As a father one of the best things I can do for my boys is to teach them how a man acts. With the lack of positive male roll models in the media and the general confusion of roles in society today, if you don’t take time to intentionally teach your boys how to be a man they will grow up confused at best.
I have two boys and one girl and boys are very different than girls. Here is what I find with our boys they learn through repetition they push back more than my daughter, they learn from watching me more than I realize. It’s important that I have intentional conversations with them about what a man is and what a man isn’t. It’s important that I do this often and in various ways. It’s also important that I model to them what a man does by how I treat my wife.
Here are some of things I tell my boys men do:
1. Protect those who are smaller and weaker than them.
2. Tell the truth
3. Work hard
4. Ask for help when you need help
5. Trust God more than you trust yourself.
Came across this on the Desiring God blog thought it was helpful:
J. I. Packer will turn 86 on Sunday. He is a skillful writer, a fruitful author, and many of his works have become classics, none more than Knowing God. Recently in our interviews with him in Vancouver we asked him for writing advice, or more specifically, what he would say to a budding writer of Christian nonfiction.
He offered three pieces of advice:
- Go deep in personal worship.
- Write to hit hearts.
- Write from a sense of calling.
To watch the video of J.I. Packer talking about these three points and to read the rest on the blog click on the picture below.
One of the things I have always been blessed is youth pastors who really get the value of kids ministry. The more I talk with kids pastors from around the country I have come to find out that is far from the norm. I have heard stories that would make you laugh to storys that would make you cry and everything in between.
The past 10 years the word that has dominated in kids and youth ministry culture is family ministry. A family pastor is something that never existed in title although it did in function in a few churches. I believe the drive and passion for family ministry has had a powerful effect on the focus of churches when it comes to next Generation ministry. The beautiful side benefit of this drive has been a much needed closing of the relational gap between youth pastors and kids pastors. It is by no means complete but is far closer today than it was even 8 years ago.
That being said here are 3 things I think every kids pastor wants their youth pastor to know.
1. The success of my ministry is determined by the health of yours. – One of the biggest mistakes any church can make is creating ministry silo’s. Ministry happens best in healthy, highly relational environments. To many kids pastors try keep kids longer than they should to many youth pastors try to attract kids sooner than they should. If they goal of our environments is solely numbers you will manipulate people and figures to get what you want. If the ultimate goal is life change and gospel proclamation you will care more about the health of the environment you are preparing the kids you are ministring to, for.
2. I want the same things as you - Rather than fight for cool points (a fight most kids pastors will lose to a youth pastor every time). How about sitting down sharing a cup of coffee and share with each other what your dream for your kid is. In most cases you will find that you are both fighting for the same thing. If you both equally value the gospel you will celebrate and even learn from the differing methods to communicate and transfer that value to the kids and families you serve.
3. My job is just as hard as yours just in a different way – Being a kids pastor is hard. Being a youth pastor is hard. They are both hard in a different way. The children‘s pastor must ground children biblically. They must do so at multiple age levels at once as a result learn to manage multiple environments and multiple groups of volunteers. Kids pastors have to balance safety, fun, security and gospel clarity. Kids pastors understand that the issues a youth pastors face are very serious but youth pastors need to understand that to a kid losing a pet is a serious of a loss as to losing a girlfriend or boyfriend is to a 15 year old. Preparing to speak to teen agers every week is difficult but so is preparing 4-20 people to speak each week.
How to Communicate to kids.
Communicating to to anyone especially kids is more of an art than a science. I remember teaching a lesson to the kids it was a small group of like 30 kids I was going for it I had props I was ready I was engaging a boy in the 3rd grade raised his hand and I called on him he said “This is boring.”
Where you start from is as important as where you go.
To communicate to kids you need the following
1. A love for God’s word – No matter how fun amazing crazy slimy, explosiony our message is if we are not continually pointing kids back to the bible we will have failed. We have to be more intentional than ever to create a biblical world view in the hearts of our kids.
89 Your word, LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.
91 Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve you.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have preserved my life
2. A love for Jesus – If you love Jesus it will fundamentally change how and why you do what you do. The core of our teaching has to be the Gospel. – When kids encounter the Gospel it changes them fundamentally.
