Tag Archives: Church

When your kids do not want to go to church

Posted on 09. Aug, 2014 by .

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Several times a year I teach a Child Dedication class and one of my favorite parts of the class is embracing the tension between letting kids making their own choice and making some choices for them. In the class we cover Deuteronomy 6:4 and this tension lives in the part of the passage passage, “Impress them on your children.” What this verse unpacks for parents isn’t quite applicable for the parents of babies in the dedication class, but it’s a huge principle that parents need to carry with them as their kids grow.

In over 15 years of ministry I’ve seen some patterns emerge. There are almost always more 4 year olds than 9 year olds at your church. There are almost always more 9 year olds than 13 year olds and lastly, there are almost always more 13 year olds than 18 year olds. Why?

There are probably lots of answers to that question, but what I’ve found to be the answer is very simply, Kids just don’t want to go to church and parents don’t want to make them. I think that most parents mean well. They don’t want to force faith on their kids in fear that their kids will reject it.

So, what are parents to do when they face this situation? … Read the rest

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Here are your clergy tax options

Posted on 02. Mar, 2014 by .

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Because you’re in ministry, you’re taxes are more complicated. You have a housing allowance, you may or may not have exempted out of social security and for various reasons, every church processes the taxes of their pastors differently (I know from personal example). You have have had taxes down at your last church, but now you’re totally confused. Most of you only have a couple of tax options:
  1. Do them yourself.
  2. Go to the local tax prep office
  3. Go to a CPA
Let me evaluate your three options.

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One HUGE mistake ministry leaders often make

Posted on 18. Nov, 2013 by .

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I'm probably preaching to the proverbial choir. If you're reading this, it probably doesn't apply to you... or maybe it does. One of the biggest mistakes ministry leaders often make is to not take the time to learn from others. Before your mind goes there, I'm not entirely thinking what you think I'm thinking. I'm not necessarily talking about the well read and well visited blogs and books written by the top ministry leaders in Christendom... although you should learn from them as well. I'm talking about the church down the street and the church you've never heard from in Montana. They're doing something you haven't thought of already and if you'd take a few moments of your day for a conversation, it could better you ministry. Hey, you don't have to tell me. We're all busy. I'm so busy, I'll never get everything done in the week that I need to get done this week. If I add a non-essential phone call, a less-than-critical lunch or God forbid - a day trip for a visit... well, how will I ever get all my work done. This is the very reasonable line of thinking that every busy ministry leader faces. However, I'm a big believer in the line that "Leaders are Learners" and that means budgeting a little bit of time to learn not just from books, but from others. Yes, that means you might miss a deadline or not get something else done, but the value of learning something new that could changed what you do is to critical to putt off. This last week I gave about 5 hours to learning from others and it was huge.

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Pornography statistics

Posted on 27. Jan, 2011 by .

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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’s continuing 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 as prevalence 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.

When a child or adolescent is directly exposed to pornography the following effects have been documented:
  1. Lasting negative or traumatic emotional responses.
  2. Earlier onset of first sexual intercourse, thereby increasing the risk of STD’s over the lifespan.
  3. The belief that superior sexual satisfaction is attainable without having affection for one’s partner,
  4. thereby reinforcing the commoditization of sex and the objectification of humans.
  5. The belief that being married or having a family are unattractive prospects.
Read the rest

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Two great articles on sexuality

Posted on 26. Jan, 2011 by .

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Since I didn’t realize that Children’s Ministry Magazine had a great article on this important topic, I figured I’d search their site to see if there were any more. Yes, two great articles!

Click here for their article on how children understand sexuality at different 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

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The church and sex ed

Posted on 26. Jan, 2011 by .

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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 to their children and attend church together 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  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 little 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

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Kids caught in the porn trap

Posted on 20. Jan, 2011 by .

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So this week I’ve broached the subject of sex, porn and Children’s Ministry, but I mostly opened the conversation about parent driven sex talks and resources. I haven’t said much about pornography though. Hopefully, thorough parent-driven sex talks will address pornography and prepare kids for when they’ll be exposed to it. However, is there a way for the church to help address this problem more intentionally?

