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“Enjoy the Little Things…”

Enjoy the little things,
for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.

~Robert Brault

via Slowing to See

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Integrity in Our Play


This article is a re-post from a campaign/emphasis we did at Hayward Wesleyan called “Ablaze for God.” We did a series of devotionals for that week on a blog you can find here. I wrote a few of those devotionals that I recently re-read and thought I should re-post another one of them here:

“Jeremy, you’re no good when the TV is on.” This is true. When the TV is on in my home, I am drawn to its pulsating orb of light! Maybe because I am an extremely focused person. This is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing when I don’t want to be distracted; a curse when I want to be distracted! Watching television allows me to focus on a mind-numbing task rather than an intense one. Which frustrates my wife and now my daughter [I currently have two daughters] because I often go too far in the mind-numbing department. I become “no good” to anyone (let alone the two [now three] people I love the most in my life!).

So how does one relax from a long day’s work (or long week’s worth of work) without escaping or being destructive? Does God care about our exhaustion and need for “vegging out” and is this something a person ablaze for God person should do?

God gave us something amazing in the act of creation—He stamped His image on us. Much ink has been spilt in understanding what the “image of God” means, but it at least means this: somehow we are like God. Not outside looks, but embedded into our character and passions—our soul. Because God is a creator, we are also mini-creators. We were created by God to re-create.

When I watch TV I am seeking to be renewed and refreshed; I am recreating. What goes wrong is that I recreate in front of the TV too long to the neglect of the women in my life. Integrity in our play should be sourced in a God-inspired act of creating again what was worn out of us in a hard day’s work. In that sense, re-creation serves a divine purpose in that it brings back a sense of wholeness and balance that is taken from work.

More than anyone, children understand the necessary component of play in our lives. My daughter Sari wants me to be involved in her stacking of blocks, reading a book, or poking her finger in my belly button as I lay on the floor watching TV!

On that note, I guess I’d better turn off Seinfeld and get my finger poking revenge!

Via Ablaze for God: a consuming journey to the heart of God

Forgiveness Works?

At Kids Camp 2011, one of the counselors had an interesting interaction between two boys that were picking at each other.

One of the boys complained to the counselor who in turn instructed the camper to forgive the other. The boy looked at his leader, scowled and said: “No way! He’s not even sorry!” The counselor shrugged and moved on.

Inevitably the picking continued and the boy tried the counselor’s advice. He told the other boy who was annoying him that he forgave him. Instantly, the other boy looked down at the ground and said: “Sorry.” The boy was shocked and couldn’t believe that it worked!

The counselor was so excited that this young man learned a valuable lesson about forgiveness. Oh if we could all learn that lesson, eh?

Good job, Markus!

Can I Tell You a Story?


Just like the post below, I believe in the power of a story to teach. I’ve got to admit that as a young parent, it is easy to default to the “lecture” format, but I’ve found that telling a story, whether real or make-believe, has been very powerfully effective. My friend, Jesse Smith, shares some great insights in “Once Upon a Time”:

There once was a little boy…
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far way…
It was a dark and stormy night…

We all recognize these beginning, they are popular beginnings for a story. They immediately peak our interest, there’s something coming, something interesting. Stories have power – they break down barriers, open our hearts, and get us thinking.

As a father, I’ve found that story is one of the best, if not the most powerful, tool I have. When my children have added to the rules, tries to pit mom against dad, or any number of things they’ve often heard a story. Sometimes it’s a story from the Bible and other times its from another source (or just made up) but the message is almost always clarified by story.

Why?

It’s not a lecture
As parents we want our children to not only understand the rules but the reason for those rules. Often our response to an infraction is overly wordy. At a time when the child just wants to escape your wrath a lecture falls on deaf ears – they just want out. A story opens a new world, a place to escape and a place where they have some control.

In a story there is a chance to explore both sides, a place to talk about solutions – a place for discussion.

Models
When we have a culture of story telling, our children not only hear stories when there is a problem, but all the time. Stories stick with us and when a similar situation occurs, children have a better idea of what will happen as a result of their choices. They can connect to the characters and that starts of joruney oof wanting to model for others.

