Can #BanBossy Make a Difference

One of the things I was called often as a little girl was “BOSSY”. Whenever I played teacher or soccer I was the little girl who told everyone what to do. When I played Barbie, I told everyone what Barbie and her friends said to each other.

You pretend to ring the doorbell, and then I will say “Hey, come on in.” and then you will say, “It's so good to see you, I brought you a present.” And you have to bring me a present, like that little kitty over there.

Or something like that.

Even now as an adult, I'm pretty Bossy. And the surprising thing is, I'm not offended by it…not then, not now. Because it's true. I'm bossy.

The real problem begins when we tell our kids that they should be offended by something because of our own insecurities and our own failures or our own fears. That's what Beyonce and other famous women are doing with the #BanBossy campaign. I never gave a second thought to the word bossy because no grown up ever told me it was a bad thing.

But now….Now we have an entire, well-funded campaign to help girls to unnecessaritly form negative opnions. The #BanBossy campaign tells little girls that the word Bossy is bad but the word Boss is good. It tells adults to not use the word Bossy about little girls anymore so that girls can 'take charge'. The campaign barks that we should use the word “leader” instead. The website claims the word bossy lowers the self-esteem of little girls (without any data to back it up, I'd like to mention). But like one tweet I read said: No one over the age of 10 says that word.

It's going to take more than changing a word to change the future for little girls.

A word is not the problem.

A label is not the problem.

The problem is that little girls don't know their worth…and not their worth according to the world.

Tonight I got the perfect example of what the world thinks of girls, and the lies these girls believe. I attended the yearly mandatory high school cheer meeting. All the other moms and I grabbed our “packets” when we walked in the door, and were asked to hand a $300 down payment on the way out.

I support my daughter in cheer because 1. I love her 2. I love her and 3. I love her. She's a gifted encourager, loves to dance and looks cute with her hair in a bow.

Besides that, I hate everything American Cheer represents…the excessive, unnecessary spending/buying, the jealousy, gossip, backstabbing and hatefulness of “the team”, and demanding coaches who try to convince me that three new uniforms are necessary for five district games.

I witnessed all of these things at this 45 minute introductory meeting and said to myself, “Tiff–this is what is wrong with girls.”

The cost of the camp-week uniforms cost more than camp itself. We were told, “All camp wear is necessity.”

All 5 bows…Every pair of $20 shorts. What these girls are really being told is that how you look is more valuable than what you learn.

When the coach announced that every single cheerleader is eligible to be cheer captain without any prerequisite, the squeals erupted–and not squeals of excitement. Hands went up with questions, “why coach?” “you can't do that coach.” When the coach stood her ground and stood by her decision, the insecure-filled gossip flew through the room.

These girls are believing that every other girl around them is a threat.

These girls are believing that they can disrespect authority behind their back after falsely respecting authority to their face.

These girls are believing that it's not fair to be “bossed” around by someone you don't like or agree with.

These girls don't like the word Boss as much as #BanBossy claims they don't like the word Bossy.

The lies don't just saturate the cheerleaders. The volleyball players believe their own set of lies. The artists have theirs. The thespians believe theirs and the uninvolved have theirs.

And these lies are not going to disappear because we stop using the word bossy.

The only way to replace a lie is with the truth.

The truth:

Every little girl is so worthy because there is a man who not only was willing to die for them, but he actually did. And he did this because He wants to know and love them unconditionally. So what this really means is that :

It doesn't matter what you wear to cheer camp.

It doesn't matter who is the cheer captain.

It doesn't matter how you look in your volleyball spandex.

it doesn't matter that you could care less about school activities.

It doesn't matter if you are the boss

It doesn't matter if someone calls you bossy.

#BanBossy is simply a band-aid. It's a seeming solution but the problem is rooted so deeply, no celebrity, no removal of a word can solve the future problems our girls face. You can take away every word in the dictionary, it won't matter.

All that matters is that every girl is worthy and valuable simply because we are all created and are unique in looks, personality, gifts. Our girls need stop being fed that a simple observation of them, that a word can determine their future. #BanBossy is another way for girls to learn to depend on themselves…and human nature always disappoints. Instead, let's teach our girls that a word has no power over the realities of what was done on the cross. Now THAT is a message that can make a difference.


