A Practical System to Be a Creative Teacher

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A Practical System to Be a Creative Teacher
by Corey Jones
Deep Dive Master Classes #6 

System: a set of principles or procedures working together as parts of a whole – an organized scheme or method.

Learning Retention Rates
Lecture 5%
Reading 10%
Audio-visual 20%
Demonstration 30%
Group Discussion 50%
Doing (including VR) 75%
Teaching Others 90%

People do tend to enjoy getting information in specific formats but it’s more about their engagement and interest.

Opposing argument – no one size fits all model. In fact, research shows that teaching students according to different learning styles has no effect on how they perform on assessments. Every time scientists have tried to prove this theory, they’ve failed.

We retain different types of information in different ways. There is truth to this though in how passive a student is and how active a student is for retention. 

Sports and Podcasts Illustration 

The goal is not information retention. The goal is disciple-making!

Teaching a lesson vs. teaching kids

You can’t teach all these ways the whole time but you can slide things in to help retain everyone. 

The role of the Holy Spirit

John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

The best I’ve ever taught vs the best they’ve ever listened. 

System – a set of principles and procedures, an organization method. You have a high calling. A huge responsibility. But it’s not all on you. So ask your helper for help. 

SIGHT (VISUAL SYSTEM)

Felt Board
Comic Book Clips
Movie Scene
YouTube Clips
Speechless or Pantomime
Story Pictures
Art
Whiteboard
Blacklight Art
You as the Character
Gameshow or Quiz

HEARING (AUDITORY SYSTEM)

Whose Line Is It Anyway Sound Effects
Seat Sections Make Certain Sounds
Sound Jar
Opera Singing
Karaoke
Recorded Sound Effects
Voiceover
Bring in a Guest Character
Action News Reporter

MOVEMENT (VESTIBULAR SYSTEM)

Kids as Actors
Cue Cards
Action Figures
Acting
Hats
Use the Room as Props

TOUCH (TACTILE SYSTEM)

Object Lesson
Clothesline
Prop Box Costumes
Small Group Leader Statues
Kids Sketch Scenes
Story Boxes

TASTE AND SMELL (GUSTATORY AND OLFACTORY SYSTEM)

Flavors
Candles or scents
Scratch and Sniff Stickers
Imagine the taste

BODY AWARENESS (PROPRIOCEPTION SYSTEM)

Hunger
Swallow
Breathe
Balance
Pressure
Weight
Temperature
Time
Light & Darkness

Other

Audience Participation
Repetition
Mystery
Imagination

The foundation of good teaching is always good communication.

Watch yourself. Hit record and then watch yourself and your class. 

Daniel 11:32b, “But the people who know their God will display strength and take action!”

Slides: A Practical System to Be a Creative Teacher-2 

General Session Notes from #D62019

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General Session 1

RUSSELL MOORE – @drmoore
The Cross as Family Crisis

John 19:16-36

In family, we have the possibility of experiencing a blessing as well as having our hearts completely broken. 

As Jesus is being crucified, family is all over this story. Because Jesus, as He is being crucified is able to look and see His mother. 

God through the family, has prepared Jesus for this moment. The beautify and the horror of what it means to be a family in a broken world. 

We need to get to a place of vulnerability in our families so we can lead people to the cross.

There’s no such thing as a Christian that is all alone.

Jesus is at the cross because He did not live up to His families expectations.

Honor and love family by not putting family first. 

In secularized America, we sometimes put too much emphasis on family. 

The prosperity Gospel of the family. Constantly Instagrammable family, if I do right. This is not what Scripture teaches. 

Because the FAMILY is the signpost for the Kingdom of God it is one of the most intense arenas for spiritual warfare.

JON FORREST – @jondforrest
Fight

https://amzn.to/2ltfFg9

It’s not chill the good chill, it’s fight the good fight.

Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. 

If you spend more time being angry at people not doing what they are supposed to be doing than being in awe of Jesus, you need some recalibration.

Jesus doesn’t stop Mary from opening up with jar of perfume. He is worth it. That is not an offering too large for our Savior. 

PHILIP NATION – @philipnation
Building Great Habits of Discipleship

We’ve got to rework how it is we naturally go about these kinds of things. 

We must move past the bad habits of discipleship and move to the good habits found in Phillipians 2. 

Bad habits of discipleship:

#1 The library – We think discipleship is just knowledge transfer. 

#2 The metronome – Behavior modification. 

#3 The carousel – Entertainment – Bright and moving but going no where. 

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13

4 things for you to hold onto and apply. 

1. The habit of growth

“As you have always obeyed.” No one drifts towards holiness. It’s quite the opposite. We slowly move away. Make growth a habit. Exert every muscle in your being. Hurt the next day. It’s why they’re called spiritual disciplines. Work at your salvation. 

2. The habit of worship

“not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence.” What if the radical living we are called to by the radical Christ is where worship is the norm? Jesus wasn’t soft on sin. Both congregationally and moment by moment of the trusting God. What happens in your family and in your life when worship becomes habitual and just normal? Fear and trembling looking to Christ. 

3. The habit of submission. 

“Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you.” It’s not a transitional but a transformative relationship with God. What if we had a habitual submission to the power of God? Our relationship with God is an absolute surrender of control to the power of God who is working within you. The spiritual disciples are not the goal, Jesus is. 

4. The Habit of Mission

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Romans 1:5 our work is to bring about obedience to the faith. God is at work in you and adjusting your will, you attitude, your wants, and your desires. Work on the mission of me or the mission of God. Work out of the flesh or the Kingdom of God. Pivot the people of God from being consumers to missionaries. 

Put your yes on the table and then ask God what’s up for discussion. 

General Session 2

PAM TEBOW
The Ripple Effects of Living Out Deuteronomy Six

Be sure you are intentionally impacting others with the gospel by how you live your life. 

If you want to possibly impact the people around you, you need to be intentional. This is the ripple effect, you impact someone who impacts someone else.

We don’t know the impact God’s Word will have on our kids. 

Teach children if they want to have a positive impact on others, they use live their lives in a way that follows the Gospel. 

Love kids unconditionally as God has loved us unconditionally.  

Psalm 62 is my security scripture. We need security because there are a lot of storms in life. 

We wanted our children to know that God’s Word has made us adequate for what He Has planned for us to do.

Find your security Bible verses, know that God is your refuge.

Children are a gift from the Lord. We had a game plan along the way, which was based on teaching our kids the Word of God and loving them unconditionally as God loves us.

CHRISTOPHER YUAN – @christopheryuan
A Prodigal and His Parents’ Journey to the Father

When you encounter Christ, He will impact every area of your life.

Nothing is more important than following Christ.

A powerful and dangerous prayer: Lord, do whatever it takes to bring this prodigal son to you. 

“God’s kindness leads us toward repentance.” Romans 2:4

God’s Word is the most powerful sword to pierce even the hardest of hearts that are full of sin.

What we have in our Bibles is not just ink on paper. It is the very breath of God.

I stopped letting my desires control who I am and instead surrendered to Jesus.

My identity should not be defined by my sexuality. My identity MUST be in Jesus Christ alone.

The question is not “When is it too early to talk about sexuality with our kids?” But in 2019, “When is it too late?”

The opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality, it’s holiness. 

The opposite of every sin struggle is holiness! Change is not the absence of temptations, but to surrender and seek holiness in Jesus.

Holy Sexuality and the Gospel Book https://christopheryuan.com/books/holy-sexuality-and-the-gospel/ 

Out of a Far Country Book https://christopheryuan.com/books/out-of-a-far-country/ 

To Parents of Prodigals:
You are not
the cure.
You are not the cause.
The goal of Christian parents is not to produce godly children, but to be godly parents. 

Parents, Adam and Eve had the perfect Father and the perfect environment and they still failed. 

General Session 3

RON HUNTER – @ronhunter
The Art of Meaningful and Influential Conversations With Your Kids

Without relationship, there is no influence.

Being related is not the same as a relationship.

Why don’t we enter into our kid’s world rather than try to force them to enter ours?

Kids let electronics be the barrier. Parents let kids with the electronics be the barrier. 

Extroverts

Introverts 

James 3:1-2 Influence of Speech

Proverbs 17:27-28 reduce negative (wear down)

Colossians 4:6 Full of Grace (seasoned with salt)

Ephesians 4:29 Build up others (our kids)

Talk – The ingredients of a conversation. 

Topic – high/low or best/worse or made/sad/glad

Ask – tennis ball game – What made it bad or good? Ask follow up questions. Say, “Tell me more.” Say, “Help me understand that or what do you think should have happened.” Teach them how to think about what went on and learn from it for next time. 

Listen: Your kids can tell if you’re actually concerned or not. Conversation is not one way. 

Kudos: Let them hear 60-80% of who they are rather than what they have done. Teacher picks career path. 

Abe – Formula for Meaningful Conversations 

Lincoln tackled the tough topics with a great tone. He measured his words and understood the power of the tongue. 

Approach – Two keys, intentionality and attitude. Schedule your family time. Table Time is valued over vacations and other family activities by kids. Connect with your kids instead of correcting your kids. 

Brain – Share more than truth with them, share the reasoning that helped you arrive at the conclusion. 

Emotion – Dime vs. Nickel “As seen on TV” Because a child learns through relationships…that’s where they adopt values of those they respect. 

General Session 4

JIM WIDEMAN – @jimwideman
GrandPartners

Deuteronomy 6 wasn’t just written to pastors, it was written to parents and parents who happen to be pastors. 

What if the church and the home had another partner? 

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9

God has always had a purpose and a plan for everything He has done.

Have you ever heard of a church that offered training for a grandparent? 

God is giving you a second chance to correct your parenting mistakes. 

Parents need support, this is why naturally there are 4 grandparents and 2 parents. 

Grandfriends: Those who are adopted grandparents to pass on the faith to the next generation. 

We have an opportunity to meet this mission field like never before. Are we going to take advantage of this partner to leverage what we are called to do in family ministry? God is calling us to help grandparents and grandfriends to be the partner God is calling them to be. 

LISSY RIENOW
An Insider Look at Building Heart Connection Within Families

Malachi 4:5-6 

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet

Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

And he will turn

The hearts of the fathers to the children,

And the hearts of the children to their fathers,

Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

My family, who loves me the most, get to see the absolute worst of my personality. 

Who you are at home, is who you really are.

My character needs some serious improvements. I need to grow in Christlikeness. 

Relationship has to come before discipleship. Relationship is the foundation. 

So many teenagers have expressed to me they wished their parents would take more initiative to pray and talk about their faith with them at home.

Family discipleship doesn’t stop with you as parents. It’s an all in family mission with Christ.

MICHAYLA WHITE – @michaylawhite
Millennial Parents of Faith

Millennials…
Parents are boomers
Most diverse generation’
Largest living generation
Highly educated
Digital natives. 

These are just facts, not context! 

Have you ever been to a movie late?

What do they think about the church?
Barna Group Research

Nomads: 18-29-year-olds with a Christian background who have walked away from church engagement yet still consider themselves Christian. 

Prodigals: 18-29-year-olds who have a Christian background but have lost their faith, describing themselves as “no longer Christian.”

Exiles: 18-29-year-olds who have a Christian background and are still invested in their Christian faith but feel stuck (or lost) between culture and the church. 

98.6% of millennial parents highly agree it is very important to me that my children grow up to know, love, and serve Jesus. 

