Sweet Summer

The wonderful season continues…even if it has been an absolute oven outside!  In addition to the long days, I love the pace of summer – a little bit slower, more time to squeeze in extra experiences.  This summer has offered a time of learning and of setting groundwork for the fall, and has been so enriching and rewarding.  Just a bit of a recap:

– In June, a several of us traveled to St. Louis to check out both the hospitality and children’s ministries of 2 other churches.  Our experience in these churches did two things – affirmed our confidence in many of the things we are doing well, and challenged us in new ways we could think about creating a welcoming environment for those who choose to worship with us.

– A bit later in the month, a group of us began reading “First Impressions” and have since met twice to discuss.  Some really amazing things are beginning to blossom from this conversation, and it has been inspiring to see the leadership gifts of so many joining together.

– The Hospitality Ministry officially became the First Impressions Team!!

In addition to working closely with the First Impressions team, I have had the pleasure of gathering a group to plan for Schweitzer’s participation in Serve2011.  To find out more about this exciting day coming in September, check out www.serve2011.org .  I will share more in the coming weeks, but plan now to set September 10th aside as we make an impact on our neighborhood and community.

As always, I love to hear from you.  Blessings!!




What a beautiful time of the year!  It is wonderful to see warm, sunny weather after all that our community has experienced over the past weeks.  It has been inspiring to see Schweitzer respond so quickly and in so many ways this past month.  From our food drive, to the disaster relief teams traveling to Joplin on numerous occasions, I have been so blessed to see so many, both newcomers and long-timers, jumping in to show God to others in a very tangible way.

Earlier in the month, many of us gathered to celebrate our hospitality ministry.  Many delicious desserts were shared, great fellowship was experienced, but most importantly, discussion time resulted in some important themes that came through loud and clear….in recap:

Reviving the “Mugging Ministry”

For those who may not be familiar, the “Mugging Ministry” consisted of teams from our church who would gather immediately following worship to deliver a gift and a welcome from our church to those who identified themselves as 1st time guests.  No long conversations or in-home visits occur as a part of this outreach…rather it is just a brief “front porch” greeting and warm welcome to return to Schweitzer.  Several mentioned what a wonderful connection tool this was, and expressed a desire for this to be revived.

Greeting people AFTER worship (or “de-greeting” as Sue Davis has appropriately named it!)

Another theme was this idea of providing warm hospitality to folks as they exit the church, in addition to as they enter.  Many offered examples of other businesses where they experience this, most notably at Springfield Cardinals games.  Could this be implemented here?  Would this be a function of ushers? greeters? both?  What are your thoughts?

Structure of the Hospitality Team

Susan Crain, one of our hospitality ministry leaders, shared regarding the importance of structure, including clear leaders of each aspect of the ministry, etc.  She mentioned that clarifying structure will make it easier for new people to begin to serve on these teams, and gave the example of how the Guest Services team is currently functioning with a ministry leader and 4 team leaders.  Could this be implemented in our Greeter ministry?  Ushers?  Fellowship Center?


Bethany Boaz, another of our hospitality ministry leaders, shared about the importance of clear communication amongst teams.  She discussed multiple methods for accomplishing this, from phone trees, to postcards, to emails and blogs, a consistent communication method clearly communicates expectations to team members, and provides teams a method to connect to each other.

Position descriptions were made available for review and feedback as well.

An Invitation…

I know so many of you have a heart for this ministry of providing hospitality and a friendly, warm church.  How can we become even more excellent at this?  I would like to invite you to join me this summer in studying First Impressions by Mark Waltz.  I’ve mentioned this book in a previous blog, but now I’d like to make a concerted effort to gather some of you together to read and discuss this book together.  Do some of the items above ring a bell with you?  Do you have a heart for the mugging ministry, or see a place for clear structure to become more a part of this ministry?  Come read this with me, and let’s talk more.  I will provide the books, and our meetings will be full of rich discussion, but few in number.  My goal is not to occupy your entire summer…I promise!  Please consider thoughtfully this opportunity.  It will be a blessing!  Please contact me for more details.


