children ministry

Reading the Bible to Dad

If you don’t think reading your Bible to your young kids is important, take a look at this. Here is my 4 year old daughter reading her Bible to me.  Keep in mind she does not know how to read.

Parents — Please don’t underestimate the stories you are teaching your kids. Passing on our faith is the most important thing we do for our children.

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Conversations with Kids

There is power in conversation around God’s Word.  I know this because the Word of God is not some random book of words; it is God’s Word!   We need to live this out in front of our children in real life ways.  They have questions and amazing depth at younger ages than we often believe.

I had ongoing conversations with my nephew about the Bible and his understanding of it while in Wisconsin.  He does not go to church very often, but it is obvious that someone is reading the Bible to him somewhere.

One day we were watching Star Wars and there was a discussion about Yoda that came up.  There was serious discussion about how old Yoda would be and this led to a discussion about how long people live. My son was talking it through with his cousin, which I loved!

S: You know if people didn’t sin we would never die

C: Wait, Uncle Derek is that right?

S: If there was no sin we would live forever.

C:  Why do we have sin?

S: Because there was this fruit that these people were not supposed to touch but they did and now we die.

C: Well, that’s not fair

S:  They should have listened

This conversation continued this way without my involvement.  Then without warning it went right back to Yoda.

A few days later I was outside with the two boys when my nephew asked me a question about Moses.  He said that if the first-born was killed today he would be dead and he wondered why the first born had to die.  That lead us to a discussion about the Passover and Jesus Christ.  Did I mention he is 8 years old? We also talked about the Israelites and their enemies, since he was curious about that.

The next night around the camp fire he asked me what sin was.  This was completely random.  I talked about sin a bit and he said, “I do that.”

My point is not a profound one as much as it is a passionate one.  Kids have the capacity to have real discussion.  They need to be listened to and respected as people.  The church has traditionally put kids in some room to get them out of the adult service.  The more I think about this today, the more I think this is short-sighted.  I know there are things that kids need that are geared at them.  However, it would seem to me that we adults could do a better job integrating them into the whole of the church.  We do them no favors when we teach them the story of Noah 15 times and fail to link that to Jesus Christ in real life.

999158_10153086627900554_265109941_nThe last thing is simply having an environment where that can take place.  I took the two boys to get custard one night.  Of course, they got chocolate custard with nerds candy mixed in.  We had a great time building a relationship.    The discussion was not deep, but it was a foundation for more of that to take place.  Make the environment happen and it will!

 

Throwing Out the Template

Think creativity and new!

Think creativity and new!

What would happen if we started over every time we came to a new ministry event?  What if we looked at each new event as a fresh start, a clean slate?  What if instead of laziness and routine we found ourselves in a creative and cutting edge place?  Maybe there needs to be more done than just changing the dates on a flyer in order to remain fresh and moving in ministry.   People need creative thinkers right now who are willing to step into each event with fresh eyes.  I am not saying that we can’t use some of the same stuff we have already created.  What I am saying is that each event needs to be put together with intention beyond just getting it done and over with.  We need vision for true impact on lives for eternity.  With that in mind, I offer three indicators that it is time to start throwing out some templates in your ministry.

You routinely have missed errors because of the date

If you know what I am talking about, then you need to throw out the template.  These are those times when you come to a meeting or some other event and you realize that the printed materials have the wrong date because all you did was print out last year’s materials with a slight change.  I know creating something new can feel daunting, but give it a try.

Creativity is lost

If you have not had a creative idea in years, it is time to throw out the template and to start brainstorming again.  Creativity will only come with time and collaboration.  I know the best events are those that are planned over a period of time with many people.  The worst ones are those thrown together at the last minute.  We need to dream again in the church and use the talented people right there!

You don’t know why this program is going on

We are all busy enough without adding programs that just fill time.  This can be a difficult place to be because the programs might be a lot of fun.  Over time people get very comfortable in their routines.  Still, that is not a valid reason when it comes to deciding what is done and when.  If you don’t know why a program exists, it is time to take a step back and consider what direction you need to be heading.  Sometimes the best thing that can happen is to stop a program.  When you do that, the things that are important become better because more time is invested in doing those things well.

I know that ministry planning is difficult, but we do want to leverage the influence we have in order to make the most impact.  I believe there are many creative ideas out there that would help us reach our communities for Jesus.  It is time to ask the question: “why”  and be willing to throw some programs out in order to do what God is calling.  Have you asked God in a while to clear the clutter in your ministry?  Have you looked at your calendar with fresh eyes?  Have you inquired of the people serving as to their level of energy and commitment?  When we evaluate, we  learn and the church is better for it.

Do you have any methods or tools you use to keep things fresh in your ministry or life?