by Mark Entzminger/ June 30, 2015
Last week, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage rights. Regardless of the details of their ruling, the decision has already fueled a lot of conversations in the church and in the home.
As kids’ ministry leaders, we should do everything we can to equip and empower parents to discuss the issue of same-sex marriage and other cultural issues with their children. While you might not be a world-renowned apologist, you can still help parents talk to their kids in a way that creates a clear picture of God’s design for our lives, and that demonstrates we all have a choice whether we follow His design or try to go our own way.
Four Things to Teach in Light of Changing Culture
As kids’ ministry leaders and parents, here are four things we should continue to teach children in light of the changing culture around us:
1. As followers of Jesus, we live by different standards than the rest of the world.
The Bible constantly talks about how we are to be “set apart” as followers of Christ. First Peter 2:9 proclaims we are “royal priests.” We see in Jesus’ prayer in John 17:16 that we do not belong to this world. Because of this, we can trust in passages like Romans 12:2 which tells us, “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world…”
Opportunities like this provide a way to teach kids that we are called to live lives that are set apart. We don’t blend into the crowd. As people who live by the Spirit, we say “no” to a lot of things the world indulges. This includes everything from sexual impurity and addictions to selfishness and boasting. Instead, things the world does not understand such as resting in the Spirit, worshipping God, and selflessly serving others should mark our lives.
2. God’s plan always has our best interest in mind.
God does not ask us to be able to defend and understand everything according to His plan. He asks us to trust Him. As Spirit-filled disciples, “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We are able to trust in passages like Isaiah 55:9 where God proclaims, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Jesus was constantly reminding the disciples that His plan was bigger than anything they could comprehend at the moment.
In times like these, it’s important to teach kids that we shouldn’t expect those who are not followers of Jesus Christ to understand and follow His ways. But when we follow something that is against God’s Word, we miss out on God’s best for us.
3. The enemy’s goal is to twist God’s plan.
Since the very beginning, Satan has lied to God’s creation in order to hurt God. His very first recorded words in Scripture deceived Eve into thinking God had not told them the truth. His plan immediately twisted the thinking of Adam and Eve and doubted God’s plan. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Satan works to “[blind] the minds of those who don’t believe” so they “are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”
One of the best things we can do is to give kids a healthy awareness of the way the evil one works and the assurance that Jesus has already won. The enemy’s tactics have not changed … but the way he attacks adjusts with the culture.
4. Someone is always on the throne of our lives—God or us.
Something or better yet, someone, rules each person’s life. Romans 6:16 advises that we have a choice to make as Christ’s followers—either obey or disobey God. We are either sitting on the throne of our lives, or we’re allowing God to take His rightful place. And Jesus constantly teaches us that we cannot serve two masters.
Children need to know that although God is all-powerful, He has chosen to allow people to make their own decisions and choose whom we will serve. As we continue to face situations which compromise our willingness to follow God, it’s important to teach kids how to ask (and constantly ask ourselves): Will we put ourselves, our purposes and understanding, on the throne because we think we know best? Or will we relinquish the throne of our lives to the One who created us and knows us best and allow Him to rule and reign? Someone is always on the throne—every decision, every day. We decide.
We cannot ignore the changes that are happening in our culture. But we can assure our families and children, in the words of Ed Stetzer; “the ever-changing world around us does not change who God is and what He calls us to do.”
My hope is that you would use this as an opportunity to equip parents and teach kids about the unshakable truths of Scripture.What are some other ways you’re helping kids navigate through the changes in our culture?