Category Archives: Children and Families

Children’s Ministry Training // Bible Skills for Life

I’m excited to share with you a training for children’s ministry parents and volunteers we recently held. David Anderson, Children’s Ministry Strategist for Louisiana Baptist Convention, helped us understand how different Bible skills are understood at different developmental stages in children’s lives.  If you would like a copy of the handout and booklet provided at this training, please let me (David) know!

Preschool Parents Lunch & Learn // Discipline Verses Discipling

When do we start teaching children about God? What can babies understand about the Bible? How can preschool ministry be more than just babysitting?

We invited David Anderson, Children’s Ministry Strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, to come and speak as part of our preschool parent/volunteer lunch and learn series. This is a great session for preschool parents as well as those who volunteer in the preschool ministry. Check it out!

Baby Dedication

Baby Dedication is always a special time. It’s so special to see the sanctuary fill with family and friends in show of support for these new parents.

And as much fun as it is to see the babies all dressed up and Pastor Oren steps on a tossed pacifier…this special time isn’t just for show. This is a time where the parents make a covenant, dedicating their child to the Lord. They make a commitment to raise their child in a Christian home of love and peace, to raise it in the truth of our Lord’s instruction and discipline, and to encourage it to one day trust Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord.

But, the parents aren’t the only ones making a commitment during Baby Dedication. We also ask the church to make a covenant as well. I wanted to share with you the commitment we made yesterday, so you can see it again, and keep it on your mind…

As the members of First Baptist Church, we declare ourselves to be the children of God because of God’s gracious work in our hearts to save us and by our faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.  We vow today, by God’s help, to be faithful in our calling as members of the body of Christ, to help the [NAME OF FAMILIES] families to be faithful to God and faithful parents for their precious children, [NAME OF CHILDREN].  And we vow to help teach and train these children in the way of Christ Jesus so that they might one day trust him as Savior and Lord.

Next time you see one of these precious families in our church, remember this covenant. This is something that will go on far beyond just Sunday!

***

I also wanted to share with you the book we gave parents during the dedication. Each family received a copy of Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney. The author makes the case for family worship and explains the three elements that make it up: reading, praying, and singing.

“Having your family in a Christ-exalting, gospel-centered, Bible teaching, local church is crucial to Christen parenting. But it is not enough for conveying to your family all you want to teach them about God and your believes. Moreover, it is unlikely that exposure to the church once or twice a week will impress your children enough with the greatness and glory of God that they will want to pursue him once they leave your home,” says the author. “This is why family worship is so important. But even more importantly, God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.”

I have placed a copy of Family Worship in our church library and it should be available to check out very soon!

Introducing a New Bible Study for Families

Is your family constantly in a whirlwind of activity? Is it controlled-chaos at your house? Unsure about how to parent in this day and age? Want to see how your family fits into the gospel?

Next week, FBC will be kicking off a brand new Bible study group built particularly for parents. After some thought, we ended up calling the new group the Busy Family Bible Study. Why Busy Family? I like how Pastor Oren put it when talking to parents…

“I know that you have so many responsibilities and commitments, whether it is with your job, caring for your children or perhaps your aging parents, as well as maintaining friendships and trying to keep the grass no taller than knee high. You’re busy, we all are,” wrote Pastor Oren.

“Our families are busier than ever, so much so that it becomes increasingly more difficult to maintain consistent spiritual growth in our personal lives. This means that our families struggle to grow spiritually as well. We all like to think that Jesus is at the center of everything we do, but if we’re being honest, that isn’t always the reality in which we live. We feel stretched, pulled in many directions. But there’s no reason why we cannot make a concerted effort as Christian believers to take time to pray, study, and grow together. As a pastor and a parent, I want to help as much as I can.”

This is something that we’ve wanted to do for a long time. And I am excited that we are kicking it off with a study called Gospel Centered Parenting by Tim Chester and Ed Moll. There are a lot of books dedicated to helping parents develop well-trained children, but this one focuses on the family as a whole, and will help us grow as God-knowing, Christ-confessing, grace-receiving, servant-hearted, mission-minded believers.

