Four Ways Your Children's Ministry Can Engage Parents

Four Ways Your Children's Ministry Can Engage Parents

Parents are a vital part of children’s ministry, and it is important to engage them from the very start since they have the primary responsibility of discipling their children.

A Barna Group report on parents found that almost 90% of parents of children under age 13 believe they have the primary responsibility for teaching their children about religious beliefs and spiritual matters. The report concluded that parents are willing to provide spiritual leadership for their children, but are often ill-equipped to lead them in this way.

The Power of an Invitation

The Power of an Invitation

It happened as I was on my way to play a board game with friends from church. Someone in my car asked, “So, Molly, why are you going to this?”

Caught off-guard, my eyes switched back and forth between the road ahead and the rearview mirror as I tried to gauge the sincerity of the question. After quick deliberation in silence, I said, “Well, I guess the first reason would be that I was invited.”

Easter Is Over – Now What?

Easter Is Over – Now What?

I watched my Facebook feed with some humor this past week as several individuals reminded their readers: “Pretend it’s Easter. Come back this Sunday. Jesus is still alive!”

Yes, Jesus is still alive, and this reality should make a difference in how the Easter worshipers in our communities approach the following Sunday … and the ones after that. But it should impact our lives as Christ-followers, too.

There Be Wolves

There Be Wolves

It’s a classic movie trope. The main character is alone in the wilderness, huddling close to a dying fire. As the fire dies, glowing eyes begin to appear and multiply. It’s a pack of starving wolves.

But have you ever realized that Jesus says He has put us in that same situation? “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)

It's the Person!

It's the Person!

For ten days we walked around important historical sites in Israel, retracing the steps of biblical heroes and especially remembering the life of Jesus. In many places there would be two or three shrines near each other, each claiming to be the exact spot where some biblical event took place. It didn’t really matter to me if an event happened 100 feet to the left or the right, it was just amazing to stand near locations mentioned in the Bible.

Listen First

Listen First

I am still unsure of how I got the invitation, but I did. It was a small gathering of local Boston pastors and seminary professors – and me.

We were all together to share a breakfast and hear Dr. John M. Perkins share an exhortation. (For those unfamiliar with Dr. Perkins, he is a long-time pastor, a writer, an evangelical leader for racial reconciliation and the co-founder of the Christian Community Development Association.) Despite the fact that he was in his early 80s at the time, he encouraged all of us in the room with passion and zeal for the mission of God.

Stability: The Extra Staff Member You Didn't Know You Had

Stability: The Extra Staff Member You Didn't Know You Had

A couple of years ago we were pursuing a partnership with a ministry serving among the urban poor. This ministry was tied to an active church doing real discipleship and seeing real fruit among the people in the community. From what we could see, this was one of those unique churches where the majority of those doing the work of the ministry were the members of the body. Still, I was struck by the number of people on staff at this small urban church. They had raised money to hire more staff members than a church three or four times their size.

Are We Settling for Less by Doing Missions on Our Own?

Are We Settling for Less by Doing Missions on Our Own?

There are two main reasons why I am Southern Baptist: biblical doctrine and the Cooperative Program.  There are other denominations and church groups that are doctrinally sound. Yet there is no other church or group of churches that offers a more comprehensive means for every church to participate in work focused on the King’s mandate to reach the whole world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Taking Silly Seriously

Taking Silly Seriously

There are many qualities about God's character I find deeply comforting: His omni-ness (omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent), His justice, His mercy, His wisdom, His patience, His faithfulness. On and on it goes. These attributes and a thousand more draw my heart to the throne with a profound sense of wonder.

But I keep forgetting He's a Dad — a really, really good one. Which means there's a new characteristic I need to add to my list of what I love about this fascinating God the angels never tire of extolling. Are you ready for it?

Worcester Student Serves Others, Shares Gospel on First Mission Trip

Worcester Student Serves Others, Shares Gospel on First Mission Trip

Daisy Santiago didn’t know what to expect out of her first mission trip.

“I had never talked about the Lord to anyone before,” she said.

Still, the Worcester State University student was the first collegian to sign up for a spring break mission trip to serve hurricane victims in Puerto Rico with Send Relief, a branch of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.

Hope in the Darkness

Hope in the Darkness

Will God be faithful? Will He provide for us? Is He going to save us? Where is He?

These questions must have been in the mind of every Israelite during the time of Esther. They had been taken into captivity and were living under Persian rule. Unlike the rest of their brothers and sisters, they had not yet returned to their homeland (Ezra/Nehemiah) and continued to live in a foreign land under a foreign ruler. To make matters worse, on the eve of the Passover, a decree had gone out that all of the Jews would be destroyed within a year. The future did not look bright for God’s people.

Navigating Change Without Destroying our Ministry in the Process

Navigating Change Without Destroying our Ministry in the Process

Recently I wrote about the need to eliminate unnecessary structure so churches and ministry organizations can focus on accomplishing their mission more effectively. This requires a lot of prayer and discernment to know what to eliminate and what to keep. Tightening up the mission is critical to a ministry’s success. But is it possible to over-tighten one’s ministry focus so that it becomes too narrow? I believe it is.

It’s Not 1997 Anymore: Changing Leadership Structures to Keep Up with the Times

It’s Not 1997 Anymore: Changing Leadership Structures to Keep Up with the Times

“Everyone has to have a job,” a church growth guru told our group. Throughout the three-hour seminar, he repeated these instructions in many different ways: everyone in the church should have a position of some sort, even if it is only serving on a committee. In his opinion, would make everyone feel valued and help them take ownership in the church. It sounded like a great idea. It wasn’t.

Ethnic Churches & the Challenge of Reaching Second-Generation Americans

Ethnic Churches & the Challenge of Reaching Second-Generation Americans

Approximately 50% of BCNE churches in Greater Boston are ethnic churches. And God is at work among them. In fact, some of the largest churches in Boston happen to be Asian, African-American and Haitian! Very impressively, most of the pioneers who planted these churches did so without the benefits of special training, financial support or church partnerships that many church planters receive today. Ethnic churches in Greater Boston are robust, and continue to multiply. I love attending the worship gatherings and enjoy having fellowship with the gifted pastors who lead these churches. Yet there is a unique, life-or-death challenge that virtually every ethnic church pastor faces:  the challenge of reaching second-generation Americans.