Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Safety Plans

With 800+ children in our weekend programming, we have a number of key guidelines and policies to help us maintain a safe and secure environment. For example, Parent Pager (our electronic check-in / check-out system) is a great tool to help us know where to find children in case of emergency, as well as ensure that only authorized people can pick up children. And although we hope to never use them, we have procedures for inclement weather and for evacuating the building.

If you want to read about some of our safety procedures in more detail, click here. We have copies of these plans in every classroom, welcome desk, and work room in our Children's Ministry facilities. Questions? Contact Joey Espinosa at

Monday, August 24, 2009

Quality Time vs Quantity Time

Ever wonder what the balance is between spending quality time versus quantity time with your children? Of course, there is no easy answer; rather, this is an issue in which we should be constantly seeking Christ about and wrestling with. Here is a link to some good thoughts about this issue.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Shepherding" Chapter 14: Infancy to Childhood - Training Objectives

Nothing characterizes the time of infancy through age 5 like the word "change." Children grow taller and learn to feed themselves. They learn to play with others and to recite their ABC's. They begin to get basic understanding of who God is. But for us parents, if there is one concept that we must teach them in this stage of life, it is that they are individuals who are under authority. We must model this in our own lives, and explain that obedience is a response to the Lord. You must have this mindset from day 1 of your child's life, and if you have not started yet, now is the time to begin. The fruit will not come overnight, but will be yielded throughout the childhood and teen years. "Respectful teenagers are developed when they are 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, not at 13, 14, 15, or 16."

Your child's God-given responsibility is to submit to, honor, and obey you (Ephesians 6:1-3). We are all contaminated with a sin nature, so training a child to do this will not be easy. But we must believe and communicate that the child will be blessed if she remains within God's "circle of blessing."

How can we define honoring and obeying parents? Here are some thoughts:
  1. Children must not speak to parents in imperatives, or as they would speak to a peer.
  2. Obedience can be defined as the "willing submission of one person to the authority of another."
  3. Because it is a willing submission, attitude matters! Remember to focus on the heart, not just behavior. Some use phrase that they must obey "all the way, right away, and with a happy heart."
  4. If I accept any response besides complete and willful obedience, then I am training them to rebel against my, and God's, authority.
  5. Be consistent. It is exhausting for us, but to enforce obedience in our children is our command from God!
  6. You can train your child to appeal only after they have learned that they are individuals under authority. Tripp gives some great guidelines, and I encourage you to review this section on your own.
Training a child to willingly submit to authority is understandably difficult. After all, it is an issue of spirit versus flesh. But accomplishing this objective during the first 5 years of the child's life is much easier than dealing with the back-end consequences. Remember that this objective is a blessing, not a restriction, for your child. Submitting to parents is a call to trust God, rather than self. If your child struggles with submitting, you can use this as a tool to help him realize the depravity of his heart, and his need to depend on Christ.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Camp 2009 Photos

Click here to see some pictures from our Elementary Camp back in June. See anyone you know?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Shepherding" Chapter 13: Summary

In chapters 1-12, Tripp gave us general principles on child training. I will summarize these in a series of questions for parents.
  1. What affects my child's behavior and choices? It is both external shaping influences and the child's internal Godward orientation that affects his behavior. Your role as a parent is to provide the best influences possible, while also shepherding his heart responses to all external influences.
  2. How much should I focus on my child's behavior? Look at the behavior only as a tool to understand your child's heart. The heart is the source of behavior.
  3. Who is God's primary agent in training my child? God has made you the parent His agent. My goals and methods should be God-ordained, not determined by man.
  4. What is the ultimate goal of parenting? To help your children know that only in glorifying and enjoying God will they find fulfillment.
  5. Does the method matter? Yes, the means is as important as the end. Our children must see that we are trying to live by the Gospel and God's word.
  6. What are the main child training methods presented in the Bible? Communication and the rod. To neglect either one will be a severe handicap in training your child's heart.
In chapters 14-19, we will discuss more specific applications to these questions, as we walk through the various stages of childhood.