Saturday, April 30, 2011

9 Things - A Little Bit of My Story

This is a post I wrote for the Cory Center website, but thought it to be apropos for the Anchor Children's Ministry blog as well....
So, over the next 9 weeks or so I’ll be blogging about “9 Things I’ve Learned about Family Ministry” as a way to piggy back off of Ryan Frank’s new book, 9 Things They Didn’t Teach Me in College About Children’s Ministry.  I plan on focusing on various issues within the family ministry paradigm; things that I’ve along the way through my education at Bethel Seminary, reading of various family ministry resources and some of my own thoughts.  But, I’ll first start off with a little bit of my story…
9 Things I've Learned about Family Ministry
I grew up a pretty normal kid, going to church every week, going to public school from K through 12th grade, went away to a private Christian college, got a job in the field of social work, got married, had a couple of kids, answered the call to ministry, started attending Seminary, had a few more kids and continued to expand from there.
So, why do I mention all that?  Well, to show that I’m just an average guy who’s trying to figure out how this whole family ministry idea fits within the framework we are to follow as Bible-believing Christians.  Our concern should not just be what the Bible says about it (though that certainly is MOST important) but also how do we encourage others to see what we see and follow what we follow – assuming we are striving to see and follow the right things – within God’s Word.  That’s what being a leader is all about…
So, as a leader, I take what I am learning and what God is teaching me, and attempt to share that with others in hopes to improve the current state of the church and it’s discipleship process.  And make no mistake, children’s & family ministry is certainly about discipleship; because parenting is about discipleship,  everything I do (or don’t do) with my kids should be aimed at teaching them to Love God and Love Others.  And because that responsibility falls on parents, everything we do as CFM leaders should be aimed at equipping THEM to fulfill that responsibility.
So over the next two months, here are the topics I’m going to cover:
  • Just how important is it?
  • Styles or Methods of Family Ministry
  • List of resources, websites and leaders
  • Should children worship with their parents?
  • A picture of inter-generational faithfulness
  • The Primary Plan for Evangelism & Discipleship
  • The link between church & family
  • Where will we go from here?
We would love to have you share your thoughts as we seek to delve into this topic of family ministry – hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tale of the Times?

I recently received this cartoon clipping in the mail:

Of course, this does send a message about the modern understanding of church and Christianity - that God resides inside the four walls of the church and we don't have to worry about having to interact with Him throughout the week.

And I wonder if the looks like the faces of other people are sending a message ?  "Wait, we have children who attend here?"...or..."Doesn't he know we don't shout in church?"  But, maybe it's just me reading too much into Sunday morning comics...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Is Relevance Important?

If you run in any ministry leadership circles (which many of you do), you've likely heard the phrase or idea that the church must strive to be relevant to the world / community around it.  I wonder just how true that is....

On the one hand it seems to make sense Biblically:  "I have become all things to all people, that  by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings" (1 Cor. 9:22-23).  It also makes sense logically:  If we cannot relate to those around us, how do we expect to have a voice to speak into their lives?

However, here are some elements we should keep in mind:

  1. What's relevant in one community is not relevant in another.  Think of ministering in rural Michigan vs. inner city Detroit...
  2. How easy is it to compromise on elements of the gospel as we seek to be relevant?  Granted, a lot of church don't compromise, but many have and continue to do so.
  3. The gospel - more specifically being the 'good news' to others - is ALWAYS relevant.  Let's focus on being the gospel in the flesh rather than figuring out how to make the message fit.
  4. The idea of relevancy only entrenches the consumerist mentality within the church.  That is, "We need to meet the needs of everyone."  
I'm sure there are other points to make, but these are just intended to start the conversation...we need to strike a balance between the issues of being relevant, being real, being loving and seeking Christ in every aspect of life.