Shaping a Faith that lasts

D6 Breakout with Dr. Timothy Paul Jones

Here are my notes from Dr. Jones’ session. Please forgive me if they are a bit abstract. The breakout was fantastic, gospel saturated and immensely practical.

How you can partner with parents to equip their children to defend their faith.

Hope always points to the resurrection of Jesus.

1 Peter 3:15-16
If we defend the faith with arrogance, we undercut the faith we are trying to defend.

Grace is at the essence of how God reveals his truth to us.

What’s essential to our faith is that I feel happy or feel better.

Parents aren’t passing on their faith to their kids in a way they can assimilate and articulate.

Students are unlikely to remain faith in a faith they are unable to defend.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

Moralism – Doing right so my story will turn out better

Therapeutic – Faith is focused on my feelings and experiences

Deism – God is in the background; His purpose is to meet my needs.

1. Move from moralism to a better story. – A better story for your student seminar to provide parents with a plan and a vision as their children enter youth, group. – What we want  our kids to see is to see their lives in the context of God’s story.

Creation, Fall, Redemption, New Creation

God made the world good, Sin made the world bad, Jesus broke the power of sin, God is coming to make the world new.

Star Wars – the best defense of teaching kids beyond what they can understand. Tell them a bigger story. Your kids may not understand the details they will learn to love the story even if they don’t understand the details because you are teaching them to love the big wonderful, beautiful story of God.

Everything has its place in God’s big story.

In light of Creation your child is a gift,  In light of the fall your child is a sinner, In light of redemption your child is forgiven, In light of restoration your child is forever

A better story for your student seminar to provide parents with a plan and a vision as their children enter youth, group.
– When kids are sent to the youth program. Lay out the big story for their kids. – Focus on the cycle for parents.

How do we help our kids focus on forever rather than for success?

2. Move kids from Temporary Experiences to a Kingdom that never ends.

How to reach your grandkids with the gospel. Part 1


In over 18 years of ministry, I have come to understand that what I believe about God will be seen most clearly not in my life or the lives of my kids but in my grandkids.

What I believe about faith is passed on to the next generation who then passes it on to the next generation. We can’t pass everything on to our kids and even less to our grandkids but what they remember is what is most precious to us. What we value most they will catch. The failure to do this was seen in the lives of Israel in the book of Judges – The book of Judges is the perpetual cycle of commitment, complacency and then compromise.

Judges 2:10 – There arose another generation that did not remember the name of the Lord. – They forgot God.

10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.

Verses 10-11 describe a rebellion. It had two stages. First, the generation after Joshua’s “knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel” (v 10). The word “knew” probably does not mean that they did not know about the Exodus, the Red Sea, the crossing of the Jordan, and the walls of Jericho falling, but rather that the saving acts of God were no longer precious or central to them. They had not learned to revere and rejoice in what God had done. In other words, they had forgotten the “gospel” that they were saved from slavery in Egypt and brought into the promised land by the gracious, mighty acts of God. Put simply, they forgot.

Keller, Timothy

God knew his people would forget. He even had Israel place physical memorials to help them to remember. He knows that if we do not build into our lives through intentional means we will forget the gospel. If we don’t systematically and organically repeat the gospel to our kids, it will never become precious to them. That’s what the book of Judges painfully points out to us over and over again.

This painful pattern is illustrated most plainly at the end of Judges

Judges 17:7-13
Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. 8 And the man departed from the town of Bethlehem in Judah to sojourn where he could find a place. And as he journeyed, he came to the hill-country of Ephraim to the house of Micah. 9 And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place.” 10 And Micah said to him, “Stay with me, and be to me fa father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year and a suit of clothes and your living.” And the Levite went in. 11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12 And Micah ordained the Levite, and the young man became his priest and was in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me because I have a Levite as priest.”

A priest of Israel leaves Israel and rents himself out to the highest bidder and becomes a priest in the home of a blaspheming idolator. This priest aids others in the worship of other gods. He gives Micah the false assurance that God is with him and will prosper him. This priest whose life was supposed to revolve around the temple helping people worship Yahweh. Instead his is working for an idolator and helping lead people away from Yahweh. He is aiding in the worship of Baal. Who was this priest that was misrepresenting Yahweh? Who was this priest who was aiding in Israel’s worship of false gods? He is named at the end of chapter 18. Jonathan, son of Gersham. Moses grandson.