29.6% of millennial parents highly agree I make reading my Bible a regular part of my day. 

We want our kids to love Jesus but don’t understand what discipleship looks like in an everyday life. 

Not committed to our programs but they are committed to relationships. 

They need a teammate and they need someone to pass them the baton. 

Dorsey’s 3 Factors for Millennial Employer Loyalty 

First Impressions – Many Millennial decide on the first day of work whether they can imagine themselves being there long term. 

Clear Path of Engagement – Millennials want to understand the organization quickly and desire to be provided with specific examples of the performance you expect. 

Regular Feedback – Frequent, clear, specific feedback is the way Millennials gauge their effectiveness it builds their connection to their role. 

When it comes to decision making for committing to a church home…Millennial Parents Prioritize:

1. Theological Alignment 

2. Children’s Ministry

3. Preaching and Worship

Safety + Security – aligns with Dorsey’s first impression. #1 concern of Millennial parents when rising a church with their kids. 

Ethos: hospitality and inclusion – aligns with Dorsey’s ease of engagement. #2 concern of Millennial parents when visiting a church with their kids. They need to feel like they belong from the start. When a child is known and loved. 

Disclosure + discipleship relationships – aligns with Dorsey’s individual feedback. #3 concern of Millennial parents when rising a church with their kids. 

Millennial parents of faith will commit to a church that commits wholeheartedly to their children. 

The Silver Bullet:
Invest in their children
Invite their parents over to dinner
Pass the baton

Family means we do more than one meal together. 

JIM PUTMAN – @JimPutmanRLM
Discipleship in the Four Spheres

You people are the heroes in the church…especially you Junior High Pastors.  

How do we create a church from the top down that creates disciples? 

The reason our kids are stumbling and falling is because our parents weren’t discipled in the first pace to understand the role of discipling their own kids. They went to church instead of experiencing being the church.

You cannot divorce the teachings of Jesus from the methods of Jesus and get the same results of Jesus.

The reason we don’t have disciple-making parents is because we don’t have disciple-making churches.

Most Christians reveal their immaturity, by the fact that they are isolated. 

The reason they (kids) don’t buy Jesus is because they know it’s not working for their parents. In the recipe of the faith they (the parents) have left out major components. 

What if we changed the structure of our churches where every door leads to relational environments where people are living out the truth? 

General Session 5

JEFFERSON BETHKE – @JeffersonBethke
Why Rhythms and Story Can Save Your Marriage and Family

What does it look like to live in Rhythm and Story? An identity given around a ritual.

We are what we worship.

Endless doing. Workaholics. Never a finish line until you die.

The biblical model of time
A spiral that goes forward.
God has a timeline but he also is a God of rhythm and cadence. A daily, weekly, yearly way.
Leads to progressive being. Identity centric. More and more formed into the image of Jesus.

When does the day actually start according to God? There was evening and morning the first day. Starts form the position of rest. Then once we are rested we can go work.

We were actually created to submit to sessions. You will flourish best when you submit to rest.

The American idea is to never be limited by anything ever. God operates differently and wants us to submit.

Amish people live in a daily, weekly, and yearly cadence.
Centers the songs, stories, and truth in the home. Usually read by a parent at the table, unpacking their identity ritualistically over a meal. What is the retention rate of the Amish household? How likely they will remain Amish? 95-97%.

Jewish retention is 95%.

Barna for evangelicals. The highest number 37%. 11% are resilient disciples.

What’s different about these different people groups?

Rituals give you an identity and you usually don’t leave an identity.

Evangelical Holiest Holidays: Christmas and Easter. A big event, a lot of people, and one person on stage.

Highest Holiest Moments in the Jewish Community: Passover and other events that happen at home around the dinner table where someone shares a story and they eat.

7 Billion total people and 15 million Jewish. .2% of the population. Nobel Prize 30%. Pulitzer 25%. Patient files 50%.

When you’re told from age zero identity wrapped in ritual it creates retention.

What would it look like if we as church leaders equipped people to center their homes to be the disciple-making machine? We can be an enormous helping tool but the family is where it happens.

Daily. Breakfast Benediction.
Put your hands up as and receive.
“I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what other people say about me. I am the beloved of God. It’s who I am. No one can take it from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus. And share His love with the world.”
Give them mm’s and this ritual will change their life forever. 25 seconds every day.

Weekly. The Steak
What is something you’re trying to make the high point moment of every week? Usually something individualistic. If you’re married the peek moment should be with the family as a deeply ritualistic shaping device.
Shabbat
Sabbath is not our burnout recovery day.
2 candles: Cease and Celebrate
You are not what you do if you believe it prove it one day a week. Do you really believe God has it?
Delight. Get out the nice china. Drink the best wine. Joy and delight. What would it look like if every 7 days you threw a party for your family or your marriage?
A day of intentional rest and celebration.
A day of the work is done. Enjoy and be blessed.

Yearly. Family Summit
Lev 23. Crafted holidays to create a story. You were once this, now you’re this. Identity.
Every year at the end of the year think about your family as more important than a business. There are yearly meetings. They do new product. They evaluate. What will 2020 be for my marriage? Does he have a word for us this year? Does he have a practice for us this year? Identity Shaping Rituals.

American Secular Cultural Holidays: Apple. We are ritualistic creatures. We look at our phones first thing every day. Yearly they have their Sept event. Keynote and new iPhone.

On the last day of Jesus, He gathers His disciples for a meal. He tells a story at a table. He makes it a rhythm and tells them to do it when they gather.

KANDI GALLATY – @KandiGallaty
Leading By Example: How Being a Disciple Helps Us Disciple Our Families

Our kids learn everything they do by watching us.

Being a disciple is a lifestyle; it’s not something you turn on and off.

What’s truly important is us leading ourselves well. And if we lead ourselves well, we will be able to lead others well.

2 Timothy 3:14-17
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

A parent needs to be intentional in the investment of his or her family.

2 Timothy 1:5
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

An abiding presence that dwelt in them at all times.

Acts 16:1
Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek.

He was already a disciple when Paul met him, most likely because of his mother and grandmother.

Car Ride: Never get out of the car without a prayer. Healthy, safe, and a happy day. Maximize the time you have with them. Set the pace for their day.

Meal Time – it doesn’t have to look like a traditional big family meal but it needs to be a priority.

Bed Time – no kids want to go to bed.

Family Game Time – everything else can wait and we can spend time with the family.

Time equals transparency. Time spent now means they will open up to us later. We want to be intentional with them now so it will matter to them when they are older.

As a parent, you are your kids greatest advocate.

Don’t treat your Bible like it’s a keepsake box. Open it and spend time with Jesus.

25% of church-going Christians read the Bible. Of the 25% who read only read 8 books of the Bible.

Idle time becomes idol time.

We just need to be with Jesus, to be changed and become more like Him.

H.E.A.R. formula bible journaling: Highlight, Explain, Apply, and Respond.

Discipleship is a lifestyle.

Matthew 28:18b-20
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Breakout Notes from #D62019

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Breakout 1 – Jim Wideman – @jimwideman

Reaching The Kids That Live At Your House

Work hard at making the Gospel fun in the church AND work hard at making Christianity fun in the home. 

1. I am so thankful that God called me into the ministry & particularly to Kids & Family Ministry.

2. I’m also thankful God called me to be Julie’s Husband, Yancy & Whitney’s Dad, Cory & Nigel’s Father-in-love, & Sparrow & Rhythm’s G.

3. It matters to God how you manage your ministry & your family. Your kids are your greatest ministry. 

 1. Too many ministers are married to the church and date their family. I believe it’s important to be married to your family and date the church.

 2. My family is 2nd on my priority list, 1st is my relationship with Christ. 

 3. My ministry is priorities 3, 4, & 5

 •My pastors’ problems

 •The level of leadership directly under me 

 •Everything else about ministry

4. When it comes to reaching the kids that live at your house as well as the kids at your church, “What happens at home is more important than what happens at church.”

5. Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Impress means intentional. Don’t be more intentional at church than you are at work. Be married to your family and date the church, not the other way around. 

6. Let your family be your greatest sermon (If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time!) Make a list of things you want your family to be known for. 

7. 12 Things You Can Do To Connect With Your Kids For Life 

 1. Make Jesus the king of your house not just your heart

 1. Be the example of living the word they see (Father & Parent like God) 

 2. Let faith be caught not just taught

 3. Make Jesus an everyday part of your lives (Never did devotions)

 4. Use the tools you tell your church parents to use at your house

 5. Give them the Word and do not allow strongholds or attitudes to be formed  

 6. Model making choices based on the word & prayer

 7. Teach your children how to hear God’s voice

 8. Be a worshiper at home not just at church

 2. Love your spouse the way you want your children’s spouse to love them

 1. Adore your spouse

 2. Model love (Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another

 3. Whatever you did to win their affection is what you do to keep their affection

 3. Spend lots of time with your kids (at home & at church)

 1. Ephesians 5:15 Be very careful, then, how you live –not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. 

 2. Master time management

 • Act like your time belongs to you

 • Live by Priorities

 • Make appointments by your priority

 • Evaluate how you spend your time (identify time wasters)

 • Know how many nights you are willing to work at the church. Block time off. Plan things with your family. 

 3. Making time for your family has to be a lifestyle choice (watch your nights) 

 1. Daily

 • In-person

 • On the phone (FaceTime) 

 2. Weekly

 • Dates

 • Rituals (Saturday/ Sunday Lunches)

 • Family Outings

 • Include your kids on errands 

 • Make time off fun

 3. Special Times

 • Events and happenings they choose 

 • Events and happenings you choose

 4. Be consistent in your discipline

 1. The keyword is consistent

 2. Correct tell why

 3. Punish (different ways with different kids and at different ages) AND reward them when you catch them doing right!  

 4. Pray with them

 5. Hug them, tell them you love them 

 6. Move on

 5. Seek to understand how God has made each of your children & grandchildren differently and allow them to be different (Personality test help)

 • Different is good!

 • Teach them to serve  

 • Teach them to work

 6. Find each of your children’s natural giftings and bends and encourage them in it.

 Identify God’s call & purpose

 • Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it

 • Encourage- to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope. To spur on; to give help to

 7. Learn about their world, their interest, their music, their styles. When you care about their interests they’ll care about yours. 

 “Because I take the time to ask Fortnite questions to my grandson, he asks me questions about the Bible.” 

 • Be truly interested

 • Dare to learn about what they like

 • Be all in

 8. Admit your mistakes. When you’re wrong make corrections. (Ask for their forgiveness) Ask them to pray for you. There’s a huge difference between I’m sorry and Godly repentance. 

 9. Talk to your children about everything. Be open and honest. 

 (Establish an open-door policy early)

 • Talk about your mistakes and temptations. Have you ever noticed that the devil attacks family the same way? Prepare them. 

 • If the devil tempted you in an area, you can rest assured he’s going to tempt them in the same area

 • Don’t overreact when they express views that are different or wrong.

 (Don’t freak out)

 • Don’t forget what it was like to be their age

 10. Make their friends welcome in your home 

 • Include them in your time with your kids 

 • Invest in your kids’ friends

 11. Don’t open the door for rebellion in your children by rebelling against authorities in your lives

 • Always side with authority

 • Children are masters of managed information 

 • Never lie to your children about anything

 • If this has been an issue, repent.

 12. Don’t exasperate your children

 • Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. 

