Gospel Centered Family

Family Friday Links 8.26.16

Pat AldridgeComment

Here's your weekly dose of what we've been reading online this week:

Scott Slayton had a post that lists characteristics of a godly dad. He answers the question, "... what does a godly dad do?" He goes on to list 6 things dads should be doing. The job of parenting is beyond the capacity of any of us. This list serves as a reminder of how to do it well. If you're a dad, or even hope to be one day, read this to be challenged and encouraged.

National Public Radio (NPR) had a post kids and risk. The post claims that risk to kids these days may be perceived and not actual. The post reads in part, "... it could be that moral attitudes toward parenting have changed, such that leaving children unsupervised is now judged morally wrong. And because it's judged morally wrong, people overestimate the risk." Parents it's important for us to think through what is and isn't acceptable risk, real vs. perceived risk for our kids.

Tim Challis pulled together a post of John Piper parenting tips. This is a good read for parents trying to raise their kids to be worshippers of God.

What have you been reading online that we may have missed? Leave us a link in the comment section and we will check it out.

Listen to The Team

Pat AldridgeComment

A few weeks ago I gathered with some of the teachers and classroom helpers for two of our children's ministry classes. We met at the request of one of the class level coordinators. She had heard frustrations voiced by some of the teachers under her care. As I prepared to meet, my mind raced with possibilities:

  • Will we brainstorm ideas for the classroom?
  • Will this be a whine and complain session?
  • Do I really need to be here?
  • Do these people even really care about the kids?
  • How dare these people question me and the decisions I've made!
I saw that all my preconceived worry and stress was unfounded and unhelpful.

Before we met, I repented of the pride and arrogance in my heart. God brought James 1:19-20 to mind: "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." I acknowledged that was not my posture. I was judgmental. I was quick to assume, quick to judge, and quick to justify.

As the meeting started, I saw that all my preconceived worry and stress was unfounded and unhelpful. The team aired constructive criticism about their collective struggles with our current curriculum. It's a curriculum I had chosen. But as I listened to their concerns, I saw that change is necessary. As I listened to the team, I saw something else too. These people truly care for the little ones under their charge.

As I listened to their concerns, I saw that change is necessary.

James 1:19-20 is true for all believers. It is especially important for leaders and pastors. Learn from my experience. Be open and willing to listen to those who serve with you. Don't only be willing to listen. Actually do it. If the team brings critique, there is usually at least an element of truth in what they say. We need others to help be aware of our imperfections. We need a team of leaders to help us see when we've made a bad call. Rather than cling to authority or your first judgment, admit your wrongs. Trust that they pursue the same vision you do: to help kids grow into mature worshippers. Then listen to the team.

Family Friday Links 8.19.16

Pat AldridgeComment

Here's what we've seen online this week:

Barnabas Piper wrote a post on what pastors' kids need from church. He wrote, "(Pastors' kids) ... feel like people are always watching. The fact that you know personal things about them makes them hyper aware of you watching, listening, knowing." As pastors ourselves, we do our best to protect our families. Here's how the church can help.

Josh Squires had a post about parenting and "binge watching". He says, "... if I want to shepherd my children toward responsibility and self-control in their screen usage, the content should be appropriate, the amount of time spent should be appropriate, and their emotional attachment should be appropriate." Parents, even screen time is an opportunity for discipleship and heart work.

Sam Luce had a photo post on parenting. He starts it out with way, "Kids are a joy. Kids are the best thing ever. Kids are also a lot." The photos that follow are funny in ways we can all relate to. The encouragement with this post is to remember, as parents, you aren't alone.

What articles have helped or encouraged you this week? Leave us a link in the comment section and we'll check it out.

Playing Is a Pathway to Formation

Jared KennedyComment

When my daughter Lucy was a toddler, she had some verbal skill, but she rarely looked at anyone. After her Autism diagnosis, Lucy's therapy team made teaching her to make eye contact one of their first goals.

Practice led to understanding, not the other way around.

Emily, Lucy's lead behavioral therapist, would grab her hands, spin in a circle, and sing  'Ring Around the Rosy.' Like many Autistic children, Lucy loves to spin, so she bought in right away. Once Emily had full cooperation, she'd stop the game and wait until Lucy caught her eye. Then, and only then, she would start the game again. It didn't take long for Lucy to see that making eye contact was the way to make a request.

Lucy couldn't have understood if we tried to tell her to use her eyes. But she learned to use her eyes appropriately simply by doing so and receiving the gift of an enjoyable game. Practice led to understanding, not the other way around. 

I think that sometimes we need to put down our books and do something. Play a little.

In the church, we often give the impression that people will obey God's commands to love their neighbor or share the gospel only after they fully understand the truth. We think that knowing the truth is the pathway to true discipleship. While I'm certainly not against studying the Bible and learning theology, I think that sometimes we need to put down our books and do something. Play a little. 

Paul tells us that Christ has given a unique grace to every one of his people (Ephesians 4:7). Every saint has a particular function or ministry for which they are suited. One has the gift of teaching; another hospitality; and another the ability to nurture and care. But discovering one's gifting can only happen when a church member is given an opportunity to try out something new. 

Discovering one’s gifting can only happen when a church member is given an opportunity to try out something new.

In Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul tells us that leaders have been given to the church "to equip his people for works of service." A leader's role is to help church members learn by doing. Elton Trueblood once wrote that Christian leadership "is for those who possess the peculiar gift of being able to help men and women to practice any ministry to which they are called."  In other words, leaders must practice our pastoral calling to occupational therapy. We must invite people to serve and practice hospitality. We must share the teaching load. We must invite God's people to come and do ministry. We must call them to come and play.

I've never seen anyone discover their gifting apart from practice. That's the only way a Christian can become aware of how she is gifted or how he is not. In fact, Paul tells us that calling every Christian to do ministry is the pathway to maturity. We equip so that the whole body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:12). 

How have you grown through serving? How did you first discover your ministry gifts? Leave a comment and tell your story below.

**Note from Jared Kennedy: I hope you can join me at ETCH this October (http://etchconference.com ) in the workshop, "Grace-Based Classroom Management." Follow the link to find out more.