by Casey Gibbons/ November 17, 2016
All kids in your ministry have a label. These invisible life-tags may say, “Barely Knows about Jesus,” “The Hyper-One,” “The Bathroom-Goer,” or “The One Who Loves to Help," and you and other leaders are familiar with their needs. But what about the kids who are labeled, “Been at Church Since Birth,” “Staff Kid,” or “Comes from a Good Family”? What needs or struggles do those young people face?
According to Pastor Elyse Murphy in her first book release Confessions of a Church Kid: Honest Thoughts on Finding God and Becoming Myself, these kids face several issues that parents and leaders alike may not realize. This Salubris release is a rare treasure for the hearts of young church-goers. In this engaging read, Elyse shares portions of her real-life story as she speaks out for students that have grown up in the church world with their unique temptations and downfalls. Filled with laughter, love, and life-lows, Elyse, who is now the youth/young adult pastor at Oasis Church in California, opens her heart wide to the world as she confesses her personal journey as a Christian teen. She is the pastor’s kid to whom every Christian kid can relate.
Bringing hope through the freedom of confessions in the church-world is a must, and Elyse willingly does just that in a humorous style that everyone can enjoy. Each teen reader will grow in wisdom and understanding of themselves, as well as in their concept of God and His enduring love through practical, every-day lessons.
This highly recommended book is beneficial for leaders to learn how to relate to church kids, for parents to give as a personal read for their teens, for mentors to use in guided conversation with a teen, or for small groups to dig into for discussion. Whether it's the “Things I Learned” quick points that come from each story or the “Open Your Journal” questions at the end of each chapter, there is plenty to engage students. Encourage your students to take their time to embrace the lessons she learned before excitedly moving on to the next chapter.
Just as Confessions of a Church Kid brings light to the shadows in the world of good kids, be aware and sensitive to the needs of faithful church-kids around you. Consider reaching out to those labeled “Regular Attenders” and “Staff Kids.” Allow these kids to play games with a chance of actually winning. Give them the freedom to miss a service without guilt. Or provide them an open door to talk to you about their personal lives and feeling judged. These regular-attending students need your leadership and love just as much as anyone else in your group, and maybe even more at times. Then you can give them a new label: “The Known, Understood, and Encouraged Church Kid.”