 • What does exasperate mean?

 1). to excite or inflame the anger of: enrage 

 2). to cause irritation or annoyance to 

 1. Don’t forget what it was like to be a teen

 2. Set boundaries and let them earn your trust (check up on them, but be fair) 

 3. Let the punishment fit the crime

 4. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on your kids

 5. Don’t have one set of rules for them & another for yourself

8. It’s never too late to make the right choices

 If you’re not dating your spouse, you need to be.

 Whatever you did to win your spouse’s affection, continue it today!

 Let her know there is no one you love more than her, including the church. 

 If your pastor wants the church to be a priority over your family, you’re working for the wrong church. 

 1. We serve a God who is the God of a second chance 

 2. Where do you need to make changes?

 3. Let’s pray

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Breakout 2 – Jim Wideman – @jimwideman 

Resourcing Grandparents To Pass Their Faith To the Next Generation

Very few churches have a ministry to grandparents or mobilize grandparents. This is a mission field.

1. Thanks/ notes/ Intro family/ Whose in the room?

2. Many churches today focus on 1 generation

 1. God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob

 2. Multigenerational ministry – This makes the church balanced. 

 3. Every generation can be influenced by each other

3. More grandparents are living on the earth than at any other time in history

4. What do we know about being a grandparent? 

 1. It’s more than wonderful

 2. Grandkids are better than your kids

 3. It’s the reward for not killing the first bunch 

 4. You can send them home when you get tired

 Love your grandkids by giving them the same rules at your house as they have at their parent’s house. 

5. Grandparent ministry today offers the same opportunities and potential that children’s ministry did when I started over 40 years ago.

 1. More than 70 million grandparents currently in the U.S.

 2. Only 30 million indicate attending church (43%)

 3. There are 108.7 million people 50 years old & above in the U.S.

6. Fun facts that you may not know from AARP’s latest report 

 1. About one-third of all adults are grandparents.

   2. The average age of becoming a grandparent is around 47.

 3. The average age of grandparents is around 64.

 4. The average grandparent has six grandchildren

 5. About 77% of grandparents are married.

 6. About half are still working.

 7. A slight majority, 54%, have at least some college education.

 8. About 6% of grandparents have a grandchild living in their home.

 9. Parents are not present in around 43% of those homes, a phenomenon known as a skip-generation family. How is your church helping grandparents who are the primary caretaker for kids? Help with childcare, car clinics, date nights, back to school events. 

 10. About 15 % provide regular childcare for grandchildren in their homes.

 11. More than half of grandparents help with grandchildren’s educational expenses.

  12. A little less than half of the grandparents help with grandchildren’s living expenses.

  13. A quarter of grandparents help pay for medical or dental care for their grandchildren.

 14. More than half of all grandparents believe they play a very important role in their grandchildren’s lives. What if we could change this to 100% by letting them know?

 7. Grandparents Matter

  1. Grandparents are incredibly important to their grandkids.

 2. Grandparents are uniquely positioned to spiritually influence their grandkids.

 3. Grandparents have a Biblical mandate to do so.

 4. Have you ever wondered why God designed for the family to have 2 parents & 4 grandparents? Maybe parents really do need more support? What would happen if the church can come alongside grandparents and grad-friends to help bear this burden? 

8. If God designed the role of Parent & Grandparent what was His purpose?

  1. Deuteronomy 6:1-7 These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

  2. Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

  3. Have you ever thought that the purpose of every Jewish celebration, Holiday and Feast day can be summed up in one thing; “Remember what the Lord has done, and teach it to your children.”

 All Jewish Holidays & Feasts can be summed up in one thing “Remember what I’ve done & teach it to your children!”

 Write down God stories on the back of pictures or else those memories and God stories will be gone when grandparents pass away. Pass those God stories on. If you don’t get intentional then your whole families Biblical history can be lost with the passing of the patriarchs. 

 9. Grandparents must be intentional to pass on their family’s God Story to future generations! (Sparrow & Rhythm’s story) 

 10. The Church & Home have a Grand partner and it’s time that we invite them to the conversation.

 11. Service is over but church is not…

 (Why do parents & grandparents want better for their children in every area except spiritual things?)

 12. We must recalibrate how the church & the homework together

 1. Old model: The church teaches & the home reinforce.

  2. New model: The home teaches & the church reinforce.

In the Family Ministry Movement, we talk a lot about partnering with parents but what if we realized the Church & the Home have another partner…Grandparents? 

Service is over, church is not. 

13. We must recalibrate Grandparenting

 1. Old model: Spoil, send home all hyped up, my house, my rules.

 2. New model: Train, all in, partner, same rules, transfer faith.

14. How do we start the recalibration process within the church?

 1. Start the conversations…

 2. Encourage mentoring, seek out Grandfriends…

 3. Start a small group or Sunday School Class

 4. Offer Grandparenting classes. (Close/Distance)

 5. Offer technology training (involve the youth)

 6. Include Grandparents in child dedications…

 7. Offer multigenerational events church-wide

 8. Offer Grandparent events & activities

 9. Present Grandparents Bibles to pass on…

 10. Throw first-time Grandparents a Baby Shower

 11. Encourage older adults in serving in kids & youth

 12. Join the Legacy Coalition! (www.legacycoalition.com)

15. Deuteronomy 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

16. BE INTENTIONAL AT CHURCH & HOME!

Write down your own God story. 

Start conversations with your church and let this be part of the partnering verbiage that comes from your pulpit. 

We as the church pass on the faith and make disciples. 

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Breakout 3 – Lena Wooten – @Lena_W

Developing a Thriving Family Ministry

1/168 – If we are lucky families are in church 1 hour of the 168 hour week. What are we doing to make disciples during the other 167 hours? 

1. Integrated Family Curriculum 

Birth through Grandparenting. 

 D6, Orange, David C. Cook, LifeWay, and others. 

2. Email and Social Media

D6 Family App is a great resource for families. Family Fun Questions. 

Splink: Spiritual Linking. Help families spiritually link to each other regardless of their age. A free resource to start spiritual conversations. 

3. Family Events

InstaHunt – Instagram Scavenger Hunt. Gave papers after church with things for the family to go do and post. Take items and spell out your families last name. Reenact a scene from frozen, etc. Use the church hashtag. Gather at 5:00 and eat ice cream where the photos shared based on a hashtag on the screen. 

Gingerbread House Making Party – at a local elementary gathered empty milk cartons for the base of the house. Gram crackers, icings, candy, and let kids sit with their families to decorate the houses. 

Family Camp Out – at the church on a Saturday Night. Smores, hot dogs, and then go into church together smelling like a campfire. 

4. Devotionals

Share the Bible App Devotionals. 

52 Creative Family Time Devotions – 1 a week for a year and things around the house that can be done in under 5 minutes. 

5. D6+

Being pulled in so many directions is torture. 

Ministry is full of Discipleship, vision, lessons, leaders, events, budgets, stages, small groups, volunteers, meetings, teaching, curriculum, supplies, etc… What if there were resources to help you? Pain points for parents. 

Volunteer Training – Give the info and then in the P.S. include a quick info tip they need to see. 

Parent toolboxes being printed in snail mail. Magnet sent to the family as a reminder for spiritual conversations. 

Your volunteers are ministers, not babysitters. Communicate this to them and help them buy into the value of this position. 

6. Parenting Seminar

Right Now Media has resources if you are not able to bring someone in. 

FamJam – Sunday after church. Lunch provided. Jim Wideman and Dr. Ron Hunter came in to teach. Free event. Children’s classes covered by teenagers who made money. 45 minutes each and workshops by people in the church. Marriage, preschool, young adults, etc.  

7. Parenting Resource Hub

An area in the church for parents to find recourses. 

Creating a Parenting Resource Center in Your Church on a Budget – https://d6family.com/creating-a-parenting-resource-center-in-your-church-on-a-budget/ 

8. Family Fun Nights

Give a giant list of ideas: 

Have a family devotional

Game night

Build a snowman

Pack a picnic

Go on a family bike ride

Fly a kite

Make a bird feeder

Watch old home movies

Hang out around the fire-pit

Read a book together

Pull out sleeping bags and have an indoor campout

Roast marshmallows in your fireplace and make s’mores

Throwball in the back yard

Have a Nerf battle

Go ice skating

Shoot some hoops

Have a dance party

Pitch a tent in your back yard

Make a fort in your living room

Draw a family portrait

Paint a picture to hang in your home

Play hide and seek

Make homemade ice cream

Have an outdoor movie night

Go to Goodwill and pick out an outfit for each other to wear

Make play dough creations

Go on a hike

Play four square

Do a puzzle

Try Geocaching

Make a time capsule

Watch the sunset

Have a craft night

Look at family photo albums together

Make your own pizza night

Go swimming

Have a lip sync battle

Write letters to each other

Plant a garden

Make a meal for someone who is sick

Play charades

Play Frisbee together

Create sidewalk chalk masterpieces

Go stargazing

Make a craft from Pinterest together

Go bowling

You do not have to be a parent to disciple children.  

 

Breakout 4 – Michayla White – @michaylawhite

Developing Spiritual Practices in Children 

Michayla’s Calling: Shape the future of the Church by connecting leaders who serve kids and families to what they need. 

Key factors for spiritual formation. 

Foundations for Discipleship of Children 

What happens when a child comes to faith in Jesus? 

 New Creation – The old has passed away, the new has come! They have been given righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Coheirs with Christ – Sons, daughters, with full rights of a natural heir.

Peace with God – They have peace with the Holy God of the universe through His blameless son, Jesus Christ.

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit – God’s love has been poured into their hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to them. 

Spiritual Gifts – They have spiritual gifts to share with the Body as evidence of God’s grace to all of us. 

Conquerors – They are more than conquerors through Him who loves them. 

Prepared in Advance to Bring Him glory – Before the foundations of the earth was laid, they were prepared for the glory of the Lord!

Fellow Disciples – When a child comes to Jesus, they are welcomed by God and are fellow disciples with us. 

Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

The proper response to the Gospel is praise. 

Do they really understand what they’re doing? 

 This is His work we are invited to participate in. 

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17

If a child is truly trusting in Christ, his fruit will be evident over time. 

Passing on the knowledge of God is a community mandate to all believers. 

What does it look like for us to nurture thriving relationships with Jesus? 

If we are not careful, we can unwittingly pass on facts to our kids, and fail to pass on faith.

Romans 8: 27-29

“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

Mark 12:28-31

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Christian spiritual formation for children is the lifelong process by which the Holy Spirit serves as the child’s teacher, deepening the child’s relationship with God, transforming the child into Christlikeness, generating an overflow of love toward God and others.”

From Kidz At Heart Intl. 

The fruit of Christian spiritual formation for kids is Christlikeness and this can coincide with their development. 

The child’s view of God is started at conception. 

Psalm 51:6 “Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.”

Psalm 139:13-14

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Knowledge isn’t necessarily sufficient evidence of spiritual health. Are you growing in love for God and others? 

Know God’s story – Follow his instructions

We demonstrate spiritual formation. 

This is a whole lifelong process. We are formed every day, either spiritually or not. 

We are drawn to the way of Jesus or we are drawn another way. 

The world and the enemy is actively opposed to the Christian spiritual formation of children…It desires to create a spiritual life that is asleep or directly opposed to the hope and love and intimacy of Jesus.

