Tag Archive: Family

  1. QB Kids & ARK Australia Event

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    QB Kids & their families is proud to partner with ARK Australia.

    Your church can bring hope and a future for a child in foster care.

    Ark Australia – QB Kids Event – Thursday 19th April 2018 from Queensland Baptists on Vimeo.

    There are over 46,000 children in Australia living in out-of-home care. There’s 9103 children in Queensland who are living separated from their families. Many of these children have suffered heart-breaking separation and trauma. They are in need of love, rescue and healing. They are in need of hope and a future.

    We know our God has called us to be a voice for the voiceless [Proverbs 31:8-10], and has told us that whatever we have done for the marginalised in society, we have done in service for Jesus himself [Matt 25:40-45]. We know he has a heart for the lost, the heartbroken, the abandoned and the forgotten in our world. We know He has a plan for each of these children. That He has made a way for the lost to hear about the hope we have in Jesus. And we know that plan is us, the church.

    It is our God’s desire that each child He has created be given ‘a hope and a future’ [Jeremiah 29:11]. It is the Lord who dictates the steps of His children – not the world. And it us, the church, who He has charged with the mission to carry this hope into the darkest of places.

    QB Kids & their Families is hosting a day with ARK Australia, an organisation that works alongside churches and families to provide homes and support for foster children, families & communities. We are hosting a morning or afternoon tea, where you can come hear from Lucas & Heather, from ARK Australia & Crossway Baptist. You can hear about the difference the church family can make in the lives of these children. How we, the church, are bringing healing and hope to their hearts.

    We are inviting pastors, church leaders and all those interested in rescuing and renewing the hope for foster children, to join us at our free event in April. It’s not a program to run; it’s not more resources to buy. It’s a chance to for us as the church to learn how we can step in and make room for these children in our church families, that we may show them God’s plan for them – a hope and a future.

    REGISTER HERE:-

    NORTHSIDE- Morning Tea

    SOUTHSIDE- Afternoon Tea

  2. Faith In The Home: Moment By Moment

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    As our kids get older opportunities to talk with them can seem to diminish. They get busy with school work, sport, music or friends and there seems to be less time available for a casual chat. But actually, as our kids get older, this is the time we need to be talking with them more than ever.
    As they process the big life questions, we want to know what they are thinking, engage with them and know what they are wondering about.

    Our kids do wonder. I remember going through a 12 month period of asking my then 12-year-old son, what he was wondering about at least once a fortnight. It started out as an experiment after chatting with a friend who had started a similar habit, with fantastic relationship payoff with his daughter. I was constantly amazed at the many wonderings that went on in my boy’s busy mind. I remember thinking how much I appreciated these opportunities that only came about through asking this simple question. I would never have been given this glimpse into his thoughts without this simple prompting. These conversations were sometimes pretty shallow and one-offs while others would require chewing over a few times. They paved the way for conversations into the future that had a significant influence on decisions he had to make and as he began to process some big life questions.

    Our kids have a lot of processing to do. Research into child theology tells us that around the age of 8 or 9, children start to process faith ideas differently. They begin to have significant questions and will begin to seek to find the answers. Sometimes as parents, this can be really daunting and we sometimes start to worry that our kids are having a faith crisis. But we don’t have to fear as these questions are generally a positive sign that our kids are starting to really engage with their faith. What we need to worry about is that they have somewhere these questions can get answered. In Deuteronomy 6, God instructs parents to talk about Him with their children throughout the day. The last thing we want is for our kids to find the answers to their questions through Google. It’s interesting to note that verse 20 says “When your children ask about ….” God knows our children will have questions and he wants us, as parents to be the ones engaging with our kids. We may not know all of the answers and that is totally fine. In fact when we seek the answers together we show kids how faith and understanding is a life-long process.

    If we want meaningful conversations when our kids are older, then we need to engage in conversations with them from a very young age. Paving the way for a culture of regular faith talks takes intentionality. We live in a world filled with distractions and busyness so we need to be in the moment with our kids. Putting our phone or iPad down, or turning the radio off in the car, gives a message of availability to our kids.

