Teaching kids to say they are sorry is important but it’s only a start. When kids are small they should learn to say sorry. As kids get older we must teach our kids that sorry is good when it leads to repentance. We live in a world that only knows how to say sorry but doesn’t even attempt to turn from the actions that created the need for the apology in the first place. We address the feelings of others “I’m sorry if I made you feel…” we most often fail to mention the very real gap our actions created. The problem with saying sorry is sorry can be used to gloss over sin. Repentance digs deeper to the root of sin.
I know of a very well-known minister who heads a denomination of churches who many years ago wronged another denomination in a very significant way. The breach came through core beliefs of the church. The well-known minister recently said he was sorry to the other denomination without address the gap they had created and still perpetuates through false beliefs that are core to the church. He said sorry when he should have repented.
I don’t want my kids to be sorry saying appeasers, I want them to repent and ask for forgiveness for the gaps they create. Saying sorry is for the other person, to help them feel better, repentance is different it does a work in you. This is how I teach my kids to apologize I tell them to say “Mr./Mrs. ________ I am sorry for ___________ (specifically name what you did) I was wrong. Please forgive me. I won’t do it again. Apologizing in this way addresses what how you affected the other person ask them to forgive you as you were in the wrong and invites God into the process because what you mean by I won’t do it again is by grace and with his help, I won’t do it again.
Every godly parent wants their kids to love Jesus forever. The challenge is how do we do this when we don’t ultimately control this. Getting your kids to eat vegetables is hard enough getting them to embrace a life of devotion to Christ is challenging and at the same time not up to us. If it was up to us and within our control, we would all flip that magic switch and make our kids treasure Christ. It doesn’t work that way. This question is addressed in New City Catechism
Q 20: Who is the Redeemer?
A: The only Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, in whom God became man and bore the penalty for sin himself.
The only Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Parents we have to remind ourselves that Jesus is the only one who redeems. Does that mean you are off the hook? By no means. We water we plant God makes plants grow. We are called as parents and pastors in the life of a child to water and plant but the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer.
My challenge to parents is threefold.
- Don’t waste your devotion.
- Don’t waste your pain.
- Don’t waste your time.
Don’t waste your devotion is a simple challenge to parents to live their faith in the light of day. We live in an age of specialization and privatization that has spread into our homes and into our faith. We leave public faith to the “religion specialists” at church and we privatize our faith at home to such an extent our kids never see us read our bible on accident or on purpose.
Don’t waste your devotion is a call to public “Personal” prayer and Bible times. Rather than secluded closets and locked bedrooms. Let your kids see you read the bible in the morning and pray payers not so they can think you are something that you are not but that you can model a devoted life. I read my Bible and pray across the table from my kids eating frosted mini-wheats. I don’t do this so my kids think I am holy but rather so they can see where I place my trust every morning.
A devoted life isn’t just public devotions but conversations that point kids back to Christ as our greatest treasure. A devoted life is them seeing you lead someone else closer to Christ as you disciple another believer one-on-one or in a small group.
A devoted life is one where you mention your concern and demonstrate it by praying for world missions. Recently a missionary we support asked for Bibles we discussed this as a family bought the Bibles and prayed over the Bibles as a family. Because I want my kids to see needs of others and to see their need for others that are part of the worldwide body of Christ.
We don’t waste our devotion when we do what the gospel requires of us in front of our kids rather than behind their backs because what many would consider flaunting our faith when it comes to our kids it’s called discipleship.
Parents don’t waste your devotion.
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?
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.
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.