Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for Discipleship
Did you know that YOU are a Bible character? It’s true! Consider this. An upcoming lesson in DiscipleTown has the theme “Pray and Obey,” and this is the “Connect with Your Kids” element. I wanted to share it with you early, because I think it is relevant to your lesson every week, no matter what you may be teaching this Sunday. It’s all about sharing when you have done what you are asking your students to do. It’s all about BEING what you are TEACHING. That makes YOU a “Bible Character.”
Used with permission from DiscipleLand.com
It is one thing to tell kids they need to pray and obey. It is entirely another to give them a real world example from someone they know who has done it. Prayerfully reflect on a time in your life when you have needed to “pray and obey,” and then God gave you the power to do the right thing. Share your story. It can have a powerful impact on your students. Don’t underestimate the power of your story on your students. We often tell Bible stories and forget that these Bible “characters” were just ordinary people like us. They didn’t know their stories would end up in the Bible, they just made choices like you and I have. So, in a sense, your story is as much a Bible story as Joseph or Esther or Ruth or Daniel. And your story will mean as much to your students as theirs. Perhaps more, because your kids actually know you!
(Excerpt from an upcoming “Connect with Your Kids in DT21“)
Over in the Kidmin Talk forum discussion on Kidmin Talk Episode 49: Mutiny, The Kids Have Taken Over Kids Church, I am offering a FREE SCAR FORCE VBS to someone who posts a picture of their favorite Star Wars character!
One poster, Matt Owens, suggested:
Karl, my favorite character is Boba Fett. He’s a clone among millions, but he’s the only one who saw Jango as his father. He had such a heart-breaking childhood experience and he chose a path of bitterness and vengeance. This kid needed a Kidmin in his life!
It made me think, YES!
Imagine if a children’s pastor could have found poor little Bobba and invited him to a bounty hunter VBS or clone summer camp or discipled him in the power of spiritual weapons, instead of hunting Han Solo, he could have been a missionary evangelists to bounty hunters and the galaxy could have been saved so much turmoil! He could have been a galactic version of the Apostle Paul!
What a lost opportunity for sure. Imagine how different the entire Star Wars saga could have been if someone had reached that poor little poor at a young age – a boy who had experienced such tragedy as a child. A boy carrying such deep emotional scars that he carried into adulthood. A boy who never got the benefit of being raised by a loving father, let alone feel the embrace of a loving mother.
Had someone found and reached this boy in his time of need, how different his life, and the lives of so many others could have been, who were destined to find themselves facing the brunt of this cooped up rage and inner confusion over his identity and misplaced life calling.
How different his life purpose could have been. Perhaps he could have even reached Darth Vader before Luke, we’ll never know, because no kidmin leader reached him as a child.
Who are the future Bobba Fetts in your life and ministry?
What paths are they on?
What will it take to reach them?
What futures will you rewrite by reaching them?
If you would like to WIN A FREE SCAR FORCE VBS post your favorite Star Wars character.
And let me tell you, it is AWESOMER than ever!
(Download the Promo PDF)
If you have been discipling with Awesome Adventure over the years – you are in for an EYE-POPPING surprise!
You will find the same Bible-Rich Content that covers the same 12 Basic Discipleship Lessons – but communicated in an entirely new exciting way!
I’ve been personally transformed into a cartoon (!) – and entered into the book to take Dee, Cy and Paul (and their trusty dog, Chip) and two other new Christians, Luke and Laura, on a hike in Yosemite National Park to learn all about God and what it means to walk with Him!
Along with way they visit actual historic sites in Yosemite while learning about the Bible, Prayer, Fellowship, Spiritual Gifts, and many other important topics – while discovering the parallels between hiking and walking the Christian life! They learn that discipleship comes with dangers, and decisions and even a run in with a bear!
Your young diciples will learn right along with the kids in the book what it means to live for God along the path of life. There are fun interactive puzzles, codes, mazes, word searches, and colorful illustrations that make the book seem to come alive. I’m especially excited that a lot of my own photography from over ten trips to Yosemite was used, often integrated with the graphical cartoons for an amazingly unique look that you just have to see – its photo-realistic, and yet cartoony, because it is a blend of actual photos and art, for a look that I’ve never seen done before.
But beyond the amazing visual appeal, and engaging elements to attract kids – it is still the strongest tool on the market for discipling kids one on one, which is why my wife and I wrote it years ago, and why DiscipleLand published it and began their entire Adventure Series with this edition.
