How to keep your kids from becoming materialistic.

We live in a very consumer driven culture. We are bombarded by ads constantly. It is no different if not worse for our kids. Marketers have figured out that although parents make the money many times the power of where that money is spent is placed in hands of our children. Children have more say about more things than in any time in history. Kids decide where families are going to eat, shop and vacation. Companies have figured this out so they use their marketing magic to create dissatisfaction with normal in our kids. Are these companies evil and should they be stopped? Maybe but when I see a problem I always think what can I do to affect this situation. For me the problem lies with us as parents and within the sin nature of our children. companies pick up on that and perhaps go to far but the problem is first with us.

Materialism is a hard thing to define but essentially is when you value stuff, more than you treasure Christ. If you have to have something or are upset when someone else has something you don’t, generally you have a problem. The problem isn’t stuff the problem is the condition of your heart and the location of your affections.

How do we help our kids practically avoid this destructive force in their life?

1. Model to your kids what it means to truly treasure Christ above all things. Teach them to give to the church and to those in need by doing so yourself.
2. Get Netflix – What? Netflix really? Disney and Cartoon network are 40% content 60% advertisement. With Netflix you have control over both. You control the content and your kids don’t ever watch commercials. PBS is a great option for free as well.
3. Constantly reinforce relationships over stuff. Every chance I get I reenforce the order of relationships to them. God first than family than others.
4. Help kids understand the difference between a need and a want.
5. Give them a bigger story to be a part of. When kids don’t see a bigger purpose for life they life a very self focused, materialistic life.
6. Get them serving others and in the church at a young age.
7. Do not I repeat Do not give them everything they want. It teaches girls to be manipulative and boys to be lazy.
8. Give kids your time don’t buy them things to temper your guilt for not spending time with your kids.
9. Teach your kids to use things and love people not use people and love things.

4 Ways to clarify the gospel when communicating to kids.

Family ministry has been the big wave of the past few years and although I hope that wave does not diminish in any way, I am grateful for the next wave that appears to be coming behind it. It appears that next big wave in children’s ministry is gospel centered teaching for kids. This is something that is much needed and I am very grateful for. If there is one word I could speak to this movement before it really begins to take off it would be clarity.

There have been many different misconceptions about what family ministry is and what it isn’t. What I have taken from that debate is that there is often a lack of clarity, and assumptions are made that shouldn’t be made any time something goes “mainstream”. With a greater use of the word gospel and gospel centered teaching it is massively important that we are clear on what the gospel is and what it isn’t. Not having clarity on what family ministry is and isn’t is one thing, not being clear about the gospel is catastrophic.

I just started reading Trevin Wax’s  book Counterfeit Gospels in the very beginning of his book he takes on this issue of clarity. It’s very important with more and more people trying to define the gospel that we do so with clarity so as not to do more harm than good.

I always love practical suggestions they help me think more clearly about the issue I am addressing. Here is 4 ways to clarify the gospel when communicating to kids.

1. Let the kids know that you need God’s help just as much as they do. For to long in the church those who have communicated the truth of God’s word in an effort to give a great example have either intentionally or unintentionally set themselves up as a hero to be admired. In the previous generation pastors were perfect examples of the truths they preached. To be a good pastor you had to be a perfect christian first. The beauty of the gospel is that it both frees you and humbles you. As a communicator do not be the perfect example of truth, be a living example of grace.

2. Don’t oversimply the truth but rather be a distiller of truth. – The reality of this hit me hard a few years ago. We radically underestimate what kids can understand and retain. In an effort to help kids understand the complex truth of God’s word we make the gospel simple in doing so we rob the gospel of its power. Don’t misunderstand me there is work that needs to be done but simplification is not the work we need to do. We need to put in time, effort and prayer to be distillers of truth.  When you distill something you retain the essential element and remove the nonessential elements, and in doing so actually make that thing far more powerful. For example we need to take the complex truth of God’s word and be mindful to maintain the power of it and communicate it to kids in a distilled not diluted or simplified way. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said that “If we can not explain doctrine to children something is amiss.”

3. Use diverse and age appropriate examples in your application. – As a communicator we have our go to examples, the kid at the bus stop getting picked on, the kid sitting alone in the lunch room you know your examples. Don’t get stuck in your go to examples think through each age group and what the gospel implications to each age group are. If you are always giving grade five applications the kids in first grade will feel that they have to be older to understand the gospel. If you use first grade applications all the time the older kids will feel that the gospel is for babies. Use yourself, vary your examples and think through how this applies to every age group.

4. Bring it back to Jesus. – The application of every story needs to come back to Jesus and what He has done that empowers us to go and do. Never miss an opportunity to make Jesus bigger in the minds of kids. I remember in the Chronicles of Narnia Lucy is talking to Aslan and she remarks to him how he is bigger than she remembered. Aslan explained that is because she knows him more. The more we know Him the bigger He becomes.

YouTube Friday: Playing with your kids

I haven’t done a YouTube friday in a while but I have found a couple of videos I thought were share worthy. The one I want to share today is Jim Breuer doing a stand up routine talking about playing with his kids. I found it hilarious. I really like the fact that Jim doesn’t have to drop F-Bombs to be funny. Jim also taps into something few comedians do that’s talking about kids and family. Love his act so stinking hilarious.



Retro Post: The Children’s Pastor score card

My friend and fellow blogger Kenny has been doing a great series about the getting a job in children’s ministry and sharing a bit of his journey. I interned as a youth pastor and thought I was hired to be a youth pastor but due to semantics and devine providence I became a children’s pastor through a  less than traditional path. I thought what might have helped me and may help you is a score card to know if your are called to kids ministry. It is pretty simple really the higher you score the more likely you are ment to work with kids. There are a few ministry score cards out there. The most famous being the Metrosexual Worship leader. I thought that children’s ministry deserved one.

