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Leadership Parenting

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #58: Public Speaking

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 57  of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

In my judgment, there are few activities which actually sharpen as many skills of service as does public speaking. 

Public speaking builds boldness that’s necessary for effective evangelism in a world that is intimidating toward and sometimes even hostile to Christianity. It sharpens skills for effective communication. This is needed when we communicate the gospel in any setting. Public speaking, about any topic that’s in any way controversial, demands the development of reasoning and critical thinking skills. These developed  talents of the best minds are critical for answering the skeptics in Bible studies. Public speaking teaches our kids how to be persuasive without leaving logic behind. This is what Paul did when standing before Agrippa in Acts 26. Finally, public speaking gives your kids opportunities to go where the average child, who’s afraid of getting before people, will never go. Those places, some of them political arenas and some of them mission fields, where few go, are still places that need God’s truth. 

A quick google search of “oratory contest” yields several great venues for high schoolers. (My kids loved the National Right to Life Oratory contest (https://www.nrlc.org/students/oratory-contest/rules/) and were representatives to (and of) the states of Alabama and Tennessee on multiple occasions. This opened doors for them to speak on pro-life related issues in other venues, locally, as well. We were enriched, as a family, by the Lads to Leaders program (https://www.lads2leaders.com)  and it prepared them for speaking. I believe this influence was a large contributing factor to the speaking that they do today in behalf of the kingdom. I believe it made them more evangelistic, too, as they learned to face and overcome fears associated with looking a critical audience in the eye and stating truth. I know they (and I) are, at best, still woefully inadequate in our representations of the gospel to the world, but every bit of preparation to face the giants of atheism, relativism and materialism in our world today is needed. Homeschooling programs like Classical Conversations offer regular speaking opportunities for all ages.

But  if programs are unavailable to you, I’d work hard to make the venue for your children to get to speak before audiences, even small audiences. Ask your elders or church leaders if they can have appropriate Saturday morning devotionals in which the children are presenting little lessons for encouraging audiences. Start a book club in your home and have the kids present their reviews of  books that are filling them with moral and ethical lessons. Have a game night in your home once a quarter and begin the fun with letting one of your children present a short, well-prepared lesson before the games begin. Ask your minister for opportunities in hospital or nursing home rooms to speak on topics that will bless the sick and elderly. Remember, reading scripture is a great thing, but the force of this particular activity is preparing and being able to present one’s own ideas in an engaging way. (Reading scripture to someone will never be adequate in reaching his soul for heaven. We have to be able to articulate and apply the gospel.) Speaking, rather than reading, is the skill we’re after here. 

Along the way, teach your children that large audiences and accolades are not the goal. You can do this effectively by taking opportunities as they come, rather than saying no to hospital room opportunities and yes to national contests. Just say yes every time you can. You can do this by teaching them to always say no to any temptation to speak in any arena that’s sponsored by sinful products or activities. Never allow them to apply endorsement of sin.  Teach them that God can make great opportunities for souls out of small venues. Teach your children to give generously to the church each time they are rewarded monetarily for speaking somewhere. Teach them that seeking, serving and saving souls is the ultimate goal. Teach them daily, that whatever they do in life, the vocation will just be a catalyst for helping souls to heaven. It will be a tool for helping those around them to know God and His will for their lives. 

Being able to communicate effectively in front of others, sometimes even enemies of the gospel, will help them put on the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). This takes lots of “mom time”, but it’s is some of the most rewarding time you will spend. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

DIggers’ DIscount Starts Today!

Time for the Diggers’ discount on the book “Awake at Night”. This book, is one of two choices for reading in month nine (question number ten) of this year’s Authority study. One of the options includes reading that is found online and is free of charge. (I always want to include options that are available without cost.) The other is the book “Awake at Night.” This book consists of 100 actual case scenarios from real congregations in which elders have faced challenges in leading God’s people. These problem scenarios include moral issues, doctrinal errors, and challenges to delegated authority. They were composed by Glenn Colley and scriptural ideas for solving problems in churches are offered in this volume. All case studies are anonymous.