One of the advantages of serving in kids ministry at the same church for 14 years you are able to see the results of ideas and philosophies you have. One of the things I regret most is not preaching the gospel as clear or as often as I should of. I don’t change hearts Jesus does.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Communicating to kids in large group setting.
- Always maintain eye contact – Kids learn with their eyes if you don’t have their eyes you don’t have their hearts and minds and most importantly their imaginations.
- Don’t stay in the Safety Zone - We all have a level we are comfortable with don’t stay there have Highs and lows. One of the best ways to get the attention of you kids is not yelling at them but by getting quiet.
- Don’t just give kids facts your information will not be life changing if it conveyed in the context of a story. Jesus did this all the time he called them Parables. Tell kids truth in a story. Tell them stories about you. Kids love personal stories about you especially if you messed up in some way.
- Talk to kids like people not babies – Hello boy’s and girls (elmo voice)
- Use massive amounts of energy. – You can rarely be to animated. If you feel stupid you are probably right on track.
- Help kids focus – Use lights, segments and music
- Be relevant – Know what kids like now don’t use examples from when you were a kid.
- Use your Bible – Bring it on stage. Kids need you to reinforce that bible is life. It’s not a book of fairy tales.
- Distill truth don’t simplify it. – We underestimate what kids can understand Einstein said “If you can’t Distill it you don’t understand it well enough.” One huge example for me was faith I used to describe it as “Believing in the unseen” that is a simple definition of faith a distilled version is “Knowing God loves you and because he loves you, you can trust him no matter what.” It’s easy to understand, theologically correct and doesn’t lose the power though oversimplification.
- Always elevate Christ – I always try in the application section to elevate Christ that because of what He’s done for us it empower us to live for him.
Communicating to kids in a small group
- Listen – Kids want to talk listen to them.
- Know you lesson, know you lesson – The better you know what you are doing the more you kids feel respected. The more you can connect with your kids. The more you can listen to the Holy Spirit and make those small adjustments that make all the difference.
- Take every question seriously.
- Be there for the families of you small group kids. What you teach makes an impact but when you capitalize on those God moments your kids will never forget it.
Communicating to kids one-on-one
- Get down to their eye level
- Make sure you always great the kids before the parents.
- Give kids your full attention when they are talking.
The Fabulous Reinvention of Sunday School – Aaron Reynolds
Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe edition – Sally Lloyd-Jones
An Hour on Sunday – Nancy Beach
Creating ever cool
One of the things I have talked about many times on my blog is how I get frustrated by content that is produced that everyone will like. I believe that often times in trying to produce something everyone will like and everyone will buy you rob the gospel of it’s essence and it’s power. One of the things that bothers me about much of curriculum for children is that we simplify the message of the gospel. We teach our kids that Jesus is pleased by our behavior and that we need to do this and not that. In our attempt for simplicity we end up teaching a very “moral” gospel. Should our kids be moral? Emphatically yes! How we teach mortality makes all the difference. I strongly believe we need to teach our kids virtues but those virtues need to be taught through the cross not something that leads to the cross. If you want to be a Christian you must be loving, sounds good but it is misleading We are hopeless without the love God showed us in Christ, we can love only because He first loved us. We are able to live a life of virtue because of who Jesus is and what he has done not out of some sort of trying to be good enough to earn his favor to earn his love.
It is so important that we constantly look to Christ for strength to live a life that pleases him because we are grateful for a life of forgiveness through Christ and what he did for us on Calvary. I am always on the lookout for curriculum that makes much of Jesus. That proclaims what he did that constantly points my kids back to someone much greater than them. I am always looking for curriculum that makes the hero of every story Jesus not me, not david, not daniel but the God who empowers each of us through His sacrificial example.
Enter the Rizers. My team and I were able to partner with the rizers to create a VBS that truly makes much of Jesus. I tested it in a couple churches last summer and am more than thrilled to be able to share it with all of you. I know that many people are starting to make plans for VBS right now. Do yourself and your church a favor take your kids on the Tour of a lifetime. They will be changed not by cleaver games or funny skits but by the greatest message of the greatest God man that ever lived. I love that each story is saturated with Jesus. I love that each lesson brings kids and your team to a place of worship and wonder that we desperately need.