Sunday School and Kids Church Curriculums do a lot of good in teaching kids the Bible – BUT unless a parent or caring adult takes the time to disciple a child one on one through the basics of the Christian Faith, how do you know they understand and ‘own’ their faith? How can you be sure they understand the basics and can stand firm when they hit their teenage years? How can you help them establish the important habits that will last them a life time?
That is what Awesome Adventure was designed to do! The attractiveness and fun is to engage kids, the solid biblical content is to help make a disciple of Jesus out of them as they dive into the Word of God! Awesome Adventure gets kids into the Bible! There are over 220 scripture references in Awesome Adventure. When kids look these up and highlight them in their Bible over the course of this study, it gives them a powerful overview of Bible and a great sense of confidence in their ability to rightly handle the Word of God.
Awesome Adventure comes in two age levels. It is the same study with the same basic content, but the lower level is simplified for a younger learner:
Awesome Adventure: Ages 6-9
Awesome Adventure: Ages 9-12 (The level I highly recommend)
Awesome Adventure Teacher’s Guide
What are you waiting for? Disciple your kids today!
We aren’t in children’s ministry to administrate.
We aren’t even in kids ministry to teach.
We are ministers of kids because we want to make a difference in the lives of children.
Below is a PDF of some slides pulled out from one of my presentations I like to give when I am speaking at conferences or encouraging volunteers. I enjoyed speaking to the volunteers at a church this Sunday, and wanted to make these slides available to them, and to anyone else who might find them helpful and challenging.
They are TEN WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the life of a child. They are, in a sense, “ten secrets” to connecting with kids beyond just teaching great lessons and being a good leader. These are the things that will set you apart.
They are what make you a relational minister. And they are the things that kids will remember years later long after lessons are assimilated into who you are and events are forgotten. I almost hate to give away my secrets, except that they will change lives when applied. So I can’t keep them to myself!
Download and Apply Often for Great Results in your Ministry!
My podcast this week is in response to a post in the Kidology forum where a Kidology member laments,
I’m working at a new church and realize that the youth don’t know that much about the God’s Word or Jesus. I’ve sat and scratched my head trying to figure out what approach to take. Many of the youth have been coming to the church as kids, but haven’t really learned about a relationship with Jesus. ….they aren’t interested and neither are the parents. The majority of the youth ….are moving on and the youth director assigned to their age group is clueless. They focus on events rather than ministering to the kids. I’m about to pull my hair out because I feel like I’m the only one who see’s the problem. HELP!”
If I had to answer you in one would, it would be: DISCIPLESHIP. The church today spends too much time and energy and money trying to turn out disciples through mass/large groups ‘events’ and what you describe is the results. “The proof is in the pudding” as the saying goes.
If you want to see the solution, you have to look no further than the ministry of Jesus. He did ‘large group’ ministry too – teaching on the hillsides, right? But what made the difference long term? He poured His life and spent the majority of His time pouring into just a small group of just 12 men. That is how I have modeled my ministry for over 20 years. Fantastic large group events that draw kids and families, yes! But pouring the bulk of my time and energy into discipling a small group of kids, and always discipling a small group of kids, and training teachers and leaders to do the same.
And guess what? It is those kids I discipled who are now strong Christians and many in Bible college or in the ministry today.
If you want to learn about my KC Krew, the small group of kids I poured into every year in my ministry, check out: Kids Church Cookbook – Part 6, and if you want to use the discipleship book my wife and I wrote that DiscipleLand publishes, check out: My Awesome Adventure.
But resources aside – the KEY is to start discipling kids ONE on ONE, and getting others to do so. Only RELATIONSHIPS will make a long term difference in kids lives. NO PROGRAM will introduce kids to Christ.
Let me repeat that: NO PROGRAM, NO PRODUCT, NO CURRICULUM will guide kids into a genuine relationship with Jesus that will last into their teenage years. Only a PERSON can do that.
—-> If a child doesn’t have a PERSON who PERSONALLY introduces them to Jesus and PERSONALLY guides them into getting to know Him (other than a parent) they will stray from Christ until such a time that a PERSON guides them BACK to Jesus.
It’s THAT SIMPLE – and THAT DIFFICULT.
Let me encourage you to listen to my PODCAST FROM TODAY where I dive into this topic: Kidmin Talk 037
You can get some FREE discipling resources as a result! I’m passionate about this stuff! (as if you couldn’t tell!)
Here’s a “Blast from the Past!” I recently had thousands of pictures scanned by ScanMyPhotos.com and am discovering some fun pictures from over twenty years of ministry as a children’s pastor (as well as lots of fun family pics).
