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Impact a father’s investment has in the lives of others

I ran across this video (from TD Ameritrade) that shares a healthy twist to the classic Harry Chapin song “Cats In The Cradle.” 

It provides a vivid picture of the impact a father’s investment has in the lives of others. I also want to send this out to some friends as a reminder to them being new dads, that there is no greater investment outside of your personal investment into your relationship with Christ or with your spouse that you will make that is more important than that in which you make into your kids.

“My child arrived just the other day.  He came to the world in a usual way but they’re were planes to catch and bills to pay so I moved my meeting (and) saw him walk that day.

He was talking before I knew it and as he grew he said, “I going to be like you dad.  You know I’m going be like you.”

My son turned 10 just the other day.  He said, “Thanks for the ball dad.  C’mon let’s play.  Can you teach me to throw?”  I said, “Right away.  I’ve got stuff to do but that can wait today.”  And he ran outside and smiled ear-to-ear and said, “I’m going to be like you dad.  You know I’m going to be like you.”

Well he came home from college just the other day, He said, “I can’t thank you enough for paying my way.  What I’d really like dad is to borrow the car keys (and) take you to dinner and discuss my dreams.”

I’m soon retired (and) my son’s well on his way.  He came by with a question just the day, “I need your advice dad with what to do when I become a father just like you.  Become a father just like you.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon.  “When you coming home dad?”  “I’ll be home at 10:00 and we’ll get together then.  You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Time to P.P. in your ministry

Time to “Partner with Parents” in your ministry!

Those of us who say we minister to the family need to really stand back and ask ourselves, “Do we really minister to the family or are we more about being successful on just the weekend?”

Look at our prep times. Are we prepping to mainly show off the wonderful and creative ideas that flow from our choice of a curriculum? Or, are prepping resources to go beyond just the weekend?

Do we know what the needs are of not just the kids or the students, but what about the needs of those guardians who spend more time carrying the weekend experience further? What tools do they need? Guardians of those kids and students are looking to the church to help them do a better job at being the priest of their families. They need more than just a take-home paper (or should we call it a floor mat?).

Time to ask some real questions. Here are just a few to get you started.

  1. What are the parents “real” needs?
  2. What do we offer at this time that really address these needs?
  3. What do I have in my tool box of ministry goodies that I could easily bring out and make available for families?

Sometimes we try to offer up just an explanation of what we taught on a certain day and call it good. We expect that the parents will take that 1-2 minute explanation given at the door on their way out and build on that throughout the week. Wrong!!

  • Are you providing daily ways through social media, email, snail mail, quick videos etc. to continue to set the parents up with quick ideas that would be age appropriate for them to use?
  • Have you created a Facebook group or some connection spot for parents to network with other parents and receive encouragement and creative ideas to being the priest of their families throughout the week? Through a group like this, you also have access to their thoughts, troubles, struggles, and questions. You also have access daily to pour into families vision of what it can look like to live a Deuteronomy 6 family lifestyle.
  • Providing information over age appropriate children’s phases. I do this through Kidology Coaching.
  • Have you ever hosted an open house to show off your leaders who pour into the families but also opens up a communication time to hear what families are needing?

This post is to only serve as a starting point. The important thing is that you will start to ask the questions and then design your churches plan to execute on the ideas and needs of your families.

Families want to be successful, will you truly help them do exactly this?

Parenting is more modeling than anything else

Jenelle in viking shirt

Parenting is more about modeling than anything else. It’s a really scary thought for most parents that the values, core beliefs, and more come from our children watching what we model and copying us! There may be a handful of parents who are relaxed about this having a clean conscience about their language, their attitudes, their manners and other behaviors. But for many this can be a very heavy thought. Especially if you consider all the possible areas our children are subconsciously absorbing values that we didn’t intend to pass on to them.

When my children were little, I will admit that I tried to influence them into liking the Minnesota Vikings and my wife tried to get them to sway toward the chiefs. But there are so many other areas that are not as easy of topics or values that we will model for our kids through our behaviors that will come out in many ways that they will pick up on. For example, what attitudes do we model? When something is hard do we give up? When our football team wins how do we handle winning? If they lose how do we handle that? What about our regular attendance at church? Our Bible reading or prayer?

How do we handle our feelings? When I’m sad, do I do we turn to the ice cream in the freezer and then wonder why kids obesity is on the rise? When I’m angry, do I put others down or criticize or resort to sarcasm? What do I do when my self-esteem is low? Do I go shopping or give up and withdraw?

