Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Parenting and the Church

Parenting and the Church

This year our youth program is looking at adding some curriculum from a ministry called Truth:78. I’m very excited for this addition as they seem to be very likeminded to our own church in their thinking on the training of children and the church’s partnership with families. Here are some exerts from a few of their articles I’ve recently read and been very encouraged by…
In their article, “A Key Component of Effective Children’s and Youth Ministry,” they write,
The people who have the most access, the best opportunity, and the greatest potential influence—not to mention the biblical responsibility for helping children walk in the truth—are their parents. My plea to parents and grandparents is that they make the most of the fleeting opportunity they have.
The life of a parent today can quickly become consumed by so many good things that there is little time left for what is most important. Parents must not trade the greater things for lesser things.
  • What will it profit a child to be an accomplished pianist but spend his life as a fool?
  • What will it benefit a child to have all the friends in the world— even good Christian friends—but have no friend in Jesus on Judgment day?
  • What good will it do for a child to marry well but never sit at the marriage feast of the lamb?
  • What benefit will there be for the child who makes it to the national championship on his way to destruction?
  • What will it profit a child to gain the whole world and lose his soul? (Mark 8:36)
Imparting the truth to our children is essential and should be the primary focus for the church’s ministries to children and youth. However, the best two hours of children’s programming is no substitute for the passionate and intentional pursuit by parents of everlasting joy for their children. The church is best equipped to encourage, support, challenge, and develop resources for parents in their work of discipling their children.1

In their other article entitled, “Partnering With Your Church,” they go on,
We believe that God has called both the church and home to raise up the next generations to know, honor, and treasure God through Jesus Christ. This is accomplished through a strategic, loving partnership between the church and home. This partnership affirms that parents by proximity, opportunity, and God’s design, bear a unique responsibility for nurturing their children’s faith (see Deuteronomy 6:4-7). This partnership also affirms the role and responsibility of church leadership to provide encouragement and training for parents, and also to provide formal instruction for children and youth. Therefore, it is important for parents to consider how they can enrich their partnership with their local church.
They go on to discuss 7 ways parents can partner with their church. A couple that stood out to me are, 

1. Become Familiar with the Children's and Youth Vision and Philosophy of Your Church

Church leaders are greatly encouraged when parents express an eagerness to learn more about the vision, philosophy, and instruction being implemented in the classrooms, programs, and other related activities. If your church has not yet communicated this vision and philosophy to parents, prayerfully and humbly consider how you might bring this to the attention of the leadership.

2. Offer to Serve the Church in Discipling Children and Youth

Many churches find it difficult to adequately staff their children’s and youth ministries. Many challenges in the classroom experience relate to understaffed classrooms and/or overwhelmed volunteers. Seriously consider how you might use your gifts and abilities to further the discipleship of children and youth in your church. Teaching, organizational oversight, small group leading, preparing visuals, leading worship… all are valuable for implementing a spiritually enriching ministry.

3. Prioritize Family Participation in the Life of the Church

One of the most important ways that parents can partner with the church for the faith of the next generation is to make it a high priority for the family to participate in the regular life and rhythms of the church, especially the corporate worship service. When parents do this, they are teaching and training children that the Christian life is to be lived in community with God’s people. As members together, we have both responsibilities and privileges. Living out the “one another commands” within the greater family of God should be the normal and regular habit of every Christian family. At a minimum, families should prioritize worshiping together in the weekly service. This may feel daunting to some parents but here are some resources to assist you:

4. Partner with Your Children's Ministry Teams

Your children will be best served when parents and church are joyfully working together. Toward that end, there are some very simple and practical ways in which parents can strengthen the relationship with their child’s ministry team. For example:
  • Before Sunday school (or other events) pray with your child—for their own demeanor and edification, and also for the teachers, volunteers, and other students.
  • Ask the teacher if there are specific ways you can pray for the class from week to week.
  • Share appropriate concerns you have about your child’s spiritual condition, temperament (e.g., shy, energetic, not comfortable in front of a group, etc), and any behavioral issues with teachers.
  • Inquire if there are any needs in the classroom that you could help with.
  • Bring your child to class on time. If needed, make sure to take them to the restroom, have a snack, or get a drink of water before class.
  • Make sure your child is prepared for class: Bible in hand, verses memorized, etc.
  • Have realistic expectations regarding the classroom and volunteers.
  • If you have any problems with the class, teacher, etc., pursue a biblically appropriate way to address those issues outside of class.
  • Let your child’s Sunday school team know you are grateful to God for them and appreciate their ministry.

6. Encourage, Support, and Pray for Your Leadership

Youth and children’s pastors and ministers have a difficult job as they try to navigate the goals and needs of the wider church as well as the goals and needs of parents and their children. Commit to praying for them and remember to communicate thankfulness for their ministry. If you have concerns or disagreements with the leadership, be sure to address the issues in a biblical manner. Start by addressing the leader(s) personally at a mutually appointed time.

7. Use and Recommend Discipleship Resources for the Home

There are many excellent resources available for parents to help them disciple their children. Parents can serve the larger church by alerting church leadership to specific parenting resources. Upon review, the leadership may choose to recommend these to the wider church body.

