Archive for January, 2011
Posted on 31. Jan, 2011 by Kenny.
Over the past month or two it’s been interesting to see this little debate pop up here and there and everyone voice their opinion. I’ll be real honest, when I first saw the posts popping up, I immediately assumed it was a sensationalistic stunt to stir stuff up, get lots of comments and make a scene. Like I could start a blog post saying that Sunday School is irrelevant and dead to the modern Chidlren’s Ministry and if you’re still doing it, you’re wasting your time and church’s money. Calm down, I didn’t mean that… honest. I was just making an example. Honest. (That would get a lot of comments, wouldn’t it?) However, I’m not going to judge. I don’t know what anyones intentions were. I’m not sure I really care. However, it is a somewhat interesting conversation though and I do have thoughts/opinions on the matter.
If I had to nail it down, I’d say the tension is more about a change in the times as it is semantic confusion. Ten years ago, the family pastor was pretty much unheard of. I’m not counting the Children’s Pastor who added “& Family” between “Children’s” and “Pastor” in their title. That WAS semantics and THAT Chidlren’s Pastor usually didn’t do anything different than any other Children’s Pastor. However, I think that strategies and methodologies are changing and people currently in some of these roles are feeling confusion and tension as parts of their jobs are changing, expectations about what they’re suposed to be doing is changing and who they report to is changing. As a result, some are trying to draw lines in the sand which may or may not be helpful. It may just be denial that things are unavoidably changing. When I became a NextGen pastor almost 3 years ago, I knew of two or three others in my role specifically.… Read the rest
Posted on 30. Jan, 2011 by Kenny.
Substitutes. Subs. We’ve all got them. However, how you view them and utilize them makes all the difference in the world. I’d venture to bet that subs in most kidmin situations looks pretty similar. It’s that place where volunteers go when we don’t really know what to do with them anymore. We have ideal and ideals of what a sub list really could be, but often times, it’s not really like that at all.
In myÂ experience, the sublist is usually where people go when they quit volunteering. They usually get to the sub list by one of two methods.
- The volunteer tells you that they can’t really commit anymore and they’d prefer to be on some kind of sub list.
- The volunteer tells you that they want to quit and in an effort to keep them, we ask them if we can put them on the sub list and they almost always say, “sure.”
But we know what the sub list is really, don’t we? It’s a place where volunteers go to die (figuratively speaking). You know what, it doesn’t have to be that at all. Really, it just takes a little initiative andÂ ownership.
First of all, when dealing with volunteers who feel like they need to take a break it is important to actually be direct with them. Don’t let the sub list be a way to be passive. They’re saying they want a sub list, but they really don’t have any intention to serve anymore. Don’t let it become that. Describe to them what the sub list is and that they’ll be contacted on a regular basis to come in and serve and if they don’t respond, then you’ll need to follow up with them about the expectations of being a part of the ministry. In many ways, you’re recruiting them to the sub list, not letting them default to it.… Read the rest
Posted on 28. Jan, 2011 by Kenny.
Every year about this time, I like to throw this post out on my blog. Everyone is starting to get their W-2 and it’s time to see the tax man. I know that if you’re in ministry, preparing your taxes are a little more time consuming as well as more expensive. So, in keeping with the tradition of this blog, I want to tell you about a great resource for tax prep if you’re in ministry. My mom and dad. They own their own tax preparation company in South Georgia called TC Tax Service. Although the majority of their business is local, a small percentage of their client base live in other states and some in other countries (many are military service men and women who are transferred, but stick with my parents). Also, many of their clients are other pastors who know me or have worked for me over the years. So, here’s why you need to consider calling my parents up.
- My mom is an enrolled agent. It’s the highest designation a taxÂ preparationÂ professional can get and mean she can represent you before the IRS if there was every any mistake or trouble on anyone’s part.
- My mom and dad are experts in clergy tax. Since they’ve been doing my taxes for the past 15 years, they’ve always stayed up to date on current tax law affecting ministers by reading cases, attending classes and other resources.
