My existence I owe to you,
My value is found in you,
My identity as your son achieved by your Son,
secured through his death and resurrection.
With all that I am and all that I have I honour you.
As your son may my life make you smile,
as a husband let me present your daughter radiant and pure.
As a father may I lead your children in repentance,
as a friend let me share a burden and encourage with hope eternal.
In my thoughts, with my words, through my actions
may your Spirit produce fruit evident of your mercy, grace and love.
Having been used to a fun and engaging kids program, kids and/or youth transitioning into church services can be a make-or-break time for their Sunday experiences. Here’s a few tips for parents and churches to help them love “adult” church as much as they loved their kids/youth program:
- Ask them how they feel about it. This helps start the conversation, you can tell them what to expect and helps them get excited about gathering as God’s people in this different context.
- Sit with them and model singing, listening and participating in the meeting. Maybe take turns with other parents to sit with them and their friends. It can be nice doing this together with other Youth Kids.
- Our church has YOUTH EDITION sermon outlines. Grab a YOUTH outline on your way in (or ask where to get one). These have some more guided questions to help the kids/youth listen and take notes. Get them to write down words they hear but don’t understand so you can discuss them later.
- Plan to have a ‘post-match debrief’ so your child/ren can ask questions and help you get a read on what they have understood from the meeting. It would be good to talk about what you remember and/or have been convicted of to model repentance, change and growth from God’s word.
- Investigate ways your child can serve at church. Start with having them tag along with you where appropriate. This helps them feel more a part of the church family and less of a ‘consumer’.
- Encourage your teens to keep an eye out for new and visiting teens and to welcome them by talking to them – treating them how they would like to be welcomed if they walked into an unfamiliar church with unfamiliar people.
- Unless it is already happening, quietly and respectfully ask the preachers and service leaders to include the youth so they feel included as valued members of the congregation. This could include teen-specific sermon applications and/or illustrations, acknowledging their attendance and the vibrance their energy brings.
Dad’s, we need to take the lead here! Studies show what many have suspected for a long time – children whose father valued and prioritised church attendance and involvement have significantly higher rates of church attendance as adults.
Where there are families in our churches with single mothers, particularly of boys, this is also where men in church can be role models to these boys – but talk to the Mum first!
VOTE AND HAVE YOUR OPINION HEARD
The current marriage postal survey is clearly contentious and divisive – it is all over my social media feeds! Is the survey worth having? Several years ago I wanted my Federal MP to know how this constituent would like her to vote should it come to a parliamentary decision. How else was she to know the opinions of the electorate she is representing? I received a reply, arguing against reasons I had not even mentioned, informing me she would be voting without consideration to my opinion but according only to her conscience. Our understanding of ‘representation’ must be different. So is this survey worth having? YES – complete the survey and have your opinion heard.
MY VOTE IS FOR, NOT AGAINST
Having read many reasons how people are deciding their stance, it has become clear the reasons are wide and varied – in both directions – yet the survey does not ask for any. The result will simply be counted as YES or NO. I don’t want the result of my survey to be assumed so I thought I’d lay it out there …
My vocational work for the past 12 years has been for the best interests of children. I hold to the traditional view of marriage between a man and a woman as it is my opinion this is the IDEAL environment for the production, growth, development and nurturing of a child. Both a male and female need to be involved for the creation of a child (scientists can artificially fertilise an egg and sperm, but cannot artificially create zygotes), and so the full involvement of both biological parents in an exclusive and loving relationship (marriage) is (in my opinion) required for the BEST growth, development and nurturing of children. I want to see the legal definition of marriage to reflect this since children become adults that influence society and culture, and I want that influence to be the best possible. My vote is FOR the preservation of a definition that I think is to the benefit of society, not AGAINST an ideology or to restrict anyone’s freedom or rights.
PLEASE DON’T IMPLY…
- a heterosexual married family unit is the ONLY place where a child will grow and be nurtured – of course not! There are many single parents, separated parents, blended families, foster parents and parents in same-sex relationships who provide wonderfully supportive, safe and loving environments for children to thrive. Would a widower with young children prefer the mother of his children to be around? Of course. Does a single mum whose partner was abusive wish he had been loving and protective towards her and their kids? Definitely, but that was not the reality so she took the right steps for the wellbeing of herself and her children ( #DVnotOK ). Where a parent is in a same-sex relationship the other biological parent cannot be intimately involved in the parenting relationship to the same extent as married heterosexual parents, so while all these family units CAN be loving and nurturing for children I do not think they are OPTIMAL. Hence I restate that the full involvement of both biological parents in an exclusive and loving relationship (marriage) is (in my opinion) required for the BEST growth, development and nurturing of children.
- same-sex couples should not have the same legal rights as married couples – seriously(?), of course they should! Let’s change the laws to make this happen, but I’d like to see it called something different and retain “marriage” as it is. It has been speculated that members of the LGBT+ community want their relationships validated by allowing same-sex couples to marry. If this is the basis on which the validity (and hence security) of such a relationship relies on, then look at the divorce rates for heterosexual couples – it is no guarantee. Human relationships require a vulnerability with no guarantee of continued reciprocation if they are to be intimate and loving. No legal status or piece of paper will replace or guarantee it.
- couples not planning to have kids shouldn’t bother to get married. Same-sex partners can have a sexually intimate relationship that will never result in the conception of a life. The incidence of heterosexual couples falling pregnant is significantly higher. Whether they are planning to have children or not, the chances are high and so yes, I think they should get married.
- children who grow up in broken homes or with same-sex parents cannot positively influence society and culture as adults. No child is ever going to have the ideal upbringing regardless of their family dynamic. We all carry our own baggage (and add to it with our own selfishness) into relationships and adult life. I am under no illusion that heterosexual parents produce perfect kids – heck, mine aren’t! 🙂
IT’S OKAY TO VOTE NO
A quick google search means it’s not hard to discover I am a christian (I assume that’s what my federal MP did), so I’ve saved you the trouble. I do hold other biblically-based reasons for voting NO but I do not expect, nor would it be reasonable, for a non-christian society to take any heed of them. I am happy to discuss them personally should anyone be curious.
Having confidence in the democratic #freedom we enjoy in Australia I do not plan to defend further any statements I have already made and probably won’t interact in any comments ( #tolerance ). And as I always encourage children – #respect & #kindness .