Family Ministry Field Guide

Family Ministry Field Guide

During this interim (read unemployed) time I have been doing a great deal of praying and thinking about ministry. One of the things that I keep coming back to is the notion of family based student ministry. A few weeks ago I was sitting in church and had this thought

As a youth pastor I spend a great deal of effort trying to help students from broken homes. Why not put some of that effort towards fixing broken homes, or helping them not to become broken. 

That thought has been running through my head now along with several others. One of the things that I love about Lifeway and writing for the KNOWN curriculum from time to time is their understanding that parents are vital to student ministry. The primary spiritual caregiver of a student is the parent. That is their Biblical role and it is against the ordained plan of God if the church steps in and tries to take over that role.

Anyway, I could ramble on about ministry to parents for a while. This is a realization that has been building in me for some time, but only just recently has gelled into a complete thought and mindset change. In the future I will be talking more about ways to help parents to be invested in the spiritual lives of their students (I love the thought of parent/child mission trips for starters) but like I said this is all just starting to come together in my head.

So with that stuff moving around in my mind and some free time on my hands I went to the local Lifeway store looking for a book on Children’s ministry. The first thing that jumped out at me with this book Family Ministry Field Guide. I was intrigued by the title and blown away after looking at just a few pages. I am just a couple of chapter in, and I am already learning a great deal.

But the whole point of this entry was to give a quote from the foreword by Mark DeVries. Speaking about his church and the changes that they have made towards a family based approached to ministry he said,

“What we did get right was the almost magical alchemy of a church that empowers parents and stands in the gap when they don’t feel so powerful.”

What a great idea. That is the type of student ministry (to both children and youth) that I want to be a part of–one that empowers parents and helps them when they don’t feel powerful. I want to be a part of a ministry that helps parents take on the mantle of spiritual leaders without adding one more meeting or another pile of guilt or shame on top of their shoulders.

I am still early in my family ministry journey, so keep checking back for the next few weeks and months as I share where God is leading me.

The $5 Youth Ministry

I haven’t spent much time in the “youth ministry” aisle of my local Christian bookstore lately. I guess there are a number of reasons. For a while there I wanted to refrain from all idea books because I was all excited about writing my own stuff and didn’t want to steal ideas from other people. Of course there were budget concerns and time concerns and just a general idea to do things from my own head for a while.

But recently I picked up this book from Todd Outcalt and I have been thrilled with what I have found. The ideas are different, sometimes daring, and always cheep. There is a nice mix of irreverent and poignant ideas. If you are looking for a few ideas to add to your weekly meeting or some fun low cost games to add to your next big event then be sure to check this book out.

Forgotten God

I may be the one person under 40 who read, but wasn’t blown away by Francis Chan’s first book Crazy Love. I don’t know if it was just the place that I was in my life, or that I felt like Erwin McManus had been saying similar things for a long time, but I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about.

But that didn’t stop me from wanting to read his newest book Forgotten God. I am just a few pages in and it is already opening my eyes to a great deal. I keep thinking that if you asked my students they would say that I apparently don’t believe in the Holy Spirit because I don’t ever talk about Him. I talk about the power of God and Jesus in your heart, but that third part of the trinity is saved for theological debates and not real life talk.

So like I said, it has been an eye opener so far. Here are a couple of quotes that jumped out at me.

The World is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation. And the church is not empowered to live differently from any other gathering of people without the Holy Spirit. (Forgotten God p 17)

I want to live so that I am truly submitted to the Spirit’s leading on a daily basis. Christ said it is better for us that the Spirit came, and I want to live like I know that is true. I don’t want to keep crawling when I have the ability to fly. (Forgotten God p 37)

Our Ambitions

The ambitions we have will become the stories we live. If you want to know what a person’s story is about, just ask them what they want. If we don’t want anything, we are living boring stories, and if we want a Roomba vacuum cleaner, we are living stupid stories. If it won’t work in a story it won’t work in life.
Donald Miller
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Actually Reading a Book

I started reading Donald Miller’s new book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” this week and as soon as I started reading I found myself revitalized. It was then that I realized that I haven’t actually read a book in nearly a year.

I say that in the “Never Been Kissed” sort of way. I have read at least 5 fiction books (and I think closer to 7). I have read countless children’s books and listened to the entire Harry Potter collection again along with several other fiction titles. But I haven’t read a book that speaks to my heart in a long, long time. (Now that I am typing this I guess I did read “Crazy Love” this year, but it just didn’t grab me the way it seems to have grabbed the rest of the world. I think that has more to do with my life at the time than any indictment on Chan)

But as I started to read on Monday it felt as if I was waking up from a dream. I mean, the words are good, but the truths aren’t revolutionary. I have heard about being part of a story for a long time, in fact I am even teaching about being a part of God’s story, but just the very essence of reading again feels like cool water on my face.

I still have too many pages to read to give any sort of review of the book, but I do feel awake, deep down in my bones awake, and it is only now that I realize how long it has been since I have felt like this.