3 ways pastors should engage the abortion issue

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With a string of videos coming out of the past few weeks showing Planned Parenthood for what it is. These things are unavoidable for us and the kids we minister to. We have to understand how to logically understand these events so we engage rather shut down. My friend Scott Klusendorf writes the following argument in his book The Case for Life

The SLED Defense of Life

Philosophically, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today. As Stephen Schwarz points out using the acronym SLED, differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant in the way that abortion advocates need them to be.

Size: Yes, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more valuable than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.

Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than you and I. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one valuable. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-valuable tissue mass to valuable human being? If the unborn are not already human and valuable, merely changing their location can’t make them so.

Degree of Dependency: If viability bestows human value, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

In short, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal (and valuable) because they share a common human nature. Humans have value simply because of the kind of thing they are, not because of some acquired property they may gain or lose during their lifetimes.

Armed with that understanding what must we do with what we know to be true? What must we do?

Video of Gabriel speaking to Zachariah

Looking for a video bumper to lead into the story of Gabriel telling Zachariah his wife would have a baby? Look no further. Check out this video that our team made for this weeks Bible story. So appreciate Lori (who shot and edited it) Tim who was Gabriel and Matt who was Zachariah stuck in traffic. As a parent and a Pastor of families it is so moving to see people who take what they are given make it their own and make it better. Love the team we have and their passion to distil gospel truth to the kids of our church. Awesome job guys this video is just to fun.

Manly things I like about Group’s Kidmin Conference

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I remember the day it first dawned on me that being a man in children’s ministry was like being a rainbow unicorn in real life. I was at a Kids ministry conference at Willow Creek 15 years ago and I had to use the bathroom. Every bathroom but one, in the whole church had been converted to a women’s bathroom. It was at that painful moment, the realization came to me. I am not the average kids pastor. I have since found that I am not as rare as I felt in that moment in the halls of Willow Creek Community Church. The past 15 years we have seen more men see the value of ministry to kids, this is very heartening. So as a man what do I appreciate most about Group’s Kidmin conference (other than their very short lines for the men’s room?)

1. Their attention to ministry to whole person. – From opportunities to network to prayer/ministry rooms for pastors who need ministry. Group goes out of their way to minister to minsters. There are plenty of practical breakouts and how to’s but if we are not whole and we are not healthy in our relationship with God and others how we do ministry doesn’t really matter.

2. Humor – I love to laugh. Every year they have “The Skit Guys.” It’s rare that you go to a conference where the artists on stage tap into the inner Jr. High boy in every man. Believe me ladies there is a Jr. High boy in every man. They are hilarious and they are guys. From their Jr. High boy antics to serious vignettes I always leave refreshed and challenged.

3. Options – I don’t know if this is a guy thing but I love lots of options. I love learning in breakouts, in hall ways and after everything is over in restaurants. Group does a fantastic job of connecting people and creating intentional places to meet people like you on purpose (connect groups) or on accident (zorbe chairs).

This will be my third Kidmin Conference. I hope you join me. I would love to hang out talk Family Ministry, baseball or just stare off into space and say nothing because guys like that.

3 Reason why your Kids ministry needs a YouTube Channel.

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After a couple of years of discussion we launched a YouTube channel for our kids ministry and I think you should do it too.

Kids and young adults age 13-24 are consuming less hours of traditional TV broadcast content, and watching more online content, from sites like YouTube. In fact, 96% of that age group consume online video via social media sites for an average of 11 hours per week. In contrast, only 81% of 13-24 year olds tune into the TV to watch scheduled programmes, and then only for around 8 hours per week. (http://www.reelseo.com/13-24-watching-more-youtube-than-tv/)

The stats are showing a growing trend in teens and kids in the consumption of online media. Kids are moving away from TV as an entertainment device and using it for content delivery instead. They are watching YouTube far more than they are watching TV. How do we know this? YouTube put out a Kids App this year aimed at being more kid friendly. Why did they do that? Internal demographics show the growth of YouTube superstars are appealing to kids younger and younger.

What does this mean for us in ministering to kids? Don’t try to get them to come to your site go to where they are. 

What you need to know about Disciplr

disciplr-platform

Below is an interview I did with from Jeffery Kranz from Disciplr. Jeffrey blogs and speaks about the Bible, ministry, and technology. He’s the guy responsible for getting the word out about Disciplr (hence this blog!), and spends his time trying to write words, drink coffee, and eat pizza as much as possible. Check out Disciplr. .

