those who have labored in prayer as Hannah, and have loved in like manner to Hannah and Elkanah,” the Lord says, “the sorrow of your travail will now bear much abundant and beautiful fruit.”

The birthing of the Samuel generation represents an increase in apostolic/prophetic authority in the church and speaks of a people willing to lovingly submit to Christ’s governmental authority. This Samuel generation will have impeccable character and be honest and virtuous and will be a testimony to God’s righteousness (1 Samuel 12).

The Samuel generation will know an increase in anointing and will pour themselves out for love of others. Anointing will pour forth from the children just as it did from the horn of oil with which Samuel anointed King Saul and King David (1 Samuel 10; 1 Samuel 16).


By Catherine Brown

My Heart is a Sponge (Proverbs 4:23)

By Mack Fowler, III

“Blog-iversary:” One Year of this Blog site “The Samuel Generation.”


I’ve had this verse stirring on my heart lately, so I would like to share a few of my insights on it. In Proverbs 4:23, the Bible commissions us to “Guard our hearts above all else for it determines the course of our life.” I’ve read that verse hundreds of times, but I feel like God has given me some clarity on this verse. So, I want to go in-depth on this verse for this blog.

For starters, it’s not talking about our beating heart in our chest. God gave us ribs to guard that heart naturally. So what does the Bible mean when it is talking about our heart?

The heart, the Bible is talking about, is a combination of our personality, inner desires, and spirit. So, in this article, that will be what I am referring to. Now, why is our heart so important to guard?

Our hearts are like sponges. The contents of a sponge Are entirely based on what it has absorbed and the environment it’s in. A sponge can soak up clean water or filthy water, soap or grease; it depends on what it is used for. It’s the same with our heart. Are our hearts exposed to evil things by putting ourselves in perilous situations? Years ago, I knew some people who had trouble with a few different addictions, and they got saved. After not walking with The Lord very long, they felt like they could go back to the same places they hung out before Christ and share Him with their old friends. They stayed strong for a while and didn’t allow that addiction to take back control of their life, but the constant exposure to that scene eventually wore them down. They found themselves spending more time in that environment than with the Lord, with Christians, or with other good influences. And all it took was slipping up just once and after that, they fell right back into that (those) addictions. What happened? They were constantly exposing their hearts to this negative environment, and over time it wore down their defenses. The sin started to take seed in their hearts. Does it have to be some addiction? No, it can be any sin or thing that tangles us up.

Now, it also works with good things! If I continue to expose my heart to things of the Kingdom, they will be absorbed into my heart. The Bible says in

Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one last thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Paul realized that what we set our thoughts on Godly things that it will translate to what is in our hearts. Then, the Bible goes even further to say, that what is in our hearts will come out in our speech: “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45.

What do we allow our heart to soak up and absorb: dirty water or clean water, sins and things of this world or the Holy Spirit and things of God? We ultimately control what we allow into our hearts. Even offenses from another person, we control whether or not to continue to hold on to that hurt. We control whether or not to forgive or hold bitterness. We choose whether to love, hate, or hold back our love. The Holy Spirit gives us this self-control (Galatians 5:23.)

We control what is allowed through the gates of our hearts, and what takes residence in our hearts. In biblical times and even to some extent now, a city or country normally didn’t know when an enemy army was going to attack. So instead, they would prepare. They would build walls and keep them maintained. They would place guards and watchers on the walls. They would only allow the citizens in and out of the gates. And they would have a military force always ready for battle. If your city was not ready for potential conquest, when an attacking army did come, you would be quickly overwhelmed and defeated. You would not be able to prepare all these things in time. It would be too late. It’s the same with our hearts. If we proactively take steps to protect our heart and guard it from things we know could trap us, we prevent ourselves from being overwhelmed. When the enemy attacks, we are ready.

Now, let’s not take this to the extreme of avoiding all sin, people in sin, and situations that can potentially lead to sin. Jesus hung out with sinners, but we do however, use wisdom. I believe the main reason Christians fall back into their previous sins and sin-habits is failing to use Godly wisdom and sense.

