Never show your daughter physical affection.

If you want to ensure your kids will be on the “The Bachelor”
1. Never show your daughter physical affection.
2. Teach your kids that connections are more important than commitment.
3. Teach your kids there is no consequences for their behavior.
4. Give your kids whatever they want.
5. Teach your kids that their self-worth is tied to people’s acceptance of them.

One of the biggest problems in our country is fatherlessness. Now am I advocating that every girl that comes from a fatherless home will have problems in life? Absolutely not. What I am advocating is that as a father I want to do everything I can do to ensure that my baby girl grows up with a healthy view of men and woman.

As a father with your kids you have a very real and very sober responsibility to teach your kids what a real man is like. 

As a dad you are your sons first hero and your daughters first love. If you stop and think about it there is literally not a place in our culture that shows a positive view of men and especially fathers. Every example I can think of is stupid, dopey, irrelevant and aloof.

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.

 

Christians today are Theological idiots.

It’s true. I ashamed to admit that for a long time in my life I looked at Theology as an obstacle to “real” ministry. I started working with kids in my early 20’s and shamefully thought that Theology and doctrine were of no use to me as they were to weighty for kids. Most Christians and many churches have no use for doctrine as we have successfully made Christianity a personal thing. Understanding the personal nature of Christ’s sacrifice is very important but thinking that Jesus is my personal Genie in a bottle is devastating. It’s plainly seen in our worship music much of it now days is focused on me and my relationship to God the personal side of our relationship with him. Hymns seem to be more focused on the unchangeable truth of who He is. This is unfortunate because few things connect theology with the non-theologian like music does.

I have come to the realization in my life that Theology matters. It matters not because we want our kids at age 6 to pick a side on the age old Calvinist vs. Armenian battle. Theology matters because we do what we believe and we teach through the lens of our experience and understanding. What we believe about the church affects how we relate to the church and what we teach our kids about the church. What we believe about Justification affects how we walk out of Christian faith and demonstrate that to others.

Our responsibility is to think through why we believe what we believe. We need to own our Theology because we have a responsibility to teach it to our kids and model it to the next generation. Am I theological savant? Nope, but I the years to come I want to do everything I can to think through deep truths, distill the truth of them and deliver them in a way that kids can digest and apply them to their lives.

One of the things I am working on right now is a book for parents and church leaders to help kids understand theological truths and create a proper Biblical worldview that is slowly being expunged from our culture.

Last night I was putting my kids to bed and my middle boy had a rough day. I told him he needed to make better choices. He’s only four years old and he said “Ok Dad, I’ll try harder.” I told him “You don’t need to try harder. What you need to do is trust more. You need to trust Jesus because we all need God’s help.” I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking they have to try harder. I want my kids to grow up thinking they have to trust deeper.

Theology matters.