    Sometimes our faith conversations happen during an intentional devotional time as a family, and these conversations can be very rich. But often the most engaging conversations around faith happen in our day to day life as things happen. Having conversations in the moment as our kids share their daily struggles, challenges and triumphs are rich in opportunity. When we capture these times for speaking of our faith to our kids, it makes faith relevant to them. It takes their life and shines Jesus into it.

    The moment when our child is anxious about a test at school is the moment we can point to the assurance we have in Jesus that he will never leave us. The moment our teen is struggling with self-confidence is the moment we can affirm them with Psalm 139, that they have been fearfully and wonderfully made. The moment our kids wake in the middle of the night with a nightmare is the moment we can speak of God’s power and encourage them from Isaiah 43 with “Do not be afraid for I am with you”. Our lives are full of these moments with our kids and when we point to Jesus and our faith in these times, we help our kids to see the relevance of God for their lives.

    There is so much joy in sharing faith with children through talking with them. As you disciple your kids to grow in their faith I really do hope you enjoy each one of those special little moments of connection that enrich not only your relationship but help to brings our kids closer each day to Jesus.

     

    Ps Tracy Valentine, Generations Pastor, Gateway Baptist Church

  3. Faith In the Home – Taking Everyday Opportunities to Pray

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    Taking Everyday Opportunities to Pray

    We, as families, are busy. In addition to working long hours, our schedules can be full of homework, sports, arts, and music. Many parents are exhausted!! The very last thing we want to do is to make them feel guilty about yet another thing to have to fit into their busy family life. The solution is to equip parents to take opportunities that they already have in the time they spend with their children to teach them the importance of prayer and how to pray. As we get them up in the morning, drive them to school or other activities, as we sit around the table for dinner and as we tuck them into bed, we can be praying for and with our children, all the while building and strengthening their faith.

    Praying with our kids about things that really matter to them shows them that the great big God of the universe cares for them. When kids get in the car after a full day of school, they often have a story about something. Sometimes, it’s a fight with another child, a hard project they need to complete or news of a sick classmate. Praying about these things before bed at night, or better still, then and there, not only sends a message that the parents care about what is going on in their child’s life but that God cares. When a child understands that God in heaven cares about their “little” (big to them) problem at 6, they also learn that he will certainly care about the bigger life issues at 18 and beyond.

    Recognising and celebrating when God answers prayer is also an important way parents can be intentionally pointing to God. Sometimes when God answers a prayer, we ring a friend, and make sure we tell the Pastor on Sunday, but do we celebrate it with our children? Do our kids witness Him at work in our everyday lives? Sometimes God comes through with an answer for a family in a really BIG way and this creates a rich opportunity for families to not only celebrate it when it happens, but to mark the anniversary in years to come. When miracles happen to parents, children in the family also own that faith story. Just as the people in the Old Testament remembered God’s faithfulness, celebrating His faithfulness reveals His relevance for our children today. Noticing the big and the little answers to prayer teaches our kids to trust our faithful God.

    Being intentional about looking for opportunities to pray with our children, and encouraging them to pray themselves, empowers them to develop their own deep relationship with God. It gives them confidence in being able to open their heart to God at any time, day or night – not just on Sundays. When we habitually pray for and with our kids, it is only natural that they will want to pray for us. Allowing them to do this and telling them our prayer needs (being age appropriate), we are sending a valuable and strong message to our kids that we not only trust them, but we affirm their faith is real and God hears their prayers as much as He hears ours. Developing the confidence to pray for others empowers our kids to have faith and equips them for a lifetime of relying on God. Prayer in the home is central to building families with strong enduring faith.

    Ps Tracy Valentine, Generations Pastor, Gateway Baptist

     

  4. Playing For Keeps

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    Recently I was in the USA, specifically Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennesee for a children’s ministry conference called CM CONNECT conference. (Check out CM Connect here: cmconnect.org). It became abundantly clear to me that God was calling us to prioritise reaching families, specifically parents, to help them disciple their children.