When someone has upset me do I speak rationally to the person concerned or do I bottle up my feelings or explode? Do they see you resolving conflict well? Do they know you’ve made up with your spouse after a fight and do they learn how you resolved things?

If you’re feeling a bit sick by now, keep reading as it gets better.

If I want my children to develop good social skills, how am I modeling that? Do we all eat together at the table having conversations? Do they see me with my friends? Do they hear me talking positively about friends and family or do they hear a list of complaints? How you talk about your parents is how they’ll talk about you in adulthood!

What about lifestyle? We all know how important it is to encourage our children to eat well and take exercise and get enough sleep, but what do they see us doing in these areas? Is your breakfast a cup of strong coffee and do they hear that you were up half the night? Do you exercise with your kids or on your own where they don’t see it?

I have not arrived myself and this post comes from being as large of a challenge for me as it is for some of you, but it is one I must work on. Our families depend on it.

Will you join me? What are some ways you will change what you are modeling?

D6Days Open Live stream notes 2015

D6 Days logo

Here are some of my brief notes from just the two opening speakers of the D6Days. I must admit that I am so thrilled to see so many ministries starting to give some type of free goodies like this. Thanks to D6 and their generosity toward many of us who may not have been able to get to you. I can tell you that your generosity has potentially helped you in securing my attendance Sept. 16-18, 2015

Here is the run down of speakers for the next day on May 7th, 2015:

Session 3: 9 AM (CST)

“Fighting Disillusionment in the Church”
– Sarah Cunningham

“Social Media, Technology, & the Family”
– Brian Housman

“Avoiding the 6 Major Dysfunctions Parents Face”
– Michelle Anthony

“How to Train Your Volunteers to Serve Parents”
– Ryan Frank

“The Gift of Ritual”
– Sarah Cunningham

“A ‘Pitcher’ of the Source in Marriage”
– Ted Cunningham

Session 4: 1 PM (CST)

“Breaking out of the Family Crazy Cycle”
– Emerson Eggerichs

“Creating a Safe Environment Parents Can Trust”
– Heidi Hensley

“The Younger Generation in the History of Revival”
– Richard Ross

“The Doctrine Behind Family Ministry”
– Timothy Paul Jones

“The Value of Real-Life Connection”
– Lydia Randall

“The Power of Parents”
– Yancey Arrington

Again, D6 thanks, here is looking forward to seeing everyone jump on tomorrow for the last day.

3 Things Every Boy Needs To Hear


A lot of time has been spent in my ministry on recruiting men, fathers especially, to volunteer with children’s ministry. Our church has been blessed with a great group of guys who work the nursery, pass out snacks, go on camping trips, drive vans, and lead worship for our kids. It’s a great privilege to see men and women serve alongside each other to reach boys and girls for Christ.
But there is another reason I have for bringing men into our ministry to children. In the community around us and all over the country it seems there is an absence of fathers. A boy may grow up in a two parent household, but the true paternal role is rarely ever seen. Boys have a list of essential needs that only a father or male role model can supply. We need to make sure that they hear:

“I love you”
It’s a basic human need to be loved. We were created to be love and be loved by God. Despite this fact, it can sometimes be a huge hurdle as a man to express love to your sons and an even larger one to the boys that aren’t a part of your household. Yet, the need is still there. Find ways to say it, to show it in the way you live, to be an example of love to even the greatest discipline problems that you face. It will make such a difference and you will begin to see trust form in the eyes of the young men that you serve.

“I’m proud of you”
Often times, it’s easy for the men in children’s Sunday school classes to become the “enforcer of rules” and the major disciplinarian in the class. This is absolutely fine, but we miss out on an opportunity to serve and show Christ-like love by not telling kids the good things that they’re doing. Point out when boys are well-behaved. Take time to mention how good they did during the relay or scripture memory game. Give praise when praise is due. All too often, our boys don’t get the praise they deserve from dads and men in ministry.

“You’re good.”
This is a little different than “I’m proud of you”. I think everyone can benefit from knowing that we have the potential to be virtuous. The statement “You’re good” transcends pride and acknowledges that a boy can have and does have value in your eyes. I’ve seen this simple phrase melt the hearts of the most hardened elementary bullies.

I hope that this list of things that boys need is helpful to you. It’s certainly not exhaustive. Can you think of other ways to reach out and touch the lives of the young men in your church or community? Maybe there are some things that you felt you didn’t have that you needed growing up? Maybe there was a memorable moment in your development that you can look back on and bring to the table as you minister to your sons and the boys under your care.

This was brought to you by a good friend, new blogger named Andy Partington. Andy is the Minister to Preschoolers and Children at First Baptist Minden, Louisiana. You can find out more about him at

On the road again, Yep that is what we are doing.