- My dad specializes in commercial tax preparation, so they understand the taxes from the corporate side of things. In addition, they’ve kept books and payroll for churches and non-profits, so they recognize and understand the tax process from both the church side as well as the minister’s side.
- They’re both detailed and creative. What I mean by that is I remember growing up and learning how to balance my checkbook.
Posted on 28. Jan, 2011 by Kenny.
I can’t tell you how excited I am. This year for Christmas, my parents gave me tickets to see Cirque du Soleil. I saw them in Dallas as a gift from my parents for my 30th birthday and I was dumbfounded. I’ve never seen anything like it. Although I’ve heard plenty about the Cirque, I just never imagined what it was like to see this live. So, we’ve got a sitter for the boy and Sara and I are going on an overnight get-away to North Dallas to see the show.
I’m just curious, has anyone seen this show in particular? I remember the show I saw almost 3 years ago was amazing, but the previews and descriptions made me wonder if the show was gong to be that amazing. I’m glad the show blew away my expectations. The show OVO revolves around insects, all the characters play the parts of insects from lady bugs, grasshoppers to spiders. One scene from the preview in particular that I can’t wait to see is this giant earth like wall that the payers climb up and down just like bugs, facing upwards and downwards. Then they start dropping off the wall to hit a giant trampoline at the base just to spring back up and cling back onto the wall again. I can’t wait.
One thing I noticed from the last time I visited Cirque was how well they created an environment that simply amazed. Where shows like this can easily book arenas and use state of the art stages, most of Cirque’s traveling shows literally set up the big top in the parking lot of such arenas and the big tops aren’t exactly like the the big tops of years past, but almost fantasy like, tall and slender tents with spires reaching high into the sky.… Read the rest
Posted on 27. Jan, 2011 by Kenny.
Okay, this is my last post on this series. For the past two weeks I’ve written a great deal about the problem of pornography and sex that is affecting kids while they’re in our children’s ministries. For the most part, we’re not doing anything about it. However, maybe we can change that. When I say we, I mean you and me and others.
As I shared in my last post, I’m creating a plan for my church to deal with this issue, to prepare kids to make commitments to purity. The plan I’m going to design will be a comprehensive approach from 3-4 years old until they’re teenagers ready to make a commitment to purity. What this plan looks like, I’m not sure. What resources we’ll use, I don’t know yet. This is where you might come in.
Over the last two weeks, many people submitted great book and resource ideas. I got names, numbers and emails of people running various programs that address some of these issues. This is great, except it will take me and my small team too long to sift through all these resources or connect with the contacts. What if a group of us put our heads together and shared our brains? What if everyone takes a book or two, reads it, takes copious notes and shared with the group as a whole. In a month’s time, the group can cover significant ground and perhaps all of us together can put together a thorough list of resources (with suggestions on how to use them) as well as great ideas of sex/porn/purity classes or programs that could work in a variety of settings.
I’m amazed by how many people commented over the two weeks thanking me for broaching the subject and bringing it to light, yet very few people had much to say about tangible and proven ways the church could partner with families to address the issue.… Read the rest
Posted on 27. Jan, 2011 by Kenny.
So, I’ve been writing about this stuff for two weeks now and I think I’ve said most all of what I need to say. So in the end, I’m left with the questions, “So what? What do I do with all this information? What happens next?” In reality, you’re left with the same question by the way. If you’ve been reading all of this you have one of several responses.
- Disagree with what I’ve written and change nothing.
- Agree, but not really do anything about it… just lest that elephant in the room remain.
- Agree and actually do something about it.
So, I’ve written all of the posts these last two weeks because I needed to sort out my thoughts, gather more information and ultimately make some decisions. Right now in my family ministry, we’re making decisions about milestones we want to have in place for our families. One of these is a “commitment to purity” milestone. This would be a milestone where kids (likely teenagers) will make commitments to God and their parents to remain sexually pure (including saving themselves sexually until marriage). However, I think that we’re going to build a long ramp toward this milestone. Where in the past a church might do a “True Love Waits” campaign and dinner, we’re going to build towards the milestone, where a teenager makes this commitment. How long is this ramp? Ten years maybe? If the simplest forms of conversations about sex and purity begin when a child is 3-4, then in reality, the plan that leads to a “commitment to purity” begins with 3 and 4 year olds. We frame all that we’re doing in the context of a vision, thatÂ independentÂ Â teenagers make aÂ consciousÂ choice to be pure. Most parents want this for their kids. We just have to help parents see that this decision begins when their kids is 3-4.… Read the rest
Posted on 27. Jan, 2011 by Kenny.
