Archives For children’s ministry

Main Session #3 at the Preteen & Parent Retreat was led by Dr. Robert Lewis, author of Raising a Modern Day Knight and founder of Men’s Fraternity. I’m convinced that you could drop Dr. Lewis in any culture to talk about any topic, and he would inspire that audience and leave them wanting more. I know that our parents could have sat for hours discussing the topics that he brought up. Here are notes from his session:

Stay humble and know that to be a good parent you will always have to be in the posture of a learner.

Barna, “most parents assume they know what to do”

Here are some helpful things to remember in parenting:

1. 75% of all great parenting is a good marriage. (Build your marriage!!)

  • 40% of kids don’t have dad at home
  • Single parent homes, poorer health, poorer jobs, sexually active, drugs and alcohol more present
  • Two parent homes with poor marriage will have same characteristics as single parent home.
  • In the 50’s homes were not child-centered.  Today we are child-focused not marriage or home focused
  • Little parenting in the Bible, but a lot on marriage. (ex. Ephesians has 12 verses on marriage and 1 on parenting.)
  • A good marriage leads to good kids

2. Always keep the long-term in view when parenting

  • What is the long view? Where you as a parent’s primary focus is on character and Christ
  • You cannot make their popularity your major view
  • Contrast Tim Tebow vs Tiger Woods
  • Write down what you want them to be (know Jesus, loving, giving, responsible, loyal friend, others focused, etc). Will they be a difference maker or a problem?  Ask God to help you find ways to help instill these character traits.

3. Seek to balance discipline and instruction with love as a parent

  • Four quadrant figure from Men’s Fraternity (permissive, neglectful, authoritative, authoritarian)
  • Authoritative is high discipline and high love.  This is the best parent
  • Number 2 is the permissive which is high love and low discipline
  • Number 3 is neglectful…low discipline and low love
  • Number 4 is authoritarian…high discipline and low love
  • Ephesians 6:4 Fathers do not provoke your children to anger
  • “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased!!!” 6 times in the Gospels
  • Boys are looking for their Dad to say they are good enough

4. It is smart to sharpen and customize your parenting approach to each child by using objective testing tools

  • You will need help knowing your child.  You are not objective.
  • The more we know about our child’s uniqueness the better we will parent them
  • Today good testing mechanisms: personality, design, aptitude, and intelligence tests
  • First test is personality test. Robert uses melancholy, sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic. by Florence Letour
  • You don’t ever change your personality
  • aptitude test is a must before college (Aims aptitude testing)
  • Design test in High school
  • Intelligence testing will be done in school

5. Real Christianity for a child is caught or lost at home

  • Do not become dependent on the church for your child’s Christianity
  • Paul said follow me as a follow Christ. Should be the model of your home!!
  • Number one thing of families is to be open and honest in communication, especially about your Christianity
  • Don’t pretend and live different from what you say.  Kids will sniff that out and it will inoculate them against Christianity
  • Be authentic!!!

6. Avoid the four horseman of “Too Much”

  • Too much control.  Micromanaging a child 12 to 18 will kill them.  “I will trust you until you prove me wrong”
  • Too much money and stuff spoils and pacifies
  • Too much of high expectations discourages and wounds
  • Too much taking care of. Too much care in sons will steal their masculinity. Moms have to unplug the mom cord when they turn 12 or 13.

7. Spend lots of personal time with your child one on one

  • They will have unbelievable doubts from their friends, and quality time will help them.
  • Date your daughter

8. Provide clear gender vision

  • Focus on sexually, socially, and spiritually
  • Bless them by answering what it means to be a man or what it means to be a woman.
  • Need a Biblical Definition of manhood and womanhood

Part 2 of an amazing weekend was a Parent Meeting to cast vision for the future of preteen ministry at our Church. Our church is embarking on a new journey to be a church that is…

making disciples who live by God’s grace and for His glory at home and across the world.

While striving to accomplish this mission, there are certain values that will define who Fellowship is as a church. These values are: Connection, Transformation, and Multiplication.

As preteen ministry, we want to align with this vision and these values. This means change—exciting change.

We had over 250 parents show up for the meeting. Some had heard rumors of change, some were completely oblivious, and many had helped us pray and plan for this day. With the parents and the preteens in the room, we officially launched Fifty6, our new preteen ministry.

I have to admit that we were nervous about the change and communicating that to parents. The church has had a great preteen ministry long before I came, and I didn’t want to them to feel like I was running it into the ground. As we communicated the vision, the room filled up with excitement. Parents caught the vision and they bought in.

Here are three things we communicated to help parents “buy-in” to the vision for preteen ministry:

1. Information
To help parents see where we were going, we literally walked them through every detail of what a Sunday morning would look like. We intentionally scheduled the meeting in the space that will become our preteen ministry space—even though it currently smells like gym socks! We gave them a detailed time schedule for what a Sunday morning would look like for their preteen. And then we gave them a 2 year scope and sequence for the curriculum that we are currently writing. We wanted them to know everything we knew about what preteen ministry would look like moving forward. As G.I. Joe says, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!”