Ever since we had our first child 15 years ago my wife and I have looked forward to the time when we could finally have God tell us, “This is it, put your tent stakes down deep because you are done moving.”

We thought for sure this was it! We were so sure that we bought our first house. We turned our yard from weeds to thick green grass.
green yard

We tore down our small deck to have a larger one built.
larger house deck

We even installed a new kitchen faucet that fits our families personality more than the plain silver on that was there.

Many more changes as well. The bottom line is we thought we were done.
” You don’t even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. What you should say is this: “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:14

For a moment we forgot the above scripture and felt we knew for sure what our futures looked like. We were certain that we had discovered what our future looked like. This life we were making so many plans about, we have discovered were not the complete plans of God for our family. He has taken great care of us while we were here, and we know He will continue to do so as we obediently follow His plans to another place for our family.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”.
Proverbs 16:9

We are no longer on staff at Sheffield Family Life Center in Kansas City, MO. Ending our season there did not come easy, but was confirmed by us and our senior pastor. It feels as if God is calling us to a little stronger degree of faith in Him as this is the first time we have stopped at a church and did not have the next one lined up to go to. Sheffield gave us this current month of pay and insurance and then it will be done. Our friendship with many of the people and the senior pastor will continue though. That we are greatly for.

We need to keep in mind that God will go before us. And in this very scary time we remember that God is good. He never disappoints.

Jeremiah 32:39-41 New Century Version (NCV)
39 I will make them truly want to be one people with one goal. They will truly want to worship me all their lives, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.

40 “I will make an agreement with them that will last forever. I will never turn away from them; I will always do good to them. I will make them want to respect me so they will never turn away from me. 41 I will enjoy doing good to them. And with my whole being I will surely plant them in this land and make them grow.”

How great it is to be a dad.

Was spending some time this morning thinking about how great it is to be a dad.

* What a great responsibility it is as you have the privilege of building the right foundation into the lives of your kids.
* What great fun it is as you get to play with your kids and their toys while using the excuse it is all for them.
* The sadness that overcomes you when you see one of your kids fall and get hurt
* The joy that comes when you get to be the hero as you bring the band-aid and so gently put it on their ouchie.

Here is a video from Skit Guys that does a good job of showing some more great things about being a dad.

All Pro Dad book review

All Pro Dads.cover

All Pro Dad” by Mark Merrill focuses on seven key influencers that each man can take to influence and win the hearts of his family. These include:

1. Know your makeup (who am I)
2. Know your mind-set (purpose)
3. Know your motive (why?)
4. Know your method ( How can I do better)
5. Know you’re a model (What am I promoting)
6. Know your message (what do I need to share)
7. Know your master (who has control)

These 7 points will help any man become more effective and more focused on what it means to lead and guide his family. “All Pro Dad” is not about perfection; it is about leaving a generational impact.

One big thing that settled well with me from this book was that Mark does not make it seem like the solution of being an awesome dad is simple, also he doesn’t make it out to be rocket science. He points out that being an “All Pro Dad” does take work and investment.

Mark’s book is not a discipline book, it’s not a “follow this script” book either, but it is a coaching type of book. It reminds readers that we likely spend a lot of time on things we would not call priorities, while not taking the time to plan how we will be effective parents. It calls us out on being specific and choosing our actions, not just letting things happen in our family, and then it helps us form a plan and focus on what is important.

My favorite part of the book comes at the end of each chapter, the huddle up section. These are questions that a dad reading this book should ask his child(ren). A lot of these questions call for humility and vulnerability, which sometimes can be challenging for parents when interacting with their kids. Sometimes we feel like we have to have all the answers and discussing these questions would make it clear that we don’t

If you want to be considered a Hero by your kids now or in the future, you must be intentional in preparing for fatherhood. All Pro Dad is a great book to aid you along in this wonderful journey we call fatherhood.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publish through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A couple ideas to keep God’s business in your family business

Family Playing Board Game At Home

I get the privilege all day long to talk with people about ideas on how to keep God’s word and His ways in our families daily. Because this is a constant topic with parents, I know that all parents want to be successful in raising their kids and know that having God in their families is imperative to that success. For many parents, they just don’t know how or where to start.

Here are just a few suggestions:
1. Relate God’s word to everyday life and activities.
– Use your car time to discuss God’s word or His character. Why not just share what you are reading in your daily time with God. It will show your kids that you are not only telling them to do something but that you too are doing it.
– Take walks and discuss the wonder of His creation. Point out nature, animals etc and talk about what an incredible creator we have.
– Let your children see how you handle crisis that may arise. It is better to be strategic about this because they will see even if you don’t want them to.
– Discuss their day at the end of the day and share with them how they acted in Christ like ways.

