Rising 6th Grade Parents: Get Connected! Essential Links and Forms!

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Nothing is normal due to Covid! I HATE that so many of the activities and mission projects this summer your students could have participated in have been cancelled. And if you don’t know, your rising 6th grader would and is welcome to participate in anything in the student ministry (except Sunday School).

So you don’t miss out on anything, and so that we can serve you better, here are  seven things I suggest you do ASAP!

1.  If you haven’t already, please give CLICK HERE to here to help us serve you by giving us some basic info about your student.

2. Let us know if you want to participate in our Act, Love, Walk Theme this summer. Basically, your student would be assigned a small group and they will try to squeeze in four gathering around the theme of Micah 6:8. Buying a shirt is optional, everything else is free. CLICK HERE TO SIGN–UP!

3. Sign-up for the youth enewsletter here it is run from MailChimp.  Click here –>  http://eepurl.com/Kcx8P    Watch your promotions or spam folder if you aren’t receiving them.   

4..  Sign-up for text reminders.  You need to text @vbc4christ  to #81010    

 5.  If you are on Facebook join the group  here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/versaillesbaptiststudentministry/

FYI, the group is updated much more frequently with inside info and discussion. I recommend turning on notifications if you want to stay in the know!

6.  If you are on Facebook join the page here  https://www.facebook.com/versaillesbaptiststudentministry/

7.  If you are on Instagram find me https://www.instagram.com/kevinhash/

I tend to post mostly ministry related stuff there, quotes, or funny stuff, and pictures of my kids being awesome. I’m excited about this time of transition!  Praying for you all!Blessings!Kevin B. Hash

Busyness or Appetite?

If only I had the time.   I’d exercise more.  I’d read more.  I’d get work around the house done.  Well, we are several weeks into the shutdown, and what have you found time to do?  My guess is that the void has been filled with what you want to do, what you value, what you have an appetite for.

If we are honest, busyness is useful sometimes.  I get a lot done when I’m busy trying not to do something.  I might be writing this because I’m procrastinating on something else. Hmmm….

Busyness can be a great ally in self-deception. Sometimes I tell myself I really want to do it, that I am the kind of person who would be doing something, if I only had the time.

Well, many (not all) have more time than they used to have. Calendars that would normally be cram-packed with practices, games, meets, end of the school year concerts and awards programs have been wiped clean.

That void in our calendars is revealing, clarifying, and maybe humbling. For Christians who expressed aspirations to read the Bible more and pray more when they have more time, how has that worked out? Did you find more time to read the Bible, or did you find a new series to binge watch on Netflix? Did you find time to pray, or did you discover a newfound love for viral video or political engagement?

At the end of the day, the issue of pursuing Christ, employing the Word or God and prayer as a means to grow closer to God are not about time, but appetite.

The truth is, on our busiest day, we have time to crack open the Bible, and we have time to pray. But do we have the appetite? And if we don’t, can we do anything about it?

Hopefully this will help you think it through. Many people know they should exercise; they believe that exercising will make them healthier. They really believe it. But they don’t have an appetite for it. And they won’t, until they do it. They won’t until they do it enough to benefit from it and enjoy it. I’ve replayed that cycle a dozen times.

  • I need to exercise.
  • Exercising is a hassle. Exercise clothes, time, energy to do it, but here we go.
  • You, know, I don’t think exercising is too bad.
  • I really feel better on days when I exercise.
  • I actually miss when I don’t get to exercise.
  • I get so frustrated when I can’t exercise. I really have an appetite for it!

Of course, then I’ll get out of the habit, gain 15 pounds and restart the cycle. But appetite can be cultivated for exercise and spiritual health.

So the progression toward spiritual appetite might look/sound like this.

  • I know I need hear God (in His Word) and talk to God (prayer), but at the end of the day I don’t do it.
  • I’m going to make time to do it. Yes, tomorrow!
  • I’ve done it. I’m not sure I’m getting anything out of this.
  • I needed to hear that! I’m glad I’m reading the Word more.
  • It amazing, the more regular I pray the more at peace I am. I’m remembering that God is in control.
  • I’m becoming a different person. My words & actions are being shaped!
  • I can’t wait to meet with God tomorrow.

Big Picture! God wants to have a relationship with you! He gave His Son Jesus so that He could have that relationship with you. God wants you to succeed because He wants you!

Maybe before we do anything, we should pray for God to give us the desire to desire Him. That is a prayer He will answer!

Photo by Alexandre St-Louis on Unsplash

Our Youversion Bible App Plan… Plan

VBC Student Ministry has been campaigning to introduce people to Youversion: The Bible App.   Since we cannot meet at church for worship, small groups, and discipleship we have focused on something that should be a priority anyway, pandemic or no pandemic, which is reading our Bible daily.

Since The Bible App has group plans we decided to use it to get students in the Word AND connecting them with ministry leaders.  So we have ministry leaders hosting plans or participating in plans.   The students read the Bible/Devotion on their own on their phones or chromebooks and leave comments that others see and can interact it.  See youtube commercial below and keep reading.