Taking the illustration of a sponge even further, if a sponge isn’t soaked in anything, it dries out and becomes hard. We have to soak our heart with something. We can’t isolate ourselves from all things—it just doesn’t work. If we don’t have direction, our hearts will eventually find something to dwell on, something to ponder, and something to resonate on. We have to be ahead of the game and decide where we will lead our heart.

Recently, I have learned that this is possibly the most important thing I can do for me in my relationship with the Lord—to guard my heart. It’s not easy. I have to consciously choose what I allow in my life and think ahead of time, “What could this lead to?” “Do I want to go there?” “Will this benefit me and make me a stronger Christian and person of Godly character?” I ask those questions when I can. And when things just come up and try to stir bitterness, hatred, anger, un-forgiveness, and hurt in my heart, I am better prepared because I guarded my heart in the small things, so the big things don’t seem so big.

Thank you & Be blessed,

Mack Fowler, III Children's Pastor

Mack Fowler, III
Children’s Pastor

Prophetic Ministry 101


Here is this week’s guest blog from my Father, “Mack Fowler,” on Hearing God and the Prophetic Ministry. It’s an in-depth look at I Corinthians 14:3–the mandate on how all prophecy and prophetic revelation should be handled in the Church. My Father was trained at MorningStar Fellowship in Charlotte, N.C. and has served in and taught on prophetic ministry for over 15 years! Check it out!

Originally posted on mack's moment:

By Mack Fowler

But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. NIV

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. KJV

We read this scripture but what does it really mean? I still hear prophecy sometimes that has a ring of judgment and lacks love. We must always prophecy in love. This is the New Covenant model for prophetic ministry. This is where our text comes into play. The words that we speak should always fall under this guideline. When I lead prophetic teams, I always tell people that we prophecy according to 1 Corinthians 14:3 and that we aren’t there to judge them or point out their sins. This introduction is to set people at ease so they know we are there to love and help and not hurt them. But with that being said, what does this…

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Practical Ways to Teach Children to Hear God’s Voice PART II

kids with JesusIt’s time for another installment of, “Practical Ways to Teach Children to Hear the Voice of God.” This time I want to share on probably my favorite way to engage children in hearing God: Prophetic Art.

As we look at the children around us in our families or ministries, you will probably notice that all children do not learn the same way. Some children are visual. Some learn best by simply hearing. But many children and really people in general learn best by hearing and/or seeing and then immediately doing. Some statistics say you will remember up to 90% of what you were taught if you actually get involved in what was taught. Like in sports, the best coaches don’t simply just tell you what to do and not do; they actually give you an opportunity to practice what they taught you on the field and in the game. Prophetic Art does exactly that with children (and adults too.) It does not simply tell them, “Try to hear God.” It gives them an opportunity to practice what God is showing and revealing to them, and it also gives them an opportunity to be creative.

It’s really simple. Here’s how it works: simply have blank paper (white, colored, or lined) and some writing utensils available (markers, crayons, pencils, or paint—if you’re willing.) Open with prayer and simply ask God to show us something or put something on our minds to draw. Encourage the children to draw whatever comes to mind and whatever you think God wants you to draw. Some of the children may feel that they are not a good enough “drawer.” Encourage them. It’s not about how good you can draw; it’s just about hearing God and tapping into what He has to say today.

After a few minutes of drawing, encourage the children to think of a bible verse or little catch phrase to with their Bible verse i.e. if a child drew an eagle soaring in the air maybe the verse is Isaiah 40:31, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles…” Or maybe they drew a big house and the “catchphrase” is “God has a big house and wants everyone to come.” I find that many of the children I work with love to draw Jesus on the cross. I love to ask them questions. Why did you draw Jesus on the cross? Is he dead or alive? Why is the cross so important? Did you draw this as a reminder of what he did for you? Ask lots of questions. Never assume you know exactly what they drew. Always ask them first, “What did you draw today?” You may find what they were drawing isn’t what you thought it looked like. If they don’t have a verse or “catchphrase,” simply ask good questions and help steer them in the right direction.