    Sunday school teachers (or kids church ministry leaders) have on average, 1-2 hours a week with our kids. Families have the rest. A lot can happen in a week. Here’s a quote from my favourite book at the moment, Playing for Keeps by Reggie Joiner & Kristen Ivy.

    Several years ago, we handed out jars of marbles to parents and to leaders who work with kids and teenagers. There were 936 marbles in each jar. 936 is the estimated number of weeks between birth and high school graduation. Parents and leaders were challenged to reduce the number of marbles in the jar to match the actual number of weeks they had left with each child. Then they were given a simple assignment: Remove one marble each week. Over time, the practice of losing marbles had a strange effect. It reminded them to value their time. It made each week matter a little more. It reinforced a simple principle: When you see how much time you have left, you tend to do more with the time you have now.

    “What are we doing with the time we have now? The reality is, children have a ‘best before’ date.”

    There comes a time when a child is no longer a child. And research indicates that once a child hits that date, they are no longer as open to the Gospel. 43% of all Americans who are Christians made decision to become a Christian before the age of 13, and 64% made the decision before the age of 18. Nine out of ten church leaders became Christians before they were 18. Evangelism is most effective amongst kids. (Check out the article here: https://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/196-evangelism-is-most-effective-among-kids#.VUmdsFwRrVp) It is true that whatever we learn as a child affects us into adulthood. The good and the bad. Things we are intentional about teaching children, and things we aren’t. Our time is precious, and short. So are we really going to relinquish all the time we have to teach them about the Gospel to the one hour a week that their Sunday School teachers have? (Note: Sunday school teachers totally rock for dedicating their time and energy into this one hour, and if you see a Sunday school teacher, you should definitely hug them, or high-five them, or whatever is appropriate according to your child safety policy. Just appreciate them!)

    “The point is, if you are investing in a kid or teenager, you are already making history every week. The problem is, when you’re making history, you usually don’t know it…Let’s think about it another way. Most kids don’t know what you’re doing this week is going to be a formative part of their history. They are just kids. They only see “now”. To them you just… built a sandcastle. Took them to swim lessons. Played basketball in the driveway. Saw a movie. Ate some pizza… But you are an adult. You see yesterday, today and tomorrow. So you should know better. You should realise by being present in their life week after week in a variety of different ways, you are actually making HISTORY.”

    The QB Kids and their Families team is passionate about awakening parents and church leaders to their calling to impact children for the Gospel. We are passionate about not just running ‘Sunday School’ programs (seriously, who wants to be at school on a Sunday?!) but reaching our young people, who are the most receptive to the Gospel, for the Gospel. To raise a generation who know the importance of life-long faith, not just church attendance.

    So we need to equip families to disciple their kids. And we want to help you do that. Here is a really great list of places you can start to learn more about equipping families to be Gospel-centered in their homes. To be investing time into making history. To disciple their kids in the short time they have, so that ‘when they are old they will not depart from it.’ (Proverbs 22:6).

    Start here. Start now. And if you want to know more, email qbkids@qb.com.au.

    Two books you can read:

    • Playing For Keeps by Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy: orangebooks.com/books/playing-for-keeps-losing-your-marbles
    • Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: www.koorong.com/search/product/parenting-beyond-your-capacity-reggie-joiner-carey-nieuwhof/9781434764812.jhtml

     

    Or read access helpful resources here:

  5. FREE Family Devotions for your church family!

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    If you want to encourage families in your church or community to be investing int heir child’s spiritual lives, here is a way to do it effectively! It is a fact that the biggest and most effective influence in a child’s spiritual life is their parents. So if you want to be reaching kids and families for more than just the hour you see them each week, here is a way you can do it FOR FREE!

