Eight Effective Ways To Partner With Parents

Family Ministry is slowly becoming the norm rather than the exception in the nation’s growing churches.  Kids Ministry Leaders are finally coming to the realization that God has not called them to be the “Superhero” and primary spiritual in the lives of the children in their church.  Instead, they are recognizing the need to partner with parents, equipping them to step into their God-given role as primary spiritual leaders in the lives of their kids.

You may ask, “But how?”  Many churches WANT to start this process of partnering with parents, but just have no idea where to start.  While I don’t claim to be an expert, I want to give you 8 vital areas in which we strategically invest in the lives of parents in an effort to partner with them in ministry to their children:

  1. When parents bring a child to me and ask me to lead him to Christ, I explain to them the joyous opportunity they might be missing. I give them some pointers about how they can talk to their child about Christ and pray with him or her.
  2. We involve parents in water baptisms for their kids.
  3. We have a comprehensive strategy to strengthen families. We coordinate our kids’ ministry efforts with the Sunday morning services, the small groups ministry, classes, concerts, seminars, and everything else.
  4. We coordinate the content for every age group in the church so we’re all studying the same passages and learning similar lessons. This way, parents, children, and teenagers can have meaningful conversations about what they’ve heard in church.
  5. We include a Family Devotion in the weekly bulletin to give parents a simple, clear tool to lead their children in a spiritual discussion based on Sunday’s message.
  6. We have started conducting classes to train parents to talk to their kids about important topics, such as salvation, sex, drugs, friends, tragedy and loss, making good decisions, and death.
  7. We’ve designated every Sunday night as our “Family Service” so kids and their parents can worship together—and we don’t worry about distractions.
  8. To elevate the importance of the parents’ role, we’ve taught a number of sermon series on family dynamics, communication, forgiveness, understanding, and love. We come back to these important issues regularly and often.

These are just a few ways we partner with parents in my church. What are some of the effective ways YOU have developed?  COMMENT and share with the Kidmin community!

Why I Won’t Pray The “Sinner’s Prayer” With Your Child

child sinners prayer
If you have been in Kids Ministry for very long, no doubt you have encountered this scenario already.  Church is over, a parent walks up and says, “Johnny was asking me questions about how to get saved last night.  Would you explain what salvation is all about and pray with him to receive Christ?”  For many years, I have the standard answer… “No, I won’t.”

Now that you’ve decided I am a terrible Kids Pastor, let me explain.  When I first began in Kids Ministry, I would have answered differently.  After all, I was the resident “expert” on children’s spiritual needs.  I was trained, and it was part of my spiritual DNA.  I could communicate God’s grace to kids in a way that was clear and understandable.  Slowly, I came to the conclusion that I was the go-to person to meet the spiritual needs of every kid in our community.  I was filling a huge need, and it felt great.  As my confidence grew, I concluded that parents obviously aren’t equipped to share deep spiritual truth to their children. I was so wrong.

Let’s face it: God created the institution of the family long before He created the church, and kids’ ministry leaders came along even later.  The first chapters of Genesis establish the family as the primary social unit under the leadership of God.  Of course, those chapters also describe the fact that we chose to avoid God’s rightful role in our lives. We rebelled and experienced the devastating consequences of sin, but God didn’t leave us helpless and hopeless. His grace shines through even in our darkest moments. The role of parents is front and center in the process of reclaiming hearts.

Many parents are very conscientious about the spiritual role they play in their kids’ lives, but some struggle with this responsibility. Why? There are many different reasons. Shaping a son or daughter’s spiritual life is difficult and demanding. It requires insight and determination. There are no guarantees that a child will respond with glowing gratitude to a parent’s initiative. Many parents haven’t been equipped to impart spiritual life to their kids. They may be doctors, lawyers, carpenters, or skilled in some other way, but a lot of parents feel completely incompetent in leading their kids spiritually. Sadly, the church hasn’t done much to equip them.