Stories are natural
Simply put, we’re wired to remember stories. Think about how easy it is for them (or you) to quote their favorite movie or show. They can remember what Blue weeks ago said but not what Mom said 7 seconds ago because stories naturally connect.

A Place to Explore
Stories promote thinking. They are a safe place to think about what loss feels like or what it means for a child to be disabled. Children can easily explore their emotions and behaviors without serious consequence.

If you’re looking for a place to start, I suggest that you pick up a few story books from your library and have a bed time story. If you feel like they might be too old for a bed time story, read the books yourself. Think about how the story flows so that you can begin to form your own stories so you don’t sound like you’re lecturing all the time.

Then, when you’re ready to go to a new level, pick up The Jesus Storybook Bible. This is, by far, the best storybook bible that I’ve read. It mad me cry more than once. It’s full of great models for our children and could easily become your child’s favorite book.

Another plus is that it’s more theologically sound than many storybook bibles out there. It’s not simply a collection of stories; it’s an overview of the primary theme of scripture.

How could you use stories in your home?

via Orange Fathers

I Can’t! No, You Can!

As a parent, you want the best for your children. You want to see them succeed. You want them to live up to their full potential. You don’t want obstacles to get in their way or failures to keep them down. A well-meaning parent says: “You can, you can, you can! You can grow up to be whatever you want to be!”

So how do adults (who used to be formative children at some point) get to the point where they fail and stay down? How do adults let obstacles get in their way and stop them from succeeding? I think it starts when these adults are children… maybe.

A while back, my daughter, Sari, said the words “I can’t.” I didn’t think much of those two words at the moment… that is until my pleasant and often congenial wife, Amanda, turns in to an instant disciplinarian: “Don’t say ‘I can’t’ Sari! Don’t ever say, ‘I can’t’!”

I was a little taken aback by my wife’s response to this seemingly innocent and undisciplinable statement from a 4 year-old. She later explained to me, and to Sari, that she wants our children growing up thinking they CAN do anything, not they CAN’T do anything. Amanda’s family are entrepreneurs. They are all CAN DO people. They have been successful through their failures and obstacles. They work hard. They may be limited by things they CAN’T do, but that is by choice, not by circumstance.

Just having a CAN DO attitude does not guarantee one success in life. Merely eliminating CAN’T from your vocabulary does not mean that life will always work out for you. However, do you see life for the possibilities it holds? Or do you see it for the vast limits it holds and the obstacles in your way?

I wonder if helping to create a culture of CAN DO people starts when they are young…

You Hurt Your Foot?!

Does this ever happen to you?

Sari hurt her foot the other day. I don’t remember exactly how, but it seems like she is always running in to stuff!

Anyway, when she hurt her foot she screams bloody murder! Life is over! I know, I know… kids respond to pain in a variety of ways and my daughter is just expressing herself, right? Okay. I’m learning how this goes. There’s no manual for parenting. Anyway, we gave her some ice, elevated her foot, and laid her on the couch to recover.

Then Amanda and I turned our attention elsewhere. We moved on to other things. About ten minutes later we noticed Sari running around the living room with her sister, Macie, playing. I made a comment: “Sari, your foot must feel better?”

As soon as I said this, she fell to the ground and started to caress the foot again like she had temporarily forgot her injury and began to wimper.

Amanda and I started laughing at this sudden miracle, then Sari smiled, giggled, then went on her merry way.

Boy… they learn manipulation early!

Rites of Passage Project


This is fascinating… I wonder what kind of conversation this would spark, not only in the family unit between father and son, mother and daughter, but also in the faith community as a whole as we try to “intentionally” pass on faith (and wisdom) to the next generation…

As the parent of a teenager, you invest a lot of time, money, and energy into academic and athletic training into your student’s middle and high school years. As a believer, you know the importance of investing as much or more energy into their spiritual training; equipping them to become more like Christ as they cross over into adulthood.

The Rites of Passage Project is a strategic approach that helps parents acknowledge and celebrate key physical and spiritual growth stages with meaningful life-markers that their students will never forget.

