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Right now, I hold in my hands the brand new book Rise Up: Choosing Faith Over Fear in Christian Ministry by my friend and fellow author Vanessa Myers. What an honor to be on her blog tour this fall! What Vanessa has to say is badly needed among ministry leaders right now. I do believe that the number one reason we feel held back in our ministries is NOT lack of budget, talent or motivation. Our worst hindrance in ministry is FEAR. And I like the fact that Vanessa calls that out like it is. She points out that it is usually not “everyone” who is against us-it’s out own fear that we will be rejected or left lonely. It is not that our ministry is not wanted, we are AFRAID that it will not be wanted, or that no one will listen- or worse- that we will FAIL. My favorite part of Vanessa’s book is when she starts calling out all the excuses we use for not stepping out to do bigger things for God, the things we are really feeling called of God to do. “People will reject me” “I’m not a good enough speaker” “I’m afraid of my boss,” “I just can’t get over my hurt”etc. She shares from Scripture that our favorite Bible heroes faced fears, failures, dangers, loss, hurt, inexperience, frustration, disabilities and more- and yet God used them to do amazing things. God planned to use them all along and it is about His power, not our weakness. They had to get over their fear and step out. And so do we. What would be possible in our ministries right now if we could just get over our fear and RISE UP into all that God has planned for us? The time is here to find out. Take the time TODAY to order Vanessa’s book. Take that first step toward overcoming fear and letting God use you on a whole new level! God bless you and your ministry today and always, love Trisha Peach J

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Yes I’m angry. More importantly, I’m motivated.

I am a wife, a mother, a doctoral candidate, an author, a life-long educator- and a proud native of the Badger State. Before 2016, I never spoke up about politics. After the disastrous Kavanaugh vote/circus, I literally walked into my local GOP office and said, “What can I do to help? I’ll make phone calls, go door to door, put up signs- What can I do?” My mother and sister are doing the same in their counties. I do not vote for a certain personality or gender, but rather for whichever candidate better represents my deeply held convictions on the issues. I am passionately pro-school choice (Wisconsin has always led the nation in charter school excellence), pro free speech, pro lower taxes, pro smaller government with more accountability, pro fiscal responsibility, pro immigration reform, pro law enforcement and veterans. The DNC has gone so far to the left- sky high taxes, radical socialism, “Impeach 45!”, doxxing- they have left families like mine far behind. Yes, I’ll be voting RED this 11/6. And at this point, I’d crawl over broken glass barefoot-Die Hard style- to do it.

Trisha

Have you noticed that our elections in the U.S. have become all about personalities and not issues? I have heard it said that this vote is about who people are voting AGAINST, not what issues we are voting FOR. I propose that every American should vote, not for or against a personality, but for the issues that matter the most for our faith, our families and our future.

Our future starts with educating ourselves on the issues at hand. And I do not mean just glancing at CNN once in awhile. Like it or not, our elected officials will make decisions on several pending cases that WILL greatly affect churches, denominations, Christian schools and colleges. Yes, I believe God is Sovereign- but I also believe we need to stop jumping off of high places expecting angels to catch us before we hit the ground. We have to do our part, educate ourselves, and vote.

I have been researching the issues at stake for awhile now, and I do have to say, I am surprised at the conflicting information, or missing information out there in the media. But here are the key issues I look at when voting. Feel free to discuss, share as you wish. These are not in any order of importance.

1. School Choice-

This one is very dear to my heart. School Choice means that the parent is allowed the right to choose the school that they consider to be best for their child. This includes public schools, private schools, charter schools, Christian schools, home schooling etc. Several states offer voucher programs in support of parent school choice. In my home state of Wisconsin, Tony Evers is extremely anti school choice.

2. Abortion-

I am looking for which candidate (if any) is pro life. I avoid candidates that are for a late term abortions and partial birth abortions and using tax dollars for abortions.

3. Upholding the bill of rights-

Which candidate is more likely to protect freedom of speech, of the press, etc etc. Which will defend the Constitution as written?