To compound the problem, some kids’ ministry leaders have gotten in the way of parents.  A savior complex causes us to elevate our roles and look at parents as second class. When confidence becomes arrogance, we become a hindrance to God’s grand plan.  In addition, many churches have programmed the family worship experience out of existence by dividing up every age group and seldom (if ever) having the family together.  In an effort to fill the void left by inadequate parenting, some kids’ ministries have elbowed parents out of their roles as the primary spiritual leaders of their children.

That’s why I now have made the decision that I will not pray the “sinner’s prayer” with the child of a parent who approaches me.  Instead, I lovingly say, “No, I won’t.  But, I absolutely will stand here and agree with you as you, the parent, lead your child to Christ.  I would NEVER want to take away the greatest joy that a parent could ever have.  The joy of leading their own child into a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

What do you think?  Am I wrong on this?  Should a Kids Pastor spend more time praying with children to receive Christ OR equipping parents to lead their children to Christ?  Which will be more effective?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think. 

They Are Not JUST Kids!

My friend, Mike Johnson (Director of Childhood Leadership Development at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX) recently posted this message.  It is a powerful reminder that every parent has the small window of opportunity to impact their kids for the Kingdom.  In fact, the window is even smaller than you might think.  Enjoy this message from Mike and be CHALLENGED to make the most of every opportunity you have with the children you serve!

My Child Was Caught Looking At Pornography! What Do I Do?

I received a tough email from a ministry friend this week.  It said, “I found out Sunday night that an 11 year old girl from my children’s church is addicted to porn. I am totally shocked because she seemed so quiet and shy, I would like to know how to approach her and minister to her.”

Unfortunately, this is a situation that happens more often than we would like to admit.  With the literal explosion of technology (including hand-held mobile devices) in the world of kids in the last five years, children are being exposed (sometimes even accidentally through pop-ups and spam links) to pornography at a very young age.

As Kids Ministry Leaders, it is our responsibility to help parents be prepared for the most likely inevitable moment when their child is exposed to pornography.  It can be devastating to both child and parent.  Some things to keep in mind:

1)  DON’T overreact!

Don’t scream and yell at your child.  They are living in a hyper-sexualized world!  They are being fed a lie every day by society that sex is supposed to be dirty, twisted, and prevalent in their lives.  Is it any wonder that they are drawn to this?  Rather than overreact, have the conversation with them.  Ask questions like “Why do you think your parents don’t want
you to view that sort of stuff?”  “What kind of damage do you think it can do to your mind and your heart?”  “Do you think viewing that sort of stuff is pleasing to God or part of His plan for your life?”.  By freaking out, you will cause your child to shut down rather than open up.

2)  Talk about GOD’S design for sex

Sexual urges are not abnormal.  Kids are not “weird” because they were lured into pornography.  God created us as sexual beings.  It wasn’t some sort of accident.  He has a plan for us to enjoy sex in the context of marriage.  He wants us to be wise about our own sexuality and control those urges just as we do other urges (hunger, anger, passion, etc.).  With God’s help, we can grow to become strong men and women who enjoy healthy sexuality as married couples.

3)  Set firm boundaries/systems to prevent recurrence of the issue.

Make it a conversation.  Ask the child, “What are some things we can do to keep this from happening again?”  Perhaps limiting the hours and/or locations of internet usage is a start.  There are also some filtering/accountability software options for parents out there:

http://purehope.net/resources/

http://www.epicparent.tv/free-book/

http://www.covenanteyes.com/services/internet-accountability/

4)  Provide hope for the child.

Remind the child that God’s grace is big enough to cover this sin and provide breakthrough and freedom.  Point at that God wants to empower them and “lead them not into temptation, but deliver them from evil.”

5)  Pray with the child.

Pray with your child.  If it was purposeful and willful act, pray with your child in asking God’s forgiveness for this willful act.  Pray that God will minimize the affects on their mind, spirit, and life.  Pray that God will protect them from exposure to porn in the future.  Pray that God will give them the strength to resist temptation when it comes their way.

What about you?  Are you finding this to be something that is a growing issue?  Is it “not as bad” as I make it sound?  What are your thoughts?  Share in the comments section!  What are some of the things you are doing to help kids and parents deal with this issue?

