One of the things that many adults struggle with and most kids I’ve encountered, struggle with is the ability to hear God’s voice. Hearing God’s voice is not as easy as some simplistically explain and it’s not impossible as many believe.
Hearing God’s voice is made possible by a few basic practices;
- Listening to God starts with learning to listen to those you can see.
- Knowing God’s voice comes from knowing his word.
- Hearing God’s voice requires discernment.
Learning to listen is not a skill that is taught anywhere. It is a gift a few are born with, a skill most can learn, and is indispensable in our ability to hear God and love our fellow believers. The world we live in is crowded, loud, and chaotic. We are surrounded by digital noise that demands little focus from us. To truly listen to others is a difficult thing to do but is a practice we must grow in. To grow in our ability to listen we must understand the importance of it and must actively practice the discipline of it.
Why Listening matters so much.
- It is our primary duty as a Christian, loving our brother by listening to him. We have this insatiable urge to say the right thing when often times what people need most is someone who will truly listen to them.
“The first service one owes to others in the community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives us God’s Word but also lends us God’s ear.” – Bonhoeffer
- We must train ourselves to listen to our fellow believers or we will only know how to speak at people rather than listen to or converse with others. If we train ourselves to ignore our fellow man which we can see how will we ever listen to a God we can’t see.
“Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians because these Christians are talking even when they should be listening. But Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God.” – Bonhoeffer
Listening is something I think most people struggle with. It is something I have to consciously work on. In pastoral ministry, listening is something that you must learn. As a parent, if your kids want to hear God’s voice they need to learn how to listen to yours.
How do we grow in our ability to listen and teach our kids how to listen to others well.
- Listen with your face – don’t “Multitask” and believe you are doing your duty. You are not. In fact, you are not listening and you are also not focusing. Multitasking is a myth.
- Listen long and patiently – “Those who think their time is too precious to spend listening will never really have time for God and others, but only for themselves and for their own words and plans.” Bonhoeffer
- Fully listen, don’t think about a response while listening.
- Wait till the other person has finished before you begin to speak.
- Listening understands that our duty to our fellow believers is to hear their confession.
Few people have spoken out on our need to listen to others as clearly as Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his powerful book on the Christian fellowship. He offers this dire warning to those who won’t listen “The death of the spiritual life starts here, and in the end, there is nothing left but empty spiritual chatter and clerical condescension which chokes on pious words. Those who cannot listen long and patiently will always be talking past others, and finally no longer will even notice it.”
May we be as James says in his epistle “Quick to listen and slow to speak.”
Hey just wanted to thank all of you who came out to my precon really enjoyed sharing with you and hearing from many of you. Here are the links to my prezi’s and some of the resources I referenced in our time together today.
What Is Family Ministry
What The Gospel Demonstrates to Leaders
What The Gospel Demands of Parents
Family Minstry 101: Basics of Family Ministry
Family Ministry 201: Advanced intergration
First Step Next Step Cards
Here is a blog Post that discribes our first step next steps cards. – http://samluce.com/2017/04/answering-questions-parents-asking/
Here is where you can find all the expanded “Next Step” PDF’s. If you want me to send you the templates for the cards shoot me an email – [email protected]om
Books every kids pastor should read their first year in kids ministry.
Books You Should Read Your First Year in Kidmin
Here are are the examples of one of the Reformer of the Month Papers we give our leders and one we give our kids.
Zwingli Leader Page
Zwingli Take Home
Here are a couple of family ministry posts you may also enjoy.
A Family Ministry Manifesto.
Rabbit Starvation and Missional Youth Ministry
The next revolution in family ministry
It seems that kids younger and younger are getting cell phones these days. There are many good reasons to get your kids a cell phone and there are equally as many reasons to delay as long as possible. The question I hear from parents is how do I keep my kids safe online and yet let them enjoy the freedom of a cell phone. The balance of safety and security is not easy to maintain.