I love how this book goes beyond good advice for parents. It shows how the gospel influences family life and the craziness therein. “Good parenting is not about adopting certain techniques,” says the authors. “It’s about living as part of God’s story and letting God’s good news shape your values, attitudes and behavior.”

That’s something all families can get behind…big, small, single-parent, step-families…everyone needs the good news of Jesus.

The Busy Family Bible Study group will meet on Sunday nights beginning February 12th at 4:30 PM at FBC. The first series will run through April 9th. For those of you with children, we’ve got special activities planned at the church for the kids and youth during this time.

If you are interested, please fill out the form below, so we know how many to prepare for. We would love to see your family join us for this study!

Unwrapping Christmas Part 2

In our last post, we started talking about the family Christmas devotional gifts we made for 2016. Let’s pick up where we left off…

Week 3- Teaching and Preaching

We started week three with a look at John 13:13, “You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am.” We explained how in many ways, Jesus’ teaching was unexpected. He took things that the people were familiar with and changed the way they understood it.

That’s when we challenged families to try our mystery drink. All families knew was that it should taste like something familiar, just in soda form.

lesters-sodas-flavors

We ended up using the peanut butter and jelly flavored soda!

We asked families what it like experiencing this familiar flavor in a new, unexpected way? We explained how we see in the John 13 how Jesus did something His friends didn’t expect.

We explained the story of Jesus doing the lowly task of washing feet and how He used that moment to teach not only how to love and serve others, but to also foreshadow how He would clean His people from their sin.

We also gave families a magic tree. By adding the solution, small green crystals would grow on the cardboard making it look like a Christmas tree.

magic-christmas-trees-growing

But, it takes time for the tree to grow. When Jesus preached, He sometimes used gardening words and pictures to get the point. We used John 15:1-2 and explained that Jesus teaches that the good news doesn’t stop at forgiveness of sins. The gift of Jesus continues! God’s at work in believers’ lives, helping them act more like Jesus! Just as the tree grows, we can grow as Christians as well.

Week 4- Love

We started the fourth week talking about underserved love and 1 John 4:10.

We told families that in this world, there is a lot of pressure. You may struggle with some things. Sometimes people describe this feeling of burdens as if they are being weighed down. Inside the gift this week was special paper.

flying-wish-paper-action-2

We had families take it out, and with a pencil, write down some things that may be weighing them down. It may be a recent loss, fears, or even sin.

We explained how Jesus loves them so much and how He wants them to let go of their burdens and give them to Him. When the instructions were followed, the paper shot into the air and floated  as it burned. All those fears, worries, sin…all gone. We connected this to the gospel and explained how Jesus can forgive us and wants to give us comfort even when life gets tough!

We then connected the facts that if God loves us, we should love others and had families read 1 John 4:7-8.

The other gift was a Top Blaster!

slspito-02These wind-up tops shoot out the spinning part with a light on top. It bounced off walls and other barriers and brought the light everywhere it went. The Bible reminds us that Christians are to be a light (Matthew 5:14). We need to show God’s love to others so everyone can see how great our God is!

We had a blast preparing all these gifts for the families. We hope that these little doodads will remind our children of the lessons they learned during this Christmas season!

 

Unwrapping Christmas

Our church has a focus on family ministry. We want to encourage parents to be spiritual leaders for their children and equip moms and dads to teach their children Biblical truths.

So, when we do our annual Easter and Christmas devotionals, we try to do a family-friendly version as well. (You can check out our Christmas 2016 devotional here.) The theme for our latest Advent devotional was “God’s Greatest Gift.” We looked at God’s greatest gift, Jesus, and how He exemplified the spiritual gifts God bestows on us.