Take 15 minutes to watch the WHY and HOW videos for your student’s grade level and then pray about how God wants you to lead them on the journey of a lifetime.

6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade
9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade
12th Grade

Speaking Life into Your Kids


This is another great blog post from epicparent.tv about speaking life into your kids:

I believe that parents hold the greatest, most powerful and life altering tool in our possession…

THE TONGUE

Not sure if you read the Bible much, but here is what is says about the tongue…

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”  Proverbs 18:21

10 COMMANDMENTS OF SPEAKING LIFE TO YOUR KIDS:

  • SAY YES:  I say “NO” to my kids because it is the easy, simple and if I am totally honest, “NO” just requires less of me. Speak life to your kids by saying “YES” this week.  Try it; say “YES” to every reasonable & most unreasonable requests.
  • ASK HOW YOU CAN SERVE THEM: Try this with your most challenging kiddo, it will transform the relationship.
  • PRAY: Every day this week pray over your kid’s right before they leave for school.
  • LISTEN: God could be trying to get your attention or send a message to you through your kids.  Stop what you are doing, sit down and really listen.
  • ADMIT YOUR MISTAKE: I blew it big time this weekend by taking my kids to a movie that they just should not have seen.  As soon as we walked in the house I gathered Team Sprad together and admitted my mistake.  Parents, you will blow it…its okay be real w/ your kiddos and let them know.
  • DISCIPLINE THEM IN LOVE: I get a ton of things wrong in parenting, but this is one I get right.  I take a considerable amount of time in the discipline process to love and protect their hearts.
  • WRITE THEM A LETTER: The picture above is a copy of the letter I wrote my daughter for Christmas.
  • BE SOFT: Lower your tone and use life giving words.
  • IRRATIONAL GRACE: Cole came home last month trying to explain why he made a bad grade in Science.  I simply wrapped my arms around him, looked him in the eye and said “if you brought home a 100 I wouldn’t love you anymore.”  When you kids expect discipline, try love and grace.
  • I BELIEVE IN YOU: Your kids have to hear this from you weekly.  I believe in you because you’re a person of your word.  I believe in you because…

40 Parenting Tips


Chris Spradlin over at EpicParent.tv wrote a list of 40 parenting tips in honor of his 40th birthday. It’s a noteworthy list:

1.  Take lots of pictures

2.  Leave notes in your kids lunches

3.  ALWAYS ASK FORGIVENESS

4.  Let your kids fail

5.  Laugh

6.  Stop aggravating your kids!  Still trying to learn this one

7.  Dad’s date your daughters or someone else will

8.  Don’t sweat the bad grades so much

9.  Don’t play favorites, spread your time out equally

10.  Show your kids Jesus, nothing else really matters

11.  Find your kids mentors

12.  Read to them at night

13.  Pray over your kids most nights

14.  Don’t make your kids walk on egg shells

15.  Use your inside voice, no need to scream

16.  If your divorced, JUST GET ALONG

17.  Go to your kids’ games, it means more than you think

18.  ALWAYS ASK FORGIVENESS

19.  Hug your kids everyday

20.  Say “I LOVE YOU” a bunch

21.  Make their favorite snack just because

22.  Ask them “how can I pray for you”

23.  Let them choose the TV station & radio station

24.  When they deserve punishment simply hug them…give irrational grace

25.  Let them jump bed to bed in the hotel

26.  Encourage them to slide down the stairs on a sled

27.  Let them eat on the couch

28.  Get up and dance with them at the wedding reception

29.  Do a Chinese fire drill with your kids…my wife did this last week

30.  Take the toilet papering

31.  Let them skip school

32.  Give them $100 and let them spend it without parameters

33.  Let your controlling kids choose every meal and activity for the day

34.  DID SAY ASK FORGIVENESS J

35.  Sit down and play legos with them…without watching the clock

36.  Give them your cell phone for the entire day

37.  Let them sit in your lap and drive

38.  Encourage them to build a fort in the living room and sleep in it with them

39.  Let them sleep on the trampoline

40.  Deposit Jesus in their heart every single day

via EpicParent.tv

More is Caught than Taught


I was driving down Railroad Street in Hayward, WI the other day and a truck with a camper trailer pulled out in front of me between Marketplace Foods and McDonalds and made me stop short.

