He began his talk with some humorous observations about prayer. Specifically, he talked about “shot block prayers” and those informal roles in the prayer circle. He moved on to the funny side of parenting and children’s ministry.
When thinking about what to say tonight, Jon wanted to challenge the conference with some things we can do to better serve families in the church. Three things on his heart to share with children’s ministry leaders.
Help parents with the Internet. We’re the first generation of parents to have to talk about these new subjects: digital footprints, sexting, and Facebook strategy. The world will fill any void we leave open, and they’re already talking to our kids about these issues. Here are some things to teach the parents in your church.
How to build the right Internet. My wife and I started with a blank slate and added one site back at a time. We only gave access to sites we trusted. You build your own geogrpahy.
Physical geography. It’s important where you put the computer in your house.
Mobile geography. The Internet is always with us on our smart phones & ipods.
Don’t fast-forward childhood. Let children enjoy their innocence, especially when it comes to dating and how their relate to the opposite sex.
We need to be available. Life is very fast and full right now. It’s too easy to be busy with our work and cell phones. You don’t need a plane ticket to travel, you just need an iPod or a Blackberry. Nothing says they matter less than distracted parenting. His advice, “Hang up and arrive.” Ministry can also become a distraction to your parenting. Don’t come home from church too tired for your own kids. It’s so sad to see people in ministry awesome with other kids but terrible with their own. Make sure your kids get the best of you, not the rest of you. Jesus is a beautiful example of being available for other people.
Bonus: We all need to get better snacks. This is what my children suggested I share with this conference. They are sure that abundant goldfish is commanded somewhere in the Bible.
We have to be patient. Two things you never want to pray for are humility and patience. But that’s really what this kind of ministry needs. “You’re the first lyric in a song that may take 20 years.” This is a big part of what the Israel learned in the desert. Some of us are in “desert” situations. Don’t think God is mad when he feels quiet. Think of children’s ministry as a bar graph were the small impacts can change the whole arch of a person’s life. You’re not in second place waiting to go to a real ministry later. Children’s ministry is critical and you can dent the universe.