firstFAMILY Podcast 015: Killing the One-Eared Mickey Mouse

Back in 1989, Stuart Cummings-Bond wrote in Youthworker Journal of the "One-Eared Mickey Mouse" that often develops within a church regarding student ministry. 

What is the One-Eared Mickey Mouse?

The premise is that left unchecked, the program model of youth ministry leads to an isolated entity with the thinnest of connections to church as a whole. This become a ministry silo (which I have written about here.) A healthier approach would find more overlap of the circles with intentional interaction and sharing of spiritual practices like worship.

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While student ministry often is the example used to describe this effect, the truth is it is not relegated to just ministry with teenagers. Any ministry within the church potentially can become its own "parachurch" ministry. This is often due to much weight being placed on the program model and the passion of those who serve within the ministry. For example, if John Doe serves in the intercessory prayer ministry, and has great passion for that ministry, there would be the natural tendency to elevate the prayer ministry over all other aspects of church ministry and opportunities. When this happens, a segmented leadership structure develops and an unintended "us vs. them" mentality develops which is evident in spiritual arrogance. You know, when only those who serve in "Ministry A" are considered to be really spiritual and doing something vital, while everyone else is missing out and living below the level of all that is holy.

Since Mickey's head is connected to his ear in this model at a very small, finely tuned point, it is very easy to be active in the "ear" and not be connected in the fullness of the church and its ministry.

This is poor ecclesiology and ultimately sinful.

And, just about every church of any significant age and size will inevitably drift here.

As our Leadership Team meets regularly to pray, plan and prepare (nice alliteration, huh?) we are more and more convicted of the potential for developing and even celebrating the "one-eared Mickey." Therefore, we must be strategic in our planning and more intentional in our practice to ensure this does not happen.

To declare our desire to have a family-equipping ministry means more than just saying "We're intentionally inter-generational." It means planning for opportunities where family members of all ages (and that's church family as well as biological and home-based families) to serve together, worship together, learn together, and grow together.

Perhaps one of the greatest divides in this era of legacy churches, church plants, megachurches, home churches, and all other models is the generational divide. When a segment of the church (defined by generation or age) is described as "those people" rather than "our family members" the divide is there.

By and large the "worship wars" of the 1990s and prior are over. The fact that "wars" were celebrated within the church is bad enough. The winner of the worship wars? Debatable, but likely not the church since division and self-centeredness tended to define the battle most accurately described as "The greatest waste of time within the church walls while the world kept on turning."

Yet, "Generation Wars" may be upon us...unless, we are proactive.

To ignore the "one-eared Mickey" is a recipe for loss. 

There are many resources available to help churches avoid this. One is Timothy Paul Jones' book Family Ministry Field Guide. I recommend it for all pastoral staff members (especially during the season of ministry planning and calendaring - which for us begins in August and ends in July each year.)


firstFAMILY Podcast 013: Adam Wiggins - from Jail to Church Planter - Part One

Wiggins FamilyAdam Wiggins and his wife Sabrina joined our church recently with their family. Their home church is First Baptist Church of Baldwin where Pastor Chris Drum serves. Adam is serving as our Campus Minister at our new campus, The Creek, meeting at Swimming Pen Creek Elementary School in August of this year.

Adam and Sabrina's story is incredible in how God has redeemed the past and prepared them for Kingdom work through many ups and downs. This is Part One of Two. 

 


firstFAMILY Podcast 012: Changing the Church Scorecard

Every church has a scorecard. It's inevitable. The problem is when things are deemed as valuable and healthy, but actually aren't. In this episode I talk about the fact that keeping score in ways that doesn't matter is like answering questions wrongly, but answering the wrong questions.

The redemption of the Four "B"s is vital for a healthy church or church plant. 

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The video featured is titled "Missional Communities - Simple." It's available on YouTube here and viewable below.

 


firstFAMILY Podcast 011: Miami Church Planting, Multi-Gen Ministry, Immigration & Obama in Cuba

17746_399302130177912_1603670005_nThis week I interview my friend Al Fernandez. Al serves as Regional Catalyst for the Southeastern part of Florida with the Florida Baptist Convention. His insight into the cultural diversity of Miami and surrounding areas is vital.