How To Improve Safety And Security In Your Kids Ministry


One of the greatest needs and focuses of any Kids Ministry should be that of safety and security.  After all, we are entrusted with the most precious lives that mean the world to every parent who drops them off in our care.  If we do not do our due diligence in providing a safe a secure environment for the children, then we are not demonstrating the value that we claim to place on them.
Many of you are aware of my friends at KidCheck.  Well, they have developed a powerful child safety video and guide for organizations caring for children.  These tools are designed to provide actionable, specific best practices and suggestions that can easily be put into practice to improve child safety and minimize any possible safety and security issues.
The video “Improving Child Safety in Your Organization” and companion “Child Safety and Security” guide discuss the leading concerns around child safety to help organizations create a safe environment for the children in their care.
Topics include:
  • Creating a Security Team
  • Securing Your Facility
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Volunteer/Staff Policies
  • Emergency Situations
  • General Childcare Safety

Here is the best part:  they are providing it to you for FREE!  All you have to do is click on the video below and watch it yourself.  You’ll be glad you did.

New “Kid Bible Heroes” App – Kids Just Can’t Put It Down!


The Kid Bible Heroes interactive app for kids features youngsters living out grown-up faith that will build your kids’ trust in God. Each narrated Bible story pauses for games, fun sound effects and interactive animation. Available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

With the Kid Bible Heroes app, your kids can learn about ordinary kids in the Bible who were used by God to do extraordinary things.  The app features five Bible stories about everyday heroes like David, Miriam, Samuel, Mary, and the young boy with the fishes and loaves.  Through their interactive stories, your kids will learn about God’s plan for their lives, trusting God, having courage, listening to God and being willing to step out in faith.

WANT YOUR KIDS TO EXPERIENCE THE BIBLE LIKE NEVER BEFORE?

Enhance your kids’ Bible knowledge with the Kid Bible Heroes app, a cutting-edge digital resource from My Healthy Church. This series of apps was designed with the next generation in mind, giving kids a fun and interactive way to learn the Bible by simply using technology that they enjoy.

Each narrative story expands kids’ faith and enhances their learning experience by featuring games, puzzles, fun sound effects and other interactive activities to help them discover biblical truths. Let your kids be a part of the story by downloading the Kid Bible Heroes app today.

Visit www.kidbibleheroes.com or click here to download the app!

Should Kids Pastors Talk To Their Groups About “Gay Marriage”?

With the news yesterday of the Supreme Court striking down the “Defense Of Marriage Act”, the topic of “Gay Marriage” is once again a major story in the news.  No doubt, our kids are hearing all about this topic both on the TV and, many times, on the playground.  It’s hard for a Christian parent to control the context in which their child may have conversations regarding this important topic.

I received a question yesterday from a fellow Kids Pastor asking my opinion on whether or not he should “address” his Kids Ministry on the topic of Gay Marriage and/or Homosexuality in general.  I gave him my opinion, so I thought I would share it with you here – in case there were others who were wrestling with this same question.

In short, my answer is, “No.”

I think you have to be careful what issues you are addressing “as a group.”  So many children are at different parts of the journey regarding both mental and emotional maturity.  When you address something as serious as homosexuality and gay marriage to a large group of kids, it is very difficult to do so in a way that is appropriate for EVERY child.

In addition, many parents (as they should) want to be THE ones to discuss topics such as this with their kids.  I understand, many parents DON’T ever discuss it with their kids.  That’s unfortunate.  However, you don’t want to undercut parents by addressing it publicly in a large group of kids.  This should be something that parents include in their general talks about “sexuality” with their kids.

Of course, if a child asks you a direct question about it – treat that just like you do any other question about sex or sexuality.  Answer with, “I would be happy to share my thoughts with you about this subject.  Let’s talk to Mom or Dad when they come to pick you up.  Perhaps together, we can answer your questions in a healthy way.”  Then, follow the cues of the parent.  If they do not wish to discuss it right then and there, follow their lead.  Allow them to do so on their own terms and in their own timing.