Several of these kids I still know and some I am friends with now on Facebook, even though this was 1993 at the Village Church of Lincolshire, IL. (Pictured here are David and Hannah Shaw, Tina Myers, Athena (Rebecca) Stephens, Tyler and Kelsey Hagen, Matt, Sam and Gab Fuqua, Jennelle, Jenene and Jenna Stanonik, Gina Geavaras, Amy Lane, and others I only remember first names. I am getting old!)
Here is a fun game event I did in my Rookie Year as a full time children’s pastor that I called Sumu Kids:
First, the TEAM PHOTOS:
We did this at a “Sack Lunch Sunday.” Every first Sunday of the month, I let all the grade school kids stay at church for a themed afternoon of fun and games. Its purpose was simply to deepen my relationship with the kids as well as to give parents a nice Sunday afternoon off. (Parent Points!) There was always some spiritual teaching, yes, but that wasn’t the main emphasis. Building relationship was, as it made my teaching more effective during church. (Remembering all these names some 19 years later is proof that Relational Ministry works!)
Here are the kids getting their Sumu Fighter ready:
Gina Geavaras getting in one of the white suits I got from Abbot Laboratories
Abbot Laboratories was located near our church, and I asked volunteer at our church (Byron Wingerd – thanks!) for a few of these awesome zip up lab body suits and he gave me a bunch. (I still have some!) And then the kids stuffed them with toilet paper!
Then….. THE BATTLE!
Of course, the goal was to knock the other person (not over) but out of the circle! The Sumu Kids had to keep their hands either on their hips or just out in the air and could only use their belly to fight. It was hysterical! The kids loved it of course.
Oh, and did I mention they were BLINDFOLDED? Their teammates had to coach them on where to go by yelling instructions! But it was hard to tell which yelling kids were your team, so it took concentration.
The spiritual application?
1) You have to listen carefully to which voices in life you listen to.
2) There are enemies out there who seek to knock you over!
3) We need to work hard to not fall down!
SCRIPTURES I MIGHT HAVE USED: (I don’t actually know, but I know myself and how I think, so I would have used verses like this. NOT ALL of them, but I’m just showing you that after a FUN game the Bible has a LOT to say about standing firm and NOT FALLING DOWN!)
See how the evildoers lie fallen— thrown down, not able to rise!
The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face.”
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
1 Corinthians 10:12
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
Stand firm, and you will win life.
Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
1 Peter 5:9
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Have FUN playing games – make it count by incorporating some spiritual teaching – but at the end of the day, we aren’t in ministry to have fun, and we aren’t even in ministry simply to teach. I’m not sure if many of these remember the lesson I taught that day. (Though a well taught lesson becomes part of who they are.) But the relationship impacts deeper than a lesson, and in two directions. I miss these kids very much. Some I’m still in touch with. Others, I cross paths with from time to time, others I know I won’t see again until the New Heaven and Earth – and what a Day that will be!
I think I’ll challenge them to a Sumu Match on the shore of the Crystal Sea!
I was just on the radio in the Capital of Canada this morning on CHRI Christian Radio in Ottawa. You can listen to the interview here: tinyurl.com/karlonCHRI
The occasion is that next week, I’ll be heading up there to the frozen lands of Canada to serve as the keynote speaker for the VAULT Children’s Ministry Conference.
I’m really looking forward to this conference! I’ll have an opportunity to speak at a breakfast for pastors with their children’s pastors on the secret to longevity in ministry, and I’ll be doing a Family Fun Night Magic with a Message show. At the conference I’ll be speaking on:
- YOU, the Missing Piece in a Child’s Spiritual Puzzle
- Making Your Discipline Problems Disappear
- The Stories of Ministry
During the first session, I will reveal my “secret” relational ministry tricks for connecting with kids – those tips that draw kids in and then double the impact of my teaching.
The second session will introduce a completely different approach to discipline that at first surprises people. By the end they’re praying not for less discipline problems but for more (seriously!) so that they will have more kids they can truly impact. You’ve just gotta be there to experience it.
The final session is new, and I’m excited about it. Too often we talk about how to build and strengthen and lead ministries and programs, but we forget that Jesus didn’t send us into all the world to build programs but to make disciples. Programs don’t make disciples; other disciples make disciples. The best a program can do is connect disciples to each other. If we don’t have stories of young disciples, we aren’t truly ministering. This session will challenge the way we minister within our programs.
If you are in Canada, I hope you’ll be there! Eh!
This is part of a series called 24 Days of Thankfulness. These posts are in RANDOM order, NOT priority order. Each is something I am thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving.