Now obviously according to the generally accepted etiquette of civilized driving, one does not make another vehicle wait or stop short when pulling an extra large camper trailer. This over-size towing package should wait patiently until the road and other vehicles are clear before embarking on its destination.

Well this obstruction did not wait and it affected my driving attitude for a brief second. I had my two girls in the car when this happened (and, to be honest, wasn’t as dramatic as I’m making it out to be). Due to Hayward being a tourist/vacation destination for many people, us locals get used to city drivers and vacationers on our roads and we usually have to tolerate their erratic driving during the summer months.

Here’s what I thought: “This guy (or lady) just cut me off! How dare they?!” Then I paused, realized it was a non-local, and proceeded to wait patiently and choose to be cordial rather than annoyed (any average driver knows this is difficult, right?).

My next  was this: “If I were to scream and yell or mutter under my breath about what I feel about what this person just did, my girls will hear this and they will learn something. They will learn that when you are cut off by another vehicle in the car it is okay to call the other driver an ‘idiot’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘crazy’ or ‘inconsiderate’ (of course, which all might be true!). But is this what I want to teach my kids about how to be like Jesus in our world? No.”

Often what our kids learn from us is our responses to things that happen in our lives. The difficult part to play as a parent is being aware (all the time) of our responses–holy or unholy. Of course, my wife Amanda and I try to verbally teach our kids good, holy responses, but those lessons pale in comparison to the things they learn when we are not “consciously” teaching… like when we are driving down Railroad Street and other cars pull out in front of us. The old adage is true: “more is caught than taught.”

What are your kids “catching” from you? Have you ever thought about that? What do other people “catch” from how you live your life as a person who follows Jesus?

MTV’s Insights into the Millennial Generation


Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, consists of people born around the late-1970’s to the early 2000’s. MTV, for better or worse, is known for its culturally relevant or astute programming, targeted, almost precisely, at its intended demographic. “MTV made a decision at its point of inception to never grow old with the audience but to reinvent periodically for each ‘generation next’.”

An article featured in FastCompany.com, highlights the insights MTV has learned about the Millennial Generation. They discuss “two tectonic forces”:

Recalibration of the nuclear family
A century of “parent-centered” nuclear family has steadily been under-going a paradigm shift, and may have just passed the tipping point. The nucleus of the family has been moving towards the child, and Millennials look like the first generation raised in that new nuclear family structure. No longer the hierarchical structure with authoritarian parent “leadership,” the new family is flattened to a democracy, with collective (if not kid-driven) decision-making process. Parents are more like best friends, life coaches, or as we at MTV call them “peer-ents.

No longer is it necessary to “rebel against” authoritarian parents to individuate, engage in acts of self-expression, or push at the boundaries. As one youth psychologist we work with pointed out, “Parents don’t say you can’t go to the party, they create safe spaces to consume alcohol, they say Can I pick you up afterwards?, Here’s money for a taxi.”

Self-expression, having your voice heard, following your own path–these are all values that are positively encouraged in modern parenting styles. Why rebel when you simply need to explain your behavior in terms of “my experiment in self discovery.”

Technology
The “You Demand It,” push button, everything free, always on culture of technology and the Internet has amplified much of the “social coding” of the way Millennials were parented. And as many commentators have already pointed out, the revolution will be tweeted. The power is in the hands of a million anonymous hands, and can be wielded apparently consequence free, in real time, with the click of a mouse.

It’s easy, I think, for us that our outside (or maybe a little bit inside) the Millennial Generation, to be critical of the ways things are. How many of us bemoan the widespread, rampant use of technology (i.e. texting) among young people today? And we say things like: If only they knew what real work was, right? Or, why don’t parents “parent” their children instead of letting the kids run the family?