Mimic of Success : CHURCH PLANTING

One of the greatest challenges it seems that comes with growing a church is not having your own builiding. My students are the ones who have suffered the most with our sense of homelessness. For the last year and a half we have bombarded the living rooms of parents, who had no idea what they were getting themselves into.

As those opportunities have expired, I find myself forced to reconsider the entire ministry. The easy way would be to find another living room and keep on moving forward in the same ryhthm doing the same thing, with the same perspective…same…same…same.

Jesus never did ministry the same. He constantly adapted with every new challenge that faced him. The foundation of his ministry never changed–it was all about Him. Our ministry will always remain all about Him. But in order for there to even be a ministry, I had to ask the students what they thought, what they wanted, how they wanted to learn about him. This is what they told me:

  • We want a comfortable and hip environment.
  • We want awesome and inspiring music.
  • We want to minister to people our own age.
  • We want to feed the poor and clothe the naked.
  • We want to be heard and to make a difference.
  • We want our own building.

It’s a tall order, but one that no doubt is possible, well except for the last one right now. This past weekend we started with “We want to minister to people our own age.” After grabbing Three Taco Parties from Taco Bell and loading the ice chest with gatorade we headed to the local skatepark to show the skaters some Jesus Love. We will continue learning and doing ministry in an organic way, focusing more on serving and loving others with sporatic times of intense teaching.

When buliding a ministry, we have to be moldable, willing to follow where the Spirit leads. So often in church planting we want to use a model, or mimick a local “successful” church. Our success depends on how we accomplish His will for His ministry.

Where in your ministry have you bucked the system and leaned into God’s creativity in your church plant?

The Candidates Are Like Kool-Aid

Last night I watched the final Presidential debate for the upcoming 2012 election. I confess I haven't exerted too much energy to this political race because, well, I procrastinate. I figure I can gather all the information necessary to make a decision in about a day or less and we are no where near November, or are we? Plus who really likes politicians?

I loved watching how Obama and Romney debated more than I cared about what they actually said. If we are really honest with ourselves, we can admit that both of them are lying about something if not pretty much everything. What either say is merely watered down Tropical Punch Kool-Aid, no matter what your expectations, you will be gravely disappointed, and eventually, both of them will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

I Facebooked my thoughts regarding the debate and it started some pretty heated conversations. But I have to agree with my husband: when it comes down to it, neither Romney or Obama really care about me, or you for that matter. If I can't pay my rent or don't have groceries, or my child is sick, or my marriage is in shambles, or I can't put gas in the car to get to work, it really doesn't matter to the President or the Govenor. They are fed well, dressed expensively and live in very nice paid for houses. My life is of no regard to them, and I am the one who has to negotiate with the landlord.

What saddens me most is the mess we are leaving for the next generation. I am sorry for the United States my grandchildren will have to endure. These candidates are fighting for the job of managing our country but what we need is a leader.

We, and our children, need someone to rise up with conviction and belief in the people of this nation. We need a leader to lead our people, not just manage a budget. A person to share a vision for the greatness our country could be. We need a leader more concerned with integrity and morality than with winning and being right. We need a leader who can motivate our country to be better, to make sacrifices, to stand united. Our country needs someone who is willing to take a difficult position on all things for humanity. We need a leader who is willing to, and has, served in the trenches and foxholes. Our nation needs a leader who will speak hope into our generations…and not merely for financial stability or prosperity. Our country is in need of a strong leader of people, with a voice for love, a fight for justice and an understanding of human nature.

This election we will vote for a manager. But I am praying for a leader to rise up among the next generations who will radically invigorate our country through his character, his kindness and his ability to show the world the beauty of a nation, a family, working together to make life a little more bearable. I believe that person exists, if not now, they will. And our country will be better for it.

In the meantime, VOTE. Whatever you think about the candidates, or how you feel about the current state of our country, voting is one of the freedoms our soldiers and their families sacrifice for. See you at the polls!

