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.

3 Tips To Help You Be The WORST Leader You Can Be


There are so many posts and books about “How To Be A Better Leader.”  I’ve written a few and have read even more.  So, I thought I would take a different route and give you a couple of tips on how to be a bad leader – in fact, the WORST leader you can be!

1)  Be Unpredictable

If you want to be a bad leader, make it hard for your team to know what you want, what you think, or what mood you will be in.  Volunteers hate it when they have to guess what you feel is the right way to handle things.  Unpredictability is one of the worst characteristics of a bad leader.

2)  Give Most Of Your Attention To The “Squeaky Wheels”

Bad leaders fail to honor, praise, or sometimes even recognize those on their team who are faithful, hard-working team players.  Bad leaders tend to only respond to those who are whiny and critical.  So, if you want to be a bad leader, definitely make plans to ignore your “A-Team” and spend all your time trying to please the critics and whiners.

3)  Play It Safe – Always!

If you want to be the worst leader you can be, then you need to NEVER take risks.  Don’t place someone in an area of ministry until they have proved themselves to “be a star.”  Don’t give younger volunteers opportunities to step up the plate – because, what if they fail?  And, definitely DON’T raise the bar for those who are serving.  Make entry easy and serving even easier.  Asking too much of a volunteer might make them want to quit.  After all, “nobody wants to be challenged!”

So, there you have it: “Three Tips To Help you Be The WORST Leader You Can Be!”  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Five Tips To Instantly Improve Creative Output


Creativity is an elusive thing. For most people, it doesn’t just happen. Although, I am a firm believer that every one of us has enormous creative potential (check out my post on “Kidminnovation”), there are definitely times when creativity just doesn’t seem to flow.

If you find yourself struggling in your creative realm, try these tips:

1) Start “scratching”

Twyla Tharp, author of The Creative Habit, talks about the act of scratching. She writes, “You know how you scratch away at a lottery ticket to see if you’ve won? That’s what I’m doing when I begin a piece. I’m digging through everything to find something. It’s like clawing at a side of a mountain to get a toehold, a grip, some sort of traction to keep moving upward and onward.” Scratching can be as simple as just typing/writing whatever comes to your mind, or maybe you just turn on your favorite jam and let your mind start to wander. Whatever it takes to get your creativity flowing.

2) Unplug

So many people try to sit down and create, then are drawn away by email, texts, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Creative minds are inherently easily distracted, so is it any wonder you can’t get any creative output done when you have all these things becking for your attention. I know it goes against our society’s value system, but seriously – you won’t die if you totally unplug from the internet for a couple of hours. Let your spouse or boss know that you are turning your phone off for two hours. You will be surprised just how much you will get done.

3) Turn off your “internal editor”

Writers are the worst at this. We tend to be rocking along, then we start to overthink what we are writing. Suddenly, we backspace over and over and delete great content. Then, we can’t seem to continue because we can’t decide whether we should have actually deleted that content or not. TURN OFF your internal editor and just CREATE. There will be plenty of time to edit later. For now, let your creativity fly. Create now, edit later.

4) Picture your audience

This goes beyond just deciding who your audience is in general (“I am writing this lesson for a group of 5th and 6th graders). Instead, picture in your mind a face of THE 6th grader you are writing this for. What problems are they struggling with? What is their family life? What are their dreams? As you write and create, make sure everything you write and create will minister directly to that person in your mind.

5) Keep the rhythm

So many creatives think that if they will just sit down for six to eight hours with no distractions, then they can produce some of their best work. Not true. Our bodies follow what are known as ultradian rhythms – ninety-minute periods at the end of which we reach the limits of our capacity to work at the highest level. There’s no amount of coffee, Red Bull, or “5 Hour Energy” that will overcome it.

Your best bet is to take a 10-20 minute break after every 90 minutes of Creative Output. Take a walk, go talk to a friend down the hall, practice shooting paper wads into the trash can – WHATEVER! Do anything EXCEPT the creative project you were working on. I know, it goes against your belief that “if only I keep on hammering away at it, I will finish the project!” In truth, you may finish the project, but it will be sub par work compared to what it could be if you took a break.

So, there you have it. Five quick tips to instantly improve your creative output. Which one(s) do you think you can put to use this week? Leave a comment and share with us any of your own creative output boosters!

Incredible New Album and App By YANCY


Yancy just came out with a brand new CD and now she has an amazing app that accompanies it.  (if you want to get a SPECIAL package deal on this new CD and more, CLICK HERE)

When Yancy recorded her newest album Roots for the Journey she knew these songs were special. The music, organic, unplugged and simple was something that adults of all ages would be eager to listen to again and again. The message in the songs timeless because each song is centered on scriptures from God’s Word. Yancy spends most of her time doing family concerts and making music and worship resources that play in minivans and churches worldwide. So, how could she mix her audience that ranges from preteen all the way down to preschool (through the Little Praise Party series) with this new music she created?

So the idea/dream got a little bigger.  What if she made an app to help parent teach their kids these Biblical truths?  What if we could give parents tools to make these scriptures come alive to their children?  Meet the “Roots for the Journey App” available for iPhone, iPad and Android.

The app provides family devotions, conversations, activities, prayers and more. Being an app, it isn’t just about being at home, in the living room and having spiritual time for a hour. You could do parts of the devotion on the go, in the car, during dinner or whenever your family is gathered together. There are multiple ways you can talk about and reinforce the truth of God’s Word. The song as you listen will help that message be tied to a melody that kids can latch onto and sing. Music is an amazing way to communicate. We remember songs from long ago. The same is true for your kids. So, having the music is a tool that will reinforce the lessons, conversations, activities and prayers. Most importantly we want to help families hide God’s word in their hearts. Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (NIV)

Yancy asked Children’s and Family Ministry friends from around the world to help her make these Biblical truths come alive. The app contributors are:

• Sam Luce
• Ryan and Beth Frank (K Magazine/Awana)
• Gina McClain
• Beth Guckenberger
• Dave & Beci Wakerley (Hillsong)
• Johnny Rogers (KidMo)
• Jonathan Cliff
• Jenny Funderburke
• Jason Martin
• Jen Galley
• Sara Richards
• Brian Dollar (High Voltage)

Amanda White from www.ohamanda.com did all the activities. You will love the way you can do simple activities to illustrate the truth of God’s Word to your kids.

LINKS TO THE APP:

• iPhone https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/roots-for-the-journey/id647377769?mt=8

• iPad https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/roots-for-the-journey/id647377769?mt=8

• Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yancynotnancy.roots462&feature=search_result – t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS55YW5jeW5vdG5hbmN5LnJvb3RzNDYyIl0.

LINK TO THE ALBUM:

• iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/roots-for-the-journey/id643556110

• YancynotNancy.com http://www.yancynotnancy.com/product-category/

Are You Missing The Trees?



We have all heard the phrase, “They can’t see the forest for the trees.”  This usually refers to someone who is so totally focused on the individual problems, issues, or difficulties of life that they fail to see the BIG picture.  While this can often happen in the life of a Kidmin Pastor/Leader, I believe there is a VISION failure that can be even more devastating.

Sometimes, as leaders, we are missing the TREES for the forest.  We become focused on the BIG picture (the forest) and we lose sight of the trees (individuals).  Ministry is not ONLY about the BIG picture, it is also – and most specifically –  about the individual.

When Jesus gave the GREAT COMMISSION to His followers just before He ascended to Heaven, He said, “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20)

Often, we focus a lot on the global aspect of the GREAT COMMISSION:  “all the nations.”  We like to think of big groups, large crowds, huge attendance.  We are trained that way – especially in the American mindset.  Everything becomes about the group, rather than the individual.  The larger our ministry group gets, the easier it is to start looking at it as a forest, rather than a group of individual trees.

We must never forget the individual aspect of the GREAT COMMISSION: “disciples.”  Disciples are not created in herds.  Disciples are created as individuals.  Jesus said, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  Baptism is a personal and individual experience.  Oh, sure, you might put a lot of people under at once, but the experience is one of individual outward display of inward change.  “Teaching them to obey all the commands I have given you.”  Oh sure, you might be able to teach a lesson to a large group, but the only way you will know if they are “obeying” is by knowing each of them individually, personally, deeply.

I had a God-moment this morning while praying and studying.  The Lord challenged me to take a step further into knowing each of the children in my ministry deeply.  He challenged me to stop looking at them as a herd, but to see them as individual sheep.  I committed to do just that.

How about you?  Are you seeing ministry as a “group exercise” or “individual life change?”  Share your thoughts in the comments section.