For our family edition, we wanted to give families a chance to do interactive object lessons that corresponded to each week’s gift. To keep with the theme, we wrapped each week’s objects as if they were presents. Each family received two of the gifts each week. One to take home and use, and the other to give to a friend. (We made the lessons to be self-contained, so visiting families wouldn’t be stuck with a partial lesson.)

Each Sunday, after church, we had families taking two gifts each and some other members taking gifts to give to neighbors/friends/relatives. But I know not everyone got a chance to look into the gifts and see what families got to experience! So in this post, I wanted to share what was inside each gift! If you missed out on the fun, consider grabbing a few of these items and trying them out yourself!

Week 1- Mercy

buddha-board-demonstration

Seen here, is the Budda Board sold by Vat19. Using water you can draw on the canvas and the marks will fade over a few minutes. We were able to give families some special paper that reacts to water in the same way, as well as a few paintbrushes.

We explained what mercy and sin were, then asked families to write or draw an example of sin on the special paper using water. We reviewed Romans 6:23 and explained how Jesus was a gift of God’s mercy. Looking back at the paper, the sin marks would be gone by this point. Parents could then connect the activity to the included gospel presentation.

 

612klt1wvhl-_sl1000_We also included these mega-sized jelly balls. These things grow just by putting them in water and waiting(you may remember us using their smaller-sized forms at the Neighborhood Block Parties). After reading Matthew 5:44, we used these to illustrate how we can grow spiritually when we show mercy. As a bonus, you can roll these jelly balls on the water paper and they leave a trail. It was a fun way to end, thinking about what kind of trail are we leaving behind? As Christians, what sort of mark should we leave behind?

 

 

Week 2 – Service

We started our second week with a look at Matthew 20:28 as we explained how Jesus was the ultimate example of service with love. We explained to families how Jesus even gave his life for us and even included a section where families could go deeper into the gospel and explain it in a child-friendly way for those who’ve never heard it presented.

We also looked at Romans 12:11, “Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord.” (NIRV). We explained how God wants His followers to serve together, and how we we’re all made with different skills and talents to serve in different ways.

419tazrqlslEach family got a pair of mini-hands to take turns using them. They challenged each other to do simple things like lift a salt shaker, change the tv channel, or…(if they were really brave) take a sip of water from a cup. Later they tried working together (two people each with one tiny hand). We asked families to talk about how easy or hard it was to work together with your tiny hands? What are the benefits and challenges of working together with others to serve? And why do you think God made us all with different skills, gifts, and talents?

 

 

mx423Families also received a ribbon wand to play with. These ribbons, when twirled, make really cool designs. It can look like a bubble if spun around, or a flower if flipped upside-down. But, if the wand only had one ribbon, it couldn’t make those cool images. We asked families to think about ways they could work together to help others see God’s love. We wended the experience with prayer and a look at Galatians 5:14 and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

 

 

Next post, we’ll go over the other gifts we presented to families!

Quick Thought: Don’t Drop the Ball at the 1-Yard Line

How many times have you seen this?

Or this?

Why?!?

I’ve read one article where the author counted at least 26 times in the past few years where players have purposely dropped the ball in celebration without seeing it through.

That got me thinking…how many times do we drop the ball early?

When it comes to kids, we often use the ABC method of sharing the good news of Jesus.

A—ADMIT Admit to God that you are a sinner (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). Repent, turning away from your sin (Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9).

B—BELIEVE Believe that Jesus is God’s Son and accept God’s gift of forgiveness from sin (Romans 5:8; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:11-13).

C—CONFESS Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Romans 10:9-10,13).

I’m thankful we have the opportunity to share this good news with our kids. But why stop at justification when we can celebrate sanctification. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.

Mason was just in my office speaking about the ABCs. “Did we forget the rest of the alphabet?” he laughed. “What about D? DO SOMETHING! DISCIPLESHIP!”

The Gospel doesn’t stop at the 1-Yard Line. The good news is that God continues to work in our lives, sanctifying us, making us more like Jesus.