Either option for reading will suffice. What we are hoping to cultivate though this assignment is a deeper appreciation for the system of authority that God has instituted for the body of the saved on earth today, as well as a determination to search the Word for the answers to each church problem. From the reading, I am hoping we, as women of the church, will sanctify our hearts in submission to the elders of our local churches as they direct us in His Will, even if/when we may think the decisions of those leaders are scriptural, but not the ones we might have personally made.  I believe either reading will help us to do this.

I’m also hoping that those of us who are mothers and grandmothers will renew our passion for bringing up godly leaders for our churches. I believe we are experiencing a famine, in most places, of strong and godly leaders. I believe the number of men who are the right age to be starting to serve as great elders today, was diminished about thirty years ago by a movement of change and a rejection of authority in many of our congregations. Sadly, many men, who were then in their twenties and thirties, left faithful adherence to the doctrine of the New Testament and now, congregations are lacking in strong men who are in their fifties and sixties. It’s imperative that we be raising our boys to be the elders who will restore churches to the model of great leadership that God intended. 

If you do order the book and, after reading, are able to pass along to someone who is serving as an elder or some younger man who is a potential future elder, I hope you’ll do that. The goal, for this book, of course, is to help promote strong and Biblical leadership in as many churches as it can reach. 

The book will be discounted (for Diggers only) from $12.95 to $9.00 during the months of April and May at https://www.thecolleyhouse.org/store.  You can see a video about the book there as well. Discount begins at 8 am CST on April 2nd! Keep digging! You’re an encouragement in lots of ways to lots of people as you do!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #51–Mentoring Younger Kids in Sports

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 50 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

It’s easy (and fun) for us to become very involved in the sports activities of our children. This is not wrong. It’s commendable, even necessary, for us to be involved if our children are pursuing goals that could bring acclaim on some level in various sports arenas. The big deal about sports is that they can’t be the big deal in our lives and families. The biggest deal has to be Jesus and his church, of course (Matthew 6:33). So Wednesday night ballgames are preempted by Bible class, Sunday tourneys by worship, and team arrogance cannot characterize our children. There are all kinds of lessons to be learned on the diamond, the court and the field. But it takes a never ending zeal for teaching them on the part of parents. I should say that I know a host of parents right now who are characterized by this zeal. Uniforms on church pews, visitors at worship from ball teams, and Christian-dad-led devotionals on the field are just a few signs that this sort of zeal is alive and well.

But what if those teens who are athletically bent carried it one step further and  actually invited younger  kids over for a devo and a pick-up basketball game, or for a youth singing followed by a field trip to the batting cage? What if the guy who is the expert on the rowing team, invited the younger ones out on the river for a day in the canoe, along with a spiritual time together on the bank somewhere? Maybe the girl who is the star high-school basketball player could invite the younger ones to a game followed by a sundae supper at her home, and a talk about standing out for him when we are in the lime-light. This is, of course, not an exhaustive suggestion list, but you can see where your little all-stars can go with this. Even if your athletes are ten years old, they can be doing this for those who are six and seven, with a little transportation help from you! What if your twelve-year-old invited his entire team to go to a night of VBS with him followed by a coaching session around your home basketball goal by one of your congregation’s “pros”? A good “pro” is pretty easy to find when he’d be coaching twelve-year-olds; and think of the life-coaching he could be doing at the same time!

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with sports and edge out the Lord. But it’s better to be overwhelmed by His goodness and let sports be the catalyst for sharing that bounty. That’s all-star evangelism.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Remembering with Garrett

This is the best. Just when you think kids aren’t looking. Just when you think kids now-a-days are self-absorbed and disrespectful. Just when.

I know many readers were at various Lads to Leaders conventions around our nation last weekend. If you went to any speech room, you heard children and/or teens speak some pretty introspective words about the Lord’s Supper and about the memorial we honor every Lord’s Day, just like the church of the New Testament most certainly did. If you went to debate, you even heard a lively discussion about why we observe this feast every single Sunday; how we are sure that this is exactly the pattern we have in our New Testament. It’s part of our covenant and it speaks to others about His death till He comes again.

