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Families on Mission: Daily Direction

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Please tell me there will be a special crown in heaven for those who find themselves parenting in a pandemic. Adjusting to special guidelines for school, mask wearing, distance-learning, working from home and/or managing emotional meltdowns is just too much to handle under one roof. On top of all that, we’re supposed to make “family time” and discipleship a priority. Yeah, sure. In our free time?

During stressful times, it’s easy let what’s urgent to squeeze out what’s truly important. It’s natural to choose what’s comforting over all that’s compulsory. However, we can’t avoid the fact that our kids need support and shepherding now more than ever.

If you’re like me, and many other parents I know, all of this is enough to send us looking for a deserted island until Jesus returns. As long as it doesn’t have wifi, right? Well, before we resort to island life, I want to help.

The Family Ministry Team and I have been working on some creative ways to support your family with a variety of weekly resources. For now, one resource we’d like to highlight is a calendar with simple and fun activities to encourage bonding and kingdom-building as a family. Here are a couple of examples:

September 9th: As a family – decide together to do something your family would not normally do. Eat dinner on the driveway, in your pajamas, or without utensils. Maybe roll the windows down in the car and blast the music at the stoplights. Skip your chores or make your bed! Laugh together at how wacky (or unwacky) your family is!

September 30: Have each member of the family choose a proverb to discuss together.

As you can see, some days are light-hearted and others are more serious. They all involve no-prep, are adaptable to all ages, and encourage family time with a Kingdom purpose. Use it daily or choose one favorite idea to try each week. Share it with another family and join forces. Remember, it’s meant to be a tool, not a rule.

Click HERE to access the calendar. Print them off and you’ll be set for two whole months. If Jesus doesn’t come by then, maybe we’ll rethink our island plan?

Seriously, hang in there, Mom and Dad. You’re doing great. One day at a time.

Posted by Karen Brown

A Word About Curriculum

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For most of us, summer is the perfect time to rest and recover from a busy season. It’s also a when we make important preparations for the upcoming ministry year.  For the Family Ministries Team, summer preparations usually involve choosing and laying the groundwork for new resources and curricula.
 
So how do we evaluate and implement new curricula? 
 
Family Ministries’ staff and volunteers have often heard my motto: Let the curriculum serve us, not the other way around. This means we should never hesitate to eliminate parts of a program that isn’t effective. It also implies that no curriculum should ever be implemented without care and discernment.
 
We were reminded of this warning in this recent article by Faithfully Magazine which claims that “ROAR”, our recently purchased curriculum for Kids Night Out (our version of VBS) contains dialogue and activities which are racially insensitive. I believe the people who published this curriculum have wonderful, godly intentions. But they definitely missed some things here the first time around. And in my opinion, the concerns listed in the article are insightful, important, and raise awareness for all of us.
 
It’s helpful for us to remember that no one is perfect and we all have our blind spots, and I’m pleased that the publishers of ROAR apologized and revised the curriculum at no cost.
 
In light of this, how can we make the best choices and good use of even flawed resources- especially since only samples are available before purchase? We know from experience that published curricula can save valuable time with their versatile themes, craft kits, recorded music, scope, and/or sequence of lessons. But we, the parents and leaders, must remain the primary resources when it comes to the spiritual development of our kids. In other words, published resources can still serve us well, if don’t ask them to do our job. 
 
As always, we’ll work hard to make sure Bible stories and God’s character are presented truthfully. And this summer, we’ll take extra care to avoid insensitivity to other cultures and races as we ROAR through Kids Night Out.
 
My goal isn’t for you to believe I always recognize careless language or cultural insensitivities. Or even to reassure you that we can always choose the best curriculum. I don’t and we can’t.
 
Our goal is to partner with parents in raising our kids to love God and others better than we do. And this work never takes a summer break.  
 
We have no hope of reaching this goal without much help. I’m grateful for the parent who cares enough about the discipleship of our kids to send me that article about ROAR. Now that’s good partnership! 
 
Partners, join me in praying for families and our KNO community this summer. May God’s wild kingdom grow for his glory. 
 
In Christ,
Karen Brown
- with the Family Ministry Team

Posted by Karen Brown

Conversations on Faithfulness

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Happy Anniversary Central! Isn’t it amazing and humbling to reflect on 175 years of God’s faithfulness to our church?

As the anniversary date approached this spring, the Family Ministries Team and I started thinking about how to include our kids in this church-wide celebration. As we brainstormed, we recognized this as a great discipleship opportunity for all of us. We started thinking about how we, as a church body, are intentionally trying to communicate Central’s long history in a way that glorifies God and proclaims Him as the lone hero of it. This God-glorified telling doesn’t come naturally to us, does it? Our tendency is to attribute God’s faithfulness to something we’ve done, or some pastor we’ve had, or in light of some resource we’ve acquired.

But when we look closer, it’s clear we have no business celebrating 175 years, do we? This church, like all other churches, is filled with and lead by sinners saved by grace alone who don’t deserve 175 days, hours, or even seconds of God’s favor.

How do we give our kids this vision? How do we help them see God’s gracious work in their own lives? How do we train the next generation to tell their stories in a way that glorifies God?

First, let's give them practice. Let’s encourage them to share the moments that make up their days really listen when they do. Let’s gently and patiently guide their testimonies so they point to God’s bigger Story. Second, let's train gratitude.  Let’s open their eyes to new mercies every morning and amazing grace every night.  Let’s acknowledge life’s hardships, but frame them with thankfulness and God’s provision.

All year long, we’d like to give our kids an opportunity to practice sharing their personal stories with humility and gratitude. Sunday school leaders nominated students in their class who might be up for this challenge and we’ve chosen some of these for recording.  We’ll share these recordings throughout this anniversary year.

But this is only the beginning, isn’t it?

For our kids to be better God-tellers than we are, we must be willing to walk with them in this learning. In our own narratives, may we let them close enough to see our clumsy erasing of our own goodness while adding shadows of God’s greatness.  May every child get a safe, front row seat to true repentance, thankfulness, and humility.  And may our kids hear so many of our stories that they learn that God’s faithfulness is expressed in unlimited and unique ways.

Episode 7: Sam #3's Story

Episode 6: Sarah's Story

Episode 5: Sam #2's Story

Episode 4: Lizzie's Story

Episode 3: Sam's Story

Episode 2: Jackson's Story

Episode 1: Noelle's Story

Posted by Karen Brown with 1 Comments

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