The Children’s Pastor Scorecard.

You have bought your body weight in candy at wal-mart = +2 points

You can name more than two makers of glue sticks = +3 points

You find puppets disturbing = -2 points

Part of the interview process you ask if the church has a choir = +1 point

You can juggle = +1 point

You can juggle on a unicycle = +3 points

You wear a scarf with a tee-shirt = -3 points

You know what american apparel is = -1 point

You can recuit volunteers and do prison ministry at the same time = +2 points

You watch cartoons for fun = +1 point

You have a gotee = -2 points

You call church “big church” = +2 points

Two weeks before VBS people avoid you (no seriously they see you and walk on the other side of road) = +3 points

You know any lyrics from any Fergie song = -4 points

You know all the lyrics from the pirates who don’t do anything = + 4 points

You have ever wore a Bob the Tomato tee-shirt in public = +2 points

You use product = -3 points

You have no idea what “product” is = +3 points

You can turn any object around you into a lesson with a biblical basis = +5 points

You have ever seen an episode of the “Jersey Shore” = -3 points

You have ever used a video clip from “Jersey Shore” to set up your bible story = -6 points

You have ever said “Lets say the verse so loud they hear you in Big church” = +1 point

You print money with Jesus’ face on it and don’t think twice about it = +2 points

You want to put your fist through someones face when they say “They are just kids” = +4 points

You blame the youth group for anything that goes wrong at church = +2 points

You own a pair of designer jeans = -2 points

You own a pair of girl’s designer jeans = -10 points

You have more kids music than adult music on your iPod = +1 point

You have stayed at the church cleaning up after a Halloween alternative till 3:30am = +2 points

You think finnis and ferb are Greek gods = -2 points

When you hear the orange you think of fruit = -3 points

You can keep 140 kids entertained for and hour with a piece of felt, a picture of Jesus and a rock = +4 points

When talking to adults in “big church” you refer to them as boys and girls = +3 points

You have ever received a pie in the face = +1 point

You can turn any piece of cloth into an impromptu puppet = +2 points

You work full time at a secular job so that you can do what you are passionate about, teach the next generation that God loves them and has a plan for them = +50 points

You are just being the kids pastor to get experience so you can one day be a youth pastor  = -50 points

You can name all the characters on Yo Gabba Gabba = +3 points

You just said Yo whaty what? = -3 points

You have seen Phil Vischer at a conference and tell him who your favorite talking vegetable is and why = +4 points

You had no idea vegetables could talk = -4 points

You have built something using PVC pipes = +1 point

You dry heave at the sight or mention of “goldfish crackers” = +2 points

You have been known to wear fanny packs on mission trips. = +2 points

You have visited Disney world more than 5 times = +2 points

You tweet the hashtag #kidmin more than Perry Noble tweets about food =  +3 points

You eat coco crispies for breakfast = +1 point

You eat cold pizza for breakfast = -1 point

You have ever worn a pair of sunglasses indoors ever = -4 points

You think ultimate frisbee is awesome = -2 points

You think can remember the last 5 years worth of VBS themes from group but don’t know who won the superbowl = +10 points

You think let people volunteer based on their vibe and think background checks are over the top = -20 points

You have ever had to coax a kid out of the churches indoor playground using food = +3 points

You get an instant migrane when your phone rings before church = +1 point

You own a marshmallow gun, tee-shirt canon or fog machine = +3 points each

You can do at least three different voices on command = +3 points

Have ever dreamed of switching places with the speaker in “big church” and going 20 minutes longer because you had one last good story = +5 points

Can turn a snack into a craft and explain the resurrection of christ to a 2 year old  all in 10 minutes. = +3 points

When the guest speaker asks when he is suppose to finish and you yell something other than “right now” = -5 points

You have used the letter Z instead of the letter S in the past 2 years = +4 points

You thing it’s weird that youth pastors are so fixated on the letter X. = +4 points

If you have ever felt the pressure that your kids have to be perfect because you are a “kid professional” = +5 points

If you remember Kidology’s logo before it was a lightbulb = +1 point

If you don’t know what Kidology is because you think you might have skipped that class in school = -3 points

If you have ever told a bible story to a group of kids with a Starbucks in your hand = -2 points

If stuck on an deserted island even though you lack the skills to survive more than 3 days within 1 hour you have 2 crafts, 3 object lessons and 4 bible stories using just 1 coconut. = +5 points

If you have ever taken a job because the pastor hired you to work with “youth” and you thought he ment teens so you move 3,ooo miles to find out when he means teens he says “young people” = +100 points

Add up your score.

0-25 You are not a kids pastor you are a youth pastor who received this link from your kids pastor.

25-50 You are a summer intern who is working with kids because you think it will help you score points with the ladies. Well your cover is blown. You have two choices grow a gotee and work with “young people” or buy a pair of women’s designer jeans and a scarf and start leading worship.

50-100 You are starting to learn the ropes you still tell people that you are a youth pastor. You haven’t fully embarrassed the christian sub-sub culture that is children’s ministry. You have one foot in kids ministry and one in youth ministry. You could go either way.

100+ – You are a die hard veteran, you live and breath all things kidmin. When you cut you bleed marshmallow. You can name every character on ever veggie tales movie. You are crazy enough to  think that the future of the church is located in the basement of the church. That the future of the church depends on the church learning to equip, train, lead and inspire a generation of kids.