Our Disaster Relief Ministry deployed a team this morning to Joplin to assist with water and food for relief workers in the wake of the tornado.  There will be many opportunities in the coming days and weeks for those willing to serve.  We are in the process of coordinating efforts with UMCOR, the conference, as well as local disaster relief authorities in effort to make our facility and people available in the most helpful possible ways.  If you are willing to serve, we are compiling a database of names at this point….please let us know.  You may post a comment here, e-mail me, or call the church.  Please be in prayer for all those affected.

May Update

April Showers

Welcome everyone!  May is upon us, and with abundant showers we’ve received lately, we should be in for an EXPLOSION of flowers.  Thank you for stopping by the blog.  This month, please enjoy some sharing of scripture, a feature on one of our terrific hospitality ministry leaders, as well as a brief clip about what I’ve been reading.  I’ll look forward to seeing many of you at the Hospitality Ministry Celebration, and I’d like to pose a challenge specifically to those of you serving in this ministry.  What could be another title for “Hospitality Ministry?”  Something that would be more description of what we do?  Let me know your thoughts.  Blessings to all!! 


From the Word

1 Peter 4: 10-11

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.  Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies,so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ.  To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever.  Amen

Having just finished leading our Gifts and Service class with Mark McKnelly, this scripture has been top of mind and heart for me in the past few weeks.  What strikes me most about this passage is the directive that as we serve one another, we aren’t to do it with our own strength, but rather with “the strength that God supplies.”  So often, I catch myself leaning into my human desire to power ahead and muster on with whatever work is at hand by my own strength.  When I do this, I quickly become exhausted, demotivated, and frustrated.  This scripture is a reminder that when we serve with the strength that God supplies, He is glorified!!  Not us…and in that glory, we are drawn into a closer relationship with him.  Others are then able to truly see God’s glory, and are drawn to him also.  When I think of how I spread the message of the Gospel to others, I see that only if I’m serving with God’s strength will I be an effective witness.  In what ways do you focus on leaning on God’s strength and not your own?


Leader of the Month:  Bethany Boaz


Name:     Bethany Boaz

Hometown:       Marionville, MO (yes, white squirrel country)

Family?    Husband-Keith Boaz.  He is the director of Hammons Student Center, Plaster Sports Complex and JQH Arena-super proud of him for all that because he was put into that position at a young age! He loves baseball, football, and golf, and he LOVES taking the family on little trips. He’s an ultra-planner/organizer. 🙂 Kids-Averie, she will be 4 in a mere 2 weeks, and Brady, he will be 2 in July. They are absolutely hilarious, and Averie has a crazy memory and is super smart (of course I’m biased) and she loves to play dress up and pretend. I’m pretty sure Brady is going to be the class clown, he is hilariously funny and is always happy and easy-going.(If that’s too much, you can edit, ha!)

– In what ministry do you lead/serve?     I lead the hospitality ministry as the ministry leader and a team leader in Guest Services.

– How did you happen upon this ministry?     Stephanie and Jim asked me to serve on the ministry and possibly co-lead a team. I quickly became a team leader, then kinda got suckered into leading the whole ministry, haha! Just teasing, I love it!

– What’s your favorite thing about serving in this ministry?     I love interacting with people and helping them. I worked in a similar capacity at Hammons Student Center in college, and that is why I teach!! I get to meet such a variety of people.

– Any frustrations?     No frustrations with the ministry, but if you mean in life, I’m frustrated with seniors who don’t want to work for their last 15 days of school. 🙂

– What would you tell someone who is thinking about possibly giving this ministry a try?      That it is a GREAT way to serve if you enjoy people! It’s important to have a joyful personality and welcoming attitude, but you could be the one who gives a newcomer a wonderful first impression of our church, which could in turn lead them straight into a relationship with God.