Why should a kids’ pastor invest part of their limited budget in Disciplr?
Fair question—most children’s pastors don’t get a great deal of room in their budget. That’s actually one reason we made Disciplr: to give you more budget to work with!

Here’s how that works:
Disciplr is a free platform. It doesn’t cost you a dime to create an account or play with all the sample lessons inside. All you pay for is the curriculum you use (and some of that is free, too). And since the lessons are in an interactive, digital format, you’re not paying for publishers to print and ship it to you. Since curriculum in Disciplr is built to live digitally, you’re also not eating the cost of printing out lessons yourself. (And toner ain’t cheap!)

In fact, curriculum in Disciplr costs as much as 30% less than the equivalent print version of the same curriculum.

What other curriculum formats will be coming out for this?  
At launch, Disciplr is focused on offering curriculum for Sunday mornings: both traditional Sunday School and Large Group/Small Group formats as well as supplemental curriculum that can be used in a variety of setting such as Children’s Church and mid-week settings. Down the road Disciplr will look to increase its breadth focusing on other discipleship resources for the church.

Is Disciplr mostly a David C Cook platform or can other curriculums be added?
Disciplr was created with the support of David C Cook and Christian technology firm HelloMogo, Inc. but it was built for the church, and we believe that churches love choices. So while our store has many of David C Cook’s popular curriculum lines, because that is what we had immediate access to prior to launch, our content team is currently working with a number of curriculum publishers whose products will be added to our store as fast as we can move them through the process from print to interactive, and that is quite a chore!

And just in case any of your readers want to get their curriculum in Disciplr: they should talk to Michael Covington. It’s best to get a hold of him at [email protected]

How does Disciplr make the day to day job of a Kids or Youth Pastor easier?

In several ways:
1. The thing our users (or as we like to call them, “disciplrs”) are most excited about is how much it simplifies the curriculum shopping process. There are a few places where you can buy curriculum from multiple publishers online, but that curriculum is mostly print or digital-download, not interactive. (I wrote an article on the differences between digital-download and interactive curriculum here, if you want to know more about that.) Disciplr gives people one place to find interactive curriculum from multiple publishers—which saves pastors the time it takes to Google their options!

2. The lesson prep experience is far more human-friendly. We’re used to having our phones around us at any given moment—we don’t do that with print curriculum! That means Disciplr’s lessons are always available for quick recaps—you can familiarize yourself with your teaching material or do a quick refresher on Sunday’s lesson wherever you are. You won’t need to download a PDF to your work computer, home computer, and smart phone, either: your lessons all live in the cloud, so you can access them from any device with an Internet connection.

3. There’s also the teacher management piece. Disciplr unites the curriculum and the leaders: you can invite leaders to teach from curriculum, and a (fast-approaching!) feature will let you align lessons with dates and assign them to teachers. This model gives all your teachers access to view all the lessons—which really comes in handy if your volunteers want to swap Sundays (or if someone comes down with a last-minute stomach bug)!

4. Disciplr can also help kid and youth pastors by giving their volunteers a better experience, too. When I was a KidMin volunteer, I had to hunt down email attachments, help out with a few last-minute shopping runs, and download those PDFs to both my computer and smart phone. (AROOOOOO!) I wanted to help out with the church, but I had to reserve more time every week for handling this sort of stuff.

Why Disciplr over your competitors?
That’s a tricky one—it depends on who you see as a “competitor.”

It’s true; some publishers have mobile app versions of their own curriculum. What sets Disciplr apart is the fact that one publisher-agnostic app brings together a curriculum storefront, lesson prep and planning, and teacher management. You learn one system, instead of a new system with new logins and a new setup and a new learning curve.

But I suppose the real “competitor” is more about format: you wouldn’t want to pay for both Disciplr AND a print version of the same curriculum! If you look at it that way, there are plenty of reasons to choose Disciplr:

  • You can access curriculum on the We
  • You can access it from any Web-connected device (instead of downloading it to multiple computers)
  • It doesn’t get lost (like file downloads tend to do) or coffee-stained (like print curriculum)
  • It’s less expensive than print
  • You don’t get as many annoying emails from volunteers asking, “Hey, could you re-send me that file?”

Is this a church-specific application?
Yes, for now. Disciplr is a tool for the leaders in local churches: the folks who are teaching from curriculum. But we have some pretty cool plans for expanding it to be a tool for everyone in local churches who makes discipleship resource. So keep your eyes peeled. 😉