4. Religious Freedom. There are many crucial lawsuits pending against churches, denominations, and Christian schools. Which candidate is more likely to align themselves with people of faith?

5. National security/terrorism-

We just had the poison powder scare at the Pentagon and in Texas. Terrorism is still alive and well around the world. Isis is being obliterated but we need to keep the pressure on! Which candidate can handle fighting to keep us safe? Which is pro law enforcement, pro military and pro veteran?

6. Taxes-

Which candidate is going to be for lowering taxes? Higher taxes stagnate the economy and hurt businesses. Our economy is on fire right now. Many families, like mine, are relieved and encouraged by the recent tax breaks. I have no desire to see the taxes go back higher again.

7. Breaking up Gridlock.

Which candidate plans to work to impeach Trump? (Polls show that the majority of the country doesn’t want that upheaval). Which will oppose anything of Trump’s, to the point that absolutely nothing gets done? Which candidate is willing to work, even across the aisle, to get things done?

8. Strength-

It is heartbreaking to say, but this is not politics as usual. This is a vicious, awful environment. Whoever I vote for must be able to stand strong against death threats, and the worst attacks imaginable. I can’t imagine what they go through. But this is a whole new environment.

So these are the 8 key reasons I MUST vote in this crucial election seasons. I am not voting for a personality. I am not voting for a perfect person. I am voting based on my conscience, a lot of prayer, and a lot of research. These 8 keys are far to crucial to ever let slide by. What keys are driving YOU this election? Did I miss any of yours? Please check out my sources below for more information. Keep educating yourself, register and get out to vote! Trisha

The pros of being a bi-vocational minister-

You see them at conferences, or on the forums. The person who dreads the question, “So where are you pastoring at?” Followed immediately by “Oh are you part time or full time?” And this person, without fail, looks down at their shoes, shuffling their feet and says quietly, “Oh, well, it’s still a church plant” or “the church is hoping to bring me on as paid staff really soon.” And then they mumble sheepishly, apologetically “Right now, I am bi-vocational…you know, to pay the bills, until the church can bring me on.” You can tell that they may have been made to feel “lesser” by other pastors- the “REAL” pastors who are paid to do what they do. And even worse, these bi-vocational pastors may even be beginning to BELIEVE that they and their ministry ARE lesser, in comparison to the paid pastors. It’s kind of an assumption that the “real” and “effective” pastors will of course be paid, and the “not so good pastors” will have to stay bi-vocational until they are “more successful.”

I felt that I needed to bring up this subject for a few reasons. First of all, bi-vocational ministry is definitely on the rise. There are entrepreneurial ministers all around us in rural areas as well as the bigger cities, trying to launch brand new churches, and trying to support themselves for awhile (sometimes a long while). Secondly, I can see that the church as a whole has bought into a way of thinking about ministers, that closely mirrors our American culture, but not always Scripture. Lastly, instead of being bi-vocational as a negative thing, I actually see some definite positives for those ministers who are out in our nations workforce! What are those positives? Well here are just a few pros to being a bi-vocational minister:

PROS:

