Quite often as a children’s pastor I get asked by parents what I recommend to keep their kids safe online. This is an important question for parents to ask. The average kid is first exposed to pornography on the internet at age 11. And beyond pornography, there is a lot of other junk online as well.
There are also a lot of great tools out there to protect kids, and one that I always recommend is Covenant Eyes (http://www.covenanteyes.com/). The thing I love about Covenant Eyes is that it is more than a filter, it also provides accountability so parents can see when and where their kids are trying to test the limits.
If you have never been heard of Covenant Eyes before I would encourage you to watch the video below to see what it is all about. Or you could simply come out to parenting class this Sunday that Pastor Clark and I are teaching. We are going to be meeting in Room 106 at 10:15. This week we are talking about how parents can monitor and have good conversations with their children regarding the internet, cell phones, television, video games, the whole deal.
Here is the Covenant Eyes promo video….
If you can’t see the video above simply click here.
My church has one, and odds are yours does too. Most churches have a set ratio of the number of teachers/leaders/volunteers they require in a classroom for every certain number of kids. In my church the ratio is 1 teacher for every 7 kids (except in the nursery where it is 1 nursery worker for every 4 infants).
Churches recruit for their ministries based on ratio’s like these. “Parents, we could really use some help in kid’s church. We have 30 kids coming, but just two people helping out…so we are reeeeaaaaally short staffed. We need at 2 or 3 more people. Can you help out?” The trouble is using a 1-to-7 ratio is far too low, at least if you want the kids in the church to be lifelong followers of Christ. According to Lifeway Research:
Teens who had at least one adult from church make a significant time investment in their lives….were more likely to keep attending church. More of those who stayed in church – by a margin of 46 percent to 28 percent – said five or more adults at church had invested time with them personally and spiritually.
Did you catch that? The more people who invest in a kid from church, the more likely that kid is to stick with their faith. We live in a day and age where countless teens are walking away from their faith after high school. Could one reason be because we (the church & parents) have left our kids spiritual formation entirely to one person in a classroom, who is already distracted by 6 other kids, and only given them 75 minutes a week to speak into our children’s lives?
What would happen if we changed the ratio? What if rather than trying to get one teacher in every room for every 7 kids, we made it a point to try to help parents find 5 mentors for every one of their kids? What if every kid got more than a teacher for a single Sunday morning service, but beyond that had multiple people who were investing in “them personally and spiritually” throughout the week, the month and their life?
Don’t get me wrong, I think 1 to 7 ratios are important and needed. They provide structure and safety for classes and ministries. I also think that every single Sunday school teacher, kid’s worker, youth staff member plays a pivotal part in a kids’ spiritual growth. I also think they by themselves they are insufficient. I think that a childrens or youth worker can, and should, be an important voice in the life a kid, but it should only be one of the voices that that child hears. The reality is though, many kids are only hearing one voice, and so many are walking away from the faith. To put it another way, 1-to-7 ratios are killing the next generation of the church.
For the past 9 weeks we have been working through Faith Case: Investigating the Truth in Kid’s Church at Calvary, and it has been a great experience. This curriculum which walks through the 16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God in 12 lessons, has been engaging for the kids, easy to teach, and just might be some of the best curriculum to come out of AG headquarters.
One example of the kids liking it…. I was recently over at a family from the church’s house and asked the kids what they enjoyed most about KidZone. One kid gave me the typical “I love the games!”, another said she loved the songs (i.e. worship), but the third said she loved Mr. Trench from the videos. When she said she loved Mr. Trench from the FaithCase videos, both her siblings said “Oh yeah, we love him too!” I even pressed them to see if they remembered some of the lessons, and they were able to recall everyone of them that they were there for.
If you want to pick up a copy of Faith Case, it is available from Gospel Publishing (www.gospelpublishing.com) for $120.