In this episode we talk about church planting in Miami and the cultural challenges that exist. We discuss the focus on second and third generations in the church, where Spanish and English collide. I also talk with Al, a second generation Cuban-American, about the recent trip by President Obama and how the Cuban people in Miami are responding.


firstFAMILY Podcast 009: Big Church vs. Little Church

It seems as long as I can remember, there has been a competition between big churches and little churches. Well, to be honest, most larger churches never acknowledge any competition, but I have been in some smaller ones that just seem to be unable to get beyond the reality that there are larger churches in their community reaching people they never did.

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Earlier this week, Andy Stanley, Pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, raised some eyebrows and broke the Christian room on the internet when he made a statement about parents sending their children to smaller churches. He has since apologized for the statement. Check out this article on Christianity Today's site where he is interviewed on this very subject. Link here - http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/march-web-only/megachurch-pastor-andy-stanley-explains-controversial-remar.html

So, in today's podcast, I talk about the divide among larger and smaller churches and how we really need to get beyond this.

In this podcast, I reference a blog post by Carey Nieuwhof. Here is the link to the post referenced - http://careynieuwhof.com/2016/03/8-lame-excuses-church-leaders-make/


firstFAMILY Podcast 008: Pastors Endorsing Politicians

 This Super Tuesday follow up of the firstFAMILY Podcast addresses the issue of pastoral endorsements of political candidates. Is this a good idea? What are the ramifications? The question is a front page issue today with Trump and Clinton seemingly securing their parties' nominations for President of the United States.

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firstFAMILY Podcast 007: When Does a Boy Become a Man?

When does a boy become a man? That's the question I have asked many at men's conferences, retreats and even one-on-one. I get a variety of answers, but the bottom line is that in our culture, there is no definitive rite of passage. The celebration of adolescence has created a wide, blurred line between childhood and adolescence. These boys are not quite children, but not adult either. 

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The Bible gives no credence to a life stage between childhood and adulthood. That has basically developed within the past century. 

In an era of confusion regarding gender, adulthood, and life, children need rites of passage and parents are the first, best option for bestowing biblical manhood and womanhood. 

In today's podcast, I talk primarily about young boys and the journey into manhood.


firstFAMILY Podcast 006: Broken or Just Embarrassed

I blogged about this last week, but felt the need, based on many discussions with friends to discuss the difference in between broken over a loved one's sin and just simply being embarrassed. There is a difference and perhaps this is what hampers our prayers, our service to the Lord, and possibly the restoration of relationships. These are just my thoughts and I would welcome comments and responses.

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firstFAMILY Podcast 005: Jason & Kimberley McGibbon - Church Planting, the Arts & X-Men

McgibbonIn today's podcast, I spend time time talking with Jason and Kimberley McGibbon of Hamilton, Ontario. Jason and Kimberley moved to Hamilton five years ago after having taken their son Liam to the children's hospital there for some vital treatment. As a pastor in Milton, he knew their fellowship would eventually send a planter out to launch a new work. He just didn't know the planter sent out would be himself. 

God has blessed Jason and Kimberley as they seek to engage the culture of Hamilton. We talk a little about the uniqueness of Hamilton and the church culture (or lack thereof) in the city.

Jason is a gifted musician and painter. I discuss with him the subject of the arts and the church and how many opportunities are missed by local congregations when it comes to artistic engagement.

Jason and Kimberley have four children - Daniel, Caroline, Liam and T.J. They range in ages from 21 to 10. T.J. has been given a unique opportunity and Jason and Kimberley see this as a Kingdom- focused outlet for God's glory. T.J. always desired to be an actress and God has opened doors for her to do voice work and star in some movies. Some are faith-based films, like the newly released "The Masked Saint." Others appeal to a broader audience, such as the soon to be released "X-Men: Apocalypse." We discuss how God has used this ten year old girl to open up conversations on television and movie sets about Christ and the challenges of parenting in this world.

The Hamilton Fellowships

hamiltonfellowships.com

Twitter: @THFellowships