We live in a culture that no longer sees its sinfulness but is saturated by relativism and tolerance. It wasn’t that long ago that you would attend a sporting event, and someone had a John 3:16 sign they would hold up for the camera. It wasn’t long ago that nearly every child in America knew one verse by heart, John 3:16. Matthew 7:1 has replaced John 3:16 in our nation’s life and practice, particularly in personal and social media conversations. Judgment is out tolerance and love are in.
If “Judge not lest ye be judged” was an issue in the 20th century than it has become a monster in the 21st century.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains “there are many who say that ‘judge not’ must be taken simply and literally as it is, and as meaning that the truly Christian man should never express an opinion about others. They must do no judging whatsoever, that we must be easy, indulgent and tolerant, and allow almost anything for peace and quiet and especially unity …they say, what is needed today is unity and fellowship.”
What Christ is proclaiming in his sermon is not the absence of conviction for the sake of unity.
Recently I read a book by Sherry Turkle entitled Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. Dr. Turkle said several things that made me think about the beauties and perils of technology. One of my favorite quotes by her is “If you don’t teach your kids to alone they will only know how to be lonely.”
Turkle in expanding on the idea of loneliness she said something so profound about the difference between loneliness and solitude.
Paul Tillich has a beautiful formulation: “Language . . . has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” Loneliness is painful, emotionally and even physically, born from a “want of intimacy” when we need it most, in early childhood. Solitude— the capacity to be contentedly and constructively alone— is built from successful human connection at just that time. But if we don’t have experience with solitude— and this is often the case today— we start to equate loneliness and solitude. This reflects the impoverishment of our experience. If we don’t know the satisfactions of solitude, we only know the panic of loneliness.
Indeed, research shows that adolescents experience solitude as downtime that can feel bad in the short run. But in the long run it facilitates healthy development. Without solitude, in days and nights of continual connection, we may experience those “moments of more” but lives of less.
Honored to be speaking at Lifeway’s ETCH family ministry conference. Really looking forward to learning, growing, and connecting. If you are looking for a conference to attend as a kids or youth pastor I hope you consider ETCH. Really love the new direction the LifeWay family ministry team is going. From the keynotes to the breakouts they going out of their way to make the gospel the main event. For that I am grateful. I will be doing two breakouts for the 2016 conference.
- Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way – This breakout is geared to anyone who leads at any level. It will focus on the reality that to be a great leader you must be a great follower. That in order to disciple others you must first be a radical disciple of Christ. That who you follow is ultimately more important than who you lead.
- Why Theology Matters in Family Ministry – This breakout I will make the case that we are all theologians the question is not whether we think about God it’s are our thoughts about God true? We will also talk about how what we believe does and should impact how we lead the kids and students God has entrusted in our care.
If you are coming let me know I would love to connect at some point during the conference.
||March 10, 2016—May 10, 2016
Music City Center
||201 5th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203
||Click here to register.
||Click here for more information.
A while back I wrote a blog post on why you need to make sure your kids have the right Bible. One of the key points in helping your kids love the bible is finding the right bible to transition your kids from a picture/story Bible to a full-text bible. This transition is so important as it is the time when kids typically start to read their Bibles on their own. There are several questions that you should consider in selecting a bible for your 7-10-year-old.
1. Are the illustrations age appropriate?
2. Does it have helps to help kids go deeper?
3. Is the translation readable?
I think the ICB passes each of these tests really well. In particular, the translation of the ICB is very accessible without losing or muddying the original meaning. If kids can’t read their bible because they don’t understand it they will most likely not develop the habit. They also highlight a couple hundred texts that they feel are essential for kids to know. I was given the hardback version of the bible for review but I also downloaded the Kindle version on my iPhone on my own. Many times reference bibles are difficult to navigate in the kindle app the ICB was very simple. There were highlighted words that you could touch that would bring you to more information about them yet returning back to the text was intuitive and easy definitely something to consider if you are looking for a bible on the go, the kindle option is great. If you are looking for more info check out Tommy Neilson’s blog.
If you have kids between 8-12 years old, you definitely want to check this out
Let me be frank. Multi-site is not easy and is not for everyone. I have hated it at times and am thankful at other times. One of the things I love about multi-site is it forces you to grow, invest in and pray for more leaders. Sometimes people will call asking about Multi-site kids ministry I always tell them we have far from figured it out. Here are the other six things I tell them.
1. Two sites will stretch your parents more than you. Three sites plus will stretch you and your staff more than your parents.
2. There is no perfect model. Everyone has a different take. What you need is not a model to follow but clarity from your pastor on his desire and what that looks like in the context of your church.
3. Multi-site is hardest on the kids ministry because of the massive amounts of leaders and infrastructure need to pull off a Sunday. Once your pastor does one location start planning for five.
4. You have to be more sure of your values they need to be more clear and more simple than ever before.
5. You need a point person staff or volunteer who you trust and who understands the churches DNA and understands you and how you work.
6. You need to trust God more than ever because it really is bigger than you. One site you can manage but get to three or four and your God dependence gets greater. A greater dependence on the work of the Holy spirit and our trust in a God who works all things according to the counsel of His will in our kids ministry has been by far the best thing to come out of our multi-site experience.
12 years in and as we start our 5th campus I still have much to learn.