The Kingdom of God needs to be their worldview-not the temporary, fleeting, empty narrative of the world; but the eternal, satisfying, and FULL narrative of the gospel. 

Who God is, who we are, and the extent Jesus took to bring us back to Him. 

Relationships 

A demonstration of balance on one foot and being knocked over. Then being protected. Then being surrounded. With an even bigger circle, there was more protection. What did you see going on here? Everyone in the community brings the best opportunity to stay standing. Healthy relationships. Adults can only take children where they are going themselves. A side by side journey together. 

Believing the right things and doing the right things vs. falling in love with Jesus. 

If you are in love with Jesus how did that happen? What’s your story? What made the difference for you? Communication, time, presence, sacrifice, mercy, forgiveness. The same things that grew your relationship with your spouse. 

Environments and Experience

The pace of life is a big issue today. Over-scheduled. They need models that show the pace of a disciple. Evaluate the pace of our home and maybe even Sunday morning. Focused or distracting environments. Learning requires us to create an environment but making space for children to connect with God is another thing entirely. 

Biblical Literacy

Utilize multiple intelligence. 

Include the Holy Spirit as teacher and trust Him. What if we invited the children to listen to God more than to us? 

Allow the Holy Spirit to help the child to make connections. 

What is discipleship? 

Emulation – A disciple’s actions were expected to be consonant with his rabbi. 

Diligence – Diligent in observing, diligent in learning from, and consistent in practicing what their rabbi practiced. 

Much more than feeling and much more than a set of actions, it was a commitment to look like Him and walk like Him. 

Scripture – reading or hearing and trusting the God-breathed words of Scripture as our guide and source for life. 

Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

We need to make sure that they see how much we love the Word and that we love taking the time to read it. Make sure there are age-appropriate Bibles in the house. 

Ask: Did God ask you to do something. Invite their response to that scripture. 

Ask: What do you think you should do having heard that scripture? Internalize the word. 

At church help them by encouraging their imagination and act it out. Don’t micromanage this part. 

Say, imagine what it would be like to _____. Get them to wonder why. Encourage curiosity. Don’t be afraid if things don’t go as planned. 

Small groups where they read the passage together. Slow them down in their pace of reading through the scripture. Have them repeat it multiple times. It’s not how much of the scripture we can get through but how much of the scripture is getting through to them. 

Prayer – hang continual conversations with God. 

Mark 14:35-36, 39

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Once more he went away and prayed the same thing.

John 11:1-13 Lazarus

Draw pictures of those who you want to remember to pray for. 

Writers can start prayer journals 

You can go on a prayer walk as a family. Point those things out. Ask the kids to point them out. 

Fill in the blank prayer is a great practice. “Today I want to thank God for _______.” Today, God I am worried about _______. Today God I wonder about _______. 

Worship – declaring the greatness of the Father and demonstrating love for the King.

John 4:23

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

Matthew 26:30

“When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

Mark 14:26

More than just singing, is there anything you see about how great God is. Worship is public and private. When you realize there is something you are thankful with God about, name it there. 

Ask: What did you notice about God today? 

Break up worship at your church. Worship response station. A blessing station with printed promises of God. Pull one, read it, and ask how it makes you feel about God. 

Service – overflowing with His love and compassion to others in the form of action especially those in need. 

Mark 9:35

Mark 10:44-45

This doesn’t work unless you are modeling it first. If our hearts aren’t overflowing it will be impossible to model and it’s a costly habit in that it requires us to give up ourselves. 

Let one another go first. Give someone else the bigger cookie. 

Not just the behavior but talk them through the why and how it connects to their hearts. 

Serve in the community and in the church. 

Sharing the Gospel – sharing the gift of the gospel generally in the power of the Spirit. 

John 20:21

Matthew 28:16-20

Are you making time for people? 

 Are you inviting your neighbors into their house?

Are you looking people in the eye when ordering food? 

 Encourage your kids to smile at people. Ask your kids to help you see people. Pray together to see what God wants us to see. Team up in sharing the Gospel. 

What hope do you have now for the future now that you believe in Jesus? 

Think about kids they know that do not know Jesus. Ask God to help them share that love. 

How are we as a whole changed by the presence and participation of children in the discipleship journey? 

“Teaching and passing on faith to children strengthens the faith of adults. Keeping our focus on God, enjoying and serving the Lord with our children takes intentional diligence…especially in a culture of ease. The needed diligence is filed by the depth of our commitment to Him and the depth of the commitment that we will together be people that passes on faith to our children.” Scottie May

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The Belonging Co Conference Notes #TBCOconference

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Leadership Co Notes

Henry Seeley 

It’s less about information and more about Importation. What does God want to do in our hearts? Digest this spiritually. 

Not following a list of rules or guidelines from someone else’s growth. This leads to insecure leaders. Imitate another model or blueprint. What God has done here might not work there. 

Churches in Nashville met on Sunday morning but there were a group of musicians that are gone on the weekend and need a new model. The thing that agitates you is the thing you’re often anointed for. You see that it needs to change and can change. The greatest ministry comes at the greatest cost. If you want to do something significant in the kingdom of God there is a cost. The cost is everything. You can’t have the fruit without the cost. You wouldn’t know what to do with the fruit. What people do with free stuff, they view it as worthless. 

Social media can be the absolute best and worst for us. We ask, “How do we make what we have, look like what they have?” This leads to an empty shell. What if instead we press into God and see what He has for us! Be secure in who you are and what God has called you to or else you’ll spend your life trying to live up to another person’s expectations. 

The church has operated out of insecurity. You’ll never dictate culture if you’re too busy trying to imitate it. The church try’s to do a church version of the world. We have the presence of God and the world is missing it. Why would I show up when there is something better somewhere else? Because of the presence of God. 

Don’t be afraid of doing things well. Express worship through your gifts. If the Holy Spirit says thank you for your preparation but I’m going this way. The team needs to be prepared to be u prepared. The end goal is not a service time or creative element the end goal is tuning into what God wants to do. Don’t let your plan get in the way of His presence. Don’t be offended if Holy Spirit takes the service another direction. It’s not your time. The most important thing you can do is to make space for the presence of God. 

The method is getting on your face before God. The method is in the secret place where the Spirit speaks. If you’re not dealing with your insecurities you aren’t secure enough to follow the presence of God. Your security doesn’t line in your notes. If you’re insecure and believe your security is where you lead the song then you won’t be secure enough to step into what you’re really called for. No one realizes they have insecurities. There are things God wants to do with each of us. Insecurity is a thief that will rob from you. Rob your joy, your relationships, your calling. What if we were so secure we realized we didn’t build the church but God built the church. Insecure leaders build empires, secure leaders build the kingdom. 

You are never elevated beyond serving. Jesus whole goal was to serve. Jesus didn’t talk leadership but being a servant. When we feel elevated beyond the people and do not serve the people we hurt the church. If I don’t show up to serve then I’ve lost Jesus. Have people around us who are not yes people or insecure but can come to us and point out what they are seeing. You can’t be the best leader in isolation. What sucks about this is you have to be vulnerable. The grace of God is evident in our lives when we allow others to speak into our lives. Not leading from top-down but arm in arm. No one’s position is less or greater. We understand the mandate in the position and confidently link arms and march forward. What if we realized our mandate was to build the kingdom? If someone leaves our church that’s not a backward step. 

Secure leaders know how to deal with offense and disappointment. How you deal with this will make the difference. What do you do when you have a Judas in your midst? Do you shove them out? Jesus never changed His posture with Judas. When you feel betrayed realize Jesus never shunned Judas, He invited him to the table. Jesus never lost sight of His calling and the opportunity to be brought close. There was always grace available, even to the last point. Do you spend your energy and focus on the one or two and lose sight of what you’re really called to be doing? Be a leader who knows how to love even when you’ve been offended. 

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Alex Seeley

We have a generation coming who has a growing disdain for the church. The primary wound in our society is rejection. They feel already rejected. Identity crisis is taking place. We can not do church how we always have. Jesus is the cornerstone. The essence of a pure Gospel is love. Known as disciples if we love. Love those who are resistant to our love. Love those who oppose you. Love beyond the betrayal. Love unconditionally. It’s easy to love those who are easy to love. It’s easy to love those who serve you. 

This next generation is looking for a virtual un-church. Done with coming in to receive just formation. They are done with cleaning up to be accepted. What they want is the truth in love, to call them up to what God has called them to be. Not a seeker-sensitive church but a church that attracts seekers by offering living water. Not a motivational speech but a transformation in the Holy Spirit that breaks addictions and causes transformation. 

We are in a spiritual battlefield and you need to understand what the battle looks like in your town. Don’t practice a relationship with Holy Spirit on the stage, meet Him in the quiet place. The ministry is not to build your name or platform or even to do what you feel called to do. It’s not to behave and then you can belong. True love says you have a place at the table before you believe or before you behave. 

The antidote to rejection is love. Jesus attracted every sphere of influence because His love source came from God. Have a full revelation of His love. Rejection begets more rejection. Jesus lived without agenda or need to be loved. 

This agape love that is the antidote to rejection is not encountered through intellectual or motivation but the power of the Holy Spirit and experienced in presence. 

You carry a 3 part of the Holy Spirit: Presence, Power and the Prophetic. 

Miracles, Signs, and Wonders. 

The mega-church without God’s spirit: It’s very interesting to see what man can build. 

Bring the presence of the Almighty Jesus. Not satisfied with a good program unless someone is set free and delivered. I don’t know what it is but I sense his presence. Break fear and addiction. 

Know what it is to encounter the presence of God. Not just extra songs because we try to manufacture presence. You can have His presence without the music even starting. It’s the presence you are carrying. 

Power of God moves where you can’t take credit. 

Presence is getting out of the way and following the movement of God. 

People don’t want to be entertained, they want to go home different. This is not about me providing your breakthrough but giving God time to breakthrough each individual. My words are nothing. 

Not the love for what I have to share or the love for our program but a love for the people. 

The world needs to see the opposite of what it’s currently seeing. Love those who curse you. Go the extra mile. Flip what is expected. Jesus was able to love beyond everything because He didn’t entrust everyone with His heart but He gave His full heart to God. It doesn’t say to entrust one another but to love. Love beyond the betrayal. Love even when it costs you. Do you want to be right or in right relationship? Jesus didn’t have to prove Himself. Jesus didn’t even bring his best friend, John, into the offense by talking about Judas. Love covers even when you’re going to be betrayed. The disciples didn’t know who was the betrayer because Jesus never brought anyone into that offense. Jesus loves fully. His love is pure. He called Peter to build the church and even after the offense and betrayal, He redeems. Though my trust was broken, Jesus love is so much stronger than the broken relationship. 

So why are we so hard on our people? We are called to love beyond. We can shift a generation from being offended to a saint who is called to die for the cause of Christ. Are we building churches that are prepared for persecution? You don’t die for someone you are just being entertained by. 

Q&A 

Paul Bergin

Banning Liebscher – Jesus Culture Founder 

What’s the biggest issue in the church? 

Wrong definition of success. It’s not a number but the presence of God. Creating structures that crest immature believers. American consumerism crept into the church to make things as easy as possible. Businesses eliminate struggle to gain business. When you’re a leader with insecurity you need people to show up for you to feel better. When you remove the struggle you create immature believers. There is a struggle involved in the community. 

What are we doing to respond to this struggle?