Now sometimes, you may see a child drawing something that isn’t “Biblically accurate.” I had a child draw Jesus and the devil battling and the devil was winning. Should we discourage that? No, simply steer them in the right direction. I said, “Oh yeah, Jesus died on the cross and it looked like the devil had won, but what happened after three days? Jesus won, and now he is forever the winner!” The reaction I got was, “Yeah, I know that Mr. Mack. I was drawing the devil winning here, but the next will be when Jesus defeated him.” That really made me smile! But I always ask questions and find out if they need help going in the right direction.

This is a really great activity to engage children to hear God, and you can take it even further and have they make prophetic encouragement cards to give to people who need encouragement. It can be used as evangelism, and teaching the children to reach out and encourage those who God wants to encourage. Now, do they always draw what God is showing them, and something that can encourage someone else? No, sometimes they just draw random things. But I look at it this way: if they are drawing what God shows them, they are exercising their prophetic muscles. If they are drawing simply to draw, they are exercising their creative muscles, so either way it is a win-win.
Ultimately, I hope this was encouraging and this gives all you parents and children’s leaders out there some really great tools and some new things to think about in helping your children hear the voice of God.

If you have any questions, comments, praise reports, or prayer requests, please feel free to comment or send me a private message.

To subscribe to this blog, click here.

Thank you & Be blessed!

Mack Fowler, III Children's Pastor Destiny in Christ Fellowship

Mack Fowler, III
Children’s Pastor


Is Your Environment Holding you Back? (by John C. Maxwell)

“When I was much younger, I found myself in a job situation where the environment wasn’t conducive to growth. This frustrated and discouraged me. I had always been focused on growth and improvement. From basketball as a kid to speaking professionally, I was always looking for ways to get better at what I was doing. I might not have always had an official plan for growth, but I was continually pursuing growth. Now I found myself in a place where growth was not just ignored; the environment discouraged it. Maybe you’ve found yourself in a similar situation. Back then, I could see clearly all around me what a growth environment didn’t look like. But one day, I realized that I had never really thought about what a growth environment did look like. What were the characteristics of that environment? I was eager to figure it out, so I could go in search of one. So I created a list of characteristics to look for in any environment, so that I could be sure it was a place where I could grow. This is what I wrote: In a growth environment,

1. Others are ahead of you. Is it possible to grow in isolation? Sure, but not as fast as you can grow with others. And growth happens even more when at least some of the people are ahead of you on the journey. In a growth environment, the accomplishments of those ahead of you encourage and challenge you to do more than you thought you could.

2. You are continually challenged. It’s one thing to be challenged by the growth of others. That will certainly help you grow. But it’s even better when the job or task itself is challenging. When’s the last time a boring job made you want to grow?

3. Your focus is forward. “Yesterday ended last night.” This is what leaders of growth environments believe. They’re more interested in conquering the next challenge than worrying about the past.

4. The atmosphere is affirming. My parents used to say, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” In other words, in a growth environment, the leader understands that being positive yields better results than negativity. Being affirmed feels good, and it gives you the courage to stretch and grow more.

5. You are often out of your comfort zone. I’ve often said that you should stay in your strength zone, but get out of your comfort zone. The skills that you focus on growing should be areas where you have some natural ability, as opposed to trying to shore up weaknesses. But that doesn’t mean you should be comfortable. Getting out of your comfort zone happens when you’ve taken on a challenge that’s bigger than you. And that bigger challenge yields bigger rewards.

6. You wake up excited. No, not every day. Everyone has a bad day sometimes. But overall, in a growth environment, you feel so positively challenged and affirmed that you are eager to get up every day because you expect to keep growing and learning.

7. Failure is not your enemy. By focusing on solutions rather than blame, a growth environment gives you permission to make mistakes, admit them, and learn from them. Failure is such a big part of growth, that people don’t fear it.

8. Others are growing. In addition to those who are ahead of you, are the people around you growing? Moving together toward a common goal can be exhilarating, like being on a winning team. In a growth environment, people almost can’t help growing because it’s emphasized and affirmed.

9. People desire change. Growth equals change. If the people around you don’t desire it, or worse, if they resist it, then your environment is not one of growth. In a growth environment, change is encouraged and celebrated.