At The Risk of Being Shunned: Why I HATE TWITTER

I have this love-hate relationship with Twitter. I really, really want to love it but I just mostly hate it. I try, I really do. I opened an account to be trendy, and cool and hip. But I am learning, maybe I'm just not any of those things. My initial motivation was that Twitter was a great way to network. I mostly follow other pastors, children's ministry and student ministry leaders, authors, and gurus on Christian leadership. But I see these tweets and find myself just resenting all of them.

Everyone has such inspiring things to say in 140 characters or less. Like here are a few:

Where God guides, HE provides”

“Leadership development isn't a program, it's a lifestyle. Learning to serve others doesn't happen in the classroom, but in ministry.”

“Busyness is not from the devil, it IS the devil.”

“I realized today that I am emotionally exhausted today over something I can not change. It's time to change me.”

“Make sure your worst enemy doesn't live between your own two ears.”

It's like walking into a store with nothing but motivational posters around you. Everywhere. Or maybe even rummaging through a very special line of Hallmark cards. And in between these little nuggets of wisdom is advertising and shameless, self-promotion (cough cough) “read here: how to be a better pastor” and “read this blog: How I lead on Saturday's between 8am and 12:35pm”

Tweets are much more profound than status updates, but I find that most people just link their Twitter and Facebook accounts. How lazy! Who wants to read what you think or who you are shopping with twice?! And I don't know how I can possibly keep up with all of the tweets of my following. There are so many, it's so rapidly changing. I don't do well with change. And I'm not sure I have that kind of time.

So I've decided that Twitter is just too much pressure. On Facebook I can be myself, and people respond, and sometimes they even care. On Twitter I feel like I'm at a job interview, carefully chosing my word usage and placement so that someone out there, who will probably never ever read my 140 characters anyway, might be momentarily inspired.

I have a decent following, not phenomenal but some people say they care what I Tweet, so I won't get rid of my account. Most likely I will follow even more wise, insightful 30 year old hipster pastors. But I'm not sayin' I'm gonna like it.

What are your thoughts on Twitter? I would love to know!

Yes, You HAVE to.

So I am toying with this idea–like always. The question over and over in my head for the last week or so is this: how do I create an environment in my home centered on Christ?

I know, you’re shocked. My home is not centered on Christ? Of all people? A children’s and student minister? What has this world come to? It’s people like me who ruin the sanctity of all things Christian family.

Oh Please! I know of way too many pastors whose own kids don’t even read the Bible at home, and barely pray with their family. Why do you think Pastor’s Kids have such a horrible reputation?

In reality, I live in a Christ centered home. We pray together, I have random Scripture posted all over my house–even behind the bathroom door. We talk of things Jesus, I encourage my kids to show his love, be his light. But there are a few things missing, and I’m ready to change that:

  • Bible reading time
  • Intentional, Holy Spirit led prayer time
  • Focus on doing God’s will in our everyday life–especially at school.

So starting this week, I am going to initiate a mandatory time with the Lord. Lots of people oppose this, saying we should not force our kids to read the Bible. We shouldn’t force our kids to be Christians. We shouldn’t make our kids do anything they don’t want to do.

But I make them brush their teeth, and take showers. I make them go to school–horrible ones at that. I make them hug each other when they are mad. I make them do all sorts of things because I feel it teaches them to be societal-accepting adults.

My kids do homework, and work hard to get good grades, so they can get a “good education” and prove to the world how smart they are. The other night, my daughter spent 30 minutes completing homework on evolution, a theory that opposes the very creation of people by a loving God. A theory that is opposed to what we believe as a Christian family.

This world is falling apart, my kids need to be saturated with the Spirit if they are truly going to make a difference in their sphere of influence. My kids need to know what the Bible says about all things controversial. My kids need to be the light in the darkness, and that starts by striking a match.

I expect whining and opposition. I expect several reasons why they CANNOT read the Bible on a daily basis. I expect apathy, and frustration. I expect, “Do I have to?” To which I will simply reply, “Yes, you HAVE to.”

What do you think? How do you view “mandatory” Bible time with kids and in families? What do you do to keep your family submerged in Jesus?