How To Partner With Parents

Give them a first step

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In the kids ministry world the idea of partnering with parents is definitely mainstream. Most people are talking about why this is important. We need to be having this conversation. The more we talk about partnering with parents it reminds us of our primary job to lead and guide not to parent the kids in our ministry. This is so important. We are here to train and equip parents to more effectively lead their homes.

One of the things I often wrestle with personally is how do I take my understanding that I need to partner with parents and translate that into action. It’s so easy for me to nod my head at conferences and tweet things that say partnering with parents is important but how does that become a reality and not just a good idea. I would say the answer is small first steps.

5 actions every preschool teacher needs to take.

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When I first started leading elementary and preschool environments, I had no problem leading and recruiting elementary volunteers, preschool was a different story. It wasn’t until I came understand what makes preschool ministry so amazing. The biggest game changer in preschool ministry and recruiting people to help in preschool ministry comes when you understand that you may be the first person to introduce a preschool to Christ. It’s a huge honor to serve in preschool ministry. To help shape a child’s first understanding of who Christ and what he did for them is amazing.

Here are 5 actions every preschool teacher needs to take.

1. Smile, love the kids you serve. Let them see in you the fruit of the Holy Spirit that is a result of a Christ-centered life.

2. Make sure the snacks are good. – Two things no preschooler ever needs is stale goldfish and stale faith.

3. Use snack time to drive home truth. Preschoolers don’t move and don’t talk and listen most while they are eating. Use those few moments well.

4. Remind kids – 1. Jesus loves them 2. We love you. 3. We all need God’s help

5. Practice consistency and flexibility they are your two greatest friends when working with small people.

7 sure-fire way to make kids feel welcome in kids church.

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Here are 7 things I often tell our uptown volunteers to do to make kids feel welcome in Uptown. If we are not consistently thinking about what we can proactively do to help kids feel welcome, we won’t do it.

7 sure-fire ways to make kids feel welcome in church.

1. Talk to them how they talk to you – If they are shy, you need to be shy if they are outgoing be outgoing.
2. Make fun of yourself -If you can make funny faces or do funny voices that’s always a plus
3. Come down physically to their level to look into their eyes as you talk.
4. Stay up on kid culture – Don’t ask them about “Rugrats” ask them about Phineas and Ferb
5. Give them things – stickers, candy, Bible bucks
6. Learn their names and their parents names
7. ALWAYS greet the kids before the parents

Shaping a Faith that lasts

D6 Breakout with Dr. Timothy Paul Jones

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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

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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.