For the Over-Churched Kid (like Mine)

Sojourn wants to be a place for the over-churched and the under-churched.  My friend Tony recently posted a list of 5 dangers over-churched kids face and 9 strategies for reaching over-churched kids. I’ve listed them here, and you can click through to see Tony’s explanations.  These are great things for all Christians parents to keep in mind.  Particularly important is teaching for heart change and modeling repentance.  We “religious parents” have a tendancy to focus on our kids’ behavior rather than on their hearts and our own.

5 Dangers Over-Churched Kids Face

1. Familiar Stories Lose Their Power
2. Knowledge Can Promote Pride
3. They Have Learned to Pretend Pray
4. They Don’t Feel Their Lostness
5. The Ugly Side of Church

9 Strategies for Reaching Over-Churched Kids

1. Empower them to teach
2. Teach for heart change
3. Use creative story-telling
4. Pray for every child
5. Teach the bad news
6. Model repentance
7. Make it relevant
8. Go deeper
9. Get them on mission

Jumping to Conclusions

Our intuition is a marvelous thing.  It often tells us that there is something out of the ordinary–which warns us that there may be danger or peaks our compassion for someone who just doesn’t seem to be right.  But intuition can be dangerous.  That sense that we get–when combined with a lack of experience or a quickness to judge–can lead us to jump to conclusions.   And false assumptions lead to actions that can hurt rather than help, that harm rather than protect.  Here is a great article by Amy Fenton Lee about misconceptions that volunteers in children’s ministry can have about children who are having difficulty adjusting to a new environment.  The article compares the behaviors typical of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to the responses typical of children from a bad parenting environment.  It illustrates why jumping to conclusions is so dangerous.  I hope to utilize this article in our children’s ministry training in the future–to help orient our natural intuition away from judging and toward helping/caring for new families.  When a behavior dilemma occurs in our children’s ministry, conversations between our team and parents are warranted and wise, but, as Lee states, “the dialogue can start much differently (and with a greater chance of generating a positive outcome) when the church considers the possibility that an undisclosed or undiscovered disability may be driving problematic behavior.”

What is the Church? available for purchase online.

Sojourn’s second children’s book, What is the Church, written by Mandy Groce and Bill Bell is now available for purchase online. The book reinforces the same themes as our current sermon series on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus.  What Is The Church? was written to teach preschool children that the church is not a building. It is a people that God has called together and made alive by faith.  Pick up a copy at the book table or online today.

Trusting God with our Children

“If this was happening to me, that would be one thing, but, because it is happening to my child, that puts it in a different category.”

This is the first week of school for our daughter Lucy, and our daughter Rachael starts school in a week.  Every time our kids walk into their schools we’re entrusting them into the care of others and into the care of our God.  It is a dark, scary world, and sometimes it is hard to let our kids go.  Here are two great resources on trusting God with our children and letting them go into Jesus’ care:

The first is from the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF) on trusting God when children suffer. There is a bit of banter at the beginning that may not be of interest to readers. If you fast-forward to 5:20 then, you will be at the meat of the podcast.

The second is a video clip of Mark Driscoll, Teaching Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA.  On this clip, Driscoll is answering a theological question about the “age of accountability.”  I’m encouraged both by Driscoll’s answer and his pastoral heart in this clip:

So, what is family worship?

Here is a great little video on family worship from Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas Thanks to @seedsworship for drawing this to my attention.

Family Worship at PCPC from PCPC Video on Vimeo.