Jesus called us to lay down our lives. We are not preparing our church for persecution. We are raising children who don’t understand discipline and how to wait and therefore are offended by everything. Butterfly analogy of opening the cocoon. It will look good but it won’t fulfill its calling. The goal is growing mature people that become a large church in Jesus name. 

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Be more patient and not look for greener grass. When you extract yourself from something difficult you lose an opportunity for refinement. 

Slow down and focus on internal health. Make sure what’s driving you is actually healthy. 

Know when you are in a preparation session. A season of refinement. Don’t short circuit the refinement process. The enemy will take you out. 

The goal is the journey, not the destination. Have joy in the journey. Don’t keep yourself busy with the excuse of ministry. 

There’s a difference between Anointing over your life. Word over your life. Authority or appointed over your life. David has to wait. 

Meet with your team to encourage. People generally know their mistakes and failures. Atop and celebrate what God is doing. You’re worth more than what you can do here. Your value doesn’t come through your efforts. Excellence is not perfectionism. It’s giving your best to God. You’re thinking too highly of yourself if you think your successes will build the church. 

When the church is a polished performance people either see right through it or they don’t relate. 

Life is but an interruption of eternity. 

When kids are little they will jump over hurdles to get to you but when they grow up they will rarely put in the effort. 

Do your kids know they can interrupt at any point because they are more important than a ministry. 

Advice for planning a church?

Enjoy the journey. Look fondly in this season. Focus on building a culture more than a crowd. Ask, would you go to this if you weren’t leading this? Build what you would like to attend. Core values. Authenticity. Presence. You have to build a community. Be okay with unmet needs. Deep value in maturing believers. Find identity in Jesus. Fully engaged and fully alive in their calling. 

In most church planing models the launch date is the goal. You’ve got a whole life ahead to be looking forward to. 

If you have to build X ministry so people won’t leave then you’re building the church for people and not for God. 

What are you doing to engage the broader city? 

Build people. If the individual is equipped and ready then what comes out of them will engage the city. You contribute to the family you lead in the city. What’s in the hearts of your people? 

How does the church deal with people in the church who deal with homosexuality? 

Everyone is welcome in the house of God. We preach the truth to all. We don’t preach on a single sin but on bringing Jesus into the room. Jesus let the rich young ruler make the decision and didn’t chase after him. He preached the truth in love. Let the Holy Spirit do the work. 

We have a lot of grace for sins we understand but not sins that we don’t understand. This is set aside as the pet peeve sin. 

Complicated issue but not biblically complicated. Layers with laws being passed, people who don’t take the word as the final authority, people in the church who don’t think you’re correct in theology, and people experimenting. You need to know who you’re talking with. Do you allow people to serve who struggle with sin? Restore the identity of Christ. Stop identifying people by their sin. Gluten. Liar. Etc. battle in identity. Stop labeling stop identifying and love people. 

How do you seek God in the secret place? 

Drive, worship, pray. The word of God. Open the word and keep reading until God speaks. 

Constant dialog all day with Holy Spirit. Times of intercession prayer. Reading the Word. 

It’s a relationship. Some relationships are very structured and others are more rigid. You need to be coming to the Lord in this season. 

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Release of Awe and Wonder tonight!

Banning Liebscher

Prayer for Natalie – Prophet of Hope 

1 Samuel 1

God has plans and purposes for your life, for your family, for your city, for your church, and for your sphere of influence. He invites you to partner with Him to see that happen. You are most fully alive in that partnership. 

God speaks a word to Hannah. Everything changed for her. It brought her to a place of faith. God plants a seed. He wants to get us to a place of faith. John 15:7 abide in Christ and His words abide in you. Draw close to Jesus and have His words abide. 

There’s a difference between hearing a word and listening to a word. Allowing the word to abide in you. 

Pregnancy test illustration. That second line changes everything. When the word of the Lord comes it changes everything. In the natural, ready or not the baby is coming. In the spiritual side, you need to learn how to carry the word of the Lord. You need to abide and nurture the word. 

You don’t need a fresh word you need to know what to do with the one you’ve got. When you begin to learn to carry the word, faith begins to manifest in your life. 

Big bucks!

His word comes not just to encourage but to ignite the faith inside of us. Faith looks like something. 

Faith manifests in preparation. 

In the church, we complicate things Jesus made simple. Simple and homespun. By faith, Noah prepared an ark. Hebrews 11. When the Lord speaks to you, your life will be different afterward. When the Lord speaks to you, it should cause you to prepare if you believe Him. If someone says they are coming over we believe them and prepare. We believe people more than we believe in God. A lack of preparation communicates a lack of value. 

The widow and Elisha. Oil and a jar. 2 Kings 4:5-6. There is not another vessel so the oil stopped. The principle, not a law. The level of outpouring in your life is linked to your preparation. 

This is what your life should look like: Building arks and gathering vessels. If you hear a word about filling stadiums, start inviting people into your living room. Take a speaking class. What simple step can I do to prepare? 

Faith manifests in the proclamation. 

What comes out of your mouth matters. 

The power of life and death is in your tongue. How careless are you about what’s coming out of your mouth? 

Not scared but sober. To understand the power and responsibility. If you’re careless it can result in disaster. My words are either partnering with God and His plans and purposes or undermining God and His plans and purposes. 

An angel appears to Zachariah and out of his mouth unbelief comes. The angel mutes him for nine months. This isn’t a punishment but a help. 

Out of the heart, the mouth speaks. Sometimes the best thing you can do is go on mute. Unbelief is on your heart and coming out of your mouth. Unbelief is a belief in the wrong thing. Are you more connected with your circumstances than the word of the Lord?  

Faith is not acting like theirs not a mountain in front of us. Faith is saying there’s a greater reality than the mountain. There may be cancer but there’s a higher name than cancer. Connect my heart to the hire name than reality. There may be depression but there’s a hire name. This is why it’s so important to god His word in your heart. 

Are you Spirit-led or feelings led? You will be feelings led if your life is not anchored to scripture. 

What we do now, is put people in a Jesus time out. How’d it go…feelings? No, Jesus time out. What does Jesus say? 

When the word of the Lord comes you no longer have permission to say anything else. Have the discipline to stop talking when you’re not speaking His word. When God’s word is in your heart, it’s coming out of your heart. When His word is full in your heart your circumstances won’t dictate your heart. 

Shove so much word in your heart that when my life pulls up to the train stop and life tries to get in, there’s no room to get in. 

Is what’s coming out of my mouth circumstances, social media, toxic? Repent and stop allowing unbelief to come out of your heart. 

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Alex Seeley

God is not obligated to fulfill your potential. You have the responsibility to nurture the seed. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT

Don’t lose heart. Let Jesus do the work so we can be the person he called us to be. 

Will you finish like John or Judas?

C.S. Lewis — ‘For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however, you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.’ 

A saint is set apart. We talk differently and look differently. The enemy will try to hinder your call, to weight you down so you don’t finish the race. 

We let our heart grow calicos. We let our heart get tangled up in things of the world. 

King Saul and King David. Both appointed. Same spirit. Both start at the age of 30. Both have a kingdom for 49 years. The difference was their heart. The one who died with honor was David. The one who took himself out of the game was Saul. The difference was their heart. 

David was far from perfect but he did say he was sorry and repented. 

“Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?” 1 Samuel 9:21 NLT

Saul felt disqualified. He saw himself small in his own eyes. God called him big. We must believe God and take Him at His word. When God calls us we must say, “Here I am Lord.”

We can not sustain the race with a one time encounter. We have to allow God to refine us into the likeness of Christ. 

“So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?” And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else.” 1 Samuel 10:22-23 NLT

Saul was hiding behind his baggage. We need a generation that is resolved to know who they are in Christ. It doesn’t matter what your baggage is or how you feel on the inside. You must stand tall on both the inside and the outside. 

You can tell a person who carries themselves tall on the inside. God doesn’t need you a head taller on the outside. It’s not popularity. Insecurity is so prevalent in this next generation. God called you unique. God is waiting on you to arise. 

David was different. He was the 8th option. There’s one more but he’s just the youngest. There’s a reason for David to be insecure but he doesn’t come in with insecurity because of his anointing. David went back to being a shepherd because he didn’t need the title to define who he was. He was fully secure because his position in Christ is on the inside. 

David delivers sandwiches to his brothers. A secure heart just obeys. Not doing the work to be noticed but know who they are and what they are called to do. Whatever is asked of me, I will serve unto the Lord. 

Saul was given the title. 

“David left his things with the keeper of supplies and hurried out to the ranks to greet his brothers.” 1 Samuel 17:22 NLT

David left his baggage and ran to the battle lines marked out for him. David knew he was born to take down the enemy. He didn’t need a crown to act. He knew he was a king on the inside. 

We are all in a race. We give an account to God on what He called us to do. No excuses before God. I want to hear well done good and faithful SERVANT. Not well done good and faithful pastor or well done good and faithful king. 

You are in training now. We need to fight private battles before taking the stage. We want the spotlight without the testing. It’s for your good to fight private battles before public battles. Our confidence is in the Lord. It’s not arrogance to be confident in the things of God, it’s actually your responsibility. Arrogance is bent in insecurity but confidence is bathed in humility. 

So many of us waver on the opinion of man. You can listen to the option of man and shrink back or you can stand firm in God’s authority. 

The very thing you are called to do you will be attacked in. David’s brother attacked him. When you do what’s right in God’s eyes you will be attacked but when you are confident in your calling you move forward. David didn’t engage in the battle with his brother. That’s fighting the wrong battle. 

David remembered the victories of the past. Some of us remember what we should be forgetting and forget what we should be remembering. Remember when the word of the Lord is spoken. Prepare your heart. Remember God did it then and will do it again. I’m not a product of my sin, I’m a new creation and now I run the race. 

Saul saw the circumstances big. Insecurity begets insecurity and toxicity. A secure leader cheers people on because it brings glory to the Lord. 

You come with weapons of the world but I come in the name of God. No force on this earth is greater than God. Saul saw the problem and David saw God as the solution. We don’t fight with things of the world but with divine power to demolish strongholds. 

David knew how to repent. Saul only knew how to say I’ve sinned and I’m sorry. I’m sorry is when you accidentally bump someone in the elevator not when you have broken the heart of God. Repentance is the way to breakthrough. Godly sorrow that causes change. Sorry is in the moment. Look into someone’s eyes. When rebellion is in the heart they don’t look in your eyes. “Look in my eyes are their naughties in your heart.” Dear Jesus, I repent. Take the naughties out and put the good things in. Sorry is behavior modification. Sorry is a statement that doesn’t require a response. 

Godly sorry brings repentance that leads to salvation and no regret but worldly sorry brings death. 

Psalm 51:10-12

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.”

Living in perpetual rebellion took Saul out. God would rather your obedience than your sacrifice. Half obedience is disobedience. No shortcuts. Obedience increases your authority. 

When David was corrected he asked God for a new heart. He begged God please don’t take your presence because it’s the only thing sustaining me. 

Willie Wonka leaving his legacy to a child. No one has seen the kingdom realm. Looking for a successor that he could trust his dream with. One was entitled one wanted to be famous. One was rebellious. But Charlie who was the least likely to be picked and the one who broke the rules and tried to hide it. The other children took themselves out. They broke the rules. They signed a contract. They were given a gobstopper but it was a test to see the heart. Charlie gave up his opportunity to be rich and gave his gobstopper. So shines a good deed in a weary world. You did what was right so it’s all yours. 

