Summer Reads

Summer is a great time to grab a book and sit in a hammock and unwind or lie on a beach and get some free vitamin D while getting lost in a great book. This summer was busy at work, so I took the summer off from seminary to focus on some of our most impactful events of the year in kids and youth ministry as well as spend time with family enjoying each other. So a break from seminary means I can catch up on some books that I have gotten behind on. So if you are looking for a new book here are a few I am reading this summer.

 

The Deep Things of God – Fred Sanders
I started this book about three years ago I got about half way in then started Seminary. Such a challenging book as I realized that much of my understanding of God is so often how I perceive him rather than how he reveals himself to me. The background of the gospel is rooted in the Trinity.

 

All that Rises Must Converge – Flannery O’Connor
I have been on a O’Connor kick as of late to see what the fuss is all about. My thoughts so far. 1. She is a massively gifted writer.  2. She is a bit eccentric. 3. She connects her thoughts about God in her writing in unique and very interesting ways.

 

 

Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
I am reading this over the summer with my oldest son. Why we are reading this together? 1. Schools don’t assign classics anymore 2. Stowe was a devout christian with a clearly Christian worldview. 3. I find the fact that Lincoln credited this work as the impetus for the Civil war fascinating.

 

The Hardest Peace – Kara Trippet
I just finished this book. It was both beautiful and challenging. To read of Kara’s peace and God’s grace in the midst of life’s most challenging moments was humbling and difficult. Humbling because of her great faith and difficult because it brough up lots of fears I thought I had dealt with in the midst of my wifes battle with Cancer. Kara’s faith was rooted in a person not a feeling. This book was beautiful.

 

Confessions – St. Augustine translated by Sarah Ruden
This is my second time through Confessions and like most classics once you finished reading it for the first time you are prepared read it again for the first time. Sarah’s translation is extremely accurate and super accessible. I am grateful for the parts she has illumined that I missed the first time through and am also grateful that many more will read Augustine’s masterpiece because of the accessibility of this translation.

 

Love Thy Body – Nancy Pearcey
This fall we will be doing a sermon series in our youth ministry talking about what the bible has to say about many of the topics Pearcey covers in this book. So I will be reading this book to have the proper framework needed for that series.

 

 

Prince Caspian – C.S. Lewis
Just started this book with my oldest daughter. When my kids turn 8 I start reading them the Narnia series. I think I enjoy more than they do. Every time through I see new aspects of Lewis’ genius.

 

 

What books are you reading this summer?

Does the World Need Another Blog?

The beauty of the world wide web is there is so much good information out there the bad thing about the world wide web is there is so much bad information out there. The challenge now is not so much getting good information out there as much as it is curating information and filling in the information gaps that your particular nitch has. This is what led to the birth of gospelatcenter.com

Our goal at Gospel At Center is not to create another blog for kids pastors and youth pastors. There are lots of great blogs out there that deal with how to lead our focus is on why we lead. Our thrust won’t be how to help small group leaders lead. It will be how do we help our small group leaders become better followers. I started samluce.com nearly 11 years ago when there were only a handful of blogs addressing ministry to children. Gospel At Center is different because it a blog that is authored by several youth and children’s ministry leaders from around the United State from various different contexts. We all attend very different churches but what unites us in our different contexts is the same message. Our shared passion for the gospel is what unites us and drives us.

Who is Gospel At Center for?

Those who teach kids or train those who teach kids. Family Pastors, Youth Pastors, Kids Pastors, and Parents.

What is the heartbeat of Gospel At Center?

1. The centrality of the work of Christ
2. The ultimate authority of scripture in our lives
3. Our need for Grace and God’s provision of it in Christ.
4. Giving our kids a consistent Christ-focused, Biblically saturated, historically faithful vision of who God is.
5. To show our kids that the gospel is not a part of the story the timeline in which every story finds it’s grounding.
6. To relentlessly point our kids to Christ until he draws them to himself and he becomes their treasure and great reward.

How can you be involved?

1. Follow our Blog and comment. http://gospelatcenter.com
2. Join our Gospel At Center Facebook Group, ask questions and answer other questions.
3. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
4. Most importantly engage. In our community, in your church, and in your home because the gospel is true and Jesus is worth it!

So grateful for each of you let me know if I can serve you in any way.

Resource Links from my Kidmin 2017 Precon

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.


Prezi’s

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]


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

Help! I Got My Kid a Cell Phone. Now What?

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.

Books You Should Read Your First Year in Kidmin

One the questions I get asked from time to time is what books people who are new to Kids Ministry should read. Some are asking because they are new to ministry others are asking because they are family pastors adding new staff. This is the list of books I often share it isn’t comprehensive and is not in order of importance.
One of the best books I have ever read on the mandatory art of recruiting and building teams of volunteers. As a family pastor, you will not survive without learning how to help make volunteers.
Show them Jesus is an indispensable resource for anyone who teaches or communicates with kids. Jack gets to the heart of what we teach and then gives practical tools and tips in how to teach those truths using real world examples. Jack is not sharing with us untested theories but time-tested truths he has learned as someone who has been and still is teaching kids Sunday to Sunday. His stuff on how to teach the hard stories of the bible are solid gold.
Leading isn’t easy. Leading others when you are deceiving yourself is impossible. If you lead anyone and yes I realize this is everyone. You need to read this book.
 You are what you love – by James KA Smith You Are What You Love is a fantastic book that tackles the idea that we are not so much what we think but what we love. That the problems in our lives are a result of misdirected affections. Even if the whole book doesn’t interest you the chapter on teaching kids and youth is a must read for all who work in family ministry.
You Are What You Love is a fantastic book that tackles the idea that we are not so much what we think but what we love. That the problems in our lives are a result of misdirected affections. Even if the whole book doesn’t interest you the chapter on teaching kids and youth is a must read for all who work in family ministry.