The numbers speak for themselves. 12-18 year olds are significant consumers of pornography. The average age of first exposure is eight. All of us have children in our ministries who are being exposed to porn and many are developing addictions. Many of these kids are already caught int he trap. They’re lured back to it time and time again because of their new-found appetite, but they’re also carrying this shame and guilt they’ve never carried before. At such a young age with their entire lives ahead of them, they’re already trapped in the devil’s most powerful snare.

I understand this in a very real way. I was one of these young kids exposed way to early. This uncontrollable appetite got the best of me and I carried guilt and shame and it severely tainted a very sweet relationship with the Lord I’d had since I was four or five. It was at a summer camp as a 5th grader where I felt the conviction of the holy spirit and I confessed to a leader and wept my eyes out. It was so freeing for me.

But a lot of little boys don’t get that chance. A lot of boys don’t take that step of courage (I’m kind of surprised I even did it) to confess their dirty secret. Is there a way we can be more intentional in helping both boys and girls who are struggling with this?… Read the rest

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A new word for discipleship

Posted on 29. Mar, 2010 by .

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Screen shot 2010-03-26 at 10.55.24 PMWords are so interesting. Over time, they change meaning, lose effectiveness or develop a stigma. When it comes to faith, we see this all the time. Pick up C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity and the opening chapter will tell you how the word Christian has lost it’s meaning, and this book was written decades ago. Really, it’s only been the last 2-3 years that I’ve replaced the term Christian for the words Christ follower. Sure, it may just be semantics, but the term seems to be much more intentional about meaning in a culture where the word Christian conjures up some many different definitions and emotions. Who knows, maybe in a few more years, there will be another term Christ followers are using.

Don’t get hung up on the words though, it’s really not about me, it’s about those I hope to influence. Without compromising convictions or beliefs, it’s my job to connect with people in their reality. If finding a unique way to describe what I am about in life that actually engages a non-believer, I’m 100% behind it. I think we need to constantly analyze the words and terms we use while trying to be relevant with the people around us. \

One word we don’t use at my church at all is discipleship. Is it me or is it just so churchy? In addition, there are too many definitions for discipleship. To some churches, it’s a class. For others it’s a group book study. For others it’s a multi-year one on one relationship and to others it’s a program. Many Christ followers have awkward or negative thoughts associated with this term while even some of those outside the church see discipleship as cult-like and mindless devotion to a freaky cause. The term discipleship may need to go the way of the Dodo.… Read the rest

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More social media factoids

Posted on 15. Nov, 2009 by .

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A few months ago I posted this video about the power of social media. Then a few weeks ago I found the video below from David Wakerly’s blog. I’m probably just preaching to the choir here, but this social media thing is a pretty big deal. Are you utilizing all it has to offer for your ministry?

Read the rest

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Random design question

Posted on 15. Nov, 2009 by .

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Okay, my design question isn’t really random, it just doesn’t have anything to do with kids or church ministry.

My parents own their own tax business. They’ve been a part of a franchise for the last 5-6 years, but now they’re out on their own. They’ve selected their name, but now they’re working with a design company to develop their logo. They’ve got several really good options on the table and they’re needing to select one concept that they’re going to take further. My good friend Matt McKee had some really good advice that I think they’ll take into consideration in the revision process. However, I wanted to get some feedback from a general audience as well. Most of the readers of this site aren’t in the “tax business” but everyone has to pay taxes. So, as a general tax payer, which of these concepts do you connect with most.

Oh, let me give you the context. The franchise my parents were with last had a logo that was Red, White and Blue. Matt asked if my folks were doing taxes or running for office! :) My parents have a strong presence in their city and felt it was good to incorporate those same colors to continue to connect with their previous clients although their name has changed. Their company is in South Georgia in the same town as a large Air Force base with many military clients, which also is reason for the star and the patriotic colors.

Okay, now that you know the context, what do you think? What would stand out the most to you as someone looking for a company to do your taxes?

Option 1:

tax1

Option 2:

tax2

Option 3:

tax3

Option 4:

tax4

Option 5:

tax5

So what do you think? What option do you like and why? What would you revise to the option you like?… Read the rest

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