Relevance. You have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your city, right where God has called you. Pastors are often accused of being “out of touch” with those in the pews they are speaking to. I vividly remember getting up to speak at our church, and my husband heard my message for the first time during first service. He pulled me aside right after the service ended and said, “Honey, do you realize how careless that sounded? You are asking people to be at three different meetings here at the church on 3 DIFFERENT nights of the week! We all have jobs, and kids, and you have to be considerate of that! My husband, who works as a full time I.T. guy for a large corporation instinctively knew what many people in our congregation were feeling and living each week. 50+ hours a week of work, followed by night classes for another degree, sports and family time. The church’s demands on our overtaxed family’s was coming off as clueless, uncaring and demanding. I quickly changed what I had to say for the next 3 services (we consolidated meetings into one evening or one after school session. I got a much better response. Sometimes full time pastors ARE clueless, because we forget….we lose touch with our target audience and because that much less effective. You will know that culture inside and out and therefore be able to ‘speak the language’. You have earned a right to be heard.Time Management. One of my friends complained, “I never have time to get anything done for my house. I don’t have time to work out.” Then she took a full time job. Now, counter instinctively, she is keeping her house so much neater and she gets to the gym daily. How on earth is that possible? It’s the same amount of time in each day! The truth is that bi-vocational ministry forces you to be a ‘ninja’ at time management. You have to make every second count. You know who you are: the one writing messages on the back of napkins on your lunch break, and reading the latest ministry statistics late at night when everyone else is in bed. You have less time to devote to ‘ministry’- so you give it all you have, no time wasted!Passion. You are not getting paid for the ministry you do. You are there purely because…you are CALLED. Just as called as any full time pastor at the largest church in the world. You are called by a God Who hasn’t changed His mind. You work your full time job to pay the bills. You do your ministry out of a passionate love for Jesus and for people- and it shows. You are there because you want to be- above and beyond what you are already doing. This passion fuels your energy and creativity. You HAVE to problem solve and find a way- because no one is waiting with a check book to bail you out! And that send your faith through the roof- because God has made a way again and again and again, when there really shouldn’t have been a way. You are called. Salary or no salary. And God does NOT have a lesser class of ministers. So don’t ever apologize for being ‘bi-vocational’. Trust Who called you and let that passion BURN.

4. You are just like Jesus, Paul and others when you are in bi-vocational ministry. You think Jesus had a high paying salary? NO way. Sometimes He had nowhere to lay His head. He had sponsors who supported His ministry. Paul of course did “tent making” and fundraising to support his- and he was an apostle! You are in GREAT company as a non-salaried pastor. Our American CULTURE tells us that the “greatest” are paid more. Jesus says, “Let the greatest among you be servant of all” and “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” Let’s stop confusing real Christianity with our American culture of corporate ladder climbing, status grabbing and greed.

5. You will likely have more time to spend with pre-Christians. Too many full time pastors have to admit that they do not spend a lot of time with non-Christians, and they are not doing much in the way of personal evangelism. I am pointing at myself here, when I say that ministry within the walls of the church building CAN because all consuming- all your time, all your focus goes there instead of into the community, reaching lost people. Jesus spent His time out with sinners. We can become so self focused that we miss the people who are the whole reason we do what we do.

Tune in next time for Part 2- Overcoming the Challenges of being a Pastor with an outside job(s). What are your thoughts? Are you a bi-vocational pastor? What are the best parts about it? What challenges do you face that salaried pastors may get to avoid?

Love Trisha

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“Any Christian with half a conscience cannot vote in this election!” he said angrily. “All of these candidates are horrible, and a vote for them is a vote applauding their evil.”

I sat listening to my brother in Christ vent his frustration about the upcoming elections. And to be fair, he has some good points. He is also not alone in his feelings; I have seen a few Christians now on social media afraid to vote this November. I myself have to admit, that before 2016, I completely avoided the news, because it can be so depressing, biased. I think we all sense that this election is different. Our country has never been in this situation before. I’m watching the news VERY closely. And while I love you no matter what you decide to do, I have been praying and thinking a lot about this Nov election, and I would like to offer up some food for thought.
Reason #1 All of the candidates are so awful. Politics have gotten so combative, why even try? Why get involved? I’ll wait till things get better.

My Pushback: History has shown us that many of our American leaders, even presidents, have been less than paragons of morality. There have been so many scandals that I’ve lost count. I fear that if we wait for a candidates that talk, walk and act how we would like, dress how we like, and have an unspotted past, we will never vote again. This is the same thinking I have seen in some Christians about going to church: “I just can’t find a church that isn’t full of hypocrites. Every pastor lets my down. I’m not getting “fed” by any church.” These are usually people who do not go ANYWHERE to church because they are still waiting on that “right” one. The fact is that we live in a broken world. And the more you find out about that candidate, the worse they are going to look. Like it or not, a certain group of people are going to be governing our nation for the next several years. Only God can change a person’s heart- I pray for our government every day- so I am voting the best I can bearing in mind the issues that mean the most to me as a Christian. (A bit more on what those are in a minute).

