As a pastor and parent I want to keep my kids from getting stuck. One of the things I am constantly challenged to do by the people at Orange is to think different about how do I engage with my family and with the families in my church. I have had the privilege of hearing Reggie Joiner speak on several occasions and I am always challenged impacted and changed. I leave every Orange Conference or Orange Tour event thinking. How can I bring this home in a practical way to keep my kids from getting stuck and to help the families of our church from getting stuck.
How we practically walk out in our church the message that you hear at the Orange conference that parents are the primary spiritual leaders in their homes is what we call Talk, Pray, Do.
Family ministry has been a priority for churches since the 80’s but in the past 15 years there has been a new push for youth and kids ministries to be working together in sync with each other in a way that produces a cohesive strategy to equip and empower families like never before. When I started blogging 7 years ago there were only a handful of children’s pastors blogging. There were also a few youth pastor blogs as well. The desire I had for my blog at the beginning was to be to someone else what I wish I had when I started.
In the past 5 years there has been a huge shift toward staffing family ministry positions. That title means something different for each person using it for us here it refers to a single staff member responsible for all programing from birth through college. While there are not a ton of family ministry specific blogs out there yet, I thought it would be helpful to highlight some of the best of both the youth and children’s ministry blogosphere.
When I started as a children’s pastor parents would often come up to me and beg me to decry the evils of Pokémon and Harry Potter. I remember when the reality of how overwhelming keeping up with all the things that try to distract and displace the affections of a kid is exhausting. I quickly realized that my job as a children’s pastor is not to address every evil but to use the small window of time I have to paint a picture of Jesus that is so attractive everything else pales in comparison.
When kids ask you a question give them an answer. If they understand enough to ask tough questions than chances are that they are old enough to hear tough answers.
I love technology. The leaps we have made in the past 30 years are astounding. I remember as a ten-year old being my families first remote control. As my family was sitting on the couch the kids would take turns either turning the sound up or changing the channel. We didn’t have remote controllers for our TV’s but we also didn’t have the internet. As a result there was many things we just didn’t know. In some ways looking back ignorance really was bliss. As an adult I can remember back to being a child and my mom just making up answers to questions I asked that she either didn’t know the answer to or felt the answer was beyond what I should know at the time. Today we don’t have that luxury. Technology has changed everything.
If we tell our kids half-truths they will find out once they discover our half-truths we have used to deflect or delay from tough conversations our kids will begin to wonder which half of everything we say is untrue. When you answer a question with age appropriate directness you remove the power of curiosity. Kids have always been curious the only things that has changed is the internet allows our kids to not only satisfy any curiosity but it feeds their curiosity.
Every parent needs to invest in filtering and using parent safety procedures most technology provides. The first line of defense is not those things it’s honest answers to though questions. Kids have no lack of resources to satisfy their curiosity without you. It is our job as parents to know our kids enough to know what their questions are and be prepared so that when they ask we are ready to give them the answer that is based on a biblical worldview. This is huge because every answer kid get from the questions they ask help to form their worldview. What our kids need more than their curiosity satiated they need to understand how to see the world through the lens of the gospel. Our worldview informs every question we ask and every answer we give. You might be saying right now I don’t have a world view, I would say you do and If you don’t think you do you are in trouble, because the lens in which we view the world both defines and informs our loves.