Parents, you get to be a model for your children to see what it looks like for a Christian to grow in Christ. Seniors, you know you don’t retire from being a Christian…thank you for your years of continued service!

Further reading: Shells

5 Things Your Preteen Can Understand About the Bible

bible-983104_960_720Last month, the Barna Group reviled the results of their 2016 Teen State of the Bible research. If you have a few extra moments, I’d recommend reading over the full results. There are many positive responses that can encourage us, but here are a few that may renew our resolve to help kids understand the Bible.

  • Half of teens say the Bible contains factual/historical errors.
  • About 1 in 3 teens say the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life.
  • Only 47 percent of teens say the Bible is a source of hope.

That’s a simplified look at the minds of teens when it comes to the Bible. Now, let’s look at what a preteen mind can comprehend about the Bible. (These come from Lifeway’s Levels of Biblical Learning, something that our leaders are being equipped with as they reach our kids.)

  • The truths in the Bible are without error and will last forever.
  • The Bible is God’s message about Himself and God’s plan for salvation.
  • The Bible is the only inspired, written Word of God.
  • The Bible teaches that salvation through Jesus is God’s gift of forgiveness.
  • The Bible teaches how to live a Christian life by following Jesus.

Parents, help your preteens understand these concepts. Make Bible reading a special time in your home!

3 Ways to Start Talking With Your Family About Christianity

I read an interesting fact the other day in Children’s Ministry Magazine. According to Pew Research, 40 percent of Americans say they rarely or never talk about religion, even with their own families.

It’s my hope that parents take the spiritual leader role and Proverbs 22:6 to heart.

Talking with your children about God and our faith isn’t hard! Here are some simple tips and tricks to get you started…

1) Be Learner-Based. We love being learner-based around here. Part of that means knowing which ways are kids learn best. Sometimes you can get a deeper discussion time in by using things like music or art. Ask kids to draw you a picture of what they learned in Sunday school instead of just asking. Review the songs we sang at church and see if kids can tell you why Jason felt led to include those in the service. Even a game of basketball can turn into a discussion of how we’re all one body working together.

2) Know What Kids Can Understand. LifeWay has an amazing resource that can help you next time you talk with your kids. It’s called the Levels of Biblical Learning. It puts kids into six different levels based on age, and can help you know what they can comprehend in 10 different faith-based areas. Use this to help guide your conversations to a level your children can really understand.

3) Family Devotionals. Faith conversations can happen anytime and in any place. Always be on the look out for those moments. But, you can also be intentional and plan family devotional times. There are some good ones out there, including Long Story Short and an audio based one that you play in your car that you can find in our library!

SUMMER CAMP 2016 RECAP FOR ADULTS (PART 5)

Note: This is the fifth in a five part series on devotionals for adults from CentriKid camps. See part one for more information.

STATION 5:  Asking for Peace

Read: Philippians 4:6-7, Matthew 6:11, Matthew 21:22; John 16:24; and James 1:6–8

In the midst of your job, your school, your family responsibilities, and even taking care of yourself, you are here with burdens and needs for which only God can provide. More than likely, there is a situation in your life that is preventing you from feeling daily peace. Perhaps it is choosing a major or deciding what you will do after college.  It might be related to your relationships, your family, your job, your finances, or numerous other circumstances. Regardless of the situation, God can provide peace for you.

Have you asked God to calm that storm? Have you boldly asked your Father for wisdom in these situations? As a child of God, you should feel no hesitation or shame in asking your Father for what you need. By asking God to provide for that need, He can also grant boldness for you.

Think of a request for peace that you want to ask of God:

I’m asking God to provide peace for____________________________________________________.

Now, simply pray. Start by expressing to God what is on your heart. Remember these words from Matthew 7:8:

“Everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will opened.” 

Through prayer, you enter into the presence of the One for whom nothing is impossible, and He alone can supply all your needs. Trust in Him right now to provide for every need you may have.