6 questions to help you rethink your family ministry needs

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Rethink the needs of your church – What do the families in your particular context need?

  1. When are they dialed in?  Do they need a resource or a program? Here are a few we have identified.
    Baby born – resource
    Baby dedicated – program
    Talking to your kids about sex – resource
    Baptism – resource
  2. Don’t reinvent the wheel but make the wheel fits your car. – A few things out there to check out, Group’s milestones, Orange’s parent resources, and D6.
  3. Make sure the steps are practical. – Parents need simple and step by step.
  4. Make sure you help parents see that their story for their family is part of a much bigger story.
  5. Make sure that in everything you do Jesus is clearly seen. We have to partner with Christ before we can partner with parents.

3 Simple things we ask parents to do.

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One of the things we have to do in family ministry is do a better job of defining to parents what we mean by being the spiritual leaders of your home.  I have heard many messages and have had many conversations around the concept of parents being the primary spiritual leaders. I totally agree and think these conversations need to continue. The question I have asked myself and other family ministry leaders is what do the practical out working of partnership with parents look like. We really get the problem and the need but the solution isn’t one size fits all.

Please visit my great sponsors.

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I appreciate everyone who stops by my site and adds to the conversation. I want to take a few minutes to encourage you to check out some of the things the people who sponsor this site have to offer.

Let The Children Come – Are one of my site sponsors. They offer lots of different child evangelism tools. Love the idea they have for wordless book idea for preteens girls click on there banner to the right to find out more.

Jonathan Martin Creative – They are an unbelievably talented company our church will literally never look the same because of them. Every week when kids come to Uptown and their breath is taken away. I am so grateful to JMC for the time and energy they put into making our space amazing.

KidzBlitz Curriculum – Is produce by Roger Fields a children’s ministry veteran with a huge passion for ministry and helping kids pastors. His stuff is excellent for large group environments. If you do large group in kids ministry or are just looking to change things up, head over to KidzBlitz and see what they have to offer.

Bible Bucks 2.0 - Winner of the 2010 Children’s ministry expo’s Jawdrop innovation award. Bible Bucks 2.0 is a new way to do rewards at your kids church. It’s a web based reward system that will leave your kids talking.

R04r.com - An innovative iPhone app company that was started by a good friend of mine – The user interface is drop dead simple. If you are looking for a iPhone app or android app contact Matt at R04R tell him Sam sent ya!

LifeWay Kids - The people at LifeWay kids are great. I have had the opportunity to talk to them several times over the past few years. Love their spirits and passion for kids ministry currently they are advertising their VBS stuff on my blog. You definitely need to check out the stuff they are coming out with.

Discipleland - Discipleand produces all varieties of kids ministry curriculum. They even have some lessons for nursery aged kids, and a section to download free resources. Check them out by clicking the banner to the right.

Worlds of Wow – Is a one stop shop to custom theme your church or business. Regan heads the company up and is a stand up guy. They put in our indoor playground in our church and 5 years later the kids love it like the first time they played in it.

God’s Kids Worship – Bob and his team do an amazing job of producing modern worship for kids. If you are looking for christmas songs for you kids or worship songs they have you covered. You’ll be glad you did.

Children Desiring God Conference. – This is one conference I have not been to but would love to go to. I have listened to countless sermons by John Piper and have read many of his books. His life message, challenges me every day “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” For more information on this conference click on the banner to the right.

The Orange Conference - Love the heart and message of Orange. So appreciate Reggie and his team. If you have never been to the Orange conference put it on list of conferences that you need to attend.  For more information on this conference click on the banner to the right.

Children’s Pastor’s Conference – Went to CPC for the first time last year was really blown away by the quality of conference Michael Chanley and his team put on. Lots of practical how twos as well as inspirational general sessions. If you haven’t been to CPC in a few years you need to come see what all the changes are about. For more information on this conference click on the banner to the right.

Children’s Ministry Magazine – Chris Yount Jones and the folks at group have made such an impact in many aspects of Children’s ministry. From VBS, their Magazine, books and resources to help Children’s ministres be more effective. Group really is passionate about helping ministry leaders connect and grow. For more information click on the Children’s Ministry Magazine link and their Faithweaver link on the right.

