7 must add books to your summer reading list

Bookshelf

One of the things I have learned in the past 20 years is when I encounter a problem. A good book usually helps me understand or point me in the right direction. I like reading books in the summer because It makes me feel better about lying lazily in the summer sun. Where I live in New York you have to pay for Vitamin D nine months out of the year. So when it’s free you jump on it. I thought I would share the books I am hoping to finish this summer.

ZPreaching by Keller – Few people have opened my eyes to the beauty of the Gospel like Dr. Keller. Few people can boldly lay out the truth in a way both sides see it clearly like Tim Keller. If you ever want to despair as a preacher. Preach a message then listen to Tim Keller preach the same passage. Looking forward to Dr. Keller’s thoughts on preaching.

 

 

2Q==-1Hand in Hand – Randy Alcorn tackles a very complex topic of Devine Sovereignty and meaningful human choice with clarity, grace and biblical responsibility. Have heard a ton of good things from both side of the argument.

 

 

 

Z-1The Deep things of God. – How the trinity changes everything. I am becoming more and more aware that the difficulty we have in faith and in our day to day lives comes from a flawed view of the trinity. Looking forward to reading Fred Sanders book for his practical take on a very complex issue.

 

 

The Gospel Truth About Kids Ministry

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Until 5 years ago I had heard of Awana but knew very little about them. Over the past few years that has changed I have had the privilege of meeting many of the Awana staff and team. Every time I leave a meeting with them I am blown away by their passion to reach kids and families as well as the bigness of the vision they have to do so. Here is a short video of the impact they are having around the world.


This week Awana is releasing a new book called “The Gospel Truth About Kids Ministry” here is how they describe it.

The Gospel Truth About Children’s Ministry. The book is based on research we conducted in 2013 & 2014 to “take the pulse” of the children’s ministry community. We wanted to fully understand the wants, needs, and expectations of children’s ministry decision makers. This fresh research will equip leaders and their ministry teams to make the kind of changes that are necessary to reach this generation of kids- and beyond.

I like that in their book they address many of the problems children’s ministry workers face and they don’t leave it there they offer insight and solutions. I know what some of you might be thinking “I’m not an Awana church, and I don’t think I ever will be.” That doesn’t mean you can’t learn from Awana pray for their success and apply some of the wisdom and tools they have to share to help you be more effective where God has placed you.

“The Gospel Truth About Kids Ministry” Is has many great quotes, insights, stats and potential solutions. My favorite quote was the following.

Many fear that in the overwhelming busyness of running a children’s ministry program, we may have lost sight of the priority — making disciples of kids, parents, and leaders.

The reality of reaching kids is the more you reach the busier you become and if you are not careful you can become a middle manager to kids who need a pastor. Such an important reminder for me in reading this book that the gospel must be the beginning middle and end of all I do, and if I am not pointing kids to Christ weekly and intentionally. I am missing the whole point.

The Gospel Truth About Kids Ministry will be available on the 22nd of June at the Awana online store. Be sure to pick up a copy for yourself and one to share.

New Kids Pastor Toolbox

Where you need to start before you start

Toolbox

One of the reasons I blog here is to be to others what I wish someone was to me when I started. One of the things that would have helped me when I started was knowing where to start. So this post is sort of beginners toolbox for anyone who is new, just starting or about to start in kids or youth ministry. Hope these are helpful to you or to someone you know.

1. Producteev You need a to-do app you can trust that has the flexibility, that is collaborative and free. Preducteev does that all and some.

2. Read Beat the Clock – Drucker said it best.

Everything requires time. It is the one truly universal condition. All work takes place in time and uses up time. Yet most people take for granted this unique, irreplaceable, and necessary resource. Nothing else, perhaps, distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time.

Jim Wideman’s book on time is a must read for every new kids pastor.

(to see the rest select “continue reading” below)

Teaching the Bible’s Disturbing Stories

by Jack Klumpenhower

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Jack Klumpenhower is the author of Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids His teaching resources can be found at theGospel Teacher website.

I recently read Jack’s book “Show Them Jesus” I so enjoyed it I asked Jack to guest post on my blog about how to teach the parts of the bible that are difficult. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

Teaching the Bible’s Disturbing Stories

I’ve spent much of the past Sunday school year teaching through the book of Genesis for a class of elementary kids at my church. Just a few weeks into this class, I had a decision to make. The published curriculum I’m using as a rough guide had given me the expected lessons about creation and the sin of Adam and Eve, but it skipped the story that comes next in the Bible—where Cain murders his brother Abel.

I suspect the violent content had something to do with the publisher’s decision to skip that story. A bloody family killing does not feel kid-friendly.

But should I teach it anyway? On occasion, I too will decide it’s best to spare the youngest children from particularly rough stories or from certain details. I don’t enjoy shocking kids or telling them horrific tales. But usually I’ll go ahead and teach most Bible stories—including the gory or sinful parts. And in the case of Cain and Abel I hardly had to think about it. I knew I wanted to teach that story, and so I did.

During lesson time, I even drew a stick-figure picture of Cain standing over Abel’s body. Then I added some red smears for blood pooling on the ground. I was as gentle as I could be about it, soberly warning the kids that it was ugly and sad, but still I drew that picture. It was important for them to see it.

So why, of all things, would I want kids to see that? I have three main reasons, each of which applies not only to Cain and Abel but also to many other Bible stories.

  1. It’s good to teach the Bible the way God has given it. If we poke around the Bible looking to use just the cheery parts, we end up skewing its message. We give kids the idea that the Bible is something like Aesop’s fables or after-school cartoons instead of the gritty, soaring, beautifully diverse message from God that it is. We also might miss key themes.

With the Cain and Abel story, I recognized it as part of the Bible’s foundational opening pages and the introduction of a critical theme: the contrast between a bad heart mastered by sin and a good heart devoted to God. I didn’t want to skip over that. I also noticed that the Bible specifically mentions Abel’s blood five times (in four different books). That made the blood a necessary part of my lesson if I was going to be true to the Bible’s own emphasis.

The one thing that will change your family forever.

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What if I told you that if you did just one thing as a parent it would change everything. What if I told you doing this one thing would mean, less trouble with drugs and alcohol, eat healthier, show better academic performance, and report being closer with their parents.

Well tell us already! What is the one thing?