    We all want to be able to reach kids for Jesus the best way we can – but we know that in order to make a REAL difference, we need to see whole families worshipping God together, and spending time with Jesus together as a family. It’s tough trying to equip parents, especially when they aren’t sure how to start these sorts of spiritual conversations, so HERE is a really simple way to help them. Email out FREE family devotions for them to do each week – from SPLINK!

    Splink is a simple way to link your family together spiritually. Through FREE weekly emails packed with ideas, Splink helps you and your family engage in conversation. Whether it’s making memories or having fun together, Splink allows you to capture those teachable moments to impress spiritual truths and life lessons on your kids. No matter where you are, there’s always time to Splink!

    Check it out… JUST HIT SUBSCRIBE! d6family.com/splink/ (see the link in the ‘Footnotes’ section of this post)

    For more information, email Sally at qbkids@qb.org.au
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    Footnotes: http://d6family.com/splink/

    Post date: 01/09/2014Post Author: Sally Contessi

  6. The Best Way To Spend Your Holidays!

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    To all of you fellow stuffy-nosed, croaky-voiced, overtired, caffeine-stimulated, slimy-shirted leaders of children’s holiday camps: well done!

    I am writing this week to all of you who have given up your time, your dignity, your health, and your sleep–to commend you on committing your time to Jesus this week or last, to tell children in your communities about the love that will change their lives
    Over the last week I visited a couple of the many, many churches who were running kids holiday programs, and I was so encouraged. I witnessed hundreds of children singing, “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life,” – some of these children who had never before even the heard the name of Jesus!

    One conversation I had with a young girl that went like this:

    “I like kids club because its fun,”

    “What’s fun about kids club?”

    “People are funny and nice and my brother and sister have fun which is good because our house burnt down and my cats died.”

    Children come to our churches during the holidays from all walks of life. Some children arrive with warm clothes and full tummies from homes they are safe in with loving parents. Some children will walk through our church doors from hurting homes they don’t feel safe in with empty tummies and cold fingers and toes. Some children will know all the words to the songs, all the memory verses and ALL the bible stories. Some children will some through our doors having never heard the name of Jesus except as used as a curse. This is an opportunity to be a part of changing a child’s life; that moment when a child understands that “Jesus died for me” – and that Jesus is the true King of the world. And maybe even if it’s the only time a child ever steps foot in a church, and maybe even if they forget everything they learnt all week, some children will walk away with a relationship they made that will last an entire lifetime- that one leader who was kind to them and made them feel unconditionally loved.

    If you’ve never been involved in a kids’ holiday camp – you are definitely missing out. You’re not too old – you’re not too young, God can and will use you to help spread His Gospel – whether it be baking pikelets for hungry bellies, committing the week to God in prayer and praying for children and leaders, or showing up every morning early to be covered in snot and other people’s jumpers, tomato sauce and tears of children who can’t find their parents at the end of the day. It’s terrific! Churches are transformed into other worlds for entire weeks, be it the wild, wild west, intergalactic space stations, the circus or anything else – church halls are turned into colourful, creative, imaginative spaces for children (and adults !) to experience and enjoy. My favourite quote from a leader this week (who works full time as a school teacher, too), “People ask me, ‘how can you spend all week with kids when you work with them everyday?’ But this isn’t work, this is fun, I get to tell them about Jesus.”

    Holiday camps become part of these kids’ memory banks for a lifetime- and they can learn things that impact what they understand about Jesus for the rest of their lives. We have a chance to reach children of our communities, wherever they are at, and serve them in a way that literally brings Jesus to them! Taking over a whole church building for the sake of reaching the littlest members of our community is so great! We can impact whole families with the gospel by just showing up to play with the kids and share the love of Christ in a fun and practical way! I was so encouraged to hear from Beaudesert Baptist that over half of the children attending their holiday program were kids outside of the regular church families- what an incredible ministry to their local community! These kids are hearing that Jesus is Saviour, God is King and that He wants them in His family, and they are feeling in a very tangible way, that “church people” think they are worth spending precious holiday-time with. This is SO worth investing in!

