Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Some Resources for Your Family

So, here's the deal:  I've hesitated putting to much on family spiritual formation resources since getting rid of the Family Journey in Faith Website.  The reason???  Because I am typically one of those people that tend to think, "When it comes to parenting, rely on God, do the best you can and let Him take care of the rest."  But the thing is we all have different definitions of what it means to "rely on God."  In fact, I think few of us (myself included) every FULLY rely on God!  I struggle just as much as any parent/dad out there.  Just ask my kids in 20 years!

So, if you are one of those people that need or just like to research what's out there for Christian parents trying to practice Faith at Home, then I've got a few places you may be interested in checking out.  I've added a new box in the 1st column to the right titled "Family Faith Resources" that will have some things for you to check out.

If you are on the fence about this whole Faith at home thing, then check out this video, and see if it helps persuade you:

Oh yeah, if you are interested in hearing more of my heart and vision for Family Ministry, especially if you attend Colonial Woods, then come hear me preach Sunday, May 17th at 6 PM in the Chapel.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A video to brighten your day!

A friend of mine sent me a link to this video that I thought you might enjoy.  

It was a promotional stunt to find someone to play the lead in "The Sound of Music," but it just a smile to my heart.  What would happen if our church would get this many people involved in an evangelism production and then head over to the local mall to perform it?  How cool could that be?


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Real-Life Noah's Ark....to scale!

Working Replica of Noah's Ark Opened In SCHAGEN, Netherlands.

The massive central door in the side of Noah's Ark was opened for the first crowd of curious townsfolk to behold the wonder. Of course, it's only a replica of the biblical Ark , built by Dutch Creationist Johan Huibers as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible. The ark is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide. That's two-thirds the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house. Life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, bison and other animals greet visitors as they arrive in the main hold. A contractor by trade, Huibers built the ark of cedar and pine. Biblical scholars debate exactly what the wood used by Noah would have been. Huibers did the work mostly with his own hands, using modern tools and with occasional help from his son Roy. 

Construction began in May 2005. On the uncovered top deck - not quite ready in time for the opening - will come a petting zoo, with baby lambs and chickens, and goats, and one camel. Visitors on the first day were stunned. 'It's past comprehension', said Mary Louise Starosciak, who happened to be bicycling by with her husband while on vacation when they saw the ark looming over the local landscape. 'I know the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big.' There is enough space near the keel for a 50-seat film theater where kids can watch a video that tells the story of Noah and his ark. 

Huibers, a Christian man, said he hopes the project will renew interest in Christianity in the Netherlands, where church going has fallen dramatically in the past 50 years.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spiritual vs. Intellectual

So, we are still trying to complete the picture of developing FULLY, committed disciples of Christ of our kids.  Again, be sure to read the previous post on this topic HERE!

There is a big reason why I think so many parents struggle with how to pass on faith to their children - I think it has to do with the old addage "The path of least resistance."  In America and even in the world, we focus on helping kids grow in their intellectual ability - we send them to school for 7 -8 hours a day, we take them to music lessons for 1-2 hours per week, etc.  Since kids are wired to grow in ther learning, we have focused on that and spend countless hours and resources on developing that aspect of who they are.  AND THESE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT!!!  It is part of developing the full picture of what we want our kids to become.

But is too much of our time taken up by these things?  I wonder if we focus on that aspect of our child's being, as compared to the spiritual aspect of things, SO THAT one day they can intellectually understand spiritual concepts?  "I'll just wait until they can understand what I'm talking about..."  I wonder if we are just wanting to train our children in the Faith until we can "reason" with them because it is easier to do it that way???  

I recently even saw a title of a book called "The Smart Stepmom" written by a Christian wife and mom.  Since this topic has been on my mind, I could not help but think, "Why choose that title for the book?  Why not 'The Godly Stepmom' or 'The Discipled Stepmom'?"

Still going on this one...

The Complete Picture

As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I've been working on this concept of making FULLY, committed disciples of Christ and how that intersects with the different aspects of our being - physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.  If you have not read my previous thoughts on that, do that first HERE.  

Kids and all humans are wired to want to grow!  As soon as kids start to grow physically we start calling them big boys or big girls.  We want kids to grow in their emotional health as well; for instance we buy a pet that some day we know will die so we can help kids know how to deal with death.  Intellectually we are especially wired to grow.  Infants start to crawl and 'rock' in order to reach (and eat) their favorite toy.  We are also wired to grow spiritually, but God's Word teaches us that we are wired to grow in a negative direction - Sin!

Where is this coming from?  I was recently reading a book by Dr. Tim Kimmel by Grace-Based Parenting.  In one chapter he mentions the need to develop our children in a complete capacity:  physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.  However, he spends just as much time on the P, E, and I aspect that he does the Spiritual, if not more!

If we want our kids to make Christ the center of our lives, we need to spend far more time on the Spiritual aspect of who they are than on any other.  It should take precedence over everything else!  This can be stated another way:  If you put God first, everything else seems to fall into place.   While that phrase is a little crude, there is a great deal of truth in it.

So, while there is more to come on this topic, what do you think?  Am I off base on this?

More to come,


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sometimes, it means being a dork!

Sometimes being a father means you can't be afraid to be a little bit of a dork.  Kids just love dads who can be goofy and fun with them.  If you spend time doing that when they are little, chances are the teenage years may be a little less tumultuous....possibly.

Afterall, I am "The Ungrateful!"