DAY #17 : Awana and Sunday School
I was just serving at an Awana last night in Colorado Springs. I was reminded as I watched these clubbers of the impact of Awana in my own spiritual journey as I realized how blessed these kids are – and they don’t even realize it yet. For them, it’s just something fun their parents have enrolled them in.
Yet they are having a spiritual foundation laid that is going to serve them for the rest of their life. Some will come to Christ at club, others will memorize hundreds of Bible verses which will become the building blocks of spiritual thought that will form a biblical world view which will become the super structure upon which will be built a life of critical thinking. And I’m not over-stating it. Objective studies by outside researchers have found that most kids trained in Awana continue to faithfully follow Jesus as adults. (source)
Awana is also where I got my beginning as a children’s ministry worker. My first official volunteer position was as a Sparky Game Leader when I was a young boy. Serving in Awana taught me a lot about living for something outside of myself and what it meant to be a part of a Team reaching and teaching chidren… I was in barely into the junior high having just finished the end of what was then Awana Boys Club Pioneers. (Now T and T)
I have had or started an Awana Club in every full time ministry I have led.
Why? Because Awana has been the single most effective outreach ministry of the entire church. Hands down. Did you catch that? I did not say most effective in the children’s ministry – I said of the entire church. Every ministry I’ve been in, I’ve been a team member of the pastoral staff and blessed to serve on a staff that functioned as a team. (I know that is not always the case in children’s ministry, so I am thankful for this.) So I am well aware of the results of all areas of ministry when it comes to new families coming to the church and people (or families) coming to Christ and (most important) assimilating into the body life of the church – and nothing does it like Awana. In fact, no other ministry draws new people like Awana, as many families who are new to the community get online and look for the church in the community that has Awana. We did. And while we ended up not attending that church, we do take our son to a their Awana club since the church we do attend doesn’t have Awana. We want our son in Awana.
After fifty years, the results are in.
Churches that have Awana – see results.
Kids who are in Awana – benefit greatly.
But I also mentioned Sunday School. “What is that?” Some may ask. I know, Sunday School seems to be going the way of VHS and Floppy Discs and soon even DVDs. A thing of the past. Most new churches are not even bothering with it as their ministries are being built on a One Hour Sunday model built around a great worship/preaching experience and their new fancy buildings reflect this with one huge auditorium and a few child care rooms and no adult educational wing or classrooms. This is tragic. With no educational hour for adults, children’s ministry is forced into a “Kids Church Only” model, which severely hinders intentional discipleship. Even when there are two services, it is the same service twice in many churches.
Christian Education, as an intentional ministry of the church is threatened. You can’t do it in Kids Church, all ages combined, and you can’t do it in small groups for adults. You can do many good things in small groups, but not intentional in-depth Christian education, so a dumbing down of the Church is happening and it is showing throughout the culture. On the adult side the evidence is everywhere, and on the kidmin side, which only kids church (which can only do so much) the results are even tougher.
Churches with both an Awana, and Sunday School education hour and a Kids Church worship service will always produce the strongest kids spiritually. This is not to say the whole parent/home element is being left out or ignored – but the Church plays a critical role and so many churches today have forgotten what it means to have a comprehensive disciple-making strategy. Or they have no idea what those words even mean.
I know that I am the result of such a strategy when I was a child. And I am thankful for it. I see the impact on my life, my faith, and who I am today. It doesn’t mean I’ve lived a perfect life, but it means I’ve known the Path, and when I got off, I knew I was off, and knew where it was, and knew the way back. A strong spiritual foundation provides you with that perspective.
I am thankful for Awana and for Sunday School. They worked together so well as part of a right hand, left hand strategy in my spiritual development, and then Kids Church brought it all together with worship and topical teaching in a kid-friendly way. Just as the adult service brings everything together for “Big People.”
Today I launched a little Thanksgiving Project over on Kidology.org called “24 Days of Thanks-Giving” – basically I am providing a simple Word doc you can download and every day from Nov. 1 until Thanksgiving add ONE thing you are thankful for.
It’s really just something I need to DO MYSELF – but I thought maybe others might want to join me, and I’d enjoy reading/seeing what others are thankful for. So you are welcome to use the Word doc, or just post in the forum what YOU are thankful for! So let me begin today, with my first post. These are NOT going to be in priority order, otherwise I’d have to go God, Family, etc. and then later on, people might judge me for putting one thing “above” or “before” another – so right out of the gate let me say, these posts will be in RANDOM ORDER of things I am THANKFUL FOR!
