Sarah Van Rees and I just returned from a conference focused on family ministry. A key speaker spoke to us about doing church differently. 

Kara Backes, director of children’s and family ministries at Prairie Ridge Church (RCA) in Ankeny, Iowa, shared these thoughts about the spring Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sarah Van Rees and I just returned from a conference focused on family ministry. A key speaker spoke to us about doing church differently. We know kids are leaving church—we’ve heard the statistics. It’s why we chose to do family ministry, it’s why I lose sleep, and it’s why I dream. How do we teach our kids in a way that they stay? We don’t want to show our kids a small God. I think we even have to fight for tension. Tension doesn’t water down truth, it amplifies it. Works don’t water down grace, they amplify it. Compassion doesn’t negate justice, it amplifies it. So let’s say yes to tension!

Tensions we want our kids to know about: 

  • We want them to know God, and yet know God is a mystery—that’s okay.
  • We want them to understand they can be saved and choose to follow Jesus in an instant, and yet know it takes a lifetime to even begin to understand what that means.
  • The Bible is truth and yet not everything is in the Bible. We are called to not just teach Bible but to lead kids into a growing relationship with Jesus.
  • Trust leads to stronger faith. Doubt leads to stronger faith, too. Encourage processing doubt.
  • Enjoy the church and enjoy living in the world. Let’s not make our kids choose.
  • Beliefs matter. People matter more. Let’s not be jerks.
  • God has ideals, but we are all broken. Show grace.
  • Yes, God is good. Yes, you should do good in this world. We want to reflect Jesus to the world around us.

Will you embrace these tensions with me?