Archives For partner with parents

Wednesday morning, I rose from a deep, deep, deep sleep at 3:30 AM to head to the airport and head to Dallas for D6 Conference. While I would’ve loved to sleep just a little longer, the pre-conference labs were worth the sacrifice.  Here is a little bit about the labs that I attended and the take-aways that I’m processing:

Pre-Con Lab #1 with Dr. Richard Ross
Dr. Ross is an outstanding speaker and mentor on all things Student Ministry.  But what really spoke to me this morning in his session was how he spoke from his heart.  He didn’t share statistics or projections.  He simply shared a prayer that he prayed for his son that morning.  He shared how even those his son was in college, Dr. Ross still sought out moments to make a heart connection with his son.  He spoke on this heart connection and how it is the primary “pipe” for how a parent passes on their spiritual maturity to their son or daughter. Without a heart connection, we are unable to pass along spiritual material to our child.  These heart connections are strengthened by 1) Proper Handling of Discipline, 2) Encouraging Words, and 3) Focused Time & Fixed Attention.

How does this relate to preteens?
Dr. Ross pointed out that the disconnect of this heart connection was a common issue between parents and teenagers.  He mentioned that parents often do not struggle to make heart connections with their younger child.  So, when does the disconnect happen?  I couldn’t help but think of the potential for a disconnect during the preteen years.  I spent much of the day thinking about our Preteen Retreat and how that must be an opportunity for parents and preteens to bond and communicate so that their heart connection will withstand the next 8 to 10 years.

 

Pre-Con Lab #2 with Mark Matlock
I love hearing Mark speak on student ministry.  He has a way of relaying mounds of information in a manageable format. The session was all about developing real world parents.  Mark quoted research that showed on all questions pertaining to spiritual development, parents were the top-rated influence. There is no greater influence than that of mom and dad. So, how do we equip parents to capitalize on that influence? Mark spent some explaining what it meant to raise ambassadors for Christ.  This means that the home is the embassy where those ambassadors are raised, encouraged, and unleashed. Mark shared about living within God’s bigger story and the 3 responses that parents can take to this life: Isolation from the World, Agreement with the World, or Transformation of the World. We pray that families choose the latter.  This is truly living inside God’s bigger story.

What does this mean for preteens?
I’m really trying to process what it means for families of preteens to embrace living in God’s bigger story.  What am I calling families to rise up and be a part of that is bigger than them? How are we empowering parents and/or preteens to practice their faith? Are we teaching parents to simply correct behaviors or are we teaching them to instill a worldview that includes God’s bigger story?

Looking forward to the main session tomorrow.  Go to d6conference.com to listen to session live.

 

 

I don’t know about you but I LOVE free stuff.  I especially love free stuff that can help me to connect preteens with the Bible. 

This morning, I reviewed the graphic novel series produced by the peeps over at The Almighty Bible. This afternoon, they have 2 copies of II Samuel and Acts that they are giving away for free to two lucky readers. 

If you would like to win a pair of books from this awesome series from The Almighty Bible, tweet the following:

@Pastor_MattMo is giving away a copy of II Samuel and Acts from @almightyBible http://thealmightybible.com/  Check it out at mattmo.org

If you’re not a “Tweeter”, leave a comment on the blog or on facebook to enter the giveaway.  I will randomly choose TWO WINNERS on Thursday.

Iisamuel-061

One of the hardest parts of ministering to preteens is overcoming the myth that the Bible is boring or stale. If we can just get them to engage in the Scripture, it will prove itself as anything but boring and stale. But how do we create that spark?

I was recently given a copy of The Almighty Bible, and I’m really impressed with this resource. The Almighty Bible is produced as a graphic novel for each book of the Bible. Each novel is full of illustrations that coincide with the Biblical text. The Almighty Bible is not intended to be the only Bible your child owns, therefore it is not a word-for-word translation of Scripture. Even though some of the Biblical text is summarized or omitted to keep the novel format, the stories that are told are incredibly accurate to Scripture. The series is designed to generate an interest in Scripture that will lead preteens to a deeper study of a more traditional Bible, and from my reviews, I think it does just that.

I asked several preteens to look through the copies that I was given, and their responses were priceless. One student turned page after page after page, and all he could say is, “This is the coolest Bible ever!” Another student read a story from II Samuel and asked, “Did this really happen?”  Based on their intrigue alone, I would say be sure to order your copy!

In summary, The Almighty Bible blends the timeless and perfect Word of God with the high-definition media that saturates a preteen’s life.  This combination creates a great spark that will pull a preteen into the Bible and fuel their journey through God’s story.  The book series, the iPad app, the online club, and much more—make this resource a must have for the preteen in your life. 

Go check it out at The Almighty Bible

Check back tomorrow for your chance to win a free copy of this awesome resource!

When my wife sees an expensive piece of furniture or decorative item for our house, I have a humorous response that always pops out.  I look over the object and quickly reply, “They want $_____ for that?  I could make that!”  This always draws a laugh from my wife because she knows my lack of skills in the craftsman department.  But in the discussion, I always bring up the fact that I could do it if I just had the right tools.  I’m not sure that I wouldn’t fail, but I would definitely have the confidence to try if I just had the right tools.

Parents are looking to the church for the right tools to do their job with confidence.

I’ve never met a parent who didn’t care about the spiritual condition of their child.  But I have met parents who do not feel equipped for the job as spiritual leader.  There is a great opportunity for the church to partner with parents in developing a plan for the spiritual upbringing of children.  But that’s harder than it seems.

According to the 2010 State of the Church and Family Annual Report (Barna & Rethink Group) 72% of churched and 46% of unchurched parents said that the church would be a good helper in developing a plan for raising their child.  This statistic shows great opportunity for the church.  Parents are looking to the church for the right tools.  However, less than half (45%) of parents said that they received “very clear” expectations on parenting from the church.  Only 27% of unchurched parents with recent church experience said that the church clearly communicated its expectations of parents.  We have a great opportunity to equip parents as spiritual leaders, but we are failing to clearly communicate the essentials of Biblical parenting.

It’s time to stop talking about the importance of leading a child’s spiritual development, and start equipping parents with resources that will help them meet that goal.  I’ve been guilty of thinking that I just needed to convince the parents of the importance of their role.  But they already understand the importance.  They are screaming at the top of their lungs, “We understand the importance of our role.  We want to be the spiritual leader for our child.  We want to do it, but we need the right tools for the job.”

The 2010 State of the Church and Family Annual Report says it like this:

Almost half of all parents say they have no plan in raising their kids; they simply do the best they can. And even among the parents who say they have a plan in mind to help their child become what they desire, you might wonder whether their plan is well thought out or cohesive.  This is a great opportunity for leaders to speak into the lives of parents.  If we actually have a clear and compelling approach to helping families, this is a chance to help families realize more is possible. (p. 34)

Some great ways to equip parents with tools might be:

  • sermon series on parenting that highlights the methods/tools your church uses to create a partnership between church and home
  • small groups or discipleship classes for parents that focus on parenting for each stage of development (preschool, elementary, preteen, jr. high, high school, college)
  • regular scheduled meetings for all staff/volunteer leadership of family ministry (preschool—college) to talk about integrated strategy
  • compile a list of books, articles, blogs, sermons, etc that would be helpful for parents
  • shared experiences for parents and children/teens

This list is by no means exhaustive.  It will be different for every church, but it is always better to do something rather than nothing.

What is your strategy for equipping parents with the right tools to be spiritual leaders?

(2010 State of the Church and Family Annual Report is available at The Rethink Group Store.)