This is not the most polished speech among the ones you have heard. In fact, this is the very rough version (prior to practice) of Garrett Vick’s speech about remembering.  I hope you can take the time to listen, though. When you do, I hope you will remember.  This speech is about remembering. It’s my favorite speech of the weekend. It’s about my father and, most importantly, my older brother. (It was given in the auditorium of the Jacksonville church, just a few feet from my dad’s pew where that hugging happened every Sunday and Wednesday.)

  1. Widow(er) hugging (https://thecolleyhouse.org/mamas-k-i-s-s-number-1-widow-hugging )        makes relationships that are invaluable and may impact eternity.
  2. One spiritual project turns into another. I have never seen this principle fail any family. Parents get busy serving with your kids. Then you WILL get busy serving. Providence provides a path.
  3. Elderly Christians, go the distance for the Lord. It is your spiritual service….your living sacrifice. And little eyes are watching.
  4. Start your kids out early on spiritual paths of greatness. There are at least 3 generations of gospel preachers in Garrett’s family. This may be the fourth. (Best of all, this leadership parenting is times four. Four brothers….Just think of the potential!)  But, either way, there’s a path for heaven for many through this little life.
  5. Consider Lads to Leaders (http://www.lads2leaders.com.) It’s a great tool for raising kids to be leaders in congregations. We really need “Garretts” around our country. You don’t have to be in Lads to grow up and lead for the Lord. But leadership skills are developed in homes utilizing the best tools available. Our dreams should be less about development of players and more about development of pray-ers. Less about the team captain position and more about the Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10). Less about success in the business world  and more about the business of true success. Less about honor societies and more about personal honor in a broken society. In short, less about personal fulfillment and more about the cross. A reflection of spiritual goals in tools, deadlines, conventions, and schedules chosen by families is an integral and necessary factor in bringing about desired results. All of the above (team captain, great playing ability, business “smarts” and academic prowess) can be used to His glory. It’s the job of parents to keep the “main thing” the main thing while navigating the challenges of childhood.
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Lads–25 Years and a New Generation


Taking a moment from the madness that is the Lads to Leaders convention in Nashville to tell you that it is still the best tool of which I am aware for developing leadership skills for the church; the church that our children and grandchildren will love and serve in the decades that will round out the 21st century. Watching our West Huntsville kids prepare has made my heart happy for that particular congregation and for the families that Glenn and I love dearly who work there with us. Those families in the program, along with many others who are working in various areas for  the Lord,  make the elders’ jobs easier and bless the efforts in the pulpit with strength and encouragement. 

This year we are taking 32 song leaders to Nashville. THIRTY-TWO young people who are ready to learn to lead in praise. I watched the youngest group last Sunday afternoon in Huntsville as they, one by one, went to that big podium to lead that large crowd in the songs they had chosen as favorites. My voice caught a little as four-year-old Timothy Johnson, whose mother is just finishing up the last of her three cancer surgeries for this year sang “Tarry with me, blessed Savior…Tarry with me ‘frew de night’”. Sometimes this year I have felt a little of the darkness of night, too. But when I get  to this place, I am strengthened. I am motivated to look to the young…and be better for the Lord. 

it was 25 years ago that we drove up to the Presidential lobby, dressed our son Caleb in his coat and tie, right there in the car, and rushed him in to his very first Lads event. We had no idea we were entering, through that Presidential Lobby, one of the most spiritually influential activities of our lives. We did not know about that year when our two children would be entering a combined total of 26 events. We did not know about the foot blisters, the year Hannah’s “Art Says It” entry would be entered as 11th grade when she was really 11 YEARS OLD, the many visits the Easter Bunny would make to this hotel, and that our family would eventually be participating in five different conventions around the Southeast U.S. We didn’t know about those 8 huge scrapbooks that are upstairs in our guest room, chronicling our kids’ teen years—books with which we could never part. We didn’t know that little Maggie Colley, who will be born next July would have her gender-reveal in Orlando this year with huge pink balloons tied to a chair in the Lakeside section of that big ballroom. We didn’t know yet about all the years we would lose hair bows, pitch pipes, scripts, and competitions, while winning confidence, lifetime friendships, character development and memories. 

