Family + Church

This book truly speaks to the benefit of great thinkers working together. Experts from all over the spectrum of ministry address – from their personal perspective – their tested theories on best practices for discipling the next generation. From parental involvement in student ministries or church-wide celebrations, to programs that seek to bring generations together thru meals or social activities, this book has gems of advice for anyone who works with youth and their families.

For me, the significant take-aways were:
VISION: What our desired end-result? Who do we want children to grow up to be?
MISSION: The Shema! Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your strength. Impress them upon your children. (Somehow I had never realized that Deut. 6 follows directly after, and is therefore truly a part of the Shema – Hear O Israel: The Lord your God is one.) Can’t have one without the other. This is the mission of the people of God (whether it be Israel of the Old Testament, to the modern day church family) – to pass along the faith of their fathers to the next generation.
PATHWAYS: Collaborate: with Pastors and Church Leadership, with Student Ministry leaders, with parents, with the entire church family.

Special thanks to Minister's Label for the complementary copy of the book. It is a honor to be a part of the book blog tour.
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Dreams & Peace Poems

I took my KWLS kids to the local bookstore to host a Celebration of Peace for MLK, Jr. Day. Here are the writings that came out of the event. The children at the event came from church and off the street. I cannot believe how profound kids can be.

Our Dreams for the World

There won’t be any violence.

To have love around the world.

Everyone will be good.

War will stop.

There will be no war and countries have peace.


Live in peace.

(The world ) will have the will to stand up for themselves and to love anyone they want.

Everyone will be free to live with peace, and love will be everywhere.

Just to be healthy.

Everyone will have a family.

Wars will stop forever and people will have freedom and can go home to see their families.

I will have a sister that I can play with on weekends and holidays.

That I can save animals someday.

I will be a famous singer and be on stage like Miley.

Peace is like FAIRNESS.

Peace looks like A PEACE SIGN.

It sounds QUIET.

And it can be GRACEFUL,

But peace is always LOVE.

Peace is like LOVE.

Peace looks like A PEACE SIGN.

It sounds LOVING.

And it can be COOL,

But peace is always WITH YOU.

Peace is like A BIG CIRCLE OF LOVE.

Peace looks like A PEACE SIGN.


And it can be A GARDEN,

But peace is always A GOOD JOY.

Peace is like LOVE.

Peace looks like A PRETTY DOVE.


And it can be A LARGE BOND,

But peace is always SAFE AND SOUND.


Peace looks like HAPPY.

It sounds HAPPY.

Peace is like CALM WATER.

Peace looks like KISSES.


And it can be FOR EVERYONE,

But peace is always FOR GLENN.

Peace is like FREEDOM.

Peace looks like THERE’S NO WAR.

It sounds like LOVE.

And it can be EVERYONE,

But peace is always LOVING.

Peace is like LOVE.

Peace looks like NOT WAR.

It sounds PEACEFUL.

And it can be AWESOME,

But peace is always NICE.

Peace is like FRIENDSHIP.

Peace looks like CHILDREN PLAYING.


And it can be ANYWHERE,

But peace is always FRIENDSHIP.

Peace sounds PEACEFUL.


But peace is always SILENT.

January Virtue - Discipline

doing what you need to do now so you can grow stronger.

This month, we will be going over the five faith skills every kid needs to know God better. If you want to know God better:

Read His Book. Can you think of a more foundational, first-step way to get to know Him? Plus, "God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right" (2 Timothy 3:16, NIrV). What better example of the importance of engaging in God's Word than Jesus as a 12-year-old in the temple? (Which happens to be the Bible story for week 1.)

Remember His words. "By using Scripture, a man of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing" (2 Timothy 3:17, NIrV). Jesus showed us (particularly that time He was tempted in the wilderness) we not only need to (Step 1) read God's Word, we need to (Step 2) memorize it, internalize it, and take it to heart so that we'll be ready for whatever comes our way.

Talk to Him. "Don't worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. Give thanks to him" (Philippians 4:6, NIrV). To get to know someone and to strengthen your relationship with that person, you have to talk him or her, right? It's the same way with God. You gotta talk to Him. This week (week 3) will help kids better understand Jesus' answer when one of the disciples asked Him how to pray.

Talk about Him with your friends.
"I pray that you will be active in sharing what you believe. Then you will completely understand every good thing we have in Christ" (Philemon 1:6, NIrV). Saying what you believe out loud helps solidify your beliefs. Could this be one reason Jesus asked the disciples, "But who do YOU say I am?" (The story for week 4.)

Make Him more important than anything. "Worship the Lord your God. He is the only one you should serve" (Deuteronomy 6:13a, NIrV). This week (week 5) we'll be taking a look at what Jesus said about "the widow's mite" and how it helps us to worship the only one we should serve.

We will be refering to these as the Five Faith Skills:
5 Faith Skills we think every kid should master:

1. Navigate the Bible (survey and locate)
2. Personalize Scripture (memorize and apply)
3. Dialogue with God (public and private)
4. Articulate faith (share and defend)
5. Worship with your life (praise and give)

What can we provide that parents can't?

Seesaw with a crowd of children playingImage via Wikipedia

My Sunday School is made up entirely of children who have at least one parent who is a regular attender at our church. Some may only have one parent or a grandparent who brings them, but it is the rare time that a child comes to my programs by themselves. Even the guests that kids bring are often friends who go to another church.

It got me to thinking, "why are we in ministry to children trying to do what parents are capable of doing themselves?' Parents can teach and read bible stories, watch and discuss movies and videos with a message, and serve - all in the context of family.

During the week, howver, the majority of the children in my church go to public or secular private schools. On a day-to-day basis, they are surrounded by children, teachers and coaches from many cultures, faiths, family situations and neighborhoods. People whose worldview sometimes clashes dramatically with what they know to be God's way. They are learning to navigate the environment that is school (the second largest time period of their week), and yet the principals and guidelines they are being taught are not necessarily the ways of Christ.

What parents can't do is create a counter kid-culture that competes with the kid-culture at school. Parents can't - on an ongoing basis - provide large group games, worship time, and mission projects.

Kids need to learn how to navigate their social world with a place to practice the Christian values of love, forgiveness, teachability, humility, self control. etc. What Sunday School can offer is a more than a place where kids come to learn about God, but a place where kids can come and practice living out their faith with Christian friends in a learning and working environment. We can offer opportunities for kids to serve, worship and lead others in a context of a faith community of their peers.
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