10. Growth is modeled and expected. In a growth environment, the willingness to grow is demonstrated at all levels. Leaders expect it of themselves as well as their people. They hold themselves and others accountable when it’s not occurring. And they celebrate growth when it happens. Writing my list had a great effect on me. It gave me clarity on my then-current situation, as I became more aware of how it was slowing down my personal growth. It also showed me what kind of situation I needed to look for in the future. Soon afterward, I made a difficult change, getting out of my comfort zone and stepping into a new environment where I could thrive and grow again.

What kind of environment are you in? Is it help you grow or holding you back? Are you a leader? If so, you can make your organization into a growth environment. Use this list to check your progress.

Are you a team member? If so, you may not have much input into your environment. Use this list to see what kind of environment you might want to be in. If you’re in a bad environment, it may be time to move. If you are not able to move as easily as I did, here’s some good news: you can grow in a non-growth environment. It’s just harder.

Are you a parent? It wasn’t until after I wrote my list that I realized that I had basically described my home environment growing up. My parents did a phenomenal job of nurturing and encouraging our personal growth and learning. Use this list to create a growth environment in your home. You’ll give your children a gift that they’ll use the rest of their lives, as I have.

Personal growth is challenging. It involves mistakes and failure. A good environment certainly makes it easier to grow. But whether you’re in a good environment or not, you can learn and improve where you are.”

–John C. Maxwell


I hope you enjoyed this blog and were challenged by it. These principles can apply to just about all aspects of our lives. Please, take the wisdom in this, and ask God to search your heart. I saw areas in my life where I’m keeping myself and others around me from growing. I hope you can take as much out of it as I did! –Mack, III

5 Common Misconceptions about Children’s Ministry

Here’s a re-blog for the day. There is some very good information and points in this blog. Enjoy!


doubt-2I have been on staff in the church world for quite some time now.  It always amazes me how many church leaders put a ton of energy into things that don’t really matter and they skip what does matter.  Children’s Ministry is one of the MOST integral parts of a church.  If you show me a healthy Children’s Ministry, I will show you a church that is functioning at their max potential…Show me an unhealthy Children’s Ministry and I will show you a church that is struggling.  Here is a list of the top 5 misconceptions church leaders have about Children’s Ministry:

1) Kids don’t give much money, so we shouldn’t give the program much money.  WRONG!  Kids might not give a lot of money but they have parents and grandparents who do.  Plus there are all those volunteers that love kids that give in your church.  Besides that, the kid that gives 25 cents in the offering probably gave way more than 10% of what they made…what’s that say about their faith and their heart (which is what Jesus says really matters when you give…not the amount)

2) Kids are smaller, so they don’t need as much space as adults.  WRONG!  Kids are moving and active.  When adults come to church they sit in one seat during the majority of the service.  Kids move around, they play games; they go to different stations and groups.  In my estimation, kids need double to even triple the amount of space as an adult needs.

3) Kids only represent 25% of our church or less.  WRONG AGAIN!  What you do for kids in your church has a much greater reach than only 25% (depending on your church).  figure a church of 400 that has 100 kids in it…studies show an average family of 4 or so right?  So 100 kids represents approximately 50 parents.  Now you are up to a reach of 150.  Add your volunteers into that mix (every other week serving is average in most churches)  at a 1:2 ratio you just added another 100 people…now you are up to 250.  That’s 50% of your attendance directly connected to kids.  Interesting huh?  Many churches this percentage is even higher depending on your culture and demographic.

4) Children’s Ministry is childcare.  If you believe this then you shouldn’t be in ministry… Children are the most mold-able, easy to develop and willing group in your church.  If you aren’t taking time to invest in them then you are missing one of the greatest opportunities God has given you.

5) Children are the church of tomorrow.  You may make a statement like this to encourage your church to invest in children but your statement is incorrect…Children are the church of TODAY.  Saying that they are the church of tomorrow insinuates that there are things we should be investing in before we take on the needs of our children.

There is no department in your church that will draw more people than your Children’s Ministry.  There is also no department in your church that will cause people to leave or sue than your children’s ministry.  If kids haven’t been a priority in your churches space, budget, and staffing then you need to seriously rethink your strategy because kids are one of the most important assets to society today.  If you don’t reach them, someone else will.

-Joe McAlpine