All that to say, I hope our ministries at BCC are pursuing those ends of helping, partnering with, and encouraging parents in the training and equipping of the children in our church!

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21)
 - Phil 

Thanks to: for image.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Please Pray for the Bennetts

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Gary and Barb Bennett

The Bennett’s focus in Rwanda is helping adults in a variety of activities. Gary and Barb both teach at New Creations Ministries. NCM is a teaching ministry for pastors and lay leaders. The Pastoral Training Bible School teaches in Kinyarwanda (the tribal Rwandan language) and the Christian Leadership Institute of Rwanda teaches at the university level in English. Gary works with finances, construction, and an agricultural research and demonstration. He teaches pastors new subsistence farming methods so that they can focus on shepherding and discipling. Barb teaches English. Barb also teaches music at their local church to children and adults. Barb also helps with the Children’s Church worship time.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Key points to remember about your identity

Key points to remember about your identity (continued)

Scriptures command God’s people to hold on to the hope of the gospel 

Pain, suffering, hardships, brokenness plague our existence. Jesus told us, “In the world you will have tribulation.” But He did not stop with a focus on the negative, He spoke words of hope…”But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Solomon recognized the devastation that lack of hope has on the human heart, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12).

If you are going to persevere through your trials, for the glory of God, you will need to fight for hope in the promises of the Gospel.

Col 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel 
Col 1:23  if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Heb 3:6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Heb 4:14 Therefore, since we have such a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess [i.e., the Gospel].
1Thess 5:8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of our hope of salvation.
1Pet 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Consider the ramifications of lives lived without a focus on the Hope of the Gospel: 

  1. When I fails to understand the death of my own sinfulness, (i.e. depravity), I am tempted to try to be reconciled to God through my own efforts, good works or through perfectionism. Perfectionism a natural response to failure without the hope of the Gospel. Without the hope of the Gospel, I will inevitably create my own set of rules and a system of achievements and performances to attain the self-made standards of acceptance, approval and a sense of well-being. Perfectionism is a self-deceptive label for a gospel-less worldview, devoid of hope and deliverance.
  2. Without the hope of Christ’s complete atonement for all my sins, past, present and future, I will be tempted to attempt to somehow  appease God’s wrath on my own. However, the hope in the Gospel enables me to rest in the promises of Christ’s perfect sacrifice which totally appeases God’s righteous anger toward me.  1Jn.2:2 - He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. Jn. 4:10  - In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
  3. Without the hope of the Gospel, I will think of myself as a hired servant. And yet Jesus calls me his friend!  Jn 15:15  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
  4. Without the hope and truth of the Gospel regarding my God-defined identity, I will think/act/function as though everything revolves around me and my felt-needs. I will forget that everything is for Him and through Him.  Rom 11:36 - For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
  5. Without the hope of the Gospel, I will live in the present and forget the future. Paul’s focus was clearly on knowing Christ, even when he suffered. Paul never lost the hope of the Gospel because his focus was the eternal promises contained in the Gospel. Phil. 3:7-16 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

“Failing to concentrate on God’s love for us in Christ [i.e., the hope of the Gospel] isn’t a trivial thing.  It will always eventuate in apathetic living.  Only the gospel can so invigorate us that we burn with ardor for him in all that we do.”  Elyse Fitzpatrick 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Please Pray for the Custers

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                                                               The Custers

Dougg and LeAnn were formerly church planters in Austria. They started churches in Villach and Spittal. After 22 years of church planting, Dougg was asked to also become the Director for Europe and the Middle East in 2002. In this role, Dougg became responsible for all WorldVenture personnel working in those areas. In 2009 they relocated to the United States after serving as church planting missionaries in Austria for 28 years. In 2014, Dougg and LeAnn transitioned from Europe and the Middle East oversight to the role of Vice President of Mobilization, serving as part of the Executive Leadership Team. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Pray for the Hornbrooks

Sam and Jamie Hornbrook

Sam and Jamie started their ministry in Mexico City in 1991. They helped a veteran missionary couple plant Maranatha Baptist Church bringing it to its graduation as an independent, autonomous church in 2002. An institute for training pastors was also established in that church and continues to operate under national leadership. In 2003, the Hornbrooks began working on a new church plant which met in their home for 5 years. In 2009 it moved to a rented facility where it has continued to grow. Sam also has a ministry of training pastors and church leaders in Biblical Counseling throughout Latin America.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Pray for Cesar and Nancy Cortez

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Cesar and Nancy Cortez 

Cesar and Nancy minister to the poor of Ecuador by planning and implementing clean water systems for villages in Ecuador. The humanitarian effort opens doors for planting church evangelism and other related ministries in many unchurched villages. Nancy and Cesar both work with church leaders to train and prepare them for more effective service.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Please pray for Pablo and Judi Perez

Pablo and Judi Perez

Pablo and Judi formerly served with Leadership Resources International in the discipleship and training of key pastors through a process called Training National Trainers. In 2013 they transitioned to working in Ecuador with United World Mission where they are involved in discipling, starting a new church in Quito, helping other missionaries and churches with their discipleship
and developing a network of churches with that same focus.