– Favorite food or type of food?    I love food! My favorite is probably various pastas and pizza! (No carb diets are definitely not for me.)

– Hobby?     Chasing my kids, does that count? 🙂 I LOVE to read, and I used to love to scrapbook but have not found time recently and it’s turned into blogging and then printing my blogs into books. My ultimate goal is to be a published author, but I can’t really call writing a hobby b/c I never seem to find time to do it! Oh, and napping, napping is my ultimate hobby.

What I’m Reading

I’ve been rereading a great book by Mark Waltz recently entitled First Impressions.  Mark is a pastor at Granger Community Church in Indiana, a large congregation that has an exceptionally fantastic hospitality ministry.  I’ve had the privilege of attending conferences there twice, and have truly been wowed by the focus they place on the guest.  In his book, Mark really encourages us to remember that “everyone matters to God, and therefore they matter to us.”  I highly recommend this book, particularly for all those serving and leading in hospitality.  

A day late, but here as promised!!

Welcome everyone!  I’m honored you are taking time to tune in here, and I apologize for the slight delay in the uploading of the blog.  As you know, I planned on March 31st as the date for the first entry about a month ago.  Little did I know what that day would hold, but strangely enough, it corresponds very well to our topic of leadership.  Let me explain:

After attending House of Prayer last night (wonderful experience….I highly recommend attending, Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m., Sanctuary…but I digress), I returned to my office to gather my things and noticed a text on my phone which read, “How’s Jacob…I heard what happened.”  For those of you who don’t know, Jacob is my 18-year-old son, and this text came from a friend of mine here at church, also the mother of one of Jacob’s friends.  Needless to say, I nearly collapsed as I had no idea anything at all that anything had “happened” to Jacob other than his normal daily activities.  I quickly called home to learn that he had been hit in the face by a pitch during baseball practice.  I rushed home, found him to look like he’d been beaten within an inch of his life, but nevertheless okay.  Needless to say, I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving.

In the midst of this, my 11-year-old daughter, Sylvia, began to complain of a sore throat, and upon checking, was found to have a fever.   Per school guidelines, I kept Sylvia home from school today, and ultimately it became necessary for Sylvia to take an antibiotic.  Now, you must understand that Sylvia has been sick only a VERY few times in her life, and has NEVER had to swallow a pill.  See where this is headed?  Not only was this a major obstacle for her, but she was terrified in the mix.  My “leadership approach” with her was to first explain that I had faith in her, knew she could do this, and would stand by her.  We gave it a try.  No success.  So, we waited a while.  We ended up trying 5-6 times with no success and a very upset mom and daughter.  We took another break. 

Finally, I realized….She understood what was expected, but for whatever reason, was just not able to make it happen.  I, as her mom, had the resources and ability to change the playing field.  I ended up calling our physician, explaining the situation, and acquiring a liquid version of the medicine.

I know, I know…..there are probably at least a few of you who would like to give me some parenting advice about standing my ground.  Believe me…this whole thing did not occur without much tough love on my part.  But, as leaders (and parents), sometimes we have to take a broader look at the situation and be flexible in our approaches…even if it means not getting “our way” every time.  It’s also important for us to examine our personal attitudes as we lead others.  I was most certainly a bit tired and stressed in light of all of the events of the evening before.  This undoubtedly impacted my patience in coaching Sylvia.  Ultimately, Sylvia is getting her medicine.  Will she have to eventually learn to take pills?  Most likely so….this will be a hurdle SHE has to jump, but as her mom, my job was to make sure she received medicine and was healthy.

Do you have times in your ministries when you are frustrated that someone serving won’t do things the way you might like to have them done?  Even after explaining, modeling, etc.?  Try taking a broader look.  There are often many approaches to achieving our goals.  Flexilibility is often the key.