Now I’m not saying (nor do I think MTV or other generational auditors) that technology and kid-centered families are inherently bad. It’s just a cultural snapshot of what I like to call, “the way things are.” Older generations like the Baby Boomers or others have quite different characteristics based on the cultural surroundings that shaped them. The Millennials have particular surroundings that older generations did not (i.e. the internet, cell phones, etc).

So my thoughts are this: it is good to know how (and why) families tend to interact these days, and it is good to know the influence and use of technology as well. Why? Because then we as the church, the community of God’s people, can help and assist families to instruct and guide their children in the wise use of technology. Technology without ethics is not wise. Kid-centered families, or “peer-ents”, is not a bad thing unless kids are not getting any kind of instruction in how to become wise and responsible adults eventually. If parents are merely acting as peers to their children, then they may not be getting the wise instruction they need to be responsible adults that are able to hold down a job or care for a future family.

When I read articles that provide insight into cultural snapshots, I am always asking the question: “In light of the way things are, how do we wisely teach and train, disciple and lead our children and our own lives, to look like the ways of God and the principles of his kingdom?”

Not a simple question, eh? No… because it’s always changing, especially in our lightning-fast culture now!

via FastCompany.com
HT iblogo

Talk About Church | Dear Parents #4


I came across this series of letters to parents the other day and found them insightful and helpful. Here is letter #4:

Dear Parents,

You attend church, and all of us that work to prepare exciting environments for your children are thrilled that you do. It’s obvious to us that you value what the Body of Christ can bring to your life, and to your familie’s life by attending together. For that be commended. However, please allow me to humbly remind you that church attendance is only the first part of spiritually leading your family. This letter is written to encourage you to talk about your experience at church with your children. Do you ever ask what they really learned? Not just if they had fun (which is an equally valid question, just not the most important information to get from them.) Do you ever tell your kids what you learned? Do you ever think to fall back on what your kid has learned when the situation arises during the week?

Here what can happen if you fail to talk about what happened at church this weekend.

  1. First, you can communicate that what we do at church is separate from the rest of our lives. // As parents we should be teaching our kids that God is the center of our lives and worthy of organizing all that we do around glorifying Him. But when we fail to talk about what happens at church, we are quietly telling them that what happens at church stays at church. This isn’t Vegas; it’s important to live out what we learn at church outside of the church walls! Work to destroy the walls between church attendance and real life.
  2. Second, you’re telling them that you didn’t learn anything. // You did learn something right? You are grateful for your experience in worship, right? You should be learning something, or being encouraged in some way with each encounter (and if you’re not please talk to someone.) Share with your children what you are learning, and how thankful you are for what God has showed you.
  3. Third, to not talk about church is to miss a key step in spiritually leading your children. // That’s a daunting phrase right there, isn’t it? “Spiritually leading your children.” Throw out all those images of nightly devotionals, and long family prayer services. You might get to that point eventually, but right now we are talking about just taking a small but deliberate next step toward nurturing their spirituality. When you fail to ask children what they’ve learned at church you are missing the easiest of easy times to talk to your kid about spiritual things. Take advantage of the awesome team of volunteers and leaders that teach your kids each weekend, and just use what they’ve already taught your children to start conversations. I bet some of them will even put things in your hands to help this happen!

It’s not too late to start talking with you kids today about what happened at church. Please don’t miss the opportunity that you have each time you attend church to start spiritual conversations at home with your children.

Sincerely,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Children’s Pastor

Original Link

Don’t Use Church As a Punishment Tool | Dear Parents #3


I came across this series of letters to parents the other day and found them insightful and helpful. Here is letter #3:

Dear Parents,

You love your kid. That much is obvious by your willingness to set rules and then hold your children to obedience to those rules. As a pastor to children, I commend your commitment to follow-up your parenting rules with consequences for disobedient actions. Consequences are good things.

However, suspending your child from church is not a good consequence. It sets the wrong precedent. Well-meaning as it is, for many reasons it is the wrong consequence. Obviously it’s a different scenario all together if your punishment is to suspend them from a lock-in, extracurricular activity, or other church-related activity. But when the church doors are open to teaching, mentoring, accountability, and the right kind of Godly relationships…please don’t keep your child from this as punishment.

