Empowering Families to Share the Gospel

I talk to lots and lots of parents every weekend.  And at my home church (Christ Community Church in St. Charles, IL), we’ve found that the more parents we talk to, the more people we find who are lost in their parenting.  They question their decisions, they don’t know how to share the Gospel, and they wonder if they are making wise choices.  By far, the parents I interact with have a heart to reach their kids for Christ and they work very hard.  However, the longer I spend in ministry I have found that many, many parents work to reach their kids for Christ without having made a decision for Christ themselves. Two weeks ago we did a baptism weekend.  It was incredible!  We baptized over 100 people at our main campus and we had the largest group of 4th and 5th graders baptized ever.  When we held the baptism class, we found that parents would march their kids to the class and have them fill out a testimony, only to find that it was pretty clear that neither the parents or the child had ever made a real decision to follow Christ.  At Christ Community baptism has become an evangelistic tool for families.  The same thing happens when we do child dedication.  We are pretty intent on making sure that the parents who dedicate their children to serving God have a strong and growing faith in Christ.  Many times, parents come to faith through this process.  It’s important to be intentional when it comes to the Gospel. How are you doing with sharing the Gospel and empowering...

The Gospel in 50 Words

I’m always trying to find ways to make the story of Easter creative and fresh for the kids who have tuned it out. It’s sad how repeated truth loses its value to the hearer (is that how trite sayings are born?).  This year I was challenged to see if I could write a mini-saga.  A mini-saga is a 50-word story.  I’m sure you’ve heard of the Six Word Memoirs, a web and print sensation where people see if they can write their life story in only 6 words.  It was Ernest Hemingway who set the precedent, writing a classically sad story (not a memoir), “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Clearly, I am not Ernest Hemingway. (Six words for those of you keeping score on Twitter).  I thought it would be fun to collect 50-word mini-sagas of the Gospel.  We’re going to take these mini-sagas and share them with our 2nd-5th graders this Easter.  I’m praying that hearing the whole story in exactly 50 words from different people will bring the story alive in a way many kids have never heard before.  I’m praying that the stories submitted will impact the kids on the margins. I asked lots and lots of people to contribute, a few helped out.  I’ll post what I have so far and invite you to join the discussion. God loves you.  God hates sin.  Everyone sins.  God sent his son, Jesus, to pay for your sins.  It’s a free gift.  You need to say, “Jesus, I’m sorry for my sin. Thank you for dying on the cross for me.  My life belongs to you.” Would...

Digital Devotions

This is important to note before you start reading: I love God’s Word.  It is the foundation upon which everything we do at KidsWorld is based.  And I am passionate about getting kids into God’s Word daily (which is why we developed a Bible Reading Schedule for the kids at our church).  Okay…I feel better now… I came across a new website today that solves a problem for me.  You can find all sorts of websites that have daily Bible readings or excerpts from books on spiritual disciplines.  You can even find websites that have the audio available.  My favorite online devotional tool to date has been http://m.enewhope.org/ (a tool made available by Wayne Cordeiro’s church in Hawaii.  But I finally found an online resource that has Scripture readings with a journal component at Examen.me. Examen combines Bible, prayer, and journaling online.  With the free account, I can save my journals (or “examens”) and even export them to PDF.  I have not been able to keep up the discipline of journaling, ever.  I’ve been waiting for the right web resource to do this and finally Examen pulls through.  But what does this have to do with children’s ministry? I frequently ask children’s and family ministry leaders how important they feel teaching kids how to use the Bible (find passages, know the order of books and sections). For many ministries, this skill is absolutely essential.  In fact, Promiseland devotes time (5-10 minutes) to this skill development every week in 4th-5th grade.  I’m not there. Here’s why.  I’m an advocate for teaching kids skills for tomorrow.  Is learning how to read...

Teaching Bible Characters: Best Practices

I’ve had the privilege of studying God’s Word at the scholarly level for the past 10 years.  I’ve heard lectures from men and women who wrote the textbooks used across the nation for that particular section of the Bible.  I’ve read other scholars who dove deep into the truths of Scripture.  I’ve spent the past five years devoting myself to a tough academic schedule, while engaging in full-time ministry.  And while I treasure my education, I’ve found that the greatest things I can offer to those I teach are the things which God has taught me – the conclusions I came to by reading and re-reading the text. I’ve read and heard the story of Jonah my entire life, yet as I was preparing to speak to a group of 85 middle and high school students at a youth retreat, God dropped something in my heart.  The theme of the retreat was “Open Water.”  I wrote a line in my message manuscript about the book of Jonah being a book about a struggle, much of which happens over open water.  As I was rehearsing the talk in my living room, God took over.  The Bible tells us about many people whose lives were defined by moments over open water. Moses and the Red Sea.  He’s with his people (God’s people) running from the people who raised him and trusting in the God who called him.  Later at the rock, Moses is deciding whether call water from the stone as God asked or to strike the rock with his staff.  His life and leadership was defined by those two moments...