Banning Liebscher 

God’s heart for you is to be fully alive and fully free. The job description of Jesus is giving life to the full. The enemy wants you in bondage. His primary weapon of choice is lies. Lies to separate you from the truth. Connect to truth equals freedom. Lies separate and lead to bondage. 

“so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11 NLT

1 Kings 19 Elijah coming off Mt Carmel. After this great victory, he then begins lies. 

3 lies we still wrestle with today: 

He believed the lie that God abandoned him. Not that he became a full-blown atheist but a situational atheist. God is not in this situation. God has the whole world in his hands but not this situation. God exists just not in our finances or marriage. 

He believed the lie that the situation was hopeless. Elijah sat down. He stopped moving forward. 

He believed the lie that he was all alone. That there were no more people with him. 

How is it that Elijah a man of God is believing God and then the next moment is believing a lie. A profound victory with a whole nation turning back to God and then believes lies. The enemy is looking for a foothold to place a lie. 

Elijah was worn down and worn out and dropped his guard. When you’re worn out you drop your guard and the enemy steps in with a foothold. Boxing 101. Touch their head to keep their guard. The enemy is trying to get you to drop your guard for just a second. 

Above all else, guard your heart. Everything you do flows from it. The enemy wants you to drop your guard. He will plant lies that take root. 

Combat medics. 

Care under fire. Care at the scene where both under hostile fire. Tourniquet on major bleed. Quickly assess what matters. You could be fixing his shoulder when he’s bleeding out. Assess quickly the major bleeds. You can deal with other things later but above all else right now guard your heart. When going through difficult times guard your heart. Don’t allow the enemy to gain access with lies. 

When we are worn down we drop the guard. Sometimes a lot is coming at us. A cat on the u-haul season. A lot of stuff happening right now. 

Sometimes we drop our guard because we think a season is going to be over but it’s not over. In boxing, they prepare for 5 rounds but it goes 7 and they are not prepared for the later rounds. 

Sometimes you drop your guard because you just keep getting hit in the same place. When it rains it pours. 

We have to get a lot better at figuring out what we are believing. Lies operate in darkness. They get power in the shadows. Do we stop long enough to check under the house? What’s going on in my eternal world? 

How do you keep your guard up in life?

Don’t underestimate the power of a meal and a nap. 

God’s going to meet face to face with Elijah but he provided a meal and a nap. The physical and spiritual are connected. Figure out what your meal and a nap is. If you’re worn out you don’t need to fast. You don’t need to get up early and pray. You need a nap. Elijah believed lies because he’s tired. 

Always keep one foot in the water. 

Navy Seals thrive in the water when others can’t. America special forces book. Sea, Air, Land. If I can retreat to water, it’s where I’m most comfortable and confident. The enemy can’t follow me into water. Water is where I thrive and where you die. In the presence of God, you must retreat. I may feel powerless here but in the presence of God, I have oxygen and lies die. Retreat to the presence. In the presence is joy and strength. I feel weak here but in Christ I have joy. You have to have a default mode to retreat to the presence of God. You can find his presence anywhere at any time. Turn your heart and affections to God. In your presence, lies and discouragement dies. 

Who you show up with matters. 

Elijah has a servant with him who he left and went a days journey to complain about being alone. Pity parties are a party of one. Our guard drops when we disconnect from the community. Who you show up with matters. It’s just me and Jesus when it comes to salvation but after walking through that door he introduces you to your family. “We’ve given it our best and it’s just not working.” Giving it your best is not enough, it’s not healthy. My marriage has health and blessing not because I brought my best but because I got the best of others and brought it in. We are strong because who you show up with matters. I may get whooped once but why would I show up again when I’ve got friends. Make phone calls and don’t go at it alone. The most discouraged people are those who get isolated. Our guard drops when we disconnect from community. Those alone are wide open to deception and the devil gets a foothold. Community matters. 

Toby Mac

A story and the integrity to back it up. 

The edge of your seat posture. Today I GET to…

It has to be a priority when small or it won’t be a priority when big. Be faithful with the little things. 

A gift God gave me to turn eyes to him. 

Building a team. Pray, “God will you surround me with people who love you more than I do so that I can be inspired by them and grow.” 

It’s our job to empower others and let them thrive. Step into the mirror. I can’t do this. I’m not strong enough but God has given me you, the secret sauce. 

Not just a Christian but someone who loves the Lord. If you dare to call Him your Lord there’s only one position for you and that’s a servant. Servants main job is to wait on the Lord’s request. When you hear it, act. 

Nate and Joanna Lampa

When you love someone you fall in love with what they love. Where is God looking? What matters to God matters to you. 

God loves the wild ones and the church needs them. 

When you approach the broken and marginalized remember God is already there. 

God loves you right where you are at. 

Write your whole life in one sentence. 

Ryan Lampa

Without a true north, it’s really hard to navigate. 

Is your five dollar program going to take away my depression or addictions? No. I just want to be your friend. 

God, I’m missing something. Will you just show me how to love? 

There’s only one tried and true way to help someone in the margins. Introduce them to the creator. 

The scale at which you do these things. Don’t start with building a nonprofit. Start by feeding one two or three. Don’t start a board of directors, grab your friends. 

Feed the hungry. Drinks to the thirst. Clothes to those who need clothes. Welcome strangers. 

In obeying these statutes, remember Jesus prayer for all of us. Be as intimate with each other as God is with His father. 

When you focus on things of the spirit the things of the world fall away. 

The blood of the lamb and the word of your testimony. 

Danny Gokey

Make space for God in your heart. It starts with a hunger. What do you need to release to make room for God? 

Some of the best things that can happen in your life is a shut door. 

Failure to a believer is really transition. God uses it. 

Are you hungry and available? 

Better than I found it. 

If our public life doesn’t match our public life it will all come crashing down. 

Mark Maxwell

Your mission field isn’t just on the other side of the world, it’s feet from your house. Be expectant for God to move each and every day. 

What is your definition of success? 

Networking kills. Young artist lose focus. False indicator of success. Contradicts the creator who is all about giving and not taking. Whoever wants to be great must be a servant. 

Serving is where you are successful. 

Anybody can be great because anybody can serve. Martin Luther King. 

Serving erases the fear of failure.

Serving creates a sense of purpose. 

Serving creates value for you and others. 

Serving creates a provision. 

Serving changes the world because it changes others. 

The world call is karma, the Bible calls it planting and harvesting.

Life moves pretty fast. Don’t miss the moments. 

Psalm 90. Redeem the time. Make every conversation count. 

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Robert Madu

Do you have an expectation to hear God’s word? Someone once said this was the best message you ever preached but maybe this was just the best message you ever listened to.

Mark 5:21-43

Almost titles this message ”Get Up” but because of verse 40-41 ”Get Out”

“The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying.” Mark 5:40 NLT

You know those people who light up a room when they leave the room. 

Jesus made them all leave. He kicked them out. Those who laughed, He kicked out. 

What if the power of the miracle isn’t just in the miracle itself but in the atmosphere of the environment. Check your environment and tell some things to get out. 

Once you peel back the layers you see that none of us live in the autonomy of me, myself, and I. We are connected. 

You do you and I do me doesn’t work. You doing you affects me. 

These two stories of Jairus and the woman suffering from blood are connected. He is a ruler in the synagogues she isn’t even allowed in. He is rich and she is broke. He is named and respected. She is not. They are both hit with something neither of them can’t handle. 

When you can’t handle it, throw up your hands and know that surely He can handle it. 

They both had to push people away do get to Jesus. Do something they didn’t have to do before to get something they have never received. You want God to show up like Amazon prime but sometimes you have to push something out of the way. They are pushing because desperate people do desperate things. 

God will often use desperation to push you into your destiny. Desperation is the door that breakthrough walks through. Desperation brought them both to the feet of Jesus. 

Jairus is desperate because his daughter IS dying. The 12-year-old dying daughter and the woman was bleeding for 12 years. If this were a movie both would walk out of the hospital very differently. In life, you can be so preoccupied with your promise or problems that you are oblivious to others. You need to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Romans 12. 

”Biblical Blues Clues” 12

Jacob had 12 sons

12 tribes of Israel 

A breastplate with 12 stones on the priest

Jesus taught in the temple at the age of 12

Jesus chose 12 disciples

The number of Gods power and authority. 

Everything is under the power and authority of Jesus. He can handle whatever the world is throwing at you. 

It is your awareness of Gids authority in your life that will determine what you receive from Him. Tie your faith to the anchor of God’s authority. You need an awareness of God’s authority. He is the ultimate authority. 

Jesus calming the storm. They marveled at His authority and said you of little faith. They shouldn’t have woken Jesus up they should have curled up and taken a nap with confidence in His authority. An awareness of His authority problem. 

When you trust God as the authority you can sleep at night because He’s in charge. 

Jairus got a house call from Jesus because he was aware of Gods authority. The woman knew Jesus authority and knew she only needed to touch His coat. 

The centurion soldier knew Jesus had authority without even showing up. He knew God’s power. 

”You don’t have a faith problem, you have an awareness of God’s authority issue.”

If you don’t believe the speaker has authority you doubt their word. Example of customer service, can I speak to your manager. Can I speak to has the power to change the situation? 

I hope you get so annoyed when the devil is messing with you and your family and say that you need to speak to the one who is in charge. The one with authority. 

The moment she touched the hem of His garment she was healed. This interruption comes after being filled with the joy when Jesus says He will go to Jairus daughter. This was an emergency and Jairus was waiting on Jesus. The woman broke the law by being unclean and touching Jesus. Jesus stops and talks to her. Jairus is waiting. She told him the whole story. Jairus is waiting. He watched her get her miracle and waited. 

What do you do when you watch someone get a miracle while you are waiting on a miracle. Celebrate. Don’t be jealous. Know God is still in the blessing business. He did it for them and He can do it for me. Not always in the same way. Stop comparing yourself to other people. 

Jairus wanted healing and got a resurrection. But remember what he had to go through. His daughter died. They came and said it was time to quit and give up on the dream God gave them. Watch out for these people. 

Jesus says don’t be afraid just believe. Don’t stay here, it’s not over till I say it is. Sometimes God will let it go from bad to worse so that you stop trying to lead God and allow Him to lead you.

They arrived at the house and the people laughed. Jesus said to get out. Say to your insecurity to get out. 

Darrell Johnson

Ephesians 1:3 ”Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

The role of preaching in a worship service is to explain to the people what they just experienced. 

Through worship, we participate in the mystery. Worship if the living God does not begin with us and it does not end with us. 

To enter into a worship service here on earth is to join in on a worship service already taking place in heaven. Things are not what they seem. 

Loved ones didn’t pass away, they passed through. 

The question is not what did I get out of it. The question is did I enter into the worship already in progress. 

“It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.” Isaiah 6:1 NLT 740bc. 

“Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Isaiah 6:2-3 NLT

“Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it.

Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty— the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.” Revelation 4:1-2, 8 NLT

From Isaiah to Revelation something changed. 740BC To 92AD something changed. 

What is the same and what is different between these two passages? The difference is what makes Christian worship Christian. 

What’s the same?

Both have the same thrown. 

The throne is occupied. 

The king’s death bright fear. Christian persecution brings fear. 

The rise and fall of empires. When all other thrones disintegrate this throne remains. 

Holy, holy, holy. Same song. 