2. 6th Grade Leadership Team
This is more than a curriculum or room change, this is a philosophy change. We are viewing 5th and 6th graders differently than we have in the past. One aspect of that is the ability for 6th graders to lead and serve on our campus. We communicated our vision for 6th grader to be a part of a Leadership Team that serves by leading worship, running production tech, greeting guests, setting up, etc. The preteens were jumping at the chance to fill out an application. Parents bought in to the vision because many of them had never seen their preteen that excited about coming to church!

3. Parent Involvement
A huge part of the philosophy change is a better strategy for partnering with parents. We talked with parents about how we partner with them to cover tough subjects like sex, pornography, substance abuse, relationships, etc. Our role is not to have that conversation with preteens, but to equip parents to have that conversation with preteens. We wanted parents to understand that our ministry exists primarily to strengthen their relationship with their preteen so that they can transfer faith to their son or daughter.

How do you cast vision to parents, volunteers, or preteens in your ministry?

It is really hard for me to fathom that I’ve stuck with this for a whole year. I’m not usually that disciplined.

There are tons of reasons why I started blogging and many reasons why I continue to do so. The most important of which is to network with other preteen, children’s, and student ministry leaders on how we can be more effective at reaching the next generation. I have to admit that I started blogging because I thought I might have something to offer, but in this first year I have been blessed with so much more than I could ever give. (What an example of God and His Grace!)

Here are the things that I’m most thankful for from Year #1:

1. New Friends
Blogging has connected me with so many great leaders that I probably would have never had the chance to meet. I’ve met people who are asking my advice (not many), and I’ve met people who have passed on loads of wisdom to me. It is such a blessing to get to build these relationships that help me personally and in ministry. To all my new friends, “Thank you!”

2. New Ideas
This past year has been one of the most fun and most fruitful years of ministry in my life. God has brought so many people into my life to share new ideas, and this has really stretched me. We’ve all tried some things that don’t work, and we’ve all found a few golden nuggets here and there. It’s such a blessing to be able to sit down with other leaders and share those ministry ideas.

3. New Opportunities
Ok, so I totally did not see this one coming. I felt God calling me to take a risk and throw my ideas out for others to read and discuss, so I took the risk. Never in my wildest dreams did I think those thoughts would go further than my wife and maybe a few friends. Instead, those thoughts have reached to 13 different countries. I’ve gotten emails from missionaries in Africa…AFRICA! I never knew what God would do with the blog, but he has used it to open new doors. In the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to do some writing for Preteenministry.net, FourFiveSix, Lifeway Christian Resources, Kidmin360, and others. I’ve gotten the opportunity to go and speak at churches and the Preteen Leaders Conference. God has used blogging to bless me and my family is some really cool ways.

Here comes Year #2!
This year, I want to continue what we’ve done in year #1, but I also want to grow into providing some resources and materials for those launching a preteen ministry.

We are getting ready to launch a floor-to-ceiling overhaul of our preteen ministry. We’re changing our strategy, our room, and pretty much everything in-between. This is going to be an exciting transformation for our church. In this process, we’re learning some things to do and some things not to do, so I look forward to sharing some of what we learn about launching a preteen ministry.

The second main session of the 2012 Preteen Leaders Conference featured Nick Diliberto, creator of Preteenministry.net. Nick is a naturally gifted leader. I’ve been working for Nick over the past year as a content writer for PreteenMinistry.net, and over that period I’ve learned a lot from his experience in ministry. I was really looking forward to hearing Nick speak, and he did not disappoint.

Nick began the session with this quote from Uncertain by Jonathan Fields:

“Uncertainty is what goes on in your head, your heart, and your gut when you strive to create anything truly extraordinary.”

Nick reminded us that when we follow Jesus, we enter into a life of uncertainty and risks. Abraham, Noah, the disciples—they were all called out of their comfort zone to be used by God in extraordinary ways. In the same way, God calls us to take risks for His Kingdom.

“Risk is filled with uncertainty, fear, and doubt. But it is necessary to do the extraordinary.” –Nick Diliberto

Nick shared a very personal and powerful testimony about how God has called him out of his comfort zone and led him to take risks. He encouraged everyone to also follow God into the unknown and take risks to expand His Kingdom.

Nick wrapped the session with three ways to get better at taking risks. Here are the notes from what Nick shared:

    3 Ways to Get Better at Taking Risks:

    1) Get in the Habit of Expanding Your Comfort Zone
    Do things in your personal life and ministry to expand your comfort zone. Whether it’s jumping out of an airplane or sharing your testimony with a total group of strangers, find new experiences that challenge you and expand your potential to be used by God.

    2) Be Persistent
    “Failure is the stepping-stone to success. When you take risks, you will encounter uncertainty, adversity, and possibly failure. In those moments, you must trust in God’s power to help you break through those walls and press on towards to goal.

    3) Don’t Pause, Just Go
    When we take risks, we tend to over-analyze things. We think and think and think to the point that we talk ourselves out of it. This doesn’t mean that we are reckless in our risk-taking. The idea is that we do not hesitate when God calls us. When He says move, we move by faith.

What risk is God leading you to take personally or in ministry? To do anything extraordinary for God, it is going to involve risk. Have faith and follow Him!

Thanks, Nick, for the great session and inspiring testimony!