Saturday, August 30, 2014

How to cultivate discontentment towards church in your kids--and leave their faith when they graduate

There are a ton of books out there that deal with the mass exodus when it comes to teens leaving the church.  I come to you not as an expert, but as an observer; one who has been a youth pastor of both successful and unsuccessful youth ministries.  I come to you  as a Senior Pastor of a great church and as an active Children's Pastor of that same church.  I come to you as a father of two children both under the age of 13.

The following are simply things I've learned from experience and what I see that if not checked could, down the road, lead to some unresolved answers.

The following are suggestions to do or to continue to do to make sure your child becomes a teenager who is disinterested in church and apathetic towards their faith in God.

Hopefully you'll do the opposite.

1.) Treat church attendance like a country club function.  You know, go when there's a special event or when it seems like the right thing to do. There is no substitute for a real, growing relationship with God through spending time in daily prayer and reading of His Word, then add going to church to worship and strengthen other believers.  This helps strengthen your growing relationship with God. Whenever the emphasis is to just attend church, then a casual Christianity mindset takes hold and is much harder to shake off the older one gets.

2.) Expose your child to high levels of technology.   I'm all for technology.  I'm young (under 40), so of course I appreciate it.  I find myself telling my kids stories like, "when I was your age we had a box we'd wear on our hip that would beep at us to then go find a phone and call that person who needed us--you and your iPhones...mumble...mumble."  The church I pastor as well as many other wonderful, healthy churches use technology in every aspect of their ministry. Understand I'm not comparing "overhead projectors" to "Nintendo" here.

As much as churches try to stay current and provide environments for your child, churches CAN NOT compete with your 7 year old who walks in with their own personal device playing Minecraft or updating their Facebook status before heading to their Bible class.   Please note, I am not ranting about the "what" they are doing on there, I'm ranting about at what age they are being exposed.   There are literally dozens of articles out there telling about the dangers of early exposure to technology.  Here's a link to a simple article that just address the attention issue.  *How Technology is Changing the Way Kids Focus and Think*

3.) Buy into the hero myth.   There is an alarming mindset growing among parents that believe this, "If it's a movie about heroes then it's totally fine for my 7, 9, 11 year old."   Remember when PG-13 meant....... ok, sure, you and I are the parents.  We ultimately decide what we allow our kids to watch, not some committee of biblical illiterate, unprincipled, godless group who sets the standard for our home. Well?????
If I was to sit with you and outline how many times a particular movie takes God's name in vain, how many times they said s*** or dropped the bomb, told you how many sexual innuendos were made, I believe you'd say something like, "yeah, I think we won't take them to see that just yet."   Sadly the problem is many are not researching beyond the preview.  

Hey, I'll be here along with others who will teach teenagers to respect women, to encourage them to wait to have sex until marriage, to teach and help them follow God's ways of doing life.  Just know it's hard to get the truth across when they've been feed, over many years, a steady steam of ideology like TMNT: Michelangelo makes note of April O'Neals sex appeal, saying, "She's so hot I can feel my shell tightening."
Why would anyone believe God's way is best when they've had their way for so long and they've been told their way is just fine?

If you want to get a head start by researching movies ahead of time before spending good money on something check out,

I wholeheartedly believe God's Word to be true.  Proverbs 22:6 " Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older, they will not leave it."  It's a wonderful promise that requires a TON of HARD work.

It's hard to say no when others say yes.  It's hard (for some) not to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest tech,  it's hard to have daily devotion time with your family.

It's hard ...if you're not focused on the bigger picture.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Find the Egg

I was asked, "As a Pastor, how can you celebrate Easter?"  I responded, "Because the Resurrection of Jesus is the single most important event in life.  Without it, there is no purpose to what we "believe."  They followed up with, "No, I know that, I mean Easter because of where it came from."   I was confused at that point so on to Google I go.

So, I've just read 3 articles of the "origins of Easter" and I'd like to say a few things.
1) Thank you parents for not teaching me all that stuff.  I mean, wow, did you guys even know that stuff???  I assume you did after all we were all lost, never went to church, mom and dad did drugs, cussed like sailors and fought like episodes WWF.  We were what Christians called, "lost people."  It wasn't until I was 8-9 years old that started going to church and my family got saved.  But really, we were just out looking for eggs filled with candy!!! Im so glad to know I didn't go through my childhood with such a warped view of Easter.

2) Thank you to my home church, Harvest Time that instilled in me the virtues of God.  They taught me that He is a redeeming God who we also should take on His business and redeem that which is lost. So Easter, to many (like me growing up) don't know the "history of where it came from" and sadly many churches spend more time teaching pagan history than saving grace.

 3) Thank you to other Christians who like me celebrate Easter as what is means to us personally. "The celebration of a Risen Savior."

4)  Thank you to Christians who don't celebrate Easter and don't look down or differently to Christians that do.   You guys, like me, have your convictions and rather than spout off hate or words of conflict, you simply understand where each group comes from and let that be enough.

I've read the origins of Easter and all it's pagan history, but I have to say I'm going to attempt to be like the Apostle Paul, when he said, " for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.--Acts 17:28’  He uses current culture.  See how he draws them in by saying, "some of your own poets have said"  to bring people to the knowledge of a loving, life giving, redeeming God who loves you so much.