As I finish this post, I’ve returned home from the convention. This year, our Lads experience took on a whole new dimension. Our first participant in a new generation of Colleys led his very first song in Governor’s Ballroom A at 4:30 last Saturday afternoon. I did not know, when that gentleman called out “Number nine”, that my heart was just going to walk right up there and sing “When we walk with the Lord…In the light of His Word.” I basked in every syllable and especially in that truth  that 3-year-old Ezra can sing with all of his might, but cannot yet fully comprehend: “There is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” I hope he will know, for all of his lifetime, the happiness that comes from that trusting obedience. What a glory He sheds on our way!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Oh Shepherd, Where Art Thou?

Headed-to-the-OfficeWhere? Where were the brave men in the church in Memphis, Tennessee who should have stood up and said, “We cannot bypass the expressed Will of God in First Timothy 2 by sanctioning the leadership of women in prayer and song in our worship? We simply cannot allow this to happen.”

Where were elders in Franklin, Tennessee during the years of digression that culminated in the hiring of the first woman pulpit intern at that church? Were there some who fought, at least for a time?

Where are elders in churches where groups of worshippers are clamoring for change; advocating the use of instruments in worship, the taking of communion on various days of the week, and  special religious observances on Easter and Christmas? Where are the shepherds?

Where are the bishops today when young couples are finding their way to divorce courts, young singles among us are openly living in fornication, and millennials are falling away in percentages that are taking our breath away? Are they going after them?

Some are. But in far too many churches, shepherds are not keeping the vigil. False teachers are allowed to bring heresy in and leaders allow Christians to scratch their heads and observe “Well, this is different than anything I’ve heard,” without coming before the people and refuting plain contradictions of the Word. So often, they fail to mark those who are causing division and, thus, churches divide and the Cause of Jesus suffers as communities see brethren who are splintering churches.

But, Cindy Colley, are you just ranting? This is a women’s blog and the sisters to whom you write cannot lead churches (except those churches you’re taking about which digress)!

There is something you can do. I would LOVE, through this blog to make a difference in the future of a congregation. What if we could do it through a book? I think we can. I want to encourage you to take a copy of “Headed to the Office” to your elders and respectfully ask them to let your boys take a quarter and study how to become faithful elders. What if you wrote your elders a note that  simply asked them to consider it?…

Dear Brothers,

Thanks for all the time spent in working to make our congregation pleasing to God. Thanks for protecting our souls. I hope you can take the time to look over this material. I’m praying for sound elders one day to take your places in shepherding this church. I think a quarter or two in a class of young men with this material could make a difference in getting there. Thanks for considering this! 

If your congregation is doing Lads to Leaders, your boys can enroll in the program through LADS. The material is here: http://l2l.mybigcommerce.com/curriculum/. But even if you’re not in the LADS program, this study is needed and may be the early intervention that gives your congregation the stamina to one day withstand the devil in a mighty way. I would encourage you to go order one copy…just one…to pass along to your elders. I’m convinced it’s a tiny investment that could keep congregations strong through what threatens to be an era of persecution.

Again, you can order from Lads to Leaders (not necessary to be a participating congregation) at the above link or, alternately, you can order from The Colley House at https://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/~/category/id=3290179&offset=0&sort=normal. Nine dollars. Not much to invest in strong shepherds for the next generation in your congregation.

PS. An added benefit that we have seen is that men grow when they teach this material to boys. Some classes even include dads and mentors and it puts the church on a fast track to having strong qualified elders. I’m praying about this tool today. I’m praying for strong churches when today’s teens take the reins. They have huge potential handed to them by God and by an environment of available resources. We should challenge them to put  this potential to work in the only institution on earth that commutes over to the timeless side.