Tragedy Highlights the Need for Action

April 27, 2007

When bad things happen, we tend to take a harder look at what we’re doing…or not doing

The violent murder of students and faculty at Virginia Tech, and even the death of the perpetrator himself, has caused many of us to think deeply about life and how we live it. Naturally, much of our attention has been placed on gun control, mental health policies, public security, and media practices. There are, however, more fundamental concerns that we as Christians must eventually acknowledge.

Those concerns have to do with how we minister, on a consistent and ongoing basis, to children, parents and whole families. By placing a vibrant and living relationship with God through Jesus Christ at the center of a child’s development and as the focal point of married and family life, we establish a firm foundation for ongoing growth and a holy compass for guiding daily actions. By concentrating on both learning about our faith and practicing it on a consistent basis, children and parents can make Christianity a real and dynamic aspect of their daily lives…and a powerful basis for being a light in the world. And by being alert to the need to discern God’s calling on our lives and to making life decisions with an acknowledgment of His intentions, we can be in synch with a God who has our very well-being in mind.

In his most recent book, Revolutionary Parenting, Christian researcher and author George Barna investigates the plight of kids and parents in our culture. Barna identifies some of the key elements of an effective approach to parenting today…making child rearing an important priority, parenting with an intentional plan and approach, and being consistent in the application of values and standards. At LOGOS, we agree that these are critical parenting strategies that must be supported by an active church life…kids and parents and church…a plan for spiritual health and well-being.

Life is not easy, and we are all fallen sinners who are susceptible to weakness and the effects of evil in this world. More gun controls or police on every street corner will not be effective solutions to the problems that come with our humanity. Only God can heal our wounds and save our children…with the help of the church.

Listen to our podcast on Action: 3 priorities for the church


Where is God?

April 20, 2007

Tragic events cause many to question God’s role in our lives…

It has been eight years today since the attack on students in Columbine High School. Since then, we have seen many other violent attacks on the public, including the life-changing events of 9/11. The reality is that our children in the United States are dying everyday due to violence, abuse, and neglect. Everyday schools receive bomb threats (I was shocked to hear that the school districts of the greater Pittsburgh area report 50 bomb threats a year- that is almost one a week), children are bullied, abused at home, live in substandard conditions, and are misused or just plain neglected. Then a day like Monday happens at Virginia Tech, where an angry young person wipes out the lives of as many as he can around him, and suddenly this everyday violence we live in comes to the surface one more time and grabs our attention.

All of this causes a flurry of conversation about guns, mental health, education, parenting and society in general.  It causes some in and outside of the Christian community, and other faiths for that matter, to wonder “Where is God?  Why does God let this happen?  What is the purpose?”

The reality is, and this is nothing new, God is here just as He always has been.  Here to offer comfort, care, and the presence of the Holy Spirit to those in need. But most of us have trouble seeing that because we don’t look for God.  We don’t help our children look for God.  We don’t teach them that a relationship with God is critical to who they are, and to who they will become.

Instead, the average American spends 18 hours a week in front of a TV, 35 hours a week in leisure time and eating, more than 40 hours a week working, 45 hours a week sleeping and only 1 hour every other week- that’s 30 minutes a week, active in a faith community.

Among these statistics, time spent in sleeping and involvement in the body of Christ has been decreasing over the years. These are the two things that are probably the most critical for us in our efforts to become balanced and whole human beings. Lack of sleep leads us to frustration and irrational behavior. Lack of being in the body of Christ leads us away from being who God intended us to be, and what God intends for us to do. It creates a chasm between us and God, perhaps one so large that we can no longer see God present in our lives. It also opens the doors to the evils of the world to creep into our souls and lead us to behaviors that work against God and our neighbors. In the end, all of the things that replace a relationship with Jesus provide no fulfillment, no purpose, and no hope for today or tomorrow.

Is that the message we want our children to hear?  Well, it certainly seems to be the one we are teaching. Our children see and live in a world of hatred and violence. They see and experience that we seem to have too much to do to really care about them. We blame institutions, society, and others around us instead of taking the bull by the horns and proclaiming to everyone, everywhere, in all that we say and do…A saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ is more important than anything else in life!

We wonder, where is God?  I am sure that God is still wondering, as He has for years and years, where are we?

(There will be no podcast this week.  They will resume next week.)

Achieve Balance…Be More Effective

April 4, 2007

Children’s ministry must address the whole child to really work.

Is your ministry with children narrowly focused…maybe a little Bible study and some arts and crafts? In order to have a sustained, positive impact on kids, we have found that churches must address the whole child with an approach that is balanced along two key dimensions…and that involves more than just an hour each Sunday.

First, an effective ministry approach should educate and train young learners while offering them opportunities to practice what they are learning. Obviously, we are always educating and training in many of the things we do with kids, but at LOGOS we also intentionally reinforce the application of “child of God” and “kingdom of God living” concepts in everything we do with children…and we are always seeking opportunities for them to practice their growing faith!

Second, your children’s ministry must nurture the body, stimulate the mind, and uplift the soul in order to fully engage kids. At LOGOS, we typically nurture with a family-style meal and all kinds of recreation and play activities. We stimulate with Bible study. And we uplift by introducing various forms of worship leadership that connect kids to the church’s worship. And we recommend doing all of these on a consistent, weekly basis. This approach provides a safe place for putting learning into practice and for energizing the young to live daily as disciples. It also helps children to understand that we are meant to come into church so that we can be equipped to go back out again and bring others to Christ.

By focusing on these two perspectives on balanced ministry, you will be more likely to deliver a dynamic experience for kids that is interesting and engaging enough to keep them coming back for more.

So, check your children’s ministry: is it balanced?

Listen to our podcast on Balanced Ministry