Saturday, August 23, 2008

Leadership Training

This past Thursday and Friday, August 21 and 22, I attended a leadership training seminar led by Dr. Dean Radtke of The Institute of Ministry Management and Leadership. Dr. Radtke travels all over the world holding workshops for pastors and ministry leaders to help them develop their overall leadership skills. In the past I have attended this same "CEO and Leaders Workshop", as Dr. Radtke calls it, but I believe that teaching about leadership and effectively working with people is something that needs to be heard over and over again. As a minister and a missionary I strongly believe in continued training and education along the lines of ministry and leadership to help me stay sharp and so that I can continue to grow and develop in these areas.

On the left is a picture from the workshop that just took place here. Approximately 85 people from Germany, France, The Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, and The United Kingdom participated in these meetings that we at RHEMA Germany hosted for Dr. Radtke. There is a lot of work that goes into holding a series of meetings like this but it is well worth the effort. This leadership seminar was a benefit to me personally and by being involved with the work of hosting this seminar, and in that way having a small part in helping train and develop pastors and leaders, this also helps me fulfill the calling that God has for my life.

If you are a pastor or ministry leader I would definitely recommend attending one of these workshops. More information about Dr. Radtke's ministry can be found on his website at and you can also find a schedule of his upcoming meetings there.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A German Child's First Day Of School

Last week I had the opportunity to be a part of something very special in the life of a child, their first day of school. In Germany, like the USA, children attend Kindergarten but the big step comes when they enter the first grade. Here below are a couple of pictures of Silas, who happens to be my godson, ready for his first day of school.

The first thing that you may notice is that he is holding this blue thing that looks like some giant ice cream cone, this is called a "Schultüte", which literally means "school cone". The Schultüte is filled with things a child will need for school like pens and pencils and it also contains candy. That seems like a pretty good deal to me as I don't seem to recall getting any candy on my first day of school!

The first day of school for Silas was quite an event. First I accompanied Silas and his family to a brief ceremony in the church in the small town where he lives. After this church ceremony all of the children walked to another building for a sort of get acquainted with the school meeting. This meeting was a big production with a lot of things happening.

Once the meeting got started the person who is what we would call the dean of the school greeted the students and their parents. He then acted as a sort of MC to introduce the different classes of the current 2nd through 4th graders in the school who all had some song or sketch to perform for the new students. This picture to the left is of the dean addressing the new students and their parents.

Part way through this meeting a couple of other people were introduced, they were from the mayor's office. The mayor himself could not be there because he was sick. The representatives of the mayor also addressed the students and their parents. Then they gave the dean of the school a bottle of wine to congratulate him on his fine work or some such thing. Since the whole thing was in German I missed a word or two but I figured that the wine was either a gift to congratulate him on something or they figured it was going to be a pretty tough year for him. What ever it was it was something that you probably would not see in the states but it is not a big deal here in Germany. Once this meeting was finished the children then went to their classes.

German children all attend the same basic school from grades 1-4. After grade 4 they will go to a different school based on the type of vocation they will pursue. Since I would not say I am an expert on the German school system if you are interested in finding out more about how the education system in Germany works you can take a look at for more information.

The first day of school is a big event for the children and their parents. I am glad to have been a part of this special day for my godson and I am sure that he will do very well in school.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just Not My Day

The other day I was at a grocery store and as I was going to pay for my purchase I got mixed up trying to get the correct amount of change to the cashier. I was about to hand her some money when I realized my mistake and then recounted my money to give her what was needed. As the girl working the register saw my mix up she said, "It hasn't been my day either". I just smiled at her, trying to be nice and not really able to think up a good response in German. But I thought to myself, "Every day is my day because God is on my side" and as I took my things and walked away I got thinking about what she said.

Sometimes we have a day where it seems like we run into problem after problem. Often when this happens we say something like this girl said to me, "I guess it's just not my day!" But if today is not my day then when will I have my day and how will I know when it is my day? The problem is that the standard we use to determine when we are having a good day or a bad day is our circumstances. Instead of checking my circumstances to gauge if today is my day I have decided to make every day my day and believe that God will help me to deal with whatever comes my way.

Part of this for me is getting my thinking straight and part of it is getting what I say lined up with what God says about me. I choose to take God's side in my day and He has said He would help me (Hebrews 13:6), He is on my side (Psalm 118:6), He is for me and not against me (Romans 8:31), no weapon formed against me can succeed (Isaiah 54:17), and He will guide me in my life (Psalm 32:8). By focusing on what God has said about me and what He will do for me I find that my days are better and even when I face a difficult situation God always helps me to overcome it. So, if it seems like you are having one of those days that is just not your day then focus on God and what He has to say about your life and every day can be a great day!