The things that bring sorrow to your life are a pretty good indicator of what is most valuable to you. The things that create tears in us are often from the disturbance of one of the idols of our hearts. We need to ask ourselves what makes us cry? When did I cry last? If you haven’t cried a lot lately, you need to ask yourself why not?
When I was a kid, I would cry about things that affected me. Not getting what I think I deserved. I remember crying when kids bigger than me made fun of me. It was all centered around my discomfort more than anything else. I was young and at the center of my own universe. As I got older my tears changed somewhat I would cry when I received rebuke for my sin by my pastors and parents. I remember sitting in church at age 13 drawing a picture of a weird looking devil thing, and my youth pastor saw me he met with me and rebuked me I was a mess. I felt bad; I was beginning to feel to the sorrow that sin brings into the lives of everyone it touches.
I am thankful my parents didn’t shield me from the rebuke I deserved from my youth pastor. Parents let your kids cry. Make your kids cry. So often we rightly want to console them and pacify them that we fail to allow them to feel the weight of their sin and see the beauty of Christ.
Several weeks ago one of my kids made fun of another kid and said something hurtful. I told them they had to go to that person’s house and apologize. The whole family was eating dinner on the deck. My son said to me “Right now? Everyone is outside.” I said Yes right now go. My son came back broken and weeping. I told him “Do you feel good right now?” he said no. I said this is what sin does to you. Did you feel good about yourself when you were roasting that other kid? He said Yes. I told him that sin will always do this to you. If feels good for a moment but when you and those you love are faced with the reality of what sin does you will weep tears far bigger and feel the pain of that sin much deeper. I told him that this is what sin does it sells you short-term pleasure and shields you from the long-term pain it brings.
What makes you weep? Rebecca VanDoodewaard in this months Table Talk says this.
Have you ever noticed when old people cry? Not bitter old people, but elderly saints?
They don’t cry when they’re scared. They don’t cry about personal slights or disappointments. They rarely cry out of frustration. Instead, they tend to cry about two things: sin and its effects on others, and grace and its effects on others.
With sanctification, old age makes people’s souls strong and tender, not bitter and brittle. And the holier the saint, the more tender they are to sin and grace. Christlikeness makes them tender to the same things that Jesus is tender to. As we grow closer to the Lord, wisdom allows us to accurately identify “a time to weep” (Eccl. 3:4). Those are tears that honor the Lord even as they teach younger Christians about God’s economy: let’s weep for this broken world and God’s grace in it.
This is so true of all of us. One of the signs of the sanctifying work of God in our lives is our tears change. We become more like Christ because we no longer cry about our discomfort but we weep over our the sins of others. We weep at the effects of sin on our world and we weep as Christ is weeping over our own sin.
In the past several years the word Gospel has become a common term used in church names, book titles, and curriculums. We use the term Gospel but if we don’t understand what we mean by that term the word Gospel alone can become a catchphrase or a catch-all. One of the reasons a few friends of mine started the blog GospelAtCenter.com is because we have a strong belief that the gospel is not something we add to our programming but it is the heart of what we do. It not peripheral but central. The Gospel is the good news of what God has done for us in Christ but that message must not be limited to an Easter altar call. The message of the Bible of God’s redeeming love for mankind should inform shape and transform what we teach how we teach and ultimately why we teach.
Thursday, September 20th we will be hosting a free webinar. We want to invite you to join us in discussing the practical and theological implications of centering your ministry on the gospel. What it means to look at everything we do from volunteer recruitment and leadership development to Bible story delivery through the lens of the Gospel.
Danielle, Jenny, and I will be sharing some of the most important steps we have taken to help lead Gospel-centered ministries, but we also want to answer some of your questions about Gospel-centered kids ministry. The links are provided below and it is all free. Gather your team, share this information with your ministry friends, and let’s focus on what matter most in ministry as we begin this new church year.
When I was a kids pastor at the ripe age of 21 I did then what I find unthinkable now. I wouldn’t sing Christmas songs in kids church and never would sing hymns. As I think back I can’t even remember why I felt that way. I think I felt that kids wanted to have fun and Hymns were above their pay grade. I think I thought Christmas Carols were things you heard in stores not songs of praise sung in church. What changed my perspective was being in the same church for 20 years. Seeing the kids grow up that I had taught in preschool I realized that I had made a couple of mistakes.
One mistake was thinking that fun mattered more than substance. If I made it crazy enough they would come back. I’m all for fun but not at the price of substance. The other mistake I made is I thought I was helping kids with the faith that they need today rather than preparing them for the faith they are going to need. As kids pastors, we have to give them a faith for today but we also have to prepare them for the faith they are going to need.
We must give our kids a faith that is big enough they can grow into. Kids also need to be connected to the history of our faith. The need to know that God loves them, yes, but many people have lived a life of uncompromising faith they can to by God’s grace.
A new church year is upon us and just like the new supplies and tools kids need for school, we often need to sharpen our tools and/or add new resources to our ministries to ensure we are Gospel-centered. so get that new year started, finalize all the details about promotion, and secure your teams. then, sit back and join us for a chance to talk Gospel @ Center in Kids Ministry.
Sam, Jenny, and Danielle will be sharing some of the most important steps we have taken to help lead Gospel-centered ministries, but we also want to answer some of your questions about Gospel-centered kids ministry. the links are provided below and it is all free. gather your team, share this information with your ministry friends, and let’s focus on what matter most in ministry as we begin this new church year.
Being a Children’s Ministry leader takes a lot of energy, and it’s also easy to become discouraged or tired. We’ve created a world-class event that is uniquely designed for you, so that you can thrive in the calling that God has put in your life.