Reason #2 to stay home and not vote: The Bible doesn’t say anything about voting. Jesus and Paul never voted. We should just stay with separation of church and state. If I do vote, I need to check my Christianity at the door of the booth and vote what might benefit me economically.

My Pushback: The Bible doesn’t address voting that I know of, because voting did not exist, at least not for Palestinian Jews. The Bible also doesn’t address TV, high heels or Miley Cyrus. So we Christians make our decisions on modern moral dilemmas based on the principles that God’s Word DOES show us. And I would bring up the fact that Jesus directly confronted the screwy politics that had infiltrated the church, the governing religious leaders and He even spoke the harsh truth to the appointed political authorities of the day: Pilate, Herod, the Pharisees etc. Jesus did not excuse political corruption; He addressed it head on. And if all Christians had followed the aforementioned “don’t get political” thinking, slavery would still be legal in this country. Christians wishing and hoping slavery would go away did not do a whole lot of good; brave people had to speak up, and inevitably fight it out in the political arena. You can follow Jesus AND fight for justice. My ancestors were all Quakers who fought slavery- in politics. I’m so thankful for people like Martin Luther king Jr. Who followed Jesus AND fought for justice in the political arena. If Christians are going hands off, then we are hoping that someone else will speak up. In our system, everyone has a say (theoretically). We shouldn’t abdicate ours…What a horrible place these arenas would be without Christian input…Yes, there are still Christian politicians fighting hard in our government.

Reason #3- Jesus is just coming back soon anyway so it doesn’t matter who gets elected. And the Bible says the world will continue getting worse and worse until Jesus comes back, so there’s no point in trying.

My Pushback– They say almost one third of Generation X (my generation) is not here today due to abortion. I think that Christian generation was too busy being uninvolved, astetic, non political..too HOLY to be involved in earthly things..sitting on a roof believing Jesus would be back next week. I believe that generation of Christians are partially responsible for that holocaust. God never said every thing that happens was what He wanted. God didn’t bring abortion. He isn’t bringing this current violence and racial hate. We’re supposed to be salt and light in a very dark world. We still have a choice. I want to know that I spoke up. That I at least tried to speak for those who couldn’t. And sure, I know things will be horrible in our world when Jesus comes back. But we do not know the day or hour. We are supposed to stay busy serving for Him until He returns. We don’t have time to waste sitting on a rooftop.

Reason #4- It’s just one more pointless election that won’t change anything. It is the same old same old and doesn’t affect me or my family.

My Pushback- As you may have heard by now, the outcome for the Supreme Court and the laws of our land, federal judgeships, the direction of our nation literally hang on what happens Nov 6. (We know God is sovereign- and sometimes He allows us to wallow in the aftermath of our laziness or terrible judgment…aka 40 more years around Mt. Sinai?) These lawmakers will make, repeal the law of the land which affects us all. Abortion, religious freedom, school choice, fight against terrorism, taxation, health care…so much is at stake. Truly this is a battle for the soul of our nation. Shouldn’t Christians speak into that?

Please know, no matter who you vote for, or don’t vote for, I love you bunches. Can we stop all the hatred, name calling, posturing etc.? I saw several posts today that said, “If you don’t vote for ____________, you are not saved.” I must have missed that verse. But we DO need to educate ourselves, and keep learning this balance of being IN the world, but not OF this world. Let’s shine wherever we can in this dark world. And please keep praying about this coming election and for our nation and our world. In ask upcoming post, I’ll be talking about the key issues that decided how I will vote. What about you? Do you believe a Christian should vote, even if they do not like any of the candidates? Are we Christians treating each other in a loving manner this election? Love Trisha

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I hope you all enjoyed the tips from part 1 last week, on how to make sure more parents attend your parent meetings and more volunteers attend your trainings. It is so important to increase attendance at these meetings! Here are a few more strategies to try:

  1. Honor their time by keeping to the point and being brief. Stick to your notes. Better to end early than irritate people with a never-ending meeting. Yes, you probably have a lot of things on your heart to go over, that need changing in the kids’ area, but this is not the time for that. Stick to the reason you have them there. If you don’t, they won’t come to the next one.
  2. Do not give out information early. This is an important lesson I learned as a children’s pastor. When I went on staff at a certain church, I was told that “no one shows up for parent or volunteer meetings.” I wondered why. Then I called a meeting about an important security change. Right away the phone calls started coming in. “Um, I can’t make the meeting. What’s the announcement?” “We are out of town. Just give me the details.” Right away I realized why no one came to the meetings. There was no reason to. They got a few abbreviated details over the phone, passed them on to each other, and skipped the meetings. The meetings were no longer of any importance. People were shocked as I told them one by one, “I’m sorry to hear that. This will be a very important change happening. I want it to first be presented to the people present. Wouldn’t want it to get out over the grapevine. I highly suggest you get with one of those who were there after you return and get their notes. That’s a bummer, because I really would have liked your input. But maybe after you get back you can make an appointment with me and I can try to catch you up.” This had a dramatic effect. First they pushed for more info. I held to my guns very politely and wished them a great trip. Word got out that something “big” was going on. Nine times out of ten “their schedule just cleared up.” And I spoke to a packed house. Give them a reason to show up and be really present. Ask yourself these questions: Is this change something you want discussed in the court of public opinion before you even present it? Do you want to give ammo to those who resist change? Do you want parents and volunteers serving with only partial or possibly incorrect information? Do not call a parent or volunteer meeting for any petty reason. But when you determine that the change affects everyone and they need to be there, do not give out an abbreviated version before the event.
  3. Give people a chance to provide input, feedback, and ask questions. Be prepared to give well-researched answers to their questions. If you do not know the answer, take down the questioner’s name and respond, “I’m not sure, but I will find out.” You will gain parent support and more volunteers if you allow honest feedback and questions. I usually take notes during that time. People will show up if they have buy-in.
  4. Do not let anyone monopolize the discussion. Especially if you are a young or new children’s leader, stay in charge of that meeting and keep it on the task at hand. Do not allow the topic to get derailed to something else. Do not let it be a forum for debate. Your response when challenged sets the tone for your ministry. Also, don’t be defensive or argumentative. You’re not trying to lead the meeting, you are leading it. It is not the place to aim anything at anyone or have a great big public argument. There are people in this world who jump at the chance for public drama. That is the biggest drawback to having a parent or volunteer meeting. Don’t give anyone a pulpit for a public drama. Shut down anything nasty as soon as it starts.  Many parents and volunteers do not want to attend group meetings or trainings because they know someone always monopolizes the meetings and/or they become negative bashing sessions. You can change this perception. If someone starts something say something like this:

“That is a whole different discussion, for another time. Make an appointment to see me about that” (they usually won’t because they want an audience).

“Okay, let’s hear what some other parents think about this topic.”

“Interesting, but for the sake of time, let’s stay on topic.”

“I know you probably have more you would like to share on this topic. Good thing I am putting my email up on the screen! I am also handing out these feedback forms. Please put your name on it if you wish to be contacted. Everyone please fill out a feedback form and leave it on your chair.” (Instead of public meetings, some churches now use only email and forms for feedback. I understand why.)

Remember that the purpose of the meeting is to communicate vision, convey information, and occasionally to garner feedback. It is not a debate. Do not imply that the church’s decisions are being debated or being voted on. You are letting them know that a decision has been made or that a change is coming. Never use one of these meetings to attack someone or any area of the church. Do not retaliate in any way if someone makes a snide comment. You set the tone. Make sure the parent or volunteer meeting is a positive, uplifting, and beneficial experience for everyone involved. Make all of your parents and volunteers eager to be at any meeting you call.

Can you think of any more tips on getting people to your meetings? Please share in the comments below so we can all have better, more effective, better attended trainings and meetings. Love and blessings! TrishaIMG_20160503_082534

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Some information—the very important turns and changes in the ministry, whether they be leadership changes, curriculum or scheduling changes—must be clearly communicated to the parents and leaders. But how do you go about relaying it to parents and volunteers? You are going to have to be strategic, persistent, and consistent to get information across. So I encourage you to use some or all of these methods to convey information:

  1. Use live meetings with a big group sparingly. Mass meetings are not a method to use weekly. They should be only by used to convey something of great importance (examples: major curriculum change, service times change, key leader stepping down, brand new security procedures that affect everyone). That way, when you call a meeting, they will know it’s important.
  2. Advertise it at least one month in advance, and advertise it in many ways.
  3. Be specific. Who is supposed to be present? When you say “parent meeting,” is that all parents? Parents of kids up to twelve years old? Parents are understandably irritated if they clear their schedule (especially if they paid a sitter) to go to your important meeting, only to find out you didn’t mean them. Which volunteers did you need at this training and why? Be specific about the location. Can anyone find that room if they are new? What time is it? Is there child care provided? How long will the meeting be? Indicate why the meeting is important, like a leadership or curriculum change, but don’t go into too much detail. One church I visited handed out a leaflet during the service that said, “Parent meeting right after service in the choir room.” Parents were in a mass of confusion. I heard them saying, “Meeting right after which service?” “Why do we have to go? Is the pastor leaving?” “I’m a parent of two junior-highers. Do I have to go?” “I’m new. Where on earth is the choir room?” That parent meeting was a total disaster. I heard that the youth pastor who called the meeting never made that mistake again. But sadly the congregation didn’t forget it soon either.
  4. Be respectful of people’s time. I didn’t fully understand this when I was a new children’s pastor, but now that I have kids of my own, it makes more sense. For example, do everything in your power not to take another night of the week. Parents and volunteers are already, on average, gone at least five nights a week with church, sports, recitals, plays, and so on. If you pick a night during the week, unless it is an emergency meeting, many will not be there. And the ones who show up want a sense that this was important to take some of the only family time they might have that whole week. Try to have the meeting when they are at church already—first service, if you have two (this takes care of someone to watch their kids too); directly after a service (some will complain about lunch); before or after midweek service (some will complain if it gets late for their kids to be out on a school night). No matter when you pick, someone will complain, so you cannot please everyone, but try to be considerate. They will already be resentful of you if they feel you do not care about their family time, and you need them on your team!
  5. I do not recommend sending out a survey asking what time to have the meeting. You will get thirty-seven different answers; one person will get their way (and probably not show up) and the rest will think, “no one cares that I filled out the survey” and not show up. I personally ask one or two people I trust and then make a decision and stick with it.
  6. This is going to sound awful, like bribery, because it is bribery, but we always have more people show up when we offer food. So we offer refreshments if we really need people to hear what we have to say. Advertise that you will have refreshments!

Please stay tuned for next week’s part 2! What are your best tips for getting your team to trainings and your parents to parent meetings? Love and blessings- Trisha

 

Everyone knows that a change in pastoral leadership, for any reason, can be a tough situation for your church, staff, volunteers and families. But did you know that what you DO during this crucial time of transition will GREATLY impact your church’s ministries either for growth and healthy change or for hurt and damage for a long time to come? But do not panic! Let’s take a look at some very common mistakes that leaders make during transitions in church leadership and some tips on how to make a transition more positive for everyone.

Mistake #1 Announcing that nothing is going to change with this transition in leadership. Everything will stay the same.

