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.

The Forgotten Value Of Asking Questions

I have observed over the years many Kidmin Leaders make the mistake of “arriving” in ministry.  They achieve a certain level of “success” and decide they know it all (or at least all they care to know).

When this happens, they move into protectionism.  They are constantly trying to protect their reputation as a “knowledgeable and capable leader.”  I have watched as these leaders begin to sink because they are not willing to do something that could help them keep rising in leadership – ASK QUESTIONS.

Admitting you don’t know it all and asking others for their input is difficult for insecure leaders.  Sadly, you miss out on incredible opportunities to continue growing when you fail to ask questions.  Here are some of the questions I ask and the people I ask them to:

My Pastor/Boss
*  Is there anything I am not doing in ministry that you would like to see me begin doing?
*  Is there anything I AM doing in ministry that you would like to see me STOP doing?
*  Is there any area of growth in my life that you see needs to be addressed?
*  What can I do to serve you better?
*  What can I do to serve my team better?
*  What is the biggest challenge you face in leading me?
*  How can I pray for you and your family?

My Team
*  What is the biggest challenge you find in having me as a leader?
*  What is the biggest thing you appreciate about my leadership?
*  What is one thing I can do NOW to help you grow personally?
*  How can I pray for you and your family?

The Parents In My Ministry
*  What are the ways we can serve you better as a parent?
*  What is the thing we do BEST as a ministry?
*  What is the area we most need to IMPROVE?
*  How can I pray for you and your family?

Take some time in the coming weeks and meet with your pastor, team members, and a group of parents in your ministry.  Ask some of these questions (and avoid the tendency to have a rebuttal to their answers – after all, the goal is to GAIN KNOWLEDGE, not prove them wrong).  They will be impressed with your desire to grow.  And, you just might gain some information you were not aware of that may take your ministry effectiveness to the next level.

What are some questions you ask yourself, your pastor, your team, and your parents?  Share them in the comments section!

What Are Babies Thinking?

This TED talk was very intriguing for me.  Anyone who considers Children’s Ministry (particularly Nursery Ministry) as merely “babysitting” will be shocked to hear that babies take in and process so much more information than we ever could have imagined.  We are imparting the TRUTH of God’s Word into their minds and hearts.  We must be more and more determined to make God’s TRUTH come alive for the babies in our nursery!

Question:  Should we be more intentional about leading children on a learning JOURNEY by allowing them to discover God’s TRUTH rather than simply be TOLD?

Should I Tell My Lead Pastor About This?

“Should I tell my Lead Pastor About This NOW or LATER?”

It’s a question that most staff members struggle with.  “When is the right time to share information with my Lead Pastor?”  Naturally, you don’t want to be a pest and “bother” him.  At the same time, you don’t want to hold onto information that may be vital to the church for a long time and deprive him of the opportunity to respond in an appropriate way in the appropriate time.

Here is a good list to follow when deciding “Should I tell my Lead Pastor About This NOW or LATER?” that my pastor shared with us.

Report to Lead Pastor NOW (phone call or face to face) if…

1)    Someone in the church is angry or upset (he doesn’t want to be blindsided and not be prepared for it)

2)    If you made a critical mistake (leadership, judgement error, etc.)

3)    If someone is facing a crisis or emergency

4)    If it affects the Sunday Morning (main) service (whether today is Monday or Saturday, doesn’t matter)

5)    If it is a sin issue in the leadership team

6)    If it is a “significant” financial issue (the term “significant” varies with each Lead Pastor)

7)    If a crucial judgement call is required (don’t just guess on what your Lead Pastor would do, ask him)

8)  Hospital/Death/Birth (these are significant life moments your pastor wants to be part of)

9)  If an important event has a major change

10) If YOU have a significant family crisis

11) If he receives a phone call or visit from someone of importance

12) If it’s a liability issue that could negatively affect the church

Save it for later (e-mail, staff meeting, or in-person) if…

1)    No action can be taken right now

2)    He won’t end up hearing it from anyone else

3)    It doesn’t affect the upcoming service or event

4)    You have dealt with it completely with no chance of negative consequences

5)    It is “regular” business (approving someone for ministry, calendar decisions, general updates)

6)    If the information can be shared in a meeting setting (with others present)

7)    If you are merely reporting facts (FYI)

8)    If the decision falls within your discretionary authority

9) When the lack of information won’t hurt them

10) If it’s a personal issue, but non-emergency

11) If you disagree with a leadership decision they have made

What do you think?  Would you add or take away any from these lists?  Share your comments in the comments section.

Making The Most Of Your Mistakes


“How do you respond when you really blow it?”

I am excited to announce that my brand new book, “I Blew It!” will be released next week (you can pre-order it now by clicking here)!  In this book, I document the BIGGEST mistakes I have made in Kids Ministry and how YOU can avoid them.  Since I started talking about writing the book, many have asked me, “How did you keep from giving up when you made such huge mistakes?” or “How were you able to use your biggest mistakes to move forward instead of backward?”

It’s not an easy process, nor is it one that I learned very easily.  But, over the years I developed a series of questions that I ask anytime I really blow it big-time.  These are questions that might help you through the process of learning from your mistakes:

1)  Why did it happen?  Was it a lack of planning, unrealistic expectations, poor communication, wrong motives, unforeseen obstacles, or some other reason?

2)  Was it avoidable? Many of our goofs can be avoided with better planning, communication, and execution, but some can’t.

3)  If it could have been avoided, what specifically could I have done to prevent it?

4)  What do I need to know, be, or do to avoid repeating the mistake? 

Sometimes this is a process you can do all on your own.  Other times, you may need to bring a trusted outside voice into the situation to help you evaluate and answer these questions.  The number one rule in this process:  DON’T BE DEFENSIVE!  You can’t come to the table with a defensive posture.  If you spend your time defending your motives, your intentions, and your methods – then you defeat the purpose of evaluating.

Instead, be open.  Every mistake is an opportunity to grow.  Learn from them.  That way you don’t ever have to repeat them.  We are going to make mistakes.  Let’s just be determined to make NEW ones – not repeat the old ones.  Learn from your mistakes – and keep growing!!!

How about you?  What do you do in order to help you make sure to learn from your mistakes?  Comment and let us know!

Have you prayed for your Senior Pastor today?


“Have you prayed for your Senior Pastor today?” – submitted by ME

Last week I had the privilege of traveling with my Senior Pastor, Rod Loy, for a very important trip.  We were meeting with some of the leadership of our denomination to discuss the possibility of a VERY cool project that could make a major impact on Kids Ministry.  It was exciting!

During that quick, 24 hour trip, I was able to be a “fly on the wall” of sorts and get a glimpse into the kind of pressure my pastor faces on a daily basis.  While I drove, his phone rang almost nonstop.  In that short amount of time he had to handle phone calls and emails dealing with several people’s health crises, someone’s job loss, talked another pastor who he is coaching through a crisis in their church, and dealt with several emails from people who were personally attacking and criticizing him.

All the while, he never complained or showed any signs of frustration.  He graciously prayed with, counseled, and shared with each person – giving them individual attention and care.  It was amazing to see.  I wasn’t sure I could have handled it as well as he did.

I began to think, “If I hadn’t been right beside him, I wouldn’t have known this day was as tough as it was.  He never would have told me about it.  He never would have come crying or complaining to the staff about how tough things are.”  That convicted me.

Too often I am guilty of assuming that just because I don’t hear about the stresses and pressures my pastor is dealing with, then they must not be happening.  I assume things are fine and dandy, all the while he is battling tremendously in the spirit realm with all sorts of crises.  He needs a solid prayer covering DAILY!

I committed that day to step up my game and pray even more earnestly for my Pastor, my leader, my mentor.  He and his family are under constant attack of the enemy, and they need prayer to withstand these attacks.   I repented for not praying enough for him and committed to change that.

What about you?  Are you praying daily for your Senior Pastor and his family?  Are you praying earnestly for them, doing battle in the spirit realm?  God has placed you under his leadership.  It is your responsibility to cover your pastor and his family in prayer.  Let’s commit as Kids Ministry Leaders to pray DAILY for our pastors.  You’ll be glad you did!

Why I Wrote “I Blew It!”


“So, why did you decide to write a book?” – submitted by Aaron in Arkansas

Since I announced that I was writing a book several months ago, this question has been asked of me many times.  I will have to admit, I asked it of myself many times – in many various forms.

I have read many books relating to Kids Ministry.  There are some that focus solely on practical ministry helps (i.e. Learn To Juggle In 15 Short Lessons or Understanding Your Pre-Teens).  There are others that focus solely on Leadership Lessons (i.e. 12 Habits Of The Post-Modern Kids Pastor).  Still others focus on challenging the status quo and making a BIG paradigm shift in the Kidmin World.

Most books I read come from the angle of “learning from the expert.”  That’s not the book I wanted to write.  Although I have been a Kids Pastor for nearly 20 years now, I in no way consider myself an “expert.”  I have failed more times than I can count.

That’s why I decided to reflect on my first 20 years of Kids Ministry and document the biggest mistakes I have made.  These mistakes range from leadership mistakes, personal failures, and practical ministry blunders.  I have written about them all in I Blew It!: the biggest mistakes I’ve made in kids ministry and how you can avoid them.

All of us must learn how to handle it when we make mistakes—and we certainly are going to make plenty of them.  We’re human, and mistakes are a normal part of life.  Ministry (and every other part of life) is packed with difficult choices that require wisdom, and often, we have to face problems we’ve never encountered before.  Mistakes are inevitable—sometimes really big ones!  No matter how hard we try to do things right, the question isn’t “Will I make mistakes?” but “How will I respond to my mistakes?”

This book is a collection of stories (some funny, some devastating) documenting mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned in more than twenty years of kids’ ministry.  I hope you can learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself.

I Blew It! will be released by Influence Resources in January 2012!  You can pre-order an autographed copy through High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources now!