    So to all those leaders who are tired, sick with the flu, cleaning stains out of your favourite jumper: know that what you are a part of is incredible. In Ephesians it says, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” (6:7) and in Matthew, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (25:40) We are called to serve our brothers and sisters, and you have definitely, wholeheartedly served Jesus by serving these little members of our communities. Well done, and be encouraged! This week you have served Jesus our Lord by serving these kids. I am so blessed to be in partnership with people who serve Jesus like you do – and am so excited to share these beautiful stories with you!

    For more children’s ministry events in your area, post or read them on our google calendar under “EVENTS” or post your story to be shared on the “FORUM”. We would love to hear from you! Join our children’s ministry network today and help others on this beautiful journey of sharing the Gospel with children!
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    Post date: 22/07/2014Post Author: Sally Contessi

  7. KidsHope Australia: Strength and Flex

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    Wendy Jarrott-Smith’s role with the KIDS HOPE AUS Mentoring Program, is to assist churches in building a quality partnership with their local school, in the provision of Mentors for vulnerable children. At the present time, there are nearly 400 school-church partnerships, under the umbrella of KIDS HOPE AUS, across Australia, with approximately 4000 children being mentored each week

    Anyone who has lived in a ‘pole house’, as our family did for five years, will tell you about ‘the flex’. ‘The flex’ can be quite disconcerting when you first experience it. You know in your head, that the long poles, which are so prominent in this type of architecture, are driven down into bedrock (often to a depth of three metres or so), providing not only a unique appearance, but a high degree of strength. However, while the poles’ fixture in the bedrock provides the ‘hidden’ strength to support the structure, the towering poles above the ground, also have another quality – ‘flex’. This is what provides the experience of ‘sway’ and what makes pole houses so perfect for withstanding cyclonic winds. Cyclone-rated houses need to have just the right balance of strength and flexibility. If their construction is too rigid, they will fall heavily; and if too flimsy, they will literally be blown apart.

    How like life this is.
    How do we prepare for the storms of life which are thrown at us? More than that, how do we help the children, whom we minister to in our communities, to be ready to face all that life throws at them? For many of these precious children in our children’s clubs and Boy’s Brigades; Sunday Schools and R. E. classes; Children’s camps and KIDS HOPE AUS Programs…….everyday life may be like living inside a cyclone. Some have been forced to grow up too quickly, to witness violence and anger. Some may have been bullied, or have had to face circumstances which have left them feeling helpless and alone. Some may have become bitter and hardened by experiencing abuse or knowing what it feels like to be unwanted. Life has truly buffeted them.
    So how do we help these precious young people in our communities and churches, to be resilient in the face of all of this?

    We can build their ‘strength’ by:

    • Being a trustworthy adult in their lives
    • Listening attentively to them, and praying for their specific needs
    • Explicitly describing to them the strength and qualities we see in them
    • Taking care to remember facts about their lives that are important to them
    • Giving them the opportunity to have choices

    We can build their ‘flexibility’ by:

    • Reminding children they have options in how they respond to negative situations
    • Helping them see how YOU may handle difficulties or failure
    • Providing opportunities to take risks or to be courageous
    • Developing humour and positivity in our relationship with them
    • Giving them opportunities to make ‘real’ contributions to someone else

    One of my favourite quotes about parenting, which equally applies to our ministry with children, says,
    “The most precious gift we can give to our children is roots and wings”.
    No matter the ‘what’ or the ‘where’ of our ministry to children, those of us called to walk a little of life’s journey with them, can also give children roots and wings………and strength and flex……. as week to week we pray for them; be Jesus’ hands and feet to them; and spend time with them, helping them to stand strong through the storms of their world.
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    Footnotes: http://www.worldvision.com.au/kidshopeWendy Jarrott-Smith’s role with the KIDS HOPE AUS Mentoring Program, is to assist churches in building a quality partnership with their local school, in the provision of Mentors for vulnerable children. At the present time, there are nearly 400 school-church partnerships, under the umbrella of KIDS HOPE AUS, across Australia, with approximately 4000 children being mentored each week.
    For more information about this vital work please contact Wendy on:
    0428 566 638 or wendy.jarrott-smith@worldvision.com.au or go to

