Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Here are some things that caught my attention from around the world wide web.

Trevin Wax over at the Gospel Coalition had a great post about the value of stay at home moms. Great encouragement for those who are able.

Gospel Centered Discipleship had a great series of posts on “Kids in the Family of God” by Ben Connelly. Here parts 1, 2, and 3.

Matthew Molesky reminds us all how to fight fear. A needed read and reminder for me.

CJ Mahaney had a great post on the Grace of the Lord Jesus. While I’m still digesting this, it’s good (… and obviously too deep for me).

 

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I literally just got done reading Dreaming of More for the Next Generation by Michelle Anthony. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Matt Guevara, a local pastor and friend.  When asked to read and review it I was honored.

What I liked

I believe this book comes at a critical time (at least for me) in family ministries.  I also believe the author is asking all the right questions.  Questions that I need to be reminded of as I continue down the family ministry road. The questions the author asks are the same one I wrestle with as a Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries.  It all starts with Anthony’s “7 Pillars” (beginning in chapter 2)

1. Family is primary

2. Spiritual formation is goal.

3. The Holy Spirit is the Teacher.

4. Scripture is the authority.

5. The big God story.

6. God is Central.

7. Ministry Support.

Anthony spends the rest of the book developing these pillars.  She shares both successes and failures without telling readers “the right way” to do.  By laying it out this way, she forces the reading to apply the answers to their specific ministries. This is refreshing (as I look around my office and see family ministry books that I’ve read that claiming if you follow these steps you will be “successful”).

Quotes

“Parents and ministry leaders can so quickly succumb to manipulating kids into good behavior and forgetting what really fosters faith: a relationship with God.” pg. 23

“Spiritual formation is more that just information …” pg. 29

“Spiritual parenting is not perfect parenting … but rather imperfect parenting from a spiritual perspective.” pg. 37

“We need to resist getting distracted by doing things about Him and instead create an environment where children encounter Him.” pg. 65

“Spiritual formation is not just when somebody tells us something, but when God tells it to us or we feel His conviction.” pg. 67

“The children and families in our ministries are looking to us to proclaim the truth of Scripture and the reality of God’s power within us.” pg. 87

“…faith muscles get flabby when they’re not used, but they grow strong when they are flexed. … For most Christians in the Western world today, our relatively comfortable way of life has eradicated our need to walk by faith and depend on God.” pg. 104

“The faith stories of the kids in our ministry are not ones of us simply telling them what to do; rather it’s giving them the opportunity to do it.” pg. 109

“In order for them to navigate the oppression of the world and the tactics of the Enemy, the need to know truth.” pg. 109

“People don’t walk away from the truth; they walk away in search of truth. When you know truth – really know it – it transforms you!” pg. 110

“You see, when you teach the Bible as one story and not a collection of stories, there is a natural cliff-hanger moment every week.  It’s a continuing storyline, and the idea of coming back next week to hear what happens next is naturally woven into the text.” pg. 124

“Once a child grasps the bigger storyline, it’s important to captivate that child into the part that God wants him or her to play in it.” pg. 134

“The biblical model of pausing reveals how the faith community intentionally stopped and gathered together, both at home and communally, to remember specific things God has done.” pg. 142

“God designed us to live within a faith community that remembers and celebrates in order to experience Him in ways that can only happen while we are in close proximity to one another.” pg. 146

“Worship is our response to God’s power and glory. It’s our response to who He is.” pg. 154

“In order to seize the hearts of the young, we need to be diligent to create space for them to encounter Jesus. … We need to provide time, energy, and devotions to exercise their prayer muscles and faith muscles in acts of authentic and vulnerable worship.” pg. 155

“We want worship as a response to God to be the posture of their hearts in every situation, every day.” pg. 161

“… change is an external force, while transition is an internal wrestling.” pg. 174

There is importance and value to team building:  ” … giving ministry away – and not just the parts I don’t like.” pg. 189

Conclusion

While more can always be said, I think its safe to say that this is a necessary read for anyone who looking to take their children’s ministry to the next level. The “pillars” (and following explainations) are needed in every biblical, gospel-centered, children’s ministry. I look forward to sharing what I have learned with my leaders and volunteers.

Children’s, Youth, Family Pastor, get this book, read this book, pray and think through these issues for the health and impact of your ministry.

I try to read as much as possible. Currently I am reading 4 books for ministry purposes. I read this much and this variety partly because of my undiagnosed A.D.D. (and by that I mean, my short attention span) and partly because I need things in smaller chunks in order to wrap my (little) brain around the concepts being discussed. Being involved in both children’s and youth ministry, I try to read something for each one of those areas. I also try to read something that nourishes my own soul. All this to say, it got me thinking about what others might be reading that I am missing?

So, here is what I am reading:

For children’s / family ministry I am reading God, Marriage, and Family by Kostenberger.

For youth ministry I am reading How People Change by Lane / Tripp.

For personal growth I am reading both Dug Down Deep by Harris and Hurt Healer by Nolan.

