Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Partnering with Parents - Part 2

Partnering with Parents

What that means to me as a parent.

I have two teenage boys. Andrew is 16, Jake is 19.

Everything I said in my last post, Partnering with Parents - Part 1, is not just something I believe in because it is my job, or even because I love working with children and am passionate about helping kids know Jesus. 

I also believe in partnering with parents because I am a parent who has been partnered with here at the Church at Argyle.

Before I was ever on staff, I was the Mom of two precious boys who needed help with this parent thing. It is hard. Now, I love being a Mom. It is the one thing, all of my life, that I was certain I wanted to do. But when you actually have a precious, helpless, living, breathing, human being, completely dependent on you....well, for me I realized very quickly, I needed help.

One of the ways God answered my prayer for help was when I found the preschool here and enrolled my oldest son Jake when he was four years old. I did what I saw as my duty and researched pre-schools in the area. I narrowed it down to 4 places based on research and word of mouth. I'll admit I was drawn to the schools that had brand new buildings and security systems with bells and whistles. 

This preschool did not have either at the time but then I walked in the building and met the director. I can only describe it as a peace coming over me. I knew this was the place. I had never had that happen before. 

I still looked at the rest of the schools on my list. However, I came back to Argyle, and this is where I began to learn what it looked like and felt like to not just drop my child off at school but to be supported, encouraged, cared about - partnered with - as a parent.

I could do a whole blog on our preschool but if you need a wonderful preschool for your 2, 3, 4 year old or Kindergartner, I highly recommend you call 904-778-4838 and talk to Terri or Sharon, or go to ACPK's website.

We did have a church home before coming here. We loved it and loved the people, so many of which I had known since I was a little girl. But it was Jake asking about going to church at his school that brought us here for a visit, which along with prayer that took me away from my comfort zone for what my children needed, turned into regular attendance and eventually membership. 

The partnership has continued to grow throughout the lives of my children. From small group leaders in Kindergarten who made Jesus so real, not just by the stories they told and activities they shared but by the way the treated my boys and the way they treated everyone. In the small group of a wonderful married couple, first Jake and 2 years after him, Andrew, accepted Jesus as their savior. From our conversations at the time I know that in their young minds and precious hearts, they knew exactly what they were doing. 

They were not doing what they were told.

They were not following an alter call that 20 of their friends followed.

They had been taught about Jesus' love for them in a way that was so clear and real it gave them the childlike faith to say, this is what I want and I am ready.

They each prayed the prayer of salvation and were baptized here at Argyle. Each event was one of the happiest days of my life as a Mom! To this day I get emotional when I talk about these leaders and the impact they had in the lives of my children. 

And that impact has not stopped. Even though they moved out of that small group and into the next, each leader here has invested in my child. There have been student leaders along the way as well, that have given my child someone to look up to and want to be like while they're still young and still learning. This showed them that they have a purpose right now, not "someday". So when they went from elementary to junior high their leaders took them out into the community to serve and encouraged them to find a way to connect right here. Jesus is as real to them and His love is as clear for them now as it was then.

With the guidance and encouragement of our High School Pastor and his wife, as well as that of our Senior Pastor, they both began serving in our church, one in our worship arts tech department and the other in our Youth worship band, and both of course are serving with me in children's ministry. But they are stuck with me and they honestly do a better job because I'm not the only one who holds them accountable. They serve with our Worship Arts in their areas of passion and giftedness because someone, besides me, believed in them and gave them a chance. 

I had the wonderful opportunity to go to our high school camp (BigStuf for us) this summer for the first time. This trip is what motivated me to write these blogs. Watching our leaders spend a week with our middle and high schoolers. Seeing the relationships that were already there, grow as we spent 24 hours a day for 5 days straight together. Watching them listen, laugh, cry, wait, eat, get tired and get get grumpy together and see our kids understand that they are loved no matter what. Watching them worship with their whole selves, get excited about how much God loves them and hear them say in their own words what they learned from the speakers, whether they were 12, 15 or 18. Watching them support and encourage each other as they shared their sins and fears with humility and courage, give and receive grace, trust and lean on each other like God's word teaches us to.

My overwhelming emotion during the whole trip was gratitude. 

I am so grateful as a leader to know that when the children in my ministry, leave UpStreet and go to Crave (jr. high) and then Impact (high school), they are loved and led and their families have a group of leaders to help them know grace, forgiveness, courage and truth so they learn to trust in the One who created them. 

I am so grateful as a parent to have a family of leaders that we trust, who will pray with and for us. Who because they have shown up faithfully and consistently in my son's lives, they have earned the position of mentors and Godly leaders that my kids will talk to when they have questions. Who I can go to if there is an issue I need help with as a parent and who will come to me if my teenager has an issue that I need to know about. These are the people I will invite to their graduation. These are the people I will call when we need help. And please don't miss this, we all need help. We are not meant to do any of this life alone. 

