Tag Archives: teaching

A Fisherman Who Never Fishes

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I wasn’t always a minister. I’ve been in ministry of some sort for about 13 years, but this is not what I thought I’d be doing when I “grew up”.

When I went to college I wanted to be an engineer. I started at Harding as a pre-engineering student. It was when I got to organic chemistry that I realized that chemical engineering was out for me, so I switched to mechanical engineering. When I got to heat transfer I decided I wanted to do something with fewer moving parts so I switched to civil engineering.

Things went well for me in engineering. I was working 40 hours per week at Walmart. I had a new family complete with baby girl. I was running a paper route (400 papers per night), and I was still maintaining a C average in my classes.

When I realized I didn’t want to sit in an office crunching measurement numbers and calculations I switched majors again. I wanted human interaction. If you know any engineers you know they don’t think like a lot of people do, and many are very awkward socially. This is because their work is VERY intellectual, and they have to be extremely logically oriented, so their jokes are different and they don’t function well with the emotional sort (I say this as a recovering engineer student). So sitting in an office and working on a project with few other people suits them. I, on the other hand, crave social interaction.

So I switched once again to education. I wanted to use my math skills to teach others. I knew there would be much social interaction in that field, and I could influence someone’s life for good at the same time. This switch added another three years to my schooling for a total of six years in college.

What if I had decided to study about teaching or engineering all my life? Would I be a teacher?

What do you like to do? If you spent all your time studying about fishing and tying flies and gathering equipment, would that make you a fisherman? If you watched all the football games and knew every play; if you studied all the rules to football would that make you a professional football player?

Maybe you like knitting, so you study all the knots and needles and patterns. You even gather all the appropriate material. Would that make you a knitter?

I love rock climbing. I read about it and have all the gear. I know the knots and the great places to climb, but until I put my hand on a rock and pick myself off the ground I am not a climber.

We can study deeply in the word of God. We can attend church week after week. We memorize all the scriptures and even live good moral lives, but that doesn’t make us a Christian.

Christianity isn’t a moral religion. Christianity is an evangelistic lifestyle. To be a Christian is to be a disciple of Christ. Jesus said “follow me.” It’s hard to do that if you never move from your comfortable position.

Many people have gone to church all their lives and know all the right biblical answers, but they aren’t helping anyone else come into the Kingdom. They aren’t disciples. They are merely consumers of information.

Don’t do church. Don’t be a perpetual student. Be a worker. Be a disciple. What made me a teacher is when I began to teach. What makes me a preacher is that I tell others about Jesus. Guess what. You don’t have to have a degree to be a preacher. Just tell your friends about the One who gives you life and hope and forgiveness. Follow Jesus, and he said “make disciples”. When I’m actively making disciples I find that I am still constantly learning.

So don’t just attend church. Be the church. Shine your light. Tell others. And watch yourself grow in faith as you share it with others.

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When is Kid’s Day?

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I remember as a child taking note of all the special days for the adults. There are the holidays that they get off work, but even more important to me as a kid were the holidays that allowed the parents to get gifts. There’s grandparents day and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

One day I remember asking, “When is Kid’s Day?”

My mom was quick to let me know that every day was Kid’s Day. I was constantly getting snacks and prizes and having everyone focused on me and what I was doing.

Every day IS Kid’s Day, right?

We focus on our children in all areas of life. We support them in their schooling. We attend their sports activities and ooh and aah over their accomplishments in other areas of life. We encourage their friendships and work to help them to choose wisely. How about their relationship with God?

Churches all over the place are spending more and more energy and resources on children’s programs. They understand that parents are looking to train their children well in the knowledge of the truth of God’s word. These things are good and signs of a healthy church. It is right for us to focus on not just our past or our present but especially on our future.

What people all over are finding, however, is that children – once they graduate high school – are leaving the faith at an alarming rate. These kids were taken to all the bible classes. They did all the activities, but yet they leave anyway.

There are a few things we can do to keep that from happening with our children.

First: Parents, you need to step up your game. Statistics are showing that your children won’t be as involved as you. Especially at the college level. While your children are young you need to be modeling a passion for the Word of God and His church. Otherwise your children will see through the classes you forced them to attend and notice that you didn’t emphasize it in your life and only attended to do your duty. This is not appealing to them. That may not be your motivation for attending, but they see what you do more than what you say. If you are a Sunday Morning Only attendee, then chances are your kids will be non-attendees. It’s time to get involved in a meaningful relationship with your church and the members therein in order to provide the community needed to grow spiritually healthy.

Second: Parents, you need to be teaching your children. Church attendance won’t teach your children. Bible classes, while they help, are often thin on the meatier parts that your kids are hungry for. They need to know that you study the scripture. They need to learn from you. They need to see that their understanding of the scripture is important to you. And they need to see the scripture without all the sunshine and rainbows that we sometimes put in it. The scriptures portray reality and how to live in that reality. Don’t sterilize it to protect your kids. Teach them the honest truth.

Third: As a family spend meaningful time with other Christians in your congregation. One of the reasons that teens leave when they get to the college age is that they have no connections with anyone other than the kids their age. This makes the transition awkward at best and helps to influence them to leave. Invite your older children to spend time with you and your adult church friends. Participate in classes where many ages are present so they can see how to interact among the generations.

Lastly: Don’t wait until they are in Jr. High or High School to expect them to participate and pay attention during worship services. If they can talk, then they can learn to sing. This is a process, and the timing is different for everyone, but I often see older elementary age children playing video games and coloring during worship services. They are old enough to listen, but you are showing them that it is not important for them to do so. Train them. They are ready.

Parents, we have a great responsibility to our children. You may be doing these things already. If so, great! If you aren’t, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just make a decision to change today. As we change so will our kids. Let’s stop the exodus. Let’s begin a spiritual renewal in our children.


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