DAY 2 – God’s Word
DAY 3 – My Mom
DAY 4 – Photography
DAY 5 – Pandora
DAY 6 – George Lucas
DAY 7 – Breckenridge
DAY 8 – Barq’s
DAY 9 – Mercy & Grace
DAY 10 – Steves
DAY 11 – Freedom
DAY 12 – Luke
DAY 13 – Sara
DAY 14 – My Bookkeeper
DAY 15 – Science
DAY 16 – Da Cloud
DAY 17 – Awana & Sunday School
DAY 18 – My Dad
DAY 19 – True Friends
DAY 20 – Scottevest
DAY 21 – My Customers
DAY 22 – Tennis Balls
DAY 23 – Flight
DAY 24 – Jesus
Next entries »
Brian Haynes, author of the Shift, has a new book coming out titled, “The Legacy Path.” I was honored to get an advance copy and enjoyed reading it. I was also giving the opportunity, as part of a Blog Tour, to ask Brian a few questions, and get his answers.
Here they are:
1. What do you think are the biggest challenges children or family pastors face when attempting to “partner with parents” in raising children to be fully devoted followers of Jesus?
There are several challenges that we face when attempting to partner with parents. One is that parents feel completely inadequate to disciple their own children. Another is the battle for time to equip parents in the busyness of every day life. Maybe most practically is the reality that children’s pastors or family pastors likely have to change the way they work in order to partner with parents. The mindset shift is the change from just creating ministry processes to equip kids verses creating processes that disciple kids and their families when we have access to the parents. It is impossible to do it all, so children’s pastors and family pastors have to learn to focus, equip, delegate, and let go of ministries they once did themselves.
2. Why do you think parents feel so inadequate to disciple their own children?
Parents feel this way generally because they often have not been discipled themselves. They struggle with teaching something they don’t think they completely understand or practice. For parents it would be easier to trust the faith training of their children to the church. Embracing their role as the primary faith trainers means becoming intentional. Many have the question, “What does intentional spiritual parenting look like?” They need a simple plan and a demonstration of that plan in progress to help them overcome their feelings of inadequacy. The truth is that parents are wired for this. When they take even little steps in faith to overcome their fear, God blesses. It’s part of His plan for the Kingdom.
3. How can children’s pastors (or those responsible in a staff role over children in a church) best challenge parents to embrace their role as the primary spiritual leaders of their children without it coming off as a guilt trip or pressure to “do more” on top of their already busy lives?
I think we need to teach a biblical theology of discipleship which includes a lengthy thread of Scripture not limited to Deuteronomy 6:4-9. This teaching, when done in love, may motivate or even convict. Conviction is a good thing. It is the work of the Spirit to bring us back into God’s way of living. At the same time we can avoid being guilt-mongers. I have learned that when I share my fears of messing up the daddy thing or my feeling of inadequacy when it comes to discipling my kids, the people of our ministry really connect. When I tell them specifically how I have messed up they almost breathe a sigh of relief. We have to be real when we talk about this stuff. Don’t pretend you have it all figured out. Use humor when you talk about parenting. Let them into your real life as a parent. I am as busy as the next guy. I let them see my success and my failure with that even as I teach concepts like simplicity and balance. I think it’s all about approach.
4. How do we convince parents that the spiritual develop of their children is not just another area of importance worthy of some attention, but the most important area of their child’s development worthy of the utmost attention with ramifications on every other area of their development? It sounds so dramatic – and yet it is so true. (Assuming you agree with this statement.)
We have to teach them the biblical truth. The words of God speak with authority on the matter in a way mine do not. Since God is the Grand Designer, he has hardwired parents for this task. Most Christian parents intuitively know that faith training is worthy of their attention. I think we convince them fully when we teach them how to be intentional about the faith development of their children in simple, every day ways.
5. Lastly, what is one practical way you have found to encourage parents that they do not need to first get their own act together or become a perfect person/parent before they start to be intentional about leaving a legacy for their kids? Can you share a specific example of a story, object lesson, challenge or illustration you have used to move parents from inaction to motivated action?
I get parents to tell me of a time they looked into their child’s face and saw their own. Sometimes I will ask them to share a funny story of when their child said something and they instantly realized, “That kid sounds just like me.” I have them recall a time disciplining there child either in a positive or negative way when they realized they were practicing discipline just like their parent did whether they wanted to or not. Everyone has a story to illustrate that legacy is built whether intentional or not.
I then say, “If we are building legacy, why don’t we do it with some intentionality.” I like to give them an easy win. I teach them at that point to start praying scriptural blessings over their kids at night before bed or before they walk out the door for school. I even give them the cards with the Scripture on it so it’s easy. Intentional legacy can be that simple.
The Legacy Path is a great follow up for both children’s pastors and even more-so for parents!