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to Connect the Dots...Part 2

At our last Equip meeting we talked about how to connect the space from Sunday to Sunday by connecting with the kids and families throughout the week.  There was some great insight and discussion brought up that I thought I would share with the rest of the world.  Here are the starting points:
  • On average, we have 1 hour each week with the kids to make an eternal impact.
  • If that is all the kids receive each week, God becomes ONE thing they DO rather than THE central part of their life.
  • A child's faith is AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE developed in the home.
With that understanding, our first question becomes:
"If our desire as children's ministers is to see kids become fully, committed disciples of Christ, and that will ONLY happen if parents are doing things in the home, how can we make in roads into the families?"
Here are a few insights our volunteers had:
  1. Provide easy ways for parents to know what their child/children learned that service (take home papers, craft projects, etc).
  2. Mail a postcard to the kids (KIDS LOVE GETTING MAIL)  or parents during the week to remind them of what they learned.
  3. Send an MP3 audio file via email to parents about what was covered and how to continue that learning throughout the week.
  4. Meet & Greet your parents when they come to drop off or pick up there kids.  There is no substitute for the personal connection!
  5. Continue our Family Journey In Faith ministry to inspire, encourage and equip parents to intentionally disciple their kids in the home.   (If your church does not have a ministry like this, I highly recommend starting one.  Email or comment if you have any questions.)
Those were the highlights.  Do you have other ideas to better the partnership between the home and the church?  Leave a comment with your thoughts.


Never assume anything!

I ran across this video from my Twitter Friend Sam Luce.  I highly recommend watching it!

There are lessons to be learned when we find out we were wrong about someone.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

How to Connect the Dots....Part 1

I recently heard Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales, speak at a Children’s Pastor’s Conference where he talked about connecting the dots from Sunday to Sunday.  The question he posed to the children’s ministers listening was “How do we connect the kids, and connect WITH the kids, from Sunday to Sunday?”

He mentioned that kids on average watch 2-3 hours of television and spend an additional 2-3 hours on the internet EACH DAY.  It is no wonder why kids know more about Hannah Montana than they do about the teachings of Paul.  It’s also no wonder why kids are more emotionally engaged to American Idol than they are the Gospel of Christ.

As a Children’s Leader, this makes me ask at least one BIG question:  What can I do to connect the dots from Sunday to Sunday with the kids in our ministry?  Over the next few weeks, we will begin to look at that question and discuss:

 What works and what doesn’t work?

  • What is most effective and least effective?
  • Do we attempt a Family ministry program or not?

 Come back and check it out.  Also feel free to comment.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A little different take

I'm preaching next month on Sunday evening, May 17th and I have been debating on what to talk about.  Being a children's pastor and passionate about making my kids into fully committed disciples of Christ, I want to preach on a passage like Deuteronomy 6:4-9 - but that is what I preached on last time (not that people will remember that).

At the same time, I had a bit of a windfall from God while talking during our last Family Journey In Faith event for parents of 1 year olds.  We were talking about how we as parents see and sense tendencies in our children from an early age.  We then tend to follow these tendencies and get them involved in activities to enhance those.  For instance, if our children show athletic ability we get them involved in sports activities.  Or if our children show early signs of intelligence, we tend to see if there are advanced education programs we can get them involved in.  Those are all good things, not wrong in any way...

But here's the deal:  those tendencies only show one side of the picture.  God made us with multiple sides to our personalities and make-up:  physical, emotional, intellecual and spiritual.  Moreover, we are called to Love God with "all our heart and with all your mind and with all our soul and with all your strength."  But in our culture today, even with Christian families, we tend to focus on the 'strength' and 'mind' part of that verse.  We elevate athletic ability, music ability and intelligence over the heart and soul aspects, something I think we have backwards.

There is a lot more I can and hope to say on this topic, but I should reserve it for more blog posts later.  Keep coming back and see what develops.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Big Controversy

OK, so maybe we can get a little discussion happening on this blog.  There is a rather large controversy (among many) that takes place in children's & family ministry today that I want to present to you:

Kids or No Kids:  Should kids be allowed in the adult church services?  Believe it or not, there are some churches that do not allow kids of any age into their adult services.  If brought in, the ushers kindly request the parents to take them to the children's ministry programming.  There are other churches (and not just home churches) that do not have any CM programming at all.  

For instance, check out this video.  It is a little lengthy, but proves the controversy exists:  

Especially in light of current Family Ministry trends, what are your thoughts on the matter?  Let me get it going...

What message does this send to parents and kids about their place within the family of God.  Churches who take this stance believe that the "important work" is happening in the adult worship center, and that kids are 2nd class.  Moreover, the role of parents to spiritually train their children and therefore have the right to choose to take their kids with them or not, is trampled on worse thatn the United Nations wants to.  Yes, it's a distraction....yes, it is not geared for them...but this clealy sends a message of despising children and families.

Of couse, that is probably why churches like this are growing!  The modern-day church is rifed with this type of perception that children are simply a distraction to God's plan and purpose for the church ("Making Disciples").  WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!  Discipling our children IS God's plan and purpose for the church.  What better way to grow the church to impact the community and world than to disciple and train children in our own homes and churches to be salt and light into the world?  How do you think the Hebrew people were able to not only survive, but thrive while in slavary and exile???  Because they kept having children and training them to love God and keep His commandments (Deut. 6:4-9).

OK, enough of my thoughts.  What about some of you?  No Lurkers.  Let me hear what you have to say regardles of what side of the issue you are on.  You are safe here, no attacking comments will be allowed to remain.