Most of you, like me, have a backlog of books to be read. In my mind it doesn’t hurt to have a few suggestions waiting for an opening. With that in mind, what are you reading and finding profitable for life and ministry? Feel free to share in the comment section.

I’ve started a new book, Gospel-powered Parenting by William P. Farley (published by P&R Publishing, copyright 2009). In it, he lists “7 Ways in which the Gospel affects parents” (pgs. 46 – 48).

Here they are:
1. The gospel teaches parents to fear God.
2. The gospel motivates parents to lead by example.
3. The gospel centers families in their male servant leaders.
4. The gospel teaches and motivates parents to discipline their children.
5. The gospel motivates parents to teach their children.
6. The gospel motivates parents to lavish their children with love and affection.
7. The gospel is the solution for inadequate parents.

This is what the rest of the book is going to be about, in this order. Do you agree with the above list? Do any of his reasons give you pause? I’ll share more the farther I get into the book.

I met Jared 2 years ago this coming spring at the Children Desiring God conference. I found out from his blog that he would be there and commented that it would be cool to get to meet him. Right before the first session, in a crowd of thousands, he sat down next to me and introduced himself. We had coffee and dinner the next day and have been in contact with each other ever since.

What I appreciate most about Jared is his gospel focus. No matter the topic we discuss during our monthly phone calls, he always either points it back to the gospel or asks how that particular topic is effected by the gospel.

We started the interview by talking about family. Jared is married to Megan. They have 3 daughters Racheal, Lucy, and Elisabeth.

What is the best part of being a husband?

How much we learn from one another about loving Jesus. We both have different perspectives. Exploring each other’s heart about how we interact with Jesus. This is the best part of marriage as well as the most challenging.

What is the best part of being a dad?

It’s fascinating being a dad of all girls. I didn’t have any sisters growing up. Learning things about girls through playing house, having tea parties, and playing princesses. I enjoy them.

Assuming you have it, how do you like to spend your free time?

That’s a big assumption. I’m a college football fan. I’m a big Alabama fan. Roll Tide roll!

Describe your current ministry position.

Pastor of Children and Family for Sojourn Community Church. I am responsible for casting vision for all our campuses and implementing it at the east campus, where I am part of the elder board.

What are the biggest joys or blessings of this ministry?

Three things come to mind:
1. Working with parents and seeing them grow.
2. Working with younger staff.
3. Developing leaders is a joy of mine.

In terms of ministry, where do you struggle?

I’m not a detail person. Multi-site church is a beast. I don’t think we are a model for it. We, like everyone else, are just trying to figure it out.

How long have you been involved in full-time ministry?

Seven years on staff, with a year break in the middle.

What have you been reading lately and how has it impacted you?

Bible – James 1 on how to suffer well. How to have hope in God in the midst of suffering. There is purpose there. I’m also reading First Peter.

Other books – God, Marriage, and Family by Andreas J. Kostenberger. It’s a theology book as well as a gospel book focusing on the role of the gospel in marriage and family.

What is the verse or verses that God continues to use in your life?”

Colossians 1:28. It keeps me focused on what’s really important. Preaching the gospel thereby bringing people to maturity. What’s real? Jesus is. The mystery of the good life is found in Jesus. Which leads to people becoming mature and complete.

What is one word of advice or encouragement you would give to others.

Can I give two?
1. Keep the gospel first. Your role as a pastor begins with your role as a christian.
2. Your first ministry is to your family. Ministry will rise and fall on that.

At the end of the day, what’s at the heart of the matter for you?

My performance doesn’t hold my ministry together. It’s based on what Christ has already completed. I get to participate in the fruit of what He has already done.

We all are effected by the people we hang out with. This can be good or bad depending on the people. We all need friends and mentors who will challenge, push, and even correct us. That’s what this series will be about.

As I heard someone once say, “All of us are smarter than one of us.” My hope for this series is a sharing of wisdom; covering everything from family, ministry, life, and … everything in between. It will start with the people who have had the most impact on me. Who knows where it will go from there …

Yeah, yeah it’s a new look for the blog, get over it! 🙂

I’m still reading Why Christian Kids Rebel by Dr. Tim Kimmel. This is an excellent resource on the topic / title.

I’m in chapter 8 titled Cocoon Christianity. It has given me a lot to think about especially as it relates to my context, the suburbs. This is the way most of the people in this context live their lives: protected … or so they think.

As parents we try to protect our kids from the dangers of the world. What I am learning from Dr. Kimmel is that this is where most parents stop parenting. They believe that their job is done as long as the children are protected. What a lie of the devil we have bought into!

Kimmel suggests that we need to move from protecting to preparing. As parents we need to prepare our kid to interact with the world. This preparation doesn’t just show them how to survive in the world they live in, but should equip them to to flourish with and by God’s grace.

That by the way, is only accomplished as we, as parents, live a life radically devoted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As our kids see us, as parents, focused on Jesus’ finished work on the cross, they will see there is truly nothing to fear from the world.