This was Moses the guy who talked with God whose face was glowing because he had met with God. The thought that comes to my mind is that if Moses grandson can forget the gospel.  How sure am I that my kids find the gospel precious? How sure are we that our churches youth find the gospel central to them? So the question I have been asking is how do we as parents and as members of a faith community pass on our faith to our kids and our grandkids?

What is interesting is that God knew this was going to happen to Israel, and he knows that we in 21st Century America have the same propensity. So in Deuteronomy 6, Moses farewell sermon he outlines for us how we hand our faith as parents to our kids and grandkids, how we had our faith as a community of believers to the next generation.

5 Ways to pass our faith to our grandchildren.

1. We must fear the Lord. – What you fear you worship. We can not have a proper understanding of the love of God divorced from the justice of God. On the Cross, the holiness and justice of God demanded payment for our sin. And it was at the cross that Christ in his love provided that payment for us. He gave His one and only son because he loved. If you don’t understand the justice of God and fear God, you will always abuse the love of God.

Deuteronomy 6:2
2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.

2. We must Love the Lord. – Our love for God is measured by our passion and our devotion. With all our heart, soul and might are not lip service it is an all-consuming passion. A passion that results in practical evidence of a devoted life. – When we love him will our heart soul and mind we don’t compartmentalize our love for Him. When we fully love God, he is our greatest treasure.

Our love for God must inform every other love that we have. It must be the love that properly orients all our other loves.

Deuteronomy 6:5
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

Dr. Barrie Greiff is convinced that people’s stories are their most prized possessions.

The idea of creating a personal or spiritual legacy may feel too awkward to some people. But Dr. Greiff… counsels that bequeathing one’s spiritual legacy to future generations is as essential as leaving material objects.

The stories we tell contain the reality of our loves. They also reveal the source of our passions and joy. What kind of story are living? What kind of story are passing on?

My next post will continue with the last 3 ways we pass on faith to our grandkids.

Why kids church needs rewards.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 12.46.50 AM

There are no shortage of haters out there when it comes to reward systems and rewards models for kids churches. But for the past 7 years we have used a rewards system at our church called BibleBucks 2.0. It has been an amazing tool for us.

When do reward systems go bad?

  1. When they become the goal of what you do rather than a part of what you do.
  2. When we reward the wrong things.
  3. When we use rewards to supplement our lack of preparation.
  4. When we allow the teachers in the rooms to change what we reward weekly.

Is excellence killing the church?

Why we need more good churches and fewer excellent ones.


If you regularly attend church conferences you will no doubt hear the rallying cry for excellence in the church. In some ways this is a good thing. I am all for pastors working hard and doing all they can do to reach people with the greatest message ever told. Where excellence starts to kill the church is when we make our church a polished flawless exhibition that we invite people to be impressed by.

When the church takes its cue from the business world and perfects its processes so that it can extend its reach and solidify its brand we have lost our way.

When excellence drives us to be efficient with people so we can be innovative with problems we are no longer the church we are simple a 501c3.

How to Use Memes in Youth Ministry


Today’s post is written by Jeffrey Kranz and is sponsored by Disciplr: an interactive curriculum platform for youth ministry leaders. Check out our free interactive high school curriculum!

A few months ago a youth minister asked me, “How would you use digital tools to engage the middle-school boys in our youth group?” It’s a tough question, and we ended up talking about it for a good while. Tween boys may be the toughest group of kids to connect with in youth ministry.

One of the ideas we came up with? Memes.
If you’re trying to hold the attention of the guys in your youth group, or if you’d just like some ideas for sprinkling more humor into your youth ministry, this is for you! I’ll give you some ideas on how (and when) to use memes in your large groups and during the week, as well as a quick tutorial on how to make memes yourself. You’ll get a few fun ideas to add to any Sunday school lesson (no matter which curriculum you use.)

But just so we’re all on the same page: let’s start by defining a meme.

What is a meme?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a meme is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” However, when someone says “meme,” they’re likely referring to the “image macros”: basic images with funny text on top of them.

You’ve seen them. They look like this:


They’re everywhere, they’re easy to make, and they can be a great way to engage your youth group.
So we know what memes are—but what are they for?

Memes make stuff memorable by making it funny first

The memes that catch on are the funny ones. That means you’ll want to use these in your large groups when you come to certain parts of the message that have a lot of humorous potential.

Some good times to throw a meme into your presentation: