Onward Session 6: Convictional Kindness

If you’re a parent, you’re likely familiar with matters of tone. One of the things children have to learn is that tone can actually be more important than the actual content of the message itself. That’s why teenagers might get into an equal amount of trouble when they give the right answer in a disrespectful tone as they would have if the actual content been offensive. Our posture matters; in fact, our posture might reveal even more than the message we give verbally.

As Christians, therefore, we must consider not only the content of what we say to the culture around us but also the tone with which we express ourselves. Paul reminds us:

In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  2 CORINTHIANS 5:19-20

We see in the life of Jesus a remarkable ability to be kind to those He encountered even while boldly speaking the truth. Too often we fail to follow Jesus in this aspect of His mission. Instead of taking the posture of an ambassador, pleading with all to be reconciled to God (see v. 20), we take an adversarial posture. We equate our measure of conviction with our level of outrage; the more conviction we have, the louder and angrier we think we can present our argument.
Our challenge, then, is to cultivate the kind of convictional kindness in our witness that we see in Jesus. This kindness isn’t weak or passive. In fact, kindness is an act of spiritual warfare.

We typically don’t think of kindness as a weapon; instead, we think of kindness as the exact opposite. But remember: we’re citizens of and ambassadors for a different kind of kingdom from the world. It would only make sense, then, that the weapons at our disposal aren’t the weapons of destruction the world uses.

And the people we engage with aren’t our opponents; they’re potentially our future allies by God’s grace. We should treat them with the kind of convictional kindness that reflects our belief that there are no lost causes when it comes to the mercy of God.

As the church, we have the incredible luxury of operating from a position of victory. That knowledge changes everything about the way we engage with the culture around us.

And as we make arguments, even as we understand that arguments are merely the equivalent of brush clearing to get to the main point: a personal connection with the voice that rings down through the ages from Nazareth. We want not simply to convey truth claims but to do so with the northern-Galilean accent that makes demons scream and chains fall. Kindness isn’t surrender. Gentleness isn’t passivity. Kindness and gentleness, rooted in gospel conviction—that’s war.


My Child Is Not Able to Sit Still - KIDS IN CHURCH

Today is the third kids in church post
Sunday I posted a response to the statement my child doesn't get anything from being in church - which addresses purpose.
Yesterday I posted a response to the statement the content is sometimes more mature than we would like our child to hear - which addresses content.

Today I want to respond to the statement my child is not able to sit still for that long - which addresses training.

The 8 Tips guide that went home with 1st through 5th graders this Sunday has some great suggestions.  Here are a couple of them.  learn

Look over the bulletin or service details online; point out what will be happening and how your child can participate. This may mean teaching him a refrain of a responsive reading or teaching him a phrase from a song or chorus and asking him to listen for it. Pray with your child before the service starts.
By teaching your child hymns and worship songs at home he will be able to participate in the service.  If he cannot learn the whole song, teach him the refrain and signal to him when it is time to sing the part he knows.  Encourage your child to sit and to stand at the appropriate times, to clap when appropriate, etc.  Have your child bring an offering and place it in the plate.

Click HERE for all EIGHT Tips for Helping Your Child Worship.\

Click HERE for "Strategies for Engaging Children in the Worship Service.

Click HERE for Parenting in the Pew Resources  (Keeping Them Quiet, Keeping Them Involved, Helping Them Worship)


Parental Guidance Needed - KIDS IN CHURCH

Yesterday I responded to one of the reasons I have heard regarding not having children in church -  my child doesn't get anything from being in church.
If you didn't read that post, click HERE.

Today I wanted to take some time to respond to another reason.

The content is sometimes more mature than we would like our child to hear.

In my opinion, this is the most challenging of the three oppositions.  So I want to be careful in answering it.  

In a service that is not geared towards children there are words and ideas that come up that kids will have questions about and parents don't know how to answer.

There are the realities of sin in our world that need to be addressed in sermons:  pornography, homosexuality, same sex marriage, sex-trafficking and others.
There are God-given gifts that are not easy to talk about with young children:  sex in the context of marriage. 

First of all, when we have had messages that focus on topics like homosexuality, we have our regular children's church program through 3rd grade and we have added an optional class for 4th and 5th graders.  

Now here comes the challenging part.  Please read through to the end.

I have read in several places that the appropriate time for a parent to start talking with their child about sex is "younger than you think."  Our culture is becoming more and more sexualized.  Magazines in the supermarket.  Commercials at the most unexpected times.  Conversations with friends at school.  And in many cases these are not the messages we want our children to know.  

Would you rather have a conversation with your son or daughter about same sex marriage after the pastor at church mentions it during a Biblical sermon or after your son hear about on the playground or through a TV clip hears in passing?

Here is a section from Time for the Talk by Steve Zollos

Growing up has never been easy, not for boys. For many of you fathers reading this book, fistfights, police chases, and broken hearts seemed to be waiting around every corner during your teen years—but the world we see today isn’t the world you grew up in. Not even close. Back then there was at least some protection from the dirt of the world. Today, a boy steps off the school bus and into a place you and I never conceived of in our youth. Gangs, drugs, shootings, condoms, sex, pornography, and perversion are everywhere. Worst of all, it’s largely accepted, tolerated, or condoned by those in authority.  
Oh, so your son is in private school? Or he’s home-schooled? Do you really think that makes things different for him? Maybe a little bit, but don’t let that give you a false sense of security. That young man still lives in a world hugely more seductive and radically more damaging than the one you knew at his age. Have you listened to his music lately? Have you taken a walk around your neighborhood? Do you have any idea what a typical group of young people talks about in private? Have you heard the language, seen the actions, and understood the values being promoted on movie, television, videogames, computer, and cell phone screens? In the time that you’ve been on the internet, have you seen things that you would never want your son to see, even accidentally? How much more time does he spend online than you? With all of this talk about the trouble in this world, let's remember that our hope is in God.
He has given what we need to live for His glory.  Jesus.  The Holy Spirit.  The Word of God. The church.  Biblical sermons.

Let's help our kids find their hope in God.


My child doesn't get anything from being in the service - KIDS IN CHURCH

Over the next three days it is my prayer that I can use these KIDS IN CHURCH posts to help educate families on the reasons for and importance of our KIDS IN CHURCH Sundays.

The first reason I have heard for not having children in church is
my child doesn't get anything from being in church.

REMEMBER:  Children are learning more than we think they are.

Think about each of these...
  1. Don't think "my child needs to get/understand EVERYTHING."  Instead think "my child needs to get/understand SOMETHING."  Ask your child "What is one thing you learned or were reminded of in today's sermon?"
  2. Let me remind you of two things your child "gets" every single time they are with you in the service.  First and most importantly, they get to see you, their parent or grandparent or spiritual mentor worshiping God in song, opening the Bible, attentively listening to the pastor preach.  Second, they get to see a pastor proclaim God's Word through preaching.
Here is an 11 minutes podcast about Kids in Church
A quote from this podcast:  "The aim is that the children catch the passion for worshiping God by watching mom and dad enjoy God week after week. What would be the impact if, for twelve years, the children saw dad with his face in his hands praying during the prelude to worship? What would be the impact if they saw mom and dad beaming with joy in singing the praises of God?"

Here is a great, 6o minute seminar about Kids in Church