In future posts, I look forward to sharing clips of leadership information I am reading, things I am learning about, as well as highlights of ministries you are all involved in.  Please feel free to share with me ideas for things you’d like to see here.  I look forward to this new venture and new mode of communicating with all of you.  Blessings!

It’s a New Day…New Dawn….New Focus!!


Well…I’m relaunching this rickety, rusty old blog, and am changing direction a bit.  While I still hope anyone who wishes will stop in once in a while, I’m mainly marketing to a new batch of readers.  From here on (at least for the forseeable future), this blog is going to be aimed at those fantastic leaders of ministries at Schweitzer with whom I am so privileged to work.  The goal will be to update monthly with the aim to give you hopefully new ideas and thoughts about leading your team, as well as focusing on what’s going on in and outside of this wonderful church we call home.  In that light, I think it would be a really neat thing to highlight a different ministry here each month so that you all can get to know each other a little better.  Don’t be shocked and surprised if I come knocking, asking you to chime in a bit for the blog about what’s going on in your area. 

Some of you may be new to reading a blog, and that’s just fine!  Don’t fear (Psalm 46:1-2)!  Essentially, this will just function like a monthly newsletter, only without paper, AND with the added benefit that you may add your comments to each post…making it a little bit more like a conversation.  I am very open to anything anyone would like me to highlight, and want the lines of communication to be open wide.  You may also “subscribe” to the blog which means that every time I update something, you will receive an e-mail so that you can take a look and see what’s new. 

I’m excited about having you all join me on this new journey, and don’t hesitate to invite others along for the ride.  Look for the first “real” post on March 31st.  Off we go!!

Long, long time, but good stuff!

Hello all…yes, please don’t lecture me for not blogging.  It has taken a backseat to other things, not the least of which is finally moving our offices next door.  However, I received a great e-mail from my good friend, Romona Baker, who is the coordinator for homeless services for the Council of Churches, and I wanted to share.  There are some great upcoming opportunities to get involved in serving, and as always, please let me know if you end up participating in any of these things…

Hope Connection, Wednesday, November 17, 2010   10:00-2:00, Expo Center, 635 E. St. Louis. 
        Presented by: Convoy of Hope, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, Victory Mission, Burrell, MSU, and others.  Service providers will be in place to provide, medical, dental, vision care, substance abuse treatment, housing, employment, food, clothing, legal support, etc.
       The need is for enough volunteers to connect every homeless individual with a volunteer who will guide them through the on-site service area, plus other volunteers such as food service, set up, tear down, and Kids Zone.  Register to volunteer at www.commpartnership.org/hope.php or call Community Partnership 417 888-2020.    

Crosslines Toy Store, Saturday, December 18, 2010 
          Almost a thousand parents who have registered are invited to pick out new clothes and toys for each of their children.  Volunteers are needed to stock the tables, check out, carry bags for the parents, or set up the day before (or to help with the food basket distribution the same day at Pathways UMC.)  This event is sponsored by the Council of Churches through their Crosslines agency.   Perhaps your church already collects toys for this event.  Call 865-5810 to volunteer. 
Homeless Count, Wednesday, January 26, 2011,  any time during the day. 
          Volunteers are needed to participate in asking survey questions, forming teams to check various locations for homeless people, and help serve refreshments.  We could form our own team to dispense coffee or give out socks or gloves, etc.   This event is necessary for the collection of information for all those agencies in Springfield who receive federal funding for their work with those in need.  It is sponsored by a number of agencies such as the Community Foundation, The Kitchen, OACAC, etc.   Contact me to volunteer.

These events fit the a mission for demonstrating Jesus’ love, for working within our own community, for increasing the hands-on ministry of your church, for helping those who most need to experience God’s grace and for increased understanding and awareness of the problems in our community.
Romona Baker
Resource Coordinator for Homeless Services
Council of Churches of the Ozarks
(417) 862-3586
(417) 849-0536 (cell)