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Posts Tagged "kids"

Adjust Your Lens

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Ministry

Over the past 4 weeks I’ve visited four different churches.  Each church dramatically different from the other in terms of environment, community, and worship style.  And yet there were consistencies that were very helpful/impactful to my first-time attending family.

Here are some notables from a few of the churches:

  • Directional Signage! Once we walked in the building it was obvious where to go to check in kids.  The signage was eye-catching and the check-in space easily accessible.
  • Security! It is obvious how much a kids ministry values security when they employ a nametag policy.  Only allowing access to certain areas of the kids space to those wearing parent receipts or volunteer nametags.
  • Environments! I’ve seen some spaces that look nothing like school, daycare or home.  I love seeing the many ways creativity is employed to make a space unique for kids.  Don’t forget to get on your knees and look at your space from their perspective.  What would you add… or change?

And a few things to check into:

  • Human Signage – In one church the layout was so odd that we walked down a hallway that wraps around the main auditorium.  We walked for a few minutes without encountering a person or open kids room.  I almost thought we were headed the wrong direction.  Some ‘Human Signage’ would have been highly beneficial.  A quick smile, friendly greeting, handshake or just general availability to assure us we’re headed in the right direction.  Many times we can’t do anything about our physical space.  So we find creative ways to accommodate.  Employing some of those volunteers that are natural “huggers and shakers” can go a long way toward resolving the quirky facility challenges.
  • Inviting Entries! Wish I could come up with better verbage for this, but it’s late.  🙂  It boils down to asking yourself… are my rooms inviting from the threshold?  What entices a kid to want to enter the room?  What tells them that if they don’t cross that threshold, they’re missing something B-I-G?  I think I’m guilty of assuming that the fun things in my elementary space would entice any kid.  I’ve been reminded that if they can’t see it from where they stand on the other side of the door… they may never know what they’re missing.  It doesn’t have to be boisterous, or loud, or obnoxious.  In fact, it’s better if it isn’t.  It just has to be enticing.
  • Opportune Moments! One church we visited forced the parents to stand in the lobby while they’re child is called downstairs from the kids space.  Though the process was fairly efficient, they missed an opportunity to communicate in a unique way.  As the parents stood in line a flat screen television hanging on the wall in front of them sat completely blank.  What information regarding your ministry would you love to communicate in that 2-3 minute time frame?  Companies pay big bucks for a 30 second commercial before of a captive audience.  This church had 180 seconds.  Missed opportunity.

One of the best things to do for your ministry is to adjust your lens and view it from a completely different perspective… a new family perspective.  Put it on your calendar and make it a priority at least 2x a year.  Walk through your space… entrance to exit… and ask yourself, “If I were a new family, would I know where to go, what to do, or what to say?”

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Confessions of a Christ-follower – No.584

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in My Life

I have baggage.

Most of us do.

I can remember in high school & college some of my friends joking about how much their parents played worship music or the equivalent to KLOVE constantly in their home.  In fact my friends weren’t allowed to listen to anything mainstream.  It was totally banned in their home.  From my perspective at that time, these parents were irrelevant and disconnected from the world around them.

I can remember internally vowing to not be that parent.

Fast forward a few decades…

Worship music keeps my stress level down.  In a season where there seems more to do than time will allow, my tension level can creep up faster than I realize.  Listening to songs that refocus my attention on God goes a long way toward keeping my head in the right place.  But I noticed something odd yesterday.  A familiar thought pattern that I’ve never taken note of before.

I started questioning whether I was playing my worship music too much.

Will this warp my kids?

Will I turn into one of those parents?

Will this lead to watching Gaither Reunion reruns on TBN?  (I’m not a hater… just not a fan.)

To be fair, I think the bigger issue with my college friends was that they grew up listening to stuff their parents connected with… but they didn’t.  Their impression of “Christian” music was poor because they’d never heard stuff they liked.  The snippets of music they heard from mainstream radio drew them in… what they heard constantly in their home did not.  So the draw for mainstream music increased while the love for worship music disappeared.

I don’t want my kids to grow up in a world of irrelevance.  I don’t want them to fear things in this world in an unhealthy way.

I want them to have an appropriate reverence for the things of God.  To value the things that focus their attention on Him.  To recognize the things that draw their attention away from God, and limit (if not eliminate) their influence.

Does this mean my kids will never be allowed to listen to mainstream radio?  No

It just means we’ll teach the value of what worship music does that mainstream music does not.

It means we’ll talk about the impact this music has on our personal relationship with our Savior.

It means we won’t assume our kids will love our music.  But instead we’ll need to explore together to discover the music they connect with best.

Thanks for the therapy session.  I can drop that baggage now.  🙂

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SuperNanny? not so much

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in My Life

I’m no Clair Huxtable either.

I’m more like Seinfeld’s Elaine with a moral bent.