 

How to communicate so kids can understand. – CPC 2013 Breakout #1

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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.

Psalm 119:89-93
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.

Romans 1:16-17 
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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Talk to kids like people not babies – Hello boy’s and girls (Elmo voice)
  5. Use massive amounts of energy. – You can rarely be to animated. If you feel stupid you are probably right on track.
  6. Help kids focus – Use lights, segments and music.
  7. Be relevant – Know what kids like now don’t use examples from when you were a kid.
  8. Use your Bible – Bring it on stage. Kids need you to reinforce that bible is life. It’s not a book of fairy tales.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

  1. Listen – Kids want to talk listen to them.
  2. 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.
  3. Take every question seriously.
  4. 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

  1. Get down to their eye level.
  2. Make sure you always great the kids before the parents.
  3. Give kids your full attention when they are talking.

Resources

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

Are youth ministry and kids ministry unbiblical?

One of the members of our church had a conversation with me a this weekend they asked me if kids ministry and youth ministry were biblical. He was asking not out of disagrement but more out curiosity as to what my response would be. This question has started to come up because of the state of the church in the west and the rate in which young people are leaving the church. There are some people who believe that youth and kids ministry have largely contributed to this phenomenon. Jesus never had a puppet explain the tora as a child and neither did he attend a conference as a youth where the Rabbi talked about the hotness of his wife. So because the bible doesn’t talk about teaching kids and youth separately from adults it shouldn’t be done? I say yes and no.

To start off I would say the ultimate responsibility of the spiritual life of every child lies with his or her own parents. Parents are the primary leaders, examples and communicators of biblical truth in the life of their children. Having said that kids need much more than just their parents influence in their lives. I had a mom from another church explain to me that she kept her kids away from youth group at their church because she knew that the youth pastor needed her kids to attend because they were more well behaved than all the other kids that went to youth group. He needed her kids to be a good example of Christlikeness to the other kids that attended. The only thing I could think was, awesome way to model humility, community, and passion for Christ’s church.

Here are the reasons I think Youth Ministry and Kids Ministry matter.

1. Every kid needs a friend – not a sibling not a family member, but a friend outside their family unit who believes the same thing they believe.
2. Every kid needs others voices in their life that are saying the same things their parents are.
3. You can only see and fully understand certain things about God  in the context of biblical community. If you think you can walk out the gospel in the context of just your family you don’t understand the gospel. It has to be worked out in biblical community. The gospel can be learned in a smaller setting but has to be worked out in a broder setting. When I speak of community I don’t mean church attendance alone but church attendance, serving in the church, living in community means you bump up against other people and have to work out the implications of that. Community is not creating a buffer of niceness between you and other members of the community.

Bonhoeffer says this about Community

Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ.  No Christian community is more or less than this…

What does this mean?  It means, first, that a Christian needs others because of Jesus Christ.  It means, second, that a Christian comes to others only through Jesus Christ.  It means, third, that in Jesus Christ we have been chosen from eternity, accepted in time, and united for eternity.

4. Unless your church goes out of it’s way to make church work for 5,6, 7 year olds (which most churches do not) by taking time to publicly explain things to kids. Singing songs that kids understand and enjoy. Then I would argue an age appropriate environment is need to  allow kids and teens to grow understand and teach others.
5. Lastly kids and Youth ministry allow kids to discover, grow and use the talents God has given them.  In most churches you may see kids be “Jr ushers”in big church but for kids to see themselves as a valuable contributing member of the body of Christ is priceless.

The thing that frustrates me in this whole argument is that we all have this tendency to be dogmatic about the the things that the Bible isn’t dogmatic about. We froth and fuss over the validity of kids and youth ministry but avoid the weightier things like are we living the gospel in our homes and in our churches. Kids don’t walk away from their faith because of youth group they walk away from their faith because they never came to a clear understanding of the gospel. So if you want to be dogmatic about something be dogmatic about gospel clarity.