Tip: Be HONEST with the leaders, the church, the volunteers and with yourself. There WILL be change. Change occurs all the time, with any growth, leadership transitions, and time. During a transition in any part of the church leadership team there WILL be changes. I actually sat in a church service and heard a pastor promise the congregation that “absolutely nothing would change” when his successor came in the next week. In fact he said, “they wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference, or even that he had left.” Internally I groaned. He had just promised the church something that could NEVER be delivered. And within a VERY few short weeks, people were angry and complaining that “things felt different” and “the new guy wants to do something new”. I don’t believe in making promises to your leaders, parents and kids that you can’t keep. And it also isn’t fair to whoever is coming in! That person WILL have their own style, giftings and ministry. And it is wrong to expect them to be someone else, or to keep someone else’s ministry on life support indefinitely. God will be using that NEW leader and THEIR giftings in wonderful new ways. During a time of transition, it is so important for everyone to stay flexible, and to hold their expectations loosely. Don’t promise that nothing will change. Promise that you are all doing your best to make this a smooth transition, promise to care about your leaders, your parents and your kids. Promise that what matters to them, matters to you. Promise to find (or be) the very best leader you can possibly be and to listen and obey God the best you can, each and every week. And make sure to keep those promises.

Myth #2 Jumping in to change things- IMMEDIATELY, as much as possible, without listening to those in the trenches and those who were there before.

Tip: Smart leaders WAIT, WATCH and LISTEN a LOT at first. Listen to parents, volunteers, staff and perhaps even your predecessor. I thought I would jump out of my skin waiting to make changes at my last children’s pastorate, but we kicked off programs with quality and impact instead of throwing them together. And I was SO glad we waited and prepared. One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is going in like a wrecking ball and bowling over people in your wake. Those people are not “in the way of your ministry”- they ARE your ministry. Most lead pastors have recurrent nightmares about getting a new children’s leader who barges in, offends people, causes solid long term leaders to quit and parents to complain. Yes, you WILL need to make changes, and some people are not going to like them. But take the time up front to build RELATIONSHIPS and vision cast. That way, when it is time to take that ministry further, God-willing, much of your team will be on board with you for the long haul.

Myth #3 I can gain more credibility by discrediting my predecessor.

Tip: Never ever ever ever X4 tear down the one before you. Here’s why: a. there will always be some people- parents, volunteers and staff, who DID like and connect with your predecessor- no matter how things were when they left. It is not worth it to alienate those people. They highly supported the last pastor, and may just support you too. b. You set the tone of your ministry there. If you set a note of tearing people down, they’ll tear you down too eventually. Set a tone of love, and encouragement from the start. c. You do NOT have all the sides of the story. You may find after a year or two, you agree with the last guy now, and you’ll have to eat those words. d. If there had been a scandal, or the former pastor left on a bad note, don’t keep associating yourself and your ministry with that scandal by constantly bringing it up (tearing them down). Make a BREAK with it. e. Your biggest job right now will be to gain the trust of other staff/parents you may cross paths with. No one is going to trust someone that is putting others down. f. Putting down the former pastor doesn’t make you look better, it makes you look more insecure. You do not need to “break” anyone’s loyalty to a former pastor. Be glad they appreciate and miss the one that left. Then give them a ministry they can appreciate and be excited about right now.

Transitions are tough, but they are the only way to the great things God has in store! How exciting! love Trisha

What tips do you have for surviving and thriving in a time of transition?

So after a week learning the basics from part one, here’s what you’ve REALLY been waiting for…

Lip Control-

  1. There are some sounds that cannot be made without moving your lips. These will give you the most trouble. Vowels are all fine. You’ll have to work a lot on B, F, M, P, Q, V, W, Y.
  2. A background in music, acting and/or illusions is not necessary but it really helps! So much of ventriloquism is acting- bringing an awesome character to life! And singing in your new puppet voice is a lot easier that speaking at first. Singing relies a lot on vowels- which you can do without moving your lips. Most of my puppet voices I worked out by singing them first.
  3. For better lip control, you are going to have to have replacement sounds for the difficult letter above- sounds that are CLOSE enough to the original to fool your listeners ears. It is an illusion. If the sound is close enough, the brain will fill in the missing pieces and the person will believe they heard that whole word. For example- the word “firefighter” cannot be said exactly without moving your lips. So ventriloquists actually say, “thirethighter.” A “th” sound instead of an “f” sound. Now you will know if you listen for it lol. An M is an N performed with your tongue further back on the roof of your mouth. P was the hardest word for me to learn! It is a “TC” sound with the tip of your tongue on the back of your top teeth. B is actually a modified “d”. “V” I simulate by vibrating my tongue along my upper teeth. W and q and y I fabricate by pulling my tongue back, pulling air INTO my mouth instead of out.