    Post date: 16/06/2014Post Author: Sally Contessi

  8. Ministry Focus: Brigades in Our Communities

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    Dr Wess Stafford, former president and CEO of Compassion International writes in his book Too Small To Ignore, “No matter what the setting [of society], children seem to be a second rate mandate…

    Dr Wess Stafford, former president and CEO of Compassion International writes in his book Too Small To Ignore, “No matter what the setting [of society], children seem to be a second rate mandate. No matter what the ill of society, it tends to downward spiral and eventually land with its cruellest and most smothering impact on our littlest citizens. Small, weak, helpless, innocent, vulnerable and trusting, they are waiting victims for our simple neglect and most evil abuse. No matter what goes wrong, the little ones pay the greatest price…Our most vunerable citizens have become the world’s most disposable commodity.” (Too Small To Ignore, 2005, page 3).

    Children are often left voiceless in our society. They rely on us, the adults of the world, to be their advocates. So often we do a terrible job of protecting them, and our ‘advocate’ status translates to nothing more than ‘child-minder’; someone baby-sitting the children until they grow into someone who can really ‘offer something’. But it is clear from Jesus example in the Gospels, and all throughout the Bible, that we are charged with being the ‘voice for the voiceless.” Followers of Jesus are to reach out to those who cannot speak up for themselves, and to fight for them.

    A few months ago I met with the state co-ordinators for Girls and Boys brigades. Both Girls’ and Boys’ brigades do an amazing job of reaching children of the community, investing in them and their families and training them to be influential Christ-followers in their own communities. Brigades across our state are gathering together in many shapes and forms to give fathers to the fatherless, mothers to the motherless, to build leadership skills and invest in children so that they know their worth isn’t in what society tells them, but in the love of Jesus Christ. I was encouraged to hear stories of boys without dads who came to brigade and now have godly men investing time into their lives and showing them what a good father can be like. There are stories of girls who have been bullied at school coming to brigades to find a place where it doesn’t matter what clothes they wear or how good they are at something, but find worth in knowing godly women want to spend time teaching them about Christ.

    Brigades of this state are doing a wonderful job of not just advocating for the importance of investing in young people in our society, but also reaching the community in a tangible and effective way so that churches have a way they can connect with families and build meaningful relationships with them. I was so encouraged by meeting with these passionate leaders of brigades that I asked them to share some of their experiences so that you too could see the difference they are making. Below is a story from Glenda Brooks, the state co-ordinator for Girl’s Brigade.

    “During the first week of January, 145 girls and 50 leaders from all over Australia congregated at the Currumundi Campsite on the Sunshine Coast. The theme for the week was “Rise, Shine for your Light has come.” from Isaiah 60:1. As part of the activities for the week, the girls were challenged in the “Shine” sessions by Chaplain Jess Currie to rise, shine and let the Light take over the dark areas of their lives.

    At least ten girls made first time commitments and for many the comment was “I have not been walking very close to God but this week has re-awakened my desire to get close to Him again.” Girls’ Brigade is a ministry within seventeen Baptist Churches around Queensland.”

    If you or your church is involved with Girls’ and/or Boys’ Brigade, be encouraged that what you are doing is not out-dated or unimportant. You have a real and exciting opportunity to invest in the children of our society and to teach them about Christ and the worth they have in Him, in a way that truly shows Jesus’ love. I hope that this article encourages you as much as meeting with these leaders encouraged me, and that you are led to pray for, invest in and partner with those who are reaching the marginalised in our society. It’s what Jesus did, and it’s what we are called to do. (Luke 19:9-10)
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    Post date: 14/05/2014Post Author: Sally Contessi