Empower Families

Family Style Fasting

Fasting

Josh practices fasting regularly. One day, Josh’s son told his dad he wanted to fast, too. He was 6 years old.

Little eyes are always watching and eager to follow the example set before them.

Fasting is an interesting discipline to explore with children. To be fully transparent, I haven’t done it a lot with children and until I heard Josh’s experience I had never thought about practicing it with them. Fasting is difficult for adults so it’ll be especially challenging for children who aren’t used to choosing self-sacrifice. For this reason, I believe fasting works best in the context of the home. So in preparation for this post, I asked several families to practice fasting. You can see what was asked of them here. No really, take a minute and read through this so the rest makes sense. I’ll wait.

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Praying with Kids: Permission. Play. Praise. Practice.

There are few people I’d be willing to lead me up Masada, sail the Sea of Galilee, crawl through the FullSizeRender-290x300aqueducts at Qumran, and climb Mt. Carmel with than Cayce Harris. Cayce is a woman with a deep faith & love for God and a heart of wisdom that knows no ends. I’m grateful for her friendship & leadership. Cayce is the Director of Ministries at Christ Healing Center. She and her husband, Joel, have 4 children with another on the way. The fruits of Cayce’s prayer life are evident in her work, her family & in all of her life. I’m so grateful she is willing to share with us even in the midst of morning sickness. May you be blessed today by Cayce Harris. Welcome, Cayce.

I love it when kids bow their heads and say amazing sweet, simple prayers with their hands folded and their bodies still. But let’s be honest, while it’s tender when it happens – most kids are all over the place most of the time. Activity and noise define what my kids are doing almost always.

I want my kids to learn to be still and listen – and they will learn that, there’s time for that. Even more so, I want my kids to live a life-style of prayer. I want them to know that because of Jesus’ incredible love for them, they have access. Access to GOD – the God who made it all. They can access Him as much as they want – there is no limit. There’s no such thing as too much or too often. There are no boundaries when it comes to their relationship with God and by extension, their prayer life.

How do we foster this as adults who sometimes require stillness and a 3 point lesson to feel connected to God?

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Implementing a New Curriculum

It is my honor to introduce you to Shannon Rains. Shannon is the Children’s and Family Minister at Kingwood Church of Christ. She has been journeying in ministry for over fifteen years. Shannon is currently a D.Min. student at Abilene Christian University and will join the faculty of Lubbock Christian University this fall as the Assistant Professor of Children’s Ministry. Shannon is married to David and has two children. Please help me welcome Shannon to the conversation.

I will never forget my first experience with implementing a change in curriculum. I evaluated our current ministry and made a list of goals for the future. I formed a team of stakeholders: parents, volunteers, and leaders in our congregation. We reviewed curriculum and compared them to our goals. Through prayer and discernment, we made a final selection. The team was excited about the new possibilities. We scheduled a meeting with the teachers and rolled out the new resources.

During the meeting, the teachers seemed excited about the new curriculum. Or, maybe they were a little nervous. In hindsight, they were probably more nervous than excited. I was excited. I misread their feelings through my own lens of excitement.

A few weeks later, reality set in. Continue reading

Because Children’s Ministry Matters

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One day I was having lunch with a church leader. I was still fairly new to Children’s Ministry & (in hindsight) assumed everyone understood why Children’s Ministry was so important. Prior to our lunch, I had given him a copy of George Barna’s book, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, to read hoping it would somehow help our strained working relationship. At lunch that day he told me, “Now I get why Children’s Ministry is important and matters to the church.” All I could think was, “Wait, what?! No wonder we are struggling; you never thought Children’s Ministry mattered in the first place.” It became clear why our relationship had been strained over the previous year and a half: we did not view the importance of Children’s Ministry the same. You don’t know what you don’t know, and he didn’t know he didn’t know.

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Why Child’s Praise?

Like a dog that gnaws on a bone only to bury it for a time then sniffs it out again to gnaw on it once more, the idea of starting a blog has weighed on me off & on for at least a year. When it did I created a convincing column of Cons and pushed it to the back burners of my mind, pretending like I had convinced God that He was crazy.

Until He made Himself abundantly clear, “No, really. I’m not the crazy one.”

 My response was very respectful: “Fine! If this is really something you want me to do, You’re going to have to give me a name for this stupid blog…and a purpose…AND ideas.”

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