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Think Before You Speak

September 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

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In our Back 2 School series, we talked with preteens about the power of their words. Words have the power to be destructive, or they can be an encouraging witness of our faith. We asked leaders and preteens to consider 3 questions before they speak. Here are the three questions:

true wordsLuke 16:10 says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Our words need to be true so that they can build others up and strengthen our relationships.

encouraging wordsEphesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Even when there is not much to be positive about, find something uplifting to say that will encourage the person to keep growing.

Witness WordsColossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God desires for you to use your words to build up others not tear them down. The main reason for this is so that they will see Jesus in your speech and want to know more about Him.

Words are powerful. How can we encourage preteens to think before they speak?

The Preteen Leaders Conference begins tomorrow, and I’m excited to get to lead two breakouts for some of the attendees. The first of the breakouts is titled, “Connecting with Parents of Preteens.” We will look at why it’s important to integrate the home into preteen ministry, and how we can call parents to engage in the strategy.

In preparing for the session, I dug out my notes from a study that was released a few years ago by Barna Research and The Rethink Group. Along with tons of other great findings, here is what the research found when it came to the strategy and/or expectations for parental involvement:

    • 46% of parents admittedly do not have a plan to accomplish the desired outcomes in their children.

    • 72% of parents said that the church could be a good help for the development of this plan

    • However, only half (45%) said the expectations (action plan) of the church were clear

If you don’t have a strategy to connect the home with your ministry, the question is, “Why not?”

It is clear that parents are looking at the church as a great source of training and equipping. They recognize their role in the transfer of faith to their children, and they see value in what the church can offer.

If you do have a strategy to connect the home with your ministry, the questions is, “How clearly have we communicated this strategy to parents?” and “How are we measuring the success or failure of our strategy?”

As much as parents look to the church for training, we are not doing well at meeting that demand. Stop blaming parents for not caring or not being active in their child’s spiritual development, and start communicating a strategy that they can understand and execute.

It has been a long week being away from my wife and my daughter. It’s not that I have an unhealthy co-dependence or anything. It’s just that she is honestly my best friend, and I really enjoy being around her. Whether I’m just sitting or going, I’d rather be doing so with her.

This time away has been a little extra hard because I also miss my daughter. And for the first time in her life, I think she misses me as well.

This is where God spoke to me.

To try and combat the homesick feelings, I’ve been having a Skype conversation with my wife and daughter each day. Several times this week, my daughter has asked for me or gone to the computer and said, “Daddy?”

She misses me. She wants to talk to me. She loves me that much that even when I’ve been seemingly absent for 5 days, she still knows I’m there and wants to talk to me.  She’s only 16 months old.

Do I really miss my Father (God) and want to talk to him? If He were seemingly absent in a period of my life, would I still seek Him out and want to talk to Him? Am I even conscious that He is always there?

We laugh and joke that all the screaming and babbling my daughter does is “preaching.” But this time I think she really did deliver a message from God.

One of the challenges that I’ve found in working with preteens is the uniqueness of this ministry.  I’ve learned to borrow from resources in children’s ministry and student ministry, but the most helpful tools have come from other preteen ministry leaders.  That’s what I’m super excited about heading to the Preteen Leader’s Conference put on by the team at FourFiveSix.

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The Preteen Leader’s Conference is designed by preteen leaders for preteen leaders.

This will by my first time to attend the conference, but I’ve heard great stories of the connections and experiences others have had. During last year’s conference, I followed the twitter feeds and blog posts of other leaders as they attended the conference. When the conference ended, I made the decision right then that I would be attending the conference in 2012.

If you work with preteens or have an interest in launching a preteen ministry within your church, you really need to be at the Preteen Leader’s Conference. As a bonus, you can attend for just $137 if you register in the next 10 days. You can register to be a part of this unique experience HERE.