I used to be an advocate of waiting until kids are much older to get a cell phone. I have changed my mind, with the pervasiveness of technology and the easy access of porn you have to teach your kids at a young age how to use technology without being ruled by it. If you just hand your kids a cell phone without teaching them how to use it or placing safeguards around it you are crazy. I love you but you are crazy. Here are a few things we have done and are putting into practice with our oldest as he joins the millions of kids who are connected around the world. These are a work in progress.
The Nashville Statement is a creed that was developed by the people who lead the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The Nashville Statement was really just a more modern restatement of the historic orthodox position on the authority of the Bible and of the Biblical view of sexual ethics.
There was a lot of disagreement and anger from the Progressive Evangelicals over this statement. In a recent blog post as to why she signed the Nashville Statment Rosaria Butterfield goes after the progressive wing of modern evangelicalism. Progressives who ultimately value their experience above the explicit truth within the word of God. They twist the Scriptures out of their conception of what it means to be loving but with out regard to what the Bible defines as Love.
There was also some dissent from people I find really biblically solid. This group is those who take issue with a couple of the more nuanced points about the statement, for instance, calling only single people to live a life of chastity rather than celibacy. Chastity should be practiced by all not just singles. For married people, chastity is fidelity for singles it’s celibacy. They don’t like some of the wording of the Nashville Statement. To me that isn’t enough to be against it, in the world we live in. The real argument is that the progressives see the Bible as historic and flawed those who drafted and signed statement this see the Bible as authoritative, flawless and sufficient. For me, if lines are going to be drawn I will always stand on the side of Scripture even when Scripture offends me. Because I believe deeply that when Scripture offends me the problem is always me and never the Bible. That is why I support the Nashville Statement. If you, as a Christian, are offended by the sexual ethics of the Bible the problem is always you and not the Bible.
What does this mean for our kids and the teams we lead? The way I see it the stakes are high. We can and must teach the Bible purely and consistently. We must teach our kids how to value and apply the Bible to their own lives. There is always need for creativity and innovation in the church but if we don’t get this right if we don’t ground our kids in the authority of scripture we are no longer taking creative ideas from Disney we are ideologically no different than Disney. The reformation that needs to take place is the church and in Christian homes is once again the battle cry of Sola Scriptura. Our kids need to be primarily grounded in the gospel secondly they need to be aware and emersed in the history of our faith. In the faith and the traditions as Paul says “that have been handed to us and taught to us.” Let us as teachers and educators prepare our kids for the world that will be rather than the world that is. May we never sway from the Scriptures as the primary authority in our lives.
At our church, we have just completed two large events with a couple more staring us down. One of the things I try to do after each event is to evaluate the events effectiveness and my and my team’s competence. I realize that for each church this may look different, but I also realize that we sometimes need a starting point to get us going.
I break those questions down into three categories. People. Church. Me.
Did the right people come?
Who was missing that should have been at this event?
Who came that I didn’t expect to come?
Where were their opportunities for God to move in the lives of our kids?
Did we create memories that will last a lifetime?
Did this event help build the church?
Did this event point people beyond their own need?
Did we preach Christ Crucified?
Did we as a ministry represent the values and vision of the church? Or did we do our own thing?
Was the Church fully aware of what took place?
Did I do what only I could have done at this event?
What did I do that someone else can do next time?
Did my team learn something from this event?
Did I grow in my dependence on Christ through this event?
It’s very easy to measure the effectiveness of what we do by how many people came or how much money we earned both are valid and helpful but not ultimate. We are a church, not a Chic-fil-a our aim is to primarily pastor and love people not to be a CEO’s. We are more interested in helping those God has brought into our care to maintain a long obedience in the same direction. Large events to the extent they build the church and deepen our dependence on God are helpful. To the extent, they are a spectacle they are unhelpful. Let us by God’s grace create events that drive us deeper into God’s heart for our good and His glory.