Creatures with six wings attend to the throne. 

Worship

What’s different?

24 other thrones. The living God brings 24 others in 2×12. The fulfillment of Jesus promises you will reign with me. The capital T throne is not toppled and neither are the lower case t thrones. The gates of hell will not prevail. 

6 wings and with two wings cover their faces. Unable to handle the presence of God. Later no mention of covering faces and they are full of eyes. Now they can behold holiness. Now they can stand in the presence of holiness. 

In the middle of the throne a lamb. In the middle of the one holy one who sits on the throne is a lamb as if slain. 

Something has been changed for creation to be in the presence of God. No longer hiding their faces but opening their eyes and looking at the lamb of God. It was woe is me and now it’s worthy is the lamb. Jesus is worthy because He made it possible for me to be there. 

Grace greater than all our sin. In the middle of all that holiness is the lamb calling you in. 

Not woes is me but worthy is He. 

You are not the point in worship. It’s not what you got out of it. Did I realize Jesus is at the center of it all and did I cry out to Him who isn’t the center of it all? 

Paul Bergin 

When the atmosphere changes and a mighty wind blows in there is something of a new birth of the Spirit of God. 

“At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded. “Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?” Exodus 17:1-2 NLT

“Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?” Exodus 17:7 NLT

“In the first month of the year, the whole community of Israel arrived in the wilderness of Zin and camped at Kadesh. While they were there, Miriam died and was buried. There was no water for the people to drink at that place, so they rebelled against Moses and Aaron.

Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where they fell face down on the ground. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to them,

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” This place was known as the waters of Meribah (which means “arguing”) because there the people of Israel argued with the Lord, and there he demonstrated his holiness among them.” Numbers 20:1-2, 6, 12-13 NLT

What is the same and what is different? 

God is saying to His people He will provide all their needs in a barren land. 

If you’re in a wilderness season remember that  God provides living water. 

In numbers 20, it’s the same water, the same rock but a different generation that has not known what it means to live in captivity. 

The difference now is you are to speak to the rock. 

As a teenager, a raging torrent came from his belly and put his mouth in a knot of words that poured out for hours. 

Holy Spirit is in us, with us, and wants to move through us. 

We have a popularity preaching contest. It’s not about being on the stage and entertaining. 

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” Romans 8:26 NLT

When you don’t know what to pray for you have an interceder. Interceding through you and in you. You are not left to your self. You are not hopeless. You don’t have all the answers but the person of the Holy Spirit does. 

The Holy Spirit because He is The One and Only. 

Pray, ”Holy Spirit, what should I do?”

Water came out of the second rock even though it wasn’t the will of God. 

Isn’t it funny that when we ask the Holy Spirit He helps us? He’s trying out for someone to partner with Him. 

“I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 NLT

This is the rock of Christ being revealed in the new covenant. The church needs to see something now. They are being filled with living waters. 

Went from glorious moment to disobedience. Unbelief is at the heart of it. You didn’t sanctify me as Holy. You didn’t show me as one set apart. God isn’t glorified. 

Moses wasn’t just ticked off with the people he was offended by God. Don’t run to people but fall on your face before God. 

The power is in you. You don’t need to strike the rock twice. 

Jesus died once and once for all. His death and resurrection is enough to accomplish all. His blood is enough for me. Your issue is not bigger than the blood of Christ. It’s resurrection power. Know what the blood does over your life. The Spirit always follows the word. If you’ve seen the father you’ve seen me. If you don’t know the word you are walking around powerless. Where is the ability to get the job done? This is the age of anxiety. Let this be the age of peace. It’s not the will of God that you live in fear. 

Speak to the rock. Speak to the Spirit. Talk with your partner and co-laborer. The enemy is no match. 

Psalm 23. This is a warfare passage. 

The Lord prepares the table. 

It’s easy to think that you host Him. That you serve Him. 

Turn the affection of your heart to God. 

He invites you into Him. He is the host and invites you into communion with the Holy Spirit. He prepares the table. Jesus says welcome. You don’t have to worry or fear because the Spirit prepares the table in the presence of your enemy. 

Crucified with Christ means your fears have died. You don’t care about looking foolish. 

Why ask for God to show up? He’s there and never leaves. 

“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)” John 7:38-39 NLT

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6 Ways to Fall in Love With Youth Ministry Again

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You had a discouraging meeting… a bad day… a frustrating week… a dry season. You find yourself taking deeper sighs than usual and you know things are less than okay. While you used to be excited for the next thing in youth ministry, today you find ourself dreading even walking in the building.

It might be time for you to polish your resume or maybe it’s just time to change your thinking. There’s still hope, so let’s rekindle the love you once had. Here are 6 ways to fall back in love with youth ministry.

Remember Your Calling. 

It’s easy and natural to focus on the negative, but it’s hard to quit something you know God has called you to do. Take a step back and reflect on your life story. See how God has worked to get you to this point so far and lean into His faithfulness. “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name” (John 15:16, NLT).

Use Your Vacation And Days Off.

Maybe the reason you’re feeling so tired is that you ARE tired. Open up your calendar and mark off some days to find rest. Find a day in the near future to have a sabbatical day of rest and reflection. If your circumstances make this impossible, remember you control your calendar. Stop scheduling early morning and late-night meetings. Don’t work through lunch. Ask if you can spend a few hours a week working at the local coffee shop. The world will keep spinning if you skip a week of breakfast meetings or late-night Bible studies. Even Jesus stepped away from the crowd from time to time.

Adjust Your Expectations. 

Jesus explains, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NLT). Youth ministry can be full of high highs and low lows. When you are in the valley, resist becoming overly critical or bitter by humbly counting your blessings and considering trials pure joy. Step back for a minute and check yourself.

Shake It Up

My mentor and friend Jim Wideman says, “A rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out.” Maybe you aren’t feeling it anymore because it’s become too predictable and stale. Rearrange or organize your office. Bring in a guest speaker. Start a new book. Hang out with people in (or outside) the trenches. Sharpen your ax and study to show yourself approved. Find a healthy way to vent or start a new hobby. Work on the ministry you want and not just in the ministry you have.

Celebrate And Remember

Just like it’s difficult to hear from God with a dusty Bible, it’s hard to fall out of love with the youth ministry you are celebrating. Stop working on the next big thing, and celebrate what God is doing at this moment. Take a trip down memory lane next year by placing personal milestones on your calendar and set yearly reoccurring celebrations such as baptisms and movements of God. Remember your priorities and publicly celebrate when your small group leaders are working towards making disciples. Dream of what youth ministry could be and begin praying over the vision God brings.

Don’t Go At It Alone.

We were created for community. The writer of Romans tells us, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” (Romans 12:4-5 NLT). If you are losing your love for ministry, it might be because you are failing to equip the church to do the work of ministry and instead relying on your gifting alone. Check-in with your leaders and meet up with your students to see what they can be doing to build and support the church. Get feedback and stop trying to read minds. Meet with your supervisor and let them know both your needs and your struggles.

Don’t allow today to just be another long day in your youth ministry journey. Do something today to light a small spark to ignite a fire in your heart for the ministry God has entrusted you with.

It’s Personal AND Starting Now Book Reviews and Giveaways

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5 Questions You Should Answer to Give Every Child and Teenager Hope

What if knowing the answers to five simple questions could give a kid hope? Orange has released a new book called “It’s Personal”, for leaders and volunteers, exploring those five questions through the lens of Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus.

In a generation where too many kids feel invisible and ignored, you may be the best chance a kid has to really feel known. 

“Jesus never got so busy trying to save everyone that He didn’t stop to help someone.” – Reggie Joiner

Jesus was on the most important mission anyone has ever been called to yet he stopped to talk with a tax collector and shared a meal in his house. This book has helped me to slow down and love people how Jesus loves people. Jump in a hammock, open the book and allow Jesus to convict you on how you might be approaching ministry.

For a FREE sample: https://thnkor.ng/ItsPersonal

To enter to win a copy: https://kingsumo.com/g/3tttyr/its-personal-starting-now-giveaway 

Find it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Tl6Scy 

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Starting Now: A 30-Day Guide to Becoming Who You Want to Be in College

College is hard. This book can help. Give the incoming college freshman in your life this guide to help them become WHO they want to be after high school.

In college they’re not kids, but they’re not quite adults, either. They still need guidance and support as they navigate the tricky transition to adulthood. Be on their team!

“Becoming WHO you want to be is something you can make a decision to do every. single. day.” – StartingNow

Even attending a Christian University while knowing my calling was hard. I can’t even imagine trying to figure things out in this day and age. Starting Now is a devotional every college student needs as they step out and begin this new journey!

For a FREE sample: http://bit.ly/2XSfRY7

To enter to win a copy: https://kingsumo.com/g/3tttyr/its-personal-starting-now-giveaway 

Find it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/31vkswK

#ItsPersonal #StartingNow #thinkorange #leadsmall #leadership #kidmin #youthmin

4 Fundamental Questions to Improve Your Faithfulness

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If you ask someone who sleeps in on Sunday morning why they avoid church, many will point to the hypocrisy or lack of faithfulness in church members. Are you part of the problem? Here are 4 questions for you to reflect on as you work on growing the fruit of faithfulness.

Are you faithful to God? When no one is looking, are you still committed to being trustworthy? If no one were to ever find out, would you still walk the right path? In John 14:23, Jesus says, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.” Being faithful to God means walking by the Spirit even when the flesh is telling you something different. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”

Are you faithful to making disciples? Jesus called us to love God and love others. How are you doing at pointing everyone in your life to Jesus? James 1:22 speaks truth when it says, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” Are you applying what you learn? Are you faithful with the calling God has placed on your life? 2 Timothy 2:2 says, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.”

Are you faithful in your stewardship? Who or what is the lord of your life? Are you being a good manager of what God has given to you? Do you work as if you are working for the Lord? In the parable of the three servants, Jesus describes faithful stewardship when He said, “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’” (Matthew 25:21). And Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.”

Are you faithful in your relationships? Do you honor God in the way you treat those closest to you? Are you working and living for the Lord? Colossians 3:18-23 addresses the family when it says:

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Which area do you need to focus on as we start a new week?

So the Next Generation Will Know Book Review and Giveaway

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Are you ready to answer the difficult questions students are asking? 

“What scientific proof do you have that God exists?” 

“Why should I believe in miracles?” 

“If evolution is true, why should I believe in God?” 

“Why should I trust something on ‘faith’ when I could use ‘reason’?” 

“Why should I trust what you or my pastor has to say about Christianity?” 

“How is believing in God any different from believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny?” 

“Why does science seem to contradict the claims of Christianity?” 

“Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow so much evil in the world?” 

“How can I be sure Jesus really rose from the grave?” 

“If Christianity is true, why are so many Christians hypocrites?” 

“Why is the history of Christianity filled with so much violence?” 

“Why should I care about any of this to begin with?” 

In the book, “So the Next Generation Will Know” Sean McDowell teaches how to explain what is true to a generation seeking answers. The percentage of teens who identify as atheist is continuing to grow and Sean writes to help parents, youth workers, and Christian educators recognize the challenges students are facing. 

“According to one study at UCLA, 52 percent of college students reported frequent church attendance the year before they entered college, but only 29 percent continued frequent church attendance by their junior year.”

Sean points out how most young people abandon their Christian faith while they are still at home with their parents. We have an opportunity to answer skepticism with intellectual responses but we must be prepared. 

