What Partnering With Parents Looks Like

I remember when I first heard the term “partnering with parents.” It was at a family ministry conference in 2009. It was revolutionary for me as I saw parents as what the Scripture had always described them as. Parents are the primary means God uses in the life of a child to come to an understanding the gospel in the context of relationship. Jump forward several years, and I am still personally wrestling with what does that look like for me as a dad and for the church I serve? It was just two weeks ago I had this conversation with several other kids pastors we were discussing how to make this commonly shared understanding a reality. The fact we could have that conversation about how to practically partner with parents only happened because we all assume it’s necessary.

Rather than me telling you are partnering with parents is necessary, because I assume that we both agree it is. Let me ask you a question.

What does Partnering with Parents mean to you? In your church what do you do to leverage the influence parents have in the lives of their kids?

For me partnering with parents used to mean tools and information. Today it means discipleship. The longer I serve in the same church, and the more I follow Christ what I become aware of more keenly is my need to follow and to lead others to do the same. To partner with parents isn’t about programs and tools although it uses those means from time to time. To help parents spiritual lead their kids and families, parents need to be disciples and know how to make disciples. We can lower the bar and hope for any sign of life. We must challenge parents to follow Jesus so they will be willing and able to lead their kids into a relationship with Christ. As kids and youth pastors, we need to take a collective step backward and figure out how we can equip, disciple and train parents so they understand and can use the tools we are so eager to hand out.

What does that mean for us?

Pastor, What Do You Agonize Over?

Last week I attended Together For The Gospel a conference for Pastors. So man incredible sessions one that stood out to me was a message by John MacArthur on Sanctification and the Pastor’s Passion. Such a powerful reminder to us all of what matters most. In life and ministry, we can become sidetracked by good things but still distracted by what we are called to do. We can so easily get caught up in things that we think will make a difference. Dr. MacArthur offers a clear call back to what matters what pastors as shepherds are called to do.

Here is what John MacArthur says.

Ask yourself be real honest, “What pains you in the ministry, what disappoints you, what depresses you? Is it the carnality, the lack of devotion to Christ, sin weakness in your people. If it is then you are a true shepherd. But if it’s about you somehow you have managed to get seriously off track. Someone came to Moody onetime and said my congregation is too small. To which Moody replied “Maybe they are as large as you would like to give account for in the day of judgment. You will not be judged on the size of your membership or the size of your auditorium, you will be judged you will give an account Hebrews tells us, on the Christlikeness of your people. Agonize over that.

So powerful. What do you agonize over? Your influence or lake thereof or your people’s Christlikeness. Pastor lets by God’s grace agonize over that.

Does the World Need Another Blog?

The beauty of the world wide web is there is so much good information out there the bad thing about the world wide web is there is so much bad information out there. The challenge now is not so much getting good information out there as much as it is curating information and filling in the information gaps that your particular nitch has. This is what led to the birth of gospelatcenter.com

Our goal at Gospel At Center is not to create another blog for kids pastors and youth pastors. There are lots of great blogs out there that deal with how to lead our focus is on why we lead. Our thrust won’t be how to help small group leaders lead. It will be how do we help our small group leaders become better followers. I started samluce.com nearly 11 years ago when there were only a handful of blogs addressing ministry to children. Gospel At Center is different because it a blog that is authored by several youth and children’s ministry leaders from around the United State from various different contexts. We all attend very different churches but what unites us in our different contexts is the same message. Our shared passion for the gospel is what unites us and drives us.

Who is Gospel At Center for?

Those who teach kids or train those who teach kids. Family Pastors, Youth Pastors, Kids Pastors, and Parents.

What is the heartbeat of Gospel At Center?

1. The centrality of the work of Christ
2. The ultimate authority of scripture in our lives
3. Our need for Grace and God’s provision of it in Christ.
4. Giving our kids a consistent Christ-focused, Biblically saturated, historically faithful vision of who God is.
5. To show our kids that the gospel is not a part of the story the timeline in which every story finds it’s grounding.
6. To relentlessly point our kids to Christ until he draws them to himself and he becomes their treasure and great reward.

How can you be involved?

1. Follow our Blog and comment. http://gospelatcenter.com
2. Join our Gospel At Center Facebook Group, ask questions and answer other questions.
3. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
4. Most importantly engage. In our community, in your church, and in your home because the gospel is true and Jesus is worth it!

So grateful for each of you let me know if I can serve you in any way.

Youth Pastor: Pick Reverence Over Cool

“Cool is not your compass.”

“What do we do when trendy conflicts with the truth?”

Such important truth by Trip Lee. In the United States, we are famously anti-monarchy yet we substitute celebrity for royalty. With the advent of social media, we are no longer six degrees from Kevin Bacon we can now watch Kevin buy bacon at his local grocery store on Facebook Live. We know more than we used to know we know what our celebrities are watching, wearing and, shopping. We can even become famous so much easier than ever before. This leads us to know more about celebrity culture and creates an appetite for things that are not good and can even be sinful. Is wanting a nice pair of shoes wrong? No, but paying 1,200.00 for them is sinful. God gives us good gifts to enjoy but the inordinate desire for things other than Christ is what the Old Testament address over and over. We see it in the NT as well. Tim Keller defines idolatry as when we make good things ultimate things. The temptation in leading teenagers is to cash in on their passion for celebrity at the expense of truth and call it relevance. What we don’t see in our pursuit of relevance is cool always has a price. This short video from Trip Lee who is hands down more cool than any of us ever will be he is pushing us to pick reverence over cool.

“I like cool but I would rather build my life on conviction.”

Youth pastor don’t feed the culture of cool in your youth ministry teach your kids the scriptures. Teach your kids to build their lives on conviction not cool.

 

Explaining the Trinity to Kids

Why it matters more than you think.

The biggest problem with explaining the Trinity to kids is the fact that it is a mystery. We can never fully understand it but we can and should grow in our understanding of it. It’s something that is core to our faith and therefore should not be brushed aside.

The problem with explaining something so complex to kids is we look for a solid object to explain such abstract truths. The go-to objects for explaining the Trinity to kids are water, apples, and eggs. How do I know this? Because I have been guilty of using them. When I address these misconceptions, it’s from a place of mutual understanding because I have used each of these in explaining this central doctrine to the Christian faith. I’ll try a blog post to be helpful to parents and kids workers alike. This post will by no means be comprehensive, but I hope that it is useful and accurate.