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 ( 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.

Word & Art Photo Blog–final installment!

Foundations for Parenting

Two Classes, Each Two Weeks Long on Wednesday evenings

This series will be taught each Fall and Spring. Parents can attend for two-week segments corresponding with the various life-stages, or they may attend the entire class if they so desire.

Foundations One: For Parents Of Newborns And Preschoolers — September 2 and 9.  This two week class covers

  • Understanding Parent/Baby Dedication
  • Parenting Principles for Infants and Preschoolers
  • Sojourn’s Philosophy for Children’s Ministry
  • Praying for and Blessing Your Children
  • Family Worship: Leading Your Spiritual Family

Core Competency: The home is the front line of spiritual ministry to children.

Requirement for: The October 18th Parent/Baby Dedication

Class Leaders: Tyler and Heidi Thorne

—Parent/Baby Dedication contact: Kelsey Barnes, SojournKids deacon (


Foundations 2: For Parents Of Elementary-aged Children — September 16 and 23.  This 2-week class covers:

  • Childhood Conversion and Baptism
  • The Drama of Parenting (Preschool and Elementary Kids)
  • Developing a Discipleship Plan for Your Child

Core Competency: Heart change is God’s work.

Requirement for: Childhood Baptism and Church Membership Process

—Class Leaders: TBA

—process contact: Jared Kennedy, Director of SojournKids (