An alternative to discussing this with the large group is to offer a special class or “discussion” in which you allow parents to sign their kids up to attend.  Allow parents to attend with their children if they wish.  Rather than coming at the topic in a negative manner (i.e. “We are AGAINST gay marriage”, etc.), discuss the topic within the overall umbrella of God’s plan for our sexuality (“God created male and female to complement one another.  Marriage is the life-long commitment between one man and one woman.”).

The topic of “gay marriage” and “homosexuality” is a difficult one.  It is polarizing.  While we don’t ever shy away from the truth, we also must be wise and careful when dealing with the youngest among us.  We want clarity, not confusion.

Do you agree?  Disagree?  Do you plan to address it as a larger group?  In small group time?  I welcome your thoughts.

Helping Parents Talk To Their Kids About SEX

For too long, the church has been silent on the issue of SEX.  Children (and adults alike) hear little to nothing on the subject of healthy sexuality from the church.  Part of the reason it is not spoken about from the pulpit is that it makes us uncomfortable.  It makes us uncomfortable because it rarely brought up in the pulpit.  It’s a self-perpetuating cycle, so we consider it off limits.

Many parents are so paranoid about their kids becoming sexually active, they foolishly think that by not approaching the subject of sex for as long as possible, they will somehow keep them from learning about it and falling into sin.  Because it so off limits for their behavior, they’ve made it off limits for their conversation with their kids.

I started the series “How To Talk To Your Kids About ____________” several weeks ago.  I have been speaking to the parents of our church about how to have the tough, meaningful conversations with their kids.  I have included the outline for the talk, “How To Talk To Your Kids About SEX” below.

You can listen to the audio of the entire talk HERE:

“How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex”

1)      Sex was created by GodGenesis 8:17

2)      Few parents ever give their kids a healthy sex education.

When Talking To Your Kids About Sex:

1)      Begin early.

2)      Use proper terms, not nick names.

3)      Be measured in the amount of information you give.

4)      Talk about God as the Creator.   Psalm 139:13

5)      Schedule the talk.

6)      Create a comfortable and safe environment to talk.

7)      Relax.

8)      Keep God as the focus.  1 Corinthians 6:16

9)      Be open to using outside resources or illustrations.

10)   Clearly express that God has reserved sexual intercourse for marriage alone.  Hebrews 13:4

11)   Explain that sex is a component of a healthy marriage relationship, not a stand-alone event.

12)   Allow your child to ask questions.

13)   Encourage your child to keep sexual conversations between you and them.

14)   Invite your children into an ongoing conversation.

15)   Remember the goal:  a lifetime of sexual purity.

Related posts:

“How To Talk To Your Kids About GOD”   

“How To Talk To Your Kids About DEATH & TRAGEDY”

Helping Parents Talk To Their Kids About God

I have recently started a teaching series at our church called “How To Talk To Your Kids About…”  In this series, I am hoping to help parents engage in meaningful conversations with their kids about some very BIG and important subjects.  I thought it might be helpful if I shared some of these teachings with my blog readers.

I have included the basic outline below.  Also, you can listen to audio of the full teaching HERE:

Feel free to use it to teach the parents of the children in your ministry  about the importance of having meaningful GOD conversations with their kids.

“How To Talk To Your Kids About…God”

My Mistake:  Not recognizing the role of parents as the primary spiritual leaders of their children.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”  –  Deuteronomy 4:9-10

“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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Deuteronomy 11:18-19, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4

1.   Recognize that it is not one conversation, but many.

2.  Share what you know.

3.   Learn more so you can share more.

4.  Pray with your kids daily.

5.  Have regular family devotions with your kids.

6.   Worship with your kids.

7.   Serve with your kids.

8.   Model Godly behavior for your kids.

9.  Allow your kids to ask questions.

10.  Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”

11.  Discover the answer together.

12.  Explain the Gospel in clear, understandable terms.

Related Posts…

“How To Talk To Your Kids About Death & Tragedy”

“How To Talk To Your Kids About SEX”