Children’s Ministry/Parenting Track Session at Sojourn’s 2009 Counseling & The Church Conference

If you haven’t had a chance to look over the materials presented by Mark Prater and Andy Farmer on Children’s and Student Ministry at Sojourn’s 2009 Counseling & The Church Conference, you should take a look.  This session sought to answer the following questions: What is the role of the local church in coming alongside of parents as they seek to raise their children? How should theology drive the ministry structures and the methods used in serving parents in your family ministry? Parents often feel helpless and alone in raising their children from birth through the teen years, so the church must step up and serve a crucial role in coming alongside parents.  In these tracks, Mark and Andy looked at how parents are equipped to help their children and teens understand and live out the gospel with the help of their local church community.  Mark and Andy are pastors at Covenant Fellowship in Glen Mills, PA.


Children’s Ministry Session led by Pastor Mark Prater

Youth Ministry Session led by Pastor Andy Farmer

via Children’s Ministry/Parenting Track Session Counseling & The Church Conference | Sojourn Community Church.

What can distract us from a biblical vision for our family?

Good goals can easily become ultimate goals and therefore unbiblical goals.  The most natural expression of the unbiblical goals we have for our kids is our desire to see them succeed.  We want our kids to be successful so they can live peaceful lives that are filled with opportunity and guarded from pain, loss, tragedy, and suffering.  We strive for our kids to succeed because we rightly recognize that the soil in which our kids are raised has much to do with future success.

The goals about to be discussed are not evil in and of themselves.  In fact, most of the goals below can be good goals if they do not become ultimate goals.  It is when we put the goal of making our kids successful above the goal of equipping our children to know and enjoy God that we need to reevaluate the goals we have for our children.

(1) Kids with Skillz[1]: The goal is to enlist children in as many activities (athletic, artistic, musical, etc.) as time may (or may not) allow.

  • Do I measure my success by the number of activities in which my kids are involved?
  • Do I measure my child’s success by the number of skills she has mastered?
  • Do I measure my child’s success by his mastery of any one skill or ability?

(2) Psychologically Adjusted Kids:  The goals for the psychological adjustment of children often drift according to the pop psychology of the day.  These goals may include building self-esteem, training kids to be effective with people, or perhaps raising kids who are not spoiled.

  • Do I measure my success by how closely I align myself with a particular method of parenting?
  • Do I measure my child’s success by how much he esteems himself or how much he esteems others? Continue Reading…

Tweet Me: Lent, Media, and the Next Generation

This past Sunday, pastor Daniel Montgomery mentioned a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation on the online lives of children and teenagers.  Kids are online a lot!  The new SweetHearts candies for this past Valentine’s Day are a small evidence of the influence media is having on culture.

I know that many of you are fasting from television or social media during the season of Lent.   The Kaiser study and other resources I have listed here provide some food for thought while you’re fasting from Facebook:

  • If you haven’t yet read it I encourage you to read the report and glance at the slideshow the folks at KFF have posted online.  Pretty amazing statistics!
  • Walt Mueller  has developed a helpful tool that teaches kids to think Christianly and critically about all the media they consume.  It’s called, How to Use Your Head to Guard Your Heart: A 3(D)Guide to Making Responsible Media Choices.  The material teaches young people to filter their media choices through three conscious steps:  (1) Discover, (2) Discern based on Biblical Principles, and (3) Decide based on value and conscience.  Access a free Leader’s Guide for this tool here.
  • You can also read the New York Times article, “If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online.”
  • And take a look at Dr. Al Mohler’s reflections on the study.

HT: Doug Wolter

Baby Dedication, Sunday, March 21st

We will host a Dedication Sunday at both campuses, in all services, on Sunday, March 21.  If you would like to partner with the our church family–making a commitment to raise your child in light of God’s promises, please contact

If you have not already done this in the past, attendance at the “First Steps” classes is required as a pre-requisite for participating in the Dedication services.  Join us for cake, punch, mixed nuts, mints, and prizes in Midtown!  Join us for breakfast and prizes on the East End!  We’ll toast babies, parents, and community, and we’ll learn and pray together as we commit to one another for the parenting journey.  This class will be held during the 11am service on Sunday, March 7 and Sunday, March 14 at the Midtown campus.  The class for the East campus will begin at 8:30am before the regular service.

Thursday Book Club: Sammy and His Shepherd

Sammy and His ShepherdAs we enter into the season of studying the Psalms together as a church, I thought it would be good to review one of the best resources on the Psalms that I’ve picked up in the last year.  In her newest children’s book, Susan Hunt provides a line by line exposition of Psalm 23–told from the perspective of a sheep named Sammy.  Sammy lives happily under the care of his faithful shepherd, and by listening to his tale, we learn about what it means to trust and walk with our own Good Shepherd.  Check out my review of Sammy and His Shepherd here.