Don’t flatter or deceive children by teaching them that their nature is good.

“We have to be willing to do what needs to be done in this physical world so that the rescue of the Gospel can be seen as glorious.  To that end, we have to train diligently, providing experiences to reinforce spiritual truth.  We have to lead and be in charge–to be courageous and do the hard things, allowing our children to experience some discomfort and even turmoil in this world in the hope that they will experience joy in the next.  It is better for a child to learn a heart lesson, though it cause him temporary pain, than for him to ignorantly follow a path leading to eternal pain.”

Sally Michael, Jill Nelson, and Bud Burk, Helping Children to Understand the Gospel, (Children Desiring God, 2009).

Pastor Daddy to be published!

book-pastor-daddyThere is great news for fans of Pastor Daddy, Sojourn’s first children’s book written by Lindsey Blair and Bobby Gilles with illustrations by Tessa Janes.  Last week, Sojourn’s leadership signed a publishingCFP contract with Christian Focus Publications, a great little Christian publishing house in Scotland.  The book will be published in mid to late 2010 under the new title, Our Home is like a Little Church.

Until then,  there has been a price change for Pastor Daddy!  You can now purchase the book through the Sojourn Music store and at the Sojourn book table  for only $5.00.   This is a permanent price reduction that will last as long as the 100 copies we have on site remain in stock.  Since we have signed the publishing contract, there will be no more editions printed until Christian Focus releases the book next year.   So, get a “first edition” copy while you can!

Think Tank: Evangelism & Manipulation

think-childrens-ministryMy friend, Pastor (and now school teacher!) Tony Kummer, just posted up the latest edition of the Children’s Ministry Think Tank.  Here is the latest question and my thoughts.  Click over to his site to see very thoughtful answers to the same question from Brenna Phillips and Glenn Woods.

How should children’s ministry offer an urgent Gospel invitation without emotionally manipulating children? When does child evangelism cross the line and become abuse? What principles guide you in this area?

Last week [now a few weeks back], I read the following words from Henry Zonio (http://elementalcm.com) regarding evangelistic presentations for children:

The key… is to help connect children and families to Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work of conversion. It’s more than just praying a prayer, raising a hand or coming to the altar. It’s about life transformation, and that is something that can’t be manufactured or manipulated into existence.

Henry is right. Real conversion—life transformation—can’t be manufactured or manipulated into existence. It is God’s work, not the work of a minister or parent. When we seek quick decisions from children, we are in danger of manipulation. So, in the spirit of Henry Zonio, here are some principles for avoiding manipulative evangelism. Continue Reading…

Gospel Over Family

“We have somehow got hold of the idea that error is only that which is outrageously wrong; and we do not seem to understand that the most dangerous person of all is the one who does not emphasize the right things.”

–D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Sermon on the Mount, 2:244

There is a lot of emphasis on family ministry these days, and this morning Sojourn’s student and family ministry team met for the first time.  As a team, we’ve (Gary Almon, Jeremy Quillo, Dave Kidd, Ty Thorne, Jessica Bowman, and myself) been commissioned with the role of leading and caring for Sojourn’s families.  BUT our prayer is that our ministry will NOT be merely about the family (though it is certainly right to love, care, and talk about families).  Our ministry is first and foremost about the gospel–the good news of God’s kingdom accomplished through the work of His Son by the power of His Spirit.  We are dangerous if we emphasize the the wrong thing.  So, may the flavor of our ministry together be forever only gospel!  Please pray for us that this will be our aim and end.

Memory Monday (8/10/09)

“Pray for each other.”  James 5:16a

(From this week’s Show Me Jesus Preschool curriculum)

What is “Memory Monday”? Each week I’ll post Scripture and/or Bible doctrine memory work from the previous Sunday’s children’s Bible lessons. Here is the challenge! Learn the memory work together as a family. Then, kids, come to our Sunday gatherings next week and recite the memory work to Mrs. Kelsey Barnes (St. Matthews campus), Mr. David Kidd (Germantown campus) or me to receive a reward.