If this sounds hard that’s because it is!!! This is why it takes a lot of work, a lot of practice to get it right. But it is so worth it! And remember, characterization-having an awesome puppet character and puppet movement and voice-is so much more important than perfect lip control. I believe in you! What other questions can i answer about ventriloquism for you? Anything I can make clearer? Love and blessings on your ministry! Trisha

My puppet Patti and I have traveled doing ministry now for 25 + years. Wow it flew by fast! I started learning ventriloquism when I was 14 years old, from an established, gifted children’s pastor- Chuck Pruett. Unlike him, I struggled to master ventriloquism at first. He seemed to just have natural talent for everything ministry related. However, although it was a lot of work, I am so grateful that I kept working, and kept trying, because in all sincerity- ventriloquism is one of the most effective tools I have in my “ministry arsenal”, so to speak.

Why Ventriloquism?

  1. You’ve got the attention of everyone in the room- immediately. Regardless of age, culture or background. Patti has been a hit in Swaziland, Africa, just as much as Bismark, North Dakota or Los Angeles, California. The older folks in our church now ask to have Patti make appearances in the main service from time to time (which we do using family services).
  2. You don’t need a stage or any special equipment. This has been a major advantage for me. I hiked to a few remote villages in Africa and did ministry there- no stage needed, no electricity needed etc. When I fly, it is such a pain to try to bring a puppet stage! And it’s expensive! When I do school assemblies, all I really need is Patti (and maybe an object lesson or two).
  3. You can do skits written for two! One of the least effective means teaching is the “talking head.” This happens when it is just you up front talking for a long period of time. Children in this modern age have the shortest attention span ever recorded. So what if I am speaking at a Bible Camp all by myself? Well, ventriloquism can help me avoid the “talking head” syndrome by creating the illusion that I am not on stage alone. I can do skit and dramas written for two. And of course, skits and drama are a FANTASTIC way of teaching groups of ALL ages.

Tips and Tricks-

  1. Practice regularly- every day if possible. I have had hundreds of children’s ministry students over the year. But only 2 have made significant progress in learning ventriloquism. I think this is because mastering ventriloquism takes patience and a lot of work. This probably is not something you will learn in a day or even a week. I worked hard for a year before performing and I still was awful for a bit lol!
  2. Character over lip control- I cannot stress this one enough. Think of the old ventriloquism shows that used to be on TV (Howdy Doody for example). Many of those television ventriloquists had TERRIBLE lip control. AND NO ONE CARED. Why? Because the puppeteer had created a fun, compelling character that caught everyone’s attention. No one was watching the puppeteer’s lips anymore. Work to create a character that your audience can relate to. What will capture their attention? I set the new puppet in front of me and think, “What would this puppet sound like, act like? Are they young, active, squirmy with a higher, childlike voice? Are they slower, sleepier with a lower voice?” Character development is so much more important than lip control.
  3. Record yourself and watch. Over and over again. I actually started out tape recording myself with an old black cassette player…it was 1991 ok!!? Sometimes you think you’re doing awesome, but the recording let’s you “hear” what your audience is hearing. Video record yourself and see the areas you need to work on.
  4. Perform before you’re perfect. If you wait until you think you’re ready, you will never perform. Schedule some smaller events to do ventriloquism- school gathering, bible study, pre-k class event etc. Having that deadline, that goal, will give you incentive to keep practicing! And I improved every time I got up there and tried.

So what do you think? Are you ready to give it a try? Please check out next week’s part two, “All About Lip Control”! Check out the video training for ventriloquism on my channel, “the Peach Buzz” on YouTube! I’d also appreciate prayer for the next three weeks as I’m traveling a lot…central Wisconsin, Colorado Springs then Orlando, Florida. God bless you and all the ministry you do for Jesus and His kids!! Love Trisha