2. Plan structured times of Bible teaching for the family.
– Choose a time that works for everyone, but make sure that you put it on the calendar and treat it like an appointment.
-Keep the Bible age appropriate.
– Encourage kids to take part. This time should not always be mom or dad preaching to their kids for 20 minutes. Remember, kids learn best by doing. Bring out some old clothes, props etc and challenge each member of the family to direct a home movie of a Bible story using only the props and clothes collected as a group. (These also make for some great bribery moments in the future).

3. Vary what you do during your family devotional time.
– Collect missionary cards (you know those cards that they give out that look like business cards and they want you to put them on your refrigerator and think bout them etc.). Put these cards in a basket and at the end of the day have your child pull out a card and pray for the person who is on the card you pulled out, pray for the place they are a missionary to.
– Vary the amount of time you have family devotion. Sometimes family devotions can stretch out too long because of your personal soap box. You may have put on your calendar an hour but one night it goes only 30 minutes, then end it. Think of how you feel when a meeting at work gets out a little early at times.
– When you go and pick up your child from kids church, stop asking if they had “fun” and start digging into what they “learned”. Use these lessons to continue to teach them throughout the week.
Talk with them about the days lesson they learned as you drive in the car, which then will bring you back around to my first suggestion above.

Repeat again.

What ideas do you have?
What have you found the best way to keep God’s business in your family business?

Long term effective children’s ministries partner with parents

Beautiful family

I have spent some of my morning quiet time today in one of those moments wishing I knew then what I know now about children’s ministry. I can’t go back, but I can definitely go forward with more effectiveness.

When I started in children’s ministry, parents strangely enough were not even part of the picture. I thought if the ministry had fun games, good volunteers, and decent preaching then my job was a success. Since then I’ve learned this is only a small piece of what a great children’s ministry is all about.

Raising up a generation of world changers requires more than just great programs for kids. An often too overlooked ingredient to a successful ministry is setting parents up to win at home.

Here are some idea that have helped me partner with parents:

1. First start with the belief that parents can do the job God has given them.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-8 God places the responsibility of being a child’s primary faith influencers in the hands of their parents. God hasn’t asked parents to do something He hasn’t made them to do. Partnering with parents starts with this: parents are the single biggest influencers in their kids’ lives. We have a greater chance of success when the family and the church work together.

2. Be mindful of parents when scheduling.
I have never seen yet a time when a child could drive themselves to church. Kids aren’t as independent as junior high or high schoolers either. They need their parents to drive them places and pay for everything (this is in part why most children’s ministry budgets are funded more by the church than another ministry, kids don’t make the money). Make sure you’re not draining your parents’ resources when you set a calendar. How can we expect parents to live out what we’re communicating when we’ve got them out every night of the week or asking for their money around every corner?

3. Communicate all the time in many ways.
Parents benefit from regular communication pieces from you to keep them in the loop on everything that is going on in your ministries. It doesn’t matter if you use email, blogging, Facebook, twitter, snail mail, texting or a white board outside of each of your check-in places. Just get it out to them and do it consistently.

4. Stay in it for the long haul.
Here is one that probably took me the longest amount of time to learn the value of. Trust takes time. The longer you are around the more chances you have to build credibility with the families in your church. Unless God is specifically calling you someplace else resist the urge to move on to “greener pastures” and work to build roots where you are at.

5. Have great stuff for their kids
Last but not least, is to help invoke interest to the things of God. Some items I have noticed over the years that great children’s ministries usually involve are:

* Small groups for community building since we live in a time that kids no longer attend the same schools or hang out in the same communities.
programming with your oldest boys in mind

* Always keeping kid culture in front of all those who are investing in the lives of the kids.

* Fun and humor. Yes these are 2 ingredients that probably more emphasis should be put on than in any other ministry. Play is a child’s work.

6. Resource the plan you put together
Every good children’s ministry has a plan for developing Christ-likeness (this is what I work with children’s pastors in through coaching). Give parents a plan, show them how to use it, and give them tools to work with during the week. There are great books, curriculums, podcasts, blog, articles, and technology like YouTube to show and offer videos made by you to help parents in various areas.

There’s a great movement in the country now that is helping to reshape the way we minister to kids, parents, and families. There has never been a greater time to make a larger impact in helping families to truly become “World Changers”.

How does your ministry show you are partnering with the family?

What will be something created to take your parental involvement to the next level?

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