We need to be ready to answer students most difficult questions if we want to help them track down the truth and trust Jesus.

“A problem well defined is half-solved.” – Sean’s Father

For a chance to win this book, click the contest link here: https://kingsumo.com/g/ipbstq/so-the-next-generation-will-know-book-giveaway

70 Powerful Leadership Quotes from “Rock Stars”

70 Powerful Leadership Quotes

Rock Stars: Inspiring a Team of Unstoppable Volunteers

“There is great power in your words. In over to BE a rock star, you need to FEEL LIKE a rock star. In order to be a rock star, someone else needs to believe you are.” – Tina Houser

“The volunteers God has entrusted you with are not just warm bodies or job titles, they are children of God first.” – Corey Jones

“Would my team say I cared more for them as a person than I do for them in the role they fulfill?” – Corey Jones

“Who on your team would be serving better in a different role?” – Corey Jones

“A healthy family is often growing numerically and their relationships are growing in depth.” – Corey Jones

“Do I know the people on my team better today than I did last week?” – Corey Jones

“Developing a vibrant, life-changing children’s ministry requires a clear picture of where God is calling you to lead your team and how to get there.” – Butch Hunter

“Finally, remember, the temperature of your ministry is always a degree or two below you. When you’re running hot, your team is running warm.” – Butch Hunter

“Take video footage of your leaders in action, splice it together with a narrator who talks about how you’re all moving towards the vision together.” – Butch Hunter

“When you’re preparing to cast vision, think about how you can invite people to join a team working towards a common goal.” – Steven Knight

“Think about what your volunteers want. They want to serve. They want to roll up their sleeves and get to work. They don’t show up to be underutilized. They’re ready to go.” – Steven Knight

“The effectiveness of blanket calls for volunteers always lags behind personal communication.” – Beth Howe

“Volunteering for ministry serving—like tithing or gathering for corporate worship—should be seen as a mark of discipleship. When approaching with a pure motive, serving is a sign of spiritual maturity.” – Beth Howe

“Volunteers will stick when they see their leaders following the example of Jesus as servants.” – Erica Holloway

“Leaders must help their volunteers succeed in the midst of very busy, extremely demanding schedules.” – Erica Holloway

“The ability to be out ‘guilt free’ goes a long way in maintaining glittery volunteers for the long haul.” – Erica Holloway

“To effectively equip believers to utilize their gifts, leaders need to make intentional preparation, invest in relationships, and provide continual evaluation for their teams. Helping volunteers find their best fit in ministry service is crucial for the church community as a whole, but also for each individual’s personal flourishing and long-term spiritual health.” – Dawn Gentry

“Personal relationships establish a foundation of pastoral care for everyone on your team.” – Dawn Gentry

“Be understanding and flexible, recognize the need for them to try a new assignment rather than getting buried indefinitely in the old one.” – Dawn Gentry

“No matter how big or small your ministry is, there are things everyone serving in your ministry area needs to know. So what are those things?” – Shayla Hale

“Orientation lets you begin to equip your team. It establishes you as the shepherd of your leaders. Orientation gets your volunteers ready for a great adventure.” – Shayla Hale

“Your volunteers influence a child’s foundational faith beliefs, and they should understand the gravity and honor of their position.” – Brittany Nelson

“Share stories or specific examples of how God moved in the lives of the children in your ministry over the past year and remind volunteers that they play a part in a child’s story of faith.” – Brittany Nelson

“Shadow leading is a successful training method and can solve more problems than simply a shortness of trained volunteers.” – Susan Magouirk

“Training leaders are your best teachers, but every your best teachers are not all cut out to be training leaders.” – Susan Magouirk

“Creative teachers take what they have and make it the best it can be for their students.” – Susan Magouirk

“Volunteers who feel unnecessary, tend to be short-term volunteers.” – Susan Magouirk

“When using technology, think about users experience and remember, if it’s not easy to use, it’s not going to be used.” – Patrick Miller

“Creating smaller learning objectives leads to higher information retention. This concept of breaking topics down into smaller chunks is called microlearning.” – Patrick Miller

“You have been given the opportunity to train volunteers even when they’re not sitting in from of you.” – Patrick Miller

“Simple truth is that you are just stronger together than you are alone.” – Tammy Jones

“A team will accomplish more together, prevent leader burnout, and multiply the results.” – Tammy Jones

“A good team leader is one who supports, encourages, and equips the other team members. Praise them when they have done a good job and show them grace when things go wrong.” – Tammy Jones

“Vol-Staff (n.), short for Volunteer-Staff. This term is used to identify kidmin volunteers who function at such a high level of buy-in and responsibility, that they are treated as a vital part of the department staff, yet without financial pay.” – Sherry Chester

“Volunteers are assets, totally worth the time and investment; help them become who God has called them to be.” – Sherry Chester

“There is a stark difference between unity and agreement. Agreement is mental acknowledgment of a mutual understanding. Unity goes way beyond mental understanding to a yielding of ones self will.” – Sherry Chester

“Mature Vol-staff believe all authority comes from God. They walk in unity knowing God is in control; therefore, they trust with ease.” – Sherry Chester

“Your choice to appreciate your volunteers reminds them that they are not alone as they serve, that God sees them and you see them, and this provides strength for them to continue to serve.” – Jamie Lane

“When you take the time to give specific feedback and appreciation to your volunteer, you foster growth in them.” – Jamie Lane

“If you say you’re going to be there, be there. Work ahead. Be organized. Be on time. These things seem simple, but when trying to gain respect from an older generation, these things must be done with excellence.” – Stacy Marks

“There is a generation of kids living without grandparents. You must lean into the relationships kids can have with the volunteers in your ministry that they might not have on a regular basis in their nuclear family. It will make the next generation stronger and our churches stronger as the family of God ministers to each other.” – Stacy Marks

“It’s an amazing thing to behold when teenagers are empowered and given the platform to lead other kids.” – Josh Zello

“Let’s envision together a ministry where teenagers can be treasured by kids, tethered to a Gospel community, and taught to discern and live out their own personal callings.” – Josh Zello

“A Gospel community can be life changing (or even life saving) for teenagers. Your kids’ ministry can be a safe place for not only the kids who sit under you, but also the younger leaders who serve beside you.” – Josh Zello

“Trust them beyond what even they think they’re capable of.” – Josh Zello

“Your church is filled with leaders you haven’t found yet. Many of these leaders don’t know that leadership capacity is within them. Many of these leaders don’t know their gifting or how to live it out to build up the Church.” – Josh Zello

“Often, you’re burdened in children’s ministry for workers. But if you train up the kids themselves to have servants’ hearts, then there will be so many fewer needs.” – Rachael Groll

“Consider which kids God might be laying on your heart to serve within your ministry.” – Rachael Groll

“The role of a helper is often marginalized when it should be lifted up in your ministry.” – Joe Mally

“As you recruit for the helping positions remember not to phone it in and just fill the spot. Instead, seek individuals who have the gift of service.” – Joe Mally

“When you ask adults who had the most influence on their life, most of the time it’s the individual who took the time to get to know them. Encourage your volunteers to seek out these connections.” – Joe Mally

“Each person on the team needs to know what’s going on in your ministry so your ‘who will you communicate with’ is very important.” – Rob Livingston

“It’s important to reach your volunteers in a way they understand and in the 21st century you have various avenues you can take.” – Rob Livingston

“You would be crazy (to) not use the technology most are carrying around in their pocket to help you communicate with your volunteers.” – Rob Livingston

“The bottom line when it comes to communication is you must do it in such a way that all your volunteers can understand.” – Rob Livingston

“Cancellations are part of ministry. Even the most committed volunteers get sick, or someone’s plans change and they need to call off. The best thing you can do is remain positive, anticipate cancellations, and build steps into your program that put you in control rather than letting the cancellations control you (and your Saturday night plans).” – Becky Rydman

“The Dream Team is a perfect ‘yes’ for those who have a desire to be on the team, yet need to make a more flexible commitment.” – Becky Rydman

“Leaders who schedule in on-call positions take control of cancellations.” – Becky Rydman

“The consistency for such a long period of time is great for kids.” – Terrie Sitzes

“Yes, pray. You’re not picking out your clothes for the day; you’re investing in volunteers’ time, children’s hearts, and your sanity all together. You need prayer.” – Terrie Sitzes

“Pray that God will send you the workers you need so that your ministry is filled with willing, eager, enthusiastic volunteers and the right scheduling will be possible!” – Terrie Sitzes

“The third grade public school students is the same third grader in your classroom. He has the same needs to be known and to have consistent leadership.” – Joy Canupp

“Rotating volunteers often results in glorified babysitting situations. Weekly volunteers invest on a deeper level and typically get to the heart of why and what they teach the children.” – Joy Canupp

“Knowing these benefits and others will give you the ‘why’ that you need to share as you make the transition and ask people for larger time commitments.” – Joy Canupp

“If you’re going to attempt ‘over appreciation’ efforts, do that with your volunteers who are most invested and on the front lines with your children every single week.” – Joy Canupp

“Start writing a bunch of ‘What if…’ questions. ‘What if we cut Sunday school during the summer?’ ‘What if we combined some age groups?’ ‘What if I used the teens more for volunteers?” – Amber Kreider]

“Temporary change can provide rest for volunteers, excitement for kids, and a new perspective for you. Or maybe you’ll drastically change something in your ministry to accommodate your changing culture in the summer, and find it to be so successful you’ll adapt it all year.” – Amber Kreider

“You have to always be aware of who the Lord brings across your path and why.” – Connie Lackey

“As you journey with your volunteers, you come to know them on a personal level and build relationships.” – Connie Lackey

“You love the Lord with all your heart, minds, and souls, but sometimes you get so busy preparing, scheduling, practicing, doing life, that you put God in your pocket.” – Connie Lackey

Don’t be Afraid of Doubt, Embrace It

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How do you react when your child or friend expresses doubt? Do you see this as a step in the disciple-making process or does your heart sink and fear take over?

During the week after Easter in our elementary and preteen services, we took a look at how Thomas wrestled with doubt. Through this story we can see how asking questions is a great thing. Asking questions can lead to understanding, which can lead to knowledge, which can lead to more questions, understanding, and knowledge. As you are walking someone through the discipleship process remember these truths from Thomas.

Thomas expressed his doubt. When the disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus, he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side” (John 20:25). Thomas had doubts and questions about what the disciples were saying they saw but he didn’t keep those doubts hidden. When someone is open and honest with you, celebrate their honesty and the fact that they are seeking to understand.

Doubt isn’t toxic to faith; unexpressed doubt is. – Kara Powell

Not all questions are answered right away. “Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them” (John 20:26). I’m sure Thomas would have loved to see Jesus walk in the room seconds after expressing his doubt, but he wrestled for eight days! Can you imagine being in Thomas’ shoes? Eight days of all your closest friends celebrating while you question. Eight days of wondering if the past couple years were a complete waste. Eight days of wondering if you would be arrested next because you followed some dead guy.

Jesus loves Thomas even in His doubt. Jesus didn’t reply to Thomas with anger, rather He offered proof and answers to his questions.

The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” He said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” John 20, 26b-27

Let’s stop viewing doubt or questions as the enemy to disciple-making. Instead, let’s celebrate when someone you love is expressing their doubts and opening themselves up to understanding and knowledge. Above all, let’s respond like Jesus and show love to all people.