This what I normally hear in the “witholding church as punishment” dialogue:

“[Insert Name] was not obedient at school this week, and so I told him he has to sit with me in the sanctuary. I know he really loves church, and I just couldn’t let him attend with all of this bad behavior recently.”

What is wrong with this statement? Here is what you are basically saying to them:

You aren’t good enough to go to church, and I will use the adult service as punishment for your crimes.

Why is this bad? It’s bad because you are telling you child a few things when you do this. You are telling them that:

  1. Adult Worship service is boring and is a worthy punishment. // Your adult worship services may indeed be boring, and if they are I hope that you work to make sure that you find a place to worship that isn’t boring. When you this strategy as a punishment, you are telling your kid that church is something to be “suffered through.” Why would you want to make that impression on your kids? That’s right, you wouldn’t.
  2. Learning God’s Word is NOT something important. // I know, I know…you think this is crazy and believe that God’s Word is important. But when you deny your child the opportunity to learn God’s Word from godly people who have prepared all this week for the moment that your child would experience on their visit…you are communicating to your child that the lesson he would have learned is not valuable or life-changing.
  3. God doesn’t want you when you’re disobedient. // This might be a stretch, but hang in there with me on this one. When you punish disobedience by witholding opportunities to learn about God, you are tying obedience/disobedience with God’s acceptance of us. Our Father in heaven has promised to forgive us of ALL confessed sin, and he has said that nothing will ever separate us from his love, and he has said that he has redeemed us from our past mistakes by sending his Son to pay the price for our sin. I say all that to say this…please be careful how you represent the most grace-giving, loving heavenly father in your discipline to your children.

I know that you love your kids, and you are trying to do your very best to lead them spiritually. But from your Children’s Pastor’s heart to your heart let me please remind you that there are many, many, many more creative consequences for disobedience. May I suggest suspension from television, video games, sporting events, after-school snacks, and I could go on and on and on?

Sincerely,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Children’s Pastor

Original Link

Please Work Hard to Be On Time | Dear Parents #2


I came across this series of letters to parents the other day and found them insightful and helpful. Here is letter #2:

Dear Parents,

Thank you so much for coming to church this weekend. It was a thrill to see you and your entire family worshipping with the rest of your church family. I know that you had to get up earlier than you might have preferred, fought to get kids ready in their “church clothes”, swigged down some coffee quickly, and rushed to be with us on Sunday. For that I am greatly appreciative!

However, I noticed something interesting this week. You didn’t arrive until 30 minutes after church started, and our services are only 60 minutes long. This can be problematic, which I’m sure you understand. Let me say that being late isn’t the issue, it’s the consistently being late that is a greater concern. We all have “those Sundays” when everything that could go wrong does, and you get to church much later than anticipated. I’m speaking more towards being late every…single…weekend. Please know that you are communicating the wrong message to your child, those that work with your child, and all the other children attending each weekend.

I can hear it now, “What are you talking about? This isn’t really any of your business!” And I agree, but please let me ask you to consider what message you might be sending by being late every weekend.

  1. First, you’re asking your kid to play major catch-up. // If the service is 60 minutes long, and you arrive to drop off the kid after the first 30 minutes, then they have probably already missed the following: Praise and Worship, Introduction of Bottom Line elements, Bible Story, and many times your arrival corresponds with the most intense and most serious time of the entire morning. That’s right, by being late your kid has missed everything the kids consider “the good stuff”. In Kid’s ministry things move fast, and we put a premium on quickly moving from one thing to the next. We’re always teaching our bottom line; but by missing the first 30 minutes your child will have difficulty grasping and internalizing the message.
  2. Second, it’s a distraction. // This is the one that I feel the worst about bothering you about. Apologies as I step on your well-intentioned toes, but here I go… When you arrive 30 minutes late to a 4 year old class, it means the teacher has to stop what they’re doing to check-in your kid. That might mean stopping the lesson right in the middle of a teaching time, when they’ve already worked hard to capture the gnat-like attention of a class of 4 year olds. It’s quite simply a major distraction to everyone already in the classroom. It’s also a major distraction to your own child. There are some major embarrassment and separation issues related to dropping off a child into an environment that isn’t prepped for drop-off and check-in time. It’s hard on your own child in a way that I know you would never intend.
  3. Third, it’s less than the best. // Everyone wants what’s best for your child. Everyone on my team at the church wants your child to have the most positive experience possible on a Sunday morning, and I have no doubt that you want the best as well. When your child arrives late to church, it’s quite simply giving them less than what is best. My team at the church has planned every minute of our time with your child to help illustrate God’s redemptive plan and His love for your children. Let us have as much of this time as possible!