So when fellow parents request parenting advice from me I feel like I must offer a disclaimer… a little “fine print” that lets them know that I’m on the journey as well… and I don’t have all the answers.

But I do have some suggestions when it comes to teaching kids how to have a right heart.

So many times as parents, we can teach kids the response we expect.  However it’s obvious when they’re just giving us the response we expect yet their heart is not in the right place.  How do we address the heart issue?  This isn’t something you can beat out of them(err, I mean) This isn’t something you can reach inside and change.  🙂

But there are a few things you can do that address the issue and teach your child over time how to do their own ‘heart check’.

**these are in no particular order**
  1. Right vs Wrong This is one of the best books I’ve read about the reasons I want to teach my kids the character of God.  Why?  B/c relating back to the character of God draws our focus back to the image in which we were created.  Character gets to the heart of the issue.  I want my kids (and myself) to learn to act in ways consistent with God’s character b/c that’s who He created me to be.
  2. Gods Word – Pray His Word over your child.  This is different from praying with your child.  Pray scripture over your child.  Why?  B/c Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s Word does exactly what He purposes for it to do.  And Hebrews 4:12 tells me that His Word “…is sharper than a double-edge sword… that discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart.” So, if it’s a heart issue then it’s really not our job to change it.  That’s God’s domain.  Our role is to actively speak His Word into their lives so that His Word can dissect, discern and develop the heart of our kids.

There you have it… my “not-so SuperNanny… nowhere-near Clair Huxtable… yet so-much-better-than Elaine” parenting advice on how to address the heart issue of your child.  Enjoy

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Worms, Compost & God

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in My Life

This summer the McClain family embarks on the adventure of composting.  I’m not a particularly ‘green’ person.  I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, but at the same time… I’m not game for complicated living.  I like throwing things away that I no longer need without thought of its reuse.  However, my kids come home on a regular basis touting the virtues of recycling, taking care of our environment and all that other ‘green-living’ jargon.  (Do I sound jaded?)

Here’s the thing.  As easy as it is to toss plastic in the trash can I can’t argue my son’s point when he reminds me that we should care about the environment God gave us.  So, over the past few years my family has made some lifestyle changes.  We began recycling and are better at taking the initiative to separate our trash and recycle what we can.  We watch our lights and make sure we turn out lights in rooms we’re not occupying.  And over time we replace equipment in our home that will conserve water and energy.

Our next ‘green’ adventure is composting.  I found some pretty simple instructions to make a home-made composter with worms and all.  (Wha?!?)  It’s called Vermicomposting.  I won’t go into detail… you can Wikipedia it here.  Essentially it will reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the McClain family garbage can.

However, this adventure opens up opportunity for a new line of conversations with my kids.  As we learn about how composting works for our environment I can connect them to how God works in our lives.  As we learn the process of how a leftover apple core can turn into rich garden soil, I can teach them how God takes the scraps of life and turns them into rich nutrients to help us grow.  How He never wastes a thing (good or bad) when it comes to enriching us so we might produce the fruits of the Spirit.

When you see my kids on the weekends, ask them how the composting is going.  This should be an entertaining summer project.

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Cherry Limeade, Christmas & the Facts of Life

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in My Life

My kids and I made a Sonic run the other day. If you live anywhere near Oklahoma, you know the lure of Sonic Cherry Limeades. Make it “happy hour” and it’s hard to resist. 🙂

Driving back, my two oldest are talking about where they’ll live in college and who they’ll live with. Keegan (10) is patiently explaining to Josie (7) that she’ll live in a dorm room at college and have a roommate.  Perplexed, Josie confirms, “Mom, can my roommate be a girl and not a boy?”

The conversation that ensued was comical, at best.  I listened as Keegan tried to explain that boys can’t live with girls and girls can’t live with boys b/c that might lead to “making out and other inappropriate things”.  I sat at the wheel trying not to laugh out loud.

At this point I stepped in to direct the conversation a little.  You see, I want my kids to grow up with a healthy respect for sex.  Though I’m a little spooked that my 10 year old understands that there is more to do than just ‘making out’… I’m not going to freak out over it.  I’m not going to teach him to fear it.  I’m going to teach him to cherish it.

Cherish – (verb) to hold or treat as dear; to care for tenderly

For the next 5 minutes I talked to them about kissing, hugging and other things that married people do to share their love.

But these are only for when you’re married.  Why?  Because it’s a special gift only for that person.  A lot like a Christmas gift.  What happens when we open our Christmas gift a week before Christmas?  It spoils the surprise!  There are special things that are only for your husband or wife.  Special gifts that are spoiled if you open them too early… like before marriage.  It’s our job to protect and cherish this gift until God brings the right person to receive that gift.

My hope is to set the stage for open dialogue with my kids about appropriate boundaries, healthy perspectives and the gift of sex.

Likely the first of many ‘facts of life’ conversations over a Cherry Limeade.  🙂

How would you explain this to your kids?

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