I'll talk about some ways we can partner together in my next and final post in this series, Partnering with Parents - Part 3. If you're a parent at Argyle and have a story of encouragement for our leaders, please post it in the comments here. If you're a parent who wants to partner with us, email me at amygieger@iargyle.com and I'll get you connected with the right information and leaders. You are not alone.
We are better together,

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Partnering with parents - part 1

"Partnering with parents." 

We use that phrase in our children's ministry. 

What does it mean?

Well I can tell you what it means as a Children's Ministry Director. 

It means having consistent small group leaders, 
the same hours,
every Sunday
for the entire school year. Because this is the best way for our children and parents to feel safe, to connect, to feel welcome and accepted, with a leader who is faithful and invests their heart and their time to care about each child and family in their small group. 

It means using curriculum that meets each child where they are 
at each age 
and developmental level 
so that they don't just adopt their parents faith and then lose it along the way 
but instead transition from believing what they are told, to understanding, choosing and living out their own, authentic faith and relationship with Christ.

It means providing environments where kids are allowed to 
be loud 
and ask questions, because this is how they are made and this is how they learn and grow.

It means finding and training and inspiring leaders to understand that EVERY child is made in the image of God, so that for at least the one hour per week they are here, they have a place where 
they see and are shown God's love for them, 
they are welcome and accepted,
they learn to give and receive grace,
they are valued and cared about.

It also means being intentional and consistent as parents and leaders about letting our junior high and high school students serve alongside our dedicated adult leaders now, so that they realize 
they can lead and make a difference today, 
not someday when they are "grown up". 
If we show them how and let them lead in areas where they are gifted now, 
they transition seamlessly from student leaders to adult leaders because they already know how. 
They learn that they are important and capable and God can work through them just as they are, instead of stalling when they finally become adults because they have been on the outside waiting to get in for so long that the steps they need to take to be a leader are overwhelming and they remember the feeling of being kept out more than what it felt like to want to serve.

This all works best when small group leaders and parents 
make the effort to communicate,
pray for each other and their children,
reach out to each other when there is a crisis or significant change in the life of the family, good or bad, so that they can comfort and pray with or encourage and celebrate with the child together.

When small group leaders and parents recognize their children's interests and gifts, then reach out to get them connected with a leader in that area of ministry as they enter junior high so that they learn what it feels like to serve, 
to think and care about someone besides themselves, 
to stop thinking about their own needs and problems for a while 
and care about the needs and spiritual growth of their small group, their church and their community.

As a leader I am passionate about this philosophy because as a parent I have proof that it works.
I will share those examples in my next post. Partnering with parents - part 2.

Until then - if you are not already here consistently during the same hour each Sunday I encourage you to change that starting this week. 
If you have not reached out to, or even met your child's small group leader, I encourage you to make that happen this Sunday.
If you or your junior high school or high school student is not serving already, call or email me and I will help you find out where there are opportunities in our church and community to start now.

We are better together,

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Raising Adults

As the mother of two teenage boys, one 19 and one 16, there are days when it breaks my heart that they are not little anymore. That they no longer look up to me as the wonderful Mommy who has all the answers and can kiss their boo-boo's all better. 

I get it.

However, I have learned that if we don't parent in a way that plans and accepts this truth - that the goal really is for them to grow up, be independent and care for and raise families of their own - then they will grow up dependent, insecure and unprepared to take responsibility and face the challenges of adulthood.

It is definitely an uphill climb to teach them responsibility and character but the dividends for us and more importantly for them as they seek God's will and plans for their lives, is truly worth teaching them how and then reminding them for the millionth time (with patience and love of course....) to 

pick up their toys, 

take out the trash, 

clean their room 

or whatever task their age and responsibility level matches. To follow through and actually require them to be responsible.

Trust me and start when they are young and think you are cool and are excited about being big girls or big boys just like Mommy or Daddy. That window closes quicker than any of us imagine.

Click on the link below from Parent Cue by Reggie Joiner to read more encouragement about the importance of realizing we are raising adults not raising children. He is a co-author of the parenting study I'll be leading at our church - iargyle.com - this summer.

Blessings and Courage in Christ, 


Raising Adults

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book Review: The Love & Respect Experience: A Husband-Friendly Devotional That Wives Truly Love By Emerson Eggerichs

Book Review: The Love & Respect Experience: A Husband-Friendly Devotional That Wives Truly Love 

By Emerson Eggerichs

As a wife that attends church without her husband, I was hesitant to begin a devotion that I would most likely be reading alone. Though there is always hope, reading it solo is what happened. However, it was definitely worth reading. I have the Love and Respect book and journal by the Eggrich's so I knew it would be good and worthwhile whether both of us read it or not.

God has taught me so much about marriage and relationships through the pages of these books. I have been married for 19 years and even though my husband and I are not in the same place spiritually, God has continued to grow and strengthen our marriage through valuable and biblical teaching found here. Even if you think you are clear on what love and respect means and how it relates to your marriage I would recommend this book. With everything that we have to do each day and all the distractions and frustrations in relationships, it is so important that we are intentional about refocusing on how to support and encourage each other. This devotion breaks down the "crazy cycle" that all of us find ourselves in and gives clear and helpful tools to stop the craziness and not only create but sustain a healthy and loving marriage!

BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Simple teacher or class gift idea

This year for Valentine's Day I was looking for a cute and simple as well as affordable gift idea for all the teachers at our preschool. It's important to me to do something as often as possible to let them know they are valued and appreciated. I didn't find any on the regular internet places that I liked or that didn't require more supplies, assembling or baking. I did find a cute toothbrush gift idea that I turned into a pencil gift and wrote my own kinda cheesy but heartfelt poem to personalize it.

It would work for just about any special occasion. You can find packs of pencils for a dollar at lots of common stores that have cute patterns and designs for any holiday or season. Just write a sweet note from the heart, and no, it doesn't have to rhyme.

Love giving gifts to sweet teachers! Happy gifting!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Last Friday we hosted the Orange Tour stop here in Jacksonville for the last date on their schedule for 2011. I cannot explain what an honor this was. We Church at Argyle peeps are ORANGE!! If you don't know what that means check out this site http://whatisorange.org/
or for a quick overview, watch this video http://vimeo.com/28517659

I was first introduced to Orange at the Orange Conference in 2007, Pastor Ken and our staff sent me to with Rich and Mindy, when I was hired as Children's Ministry Director.
Since then I have taken leaders to the conference, taken leaders to an Orange Tour stop in Orlando and taken lots of leaders and kids to Camp KidJam, which are all Orange strategy ministries. What's amazing is that each time I learn something new, am encouraged and grow closer to Christ, become more equipped as a leader and come away excited all over again about the ministry God has called me to serve in! I could go on and on but I'll get to the point of this post.

This time, since we were hosting, I didn't get to sit in on every session. I did however, get to hear some of Reggie Joiner's main sessions and during one particular part I heard Sue Miller speak about a time in her ministry where she realized she had to make a decision. The decision was whether or not dedicating her "one and only life" to Children's ministry was not only worth it but what He was truly calling her to do. I am certain I was not the only one in the room who could relate to that. I could talk a lot about how much I love my job, which I do, and the struggles of serving the Lord in children's ministry but that is not what I woke up writing about at 1:00am Saturday morning. What was on my heart after hearing Sue speak and really from getting to know the whole team that gives their one and only life to help church leaders become equipped with God's word, love and the orange strategy to combine the influence of churches and families to fuel faith in the next generation, was a legacy. I woke up a bit overwhelmed with gratitude.

So, the following statement of gratitude is to Reggie and Debbie Joiner, Sue Miller, Lois Pallansch, Brad, Colette, Ryan, Kristi, Lauren, Warren, Ted, Matt, Josh, Kristie, Jeremy, Matt, Bre, Abby, Hannah (all the Orange Specialists and crew that make any Orange event happen) and their families, churches and everyone they love.

Orange has chosen to live out a legacy of leaders who spend their one and only life, speaking God's love, truth, wisdom and encouragement into new generations.

Can their be any more important mission?

Thank you for the time you spend away from your families, creating this remarkable community of people that shows us how to become and continue to grow, welcoming, intentional/strategic, humble bodies of Christ all over the world. I am struck by the choice of legacies we all have and how you've chosen this amazing legacy to live and share. I pray that the people who love you are blessed for supporting and putting up with your schedule. I pray that they and you understand the blessing you are to every person who shows up and is willing to share in this passion and vision for Christ.

This is the impact you have on people like me. Thank you for choosing this legacy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You've Only Heard About by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson

Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You've Only Heard About by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson is a book about all those things we read in the Bible or hear from Pastors and think, well that's for someone else. I am just trying to live my life. That is only for those really strong Christians. The reality is what, we dismiss as rumors because acting upon God's call or stepping out of our comfort zones to follow Christ, are not rumors, they are truths that Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson share and make real and reachable in this book.

Each chapter breaks down a "rumor", like Abundant Life or Grace and shares stories about real people and real ways we can each live and claim a life of abundance and grace. Whether you have been brought up in a Christian home or have just found your way to a relationship with Christ recently, you can relate to and be inspired by this book. Its not all about being a foreign missionary or starting a church. Its about finding God right where you are and using what you do and have to reach out to those around you. Loving the way God loves. Giving in real and life changing ways. Forgiving and what it really means.

This chapter on forgiveness was titled "Giving up your rights: Rumors of Freedom". As God would have it happen, I was reading this during a time when my life group was talking about betrayal, love and forgiveness and I shared quotes from this chapter because it spoke so clearly and directly to our questions and struggles. It all lines up with God's word and is so powerful and relevant to where the church is and needs to be today. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to live out biblical faith and realize that you don't have to be a pastor or "church person" to really make a difference with God.

The review copy of this book was provided by booksneeze.com for my personal opinion.