I’m at the end of my two week series of sex, porn and children’s ministry and I want to cram in a few last bits of information. A friend of mine who heard about this series sent me some links to share. She’sÂ continuingÂ to track down some additional resources, but she remember when studying marketing in college a few years ago she learned how the porn industry strategically marketed toward 11-17 year olds knowing that they were the largest user base and that if they got hooked (addicted) as a teenager, they’d be a customer for life. She remember reading how the porn industry used school textbooks to learn what kids would be searching for when working on projects to optimize search results so that kids would likely stumble across their content. I don’t have the study or documentation to back that up, but my friend is looking for that resource now.
Anyway, she did send me this link, a compilation of statistical and survey results by Covenant Eyes, the company that helps protect computers from pornographic content. It’s a massive document with great information about the dangers as well asÂ prevalenceÂ of pornography. Click here to download the document.
There are many great stats to use if making a presentation to parents or your church about the need for parent intervention. Here were a few points that I wanted to highlight.
- Lasting negative or traumatic emotional responses.
- Earlier onset of first sexual intercourse, thereby increasing the risk of STDâ€™s over the lifespan.
- The belief that superior sexual satisfaction is attainable without having affection for oneâ€™s partner,
- thereby reinforcing the commoditization of sex and the objectification of humans.
- The belief that being married or having a family are unattractive prospects.
Posted on 26. Jan, 2011 by Kenny.
Click here for their article on how children understand sexuality atÂ differentÂ points of their development. It would be a great resource for parents to understand what their kids know, what kinds of questions their kids are going to be asking and how to deal with those questions. Excellent information.
The second article I found was directed toward ministry leaders. It deals with how to tackle difficult conversations and situation involving a variety of sexual topics. Everything from engaging a family of same sex parents, working with children who have gender identity issues and encountering kids who are engaging in conversations about sexuality. This article thoroughly describes scenarios, what to do if it happens in your ministry and how to respond. We live in a culture and time where we WILL face these situations and we need to be ready to handle them. Why, we’re called to love these families as God loves them and out of our uncomfortability or perceived aversion to some of these situations, we could send a message to these families that they are judged, unwanted or worthless.
Thanks for these great resources for families and ministries.… Read the rest
Posted on 26. Jan, 2011 by Kenny.
As I was writing this series about sex and Chidlren’s Ministry last week and this week, I didn’t even realize that Children’s Ministry Magazine published a pretty significant article on this very topic in their November/December 2010 issue called sexual purity. If you subscribe to the magazine, be sure to check it out (begins on page 62). There was a lot of great information in this article. One interesting quote was from a study saying that”
“Teenagers are more likely to abtsain from sexual intercourse before the age of 18 if their parents hold strong religious beliefs and explain them toÂ theirÂ children and attend church togetherÂ regularly.”
Good to know.
However, I was very intrigued by the direction the article took. When explaining what partnering with parents looks like, they described meeting with parents to explain what you (the church) will be using to teach kids about sex. The meeting is an opportunity to get permission, hear the parents needs and let them know exactly what will Â be discussed with the kids. If parents aren’t on board, then materials can be given tot he parents to direct the talks themselves.
I’m a littleÂ surprised. I’ve not ever encountered a church that officially offers some kind of sex ed. It seems like the approach of “We believe that the parents are the best at this, but since most parents don’t do it or do it well, we’re going to do it anyway.” I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it. I wonder if this is a welcome thing for parents, if they are just grateful that churches are partnering with them on a very practical level. Anyone else do this or know of a church that literally offers sex ed? I’ve come across some (namely people mentioned in articles) and I plan to learn more about what it is they’re doing.… Read the rest