So you may be asking, “What can I do to help this not be a problem?” That’s a great question, and here are some solutions.

  • If you’re running late, then wait until the next service starts and give your kid the 100% experience at the upcoming later service. Of course, this only applies if your church has more than one service, and if you were trying to get to the early service.
  • If you’re running late, apologize to the people trying to get your child situated into the environment quickly. A kind word does wonders for a teacher that has to deal with distraction you’ve created. The fact is that being late happens to all of us, but recognize the burden it is on those leading the classrooms. Just apologize, and act like it matters.
  • If you’re running late, then promise yourself and your family that this will be the last time. Work hard to be on-time, if for no other reason that because it’s best for your kids. That’s reason enough isn’t it?

Thanks for bringing your kids to us each weekend, and know that we love, love, love having them with us. It’s a thrill to minister to all the different parts of your family, and you are to be commended for the intentional effort you make every week to worship as a family.

Sincerely,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Children’s Pastor

Original Link

Please Attend Church Regularly | Dear Parents #1


I came across this series of letters to parents the other day and found them insightful and helpful. Here is letter #1:

Dear Parents,

Thank you for coming to church…last month. Where ya been? I love seeing you and your family, but it’s been a while. Don’t lie about how much you attend, because nowadays I can track your kids attendance pretty easy with all the sophisticated software solutions out there. I’m sure your schedule has been really busy lately, and you feel like you’re having to choose to say no to some things. And I’m sure that it’s easy to say no to church attendance. I mean really, you can always go next week, right? I know that there are weeks that there really are conflicts; soccer tournaments, out-of-town trips, and the occassional sick times. But in all honesty and with as much sincerity as I can muster, what do you have going on a Sunday morning that takes priority over worship?

Let me be your cheerleader for a moment: You can get here to church more regularly! You can get there, I know you can! And I’d like to encourage you to make it more of a priority. But why should you?

  1. The Bible Says So. // That is always a great fall-back, huh? Seriously, you should read some of what Hebrews, Romans, and James says about the matter. It’s important to be in church, period. The church was and is a part of God’s great Rescue Plan to introduce Jesus to the world. It also exists to helps us grow, learn, and give to a community of people all seeking the same things. You knew I’d say this one, right?
  2. You need to establish good habits with your kid early on. // I’ve rarely met a person that attends church once-a-month that would say that they want their children to grow up and NOT attend church. It’s quite simple really, if you want your kids to grow up and be a part of a community of believers (church), it’s in your best interest to attend one yourself. Make it a priority for your family, and your kids will learn that it’s a vital part of their walk with God.
  3. Without regular attendance you miss the mentoring and relationship benefit of Children’s Ministry. // This same principle applies to every area of the church, but let’s talk about your kids for right now. One of the best benefits of taking your kid to a thriving ministry for Children is that they get to know other kids learning about God’s Best for their lives, and the adult leaders leading these areas. If you attend inconsistently, you are greatly diminishing the chance for one of our fantastic Small Group Leaders or Classroom Teachers to make an impact on your child’s life. Trust me, it’s so important that your kid hear the same things you tell them coming from a different voice.

It’s obvious, in that you sometimes attend, that you do indeed value what church means in your life, and what it can mean to your kids as you are walking this journey of parenting them. Now it’s time to make it more of a priority, and start getting involved. It starts with being here consistently, then we can happily start finding places for you to serve in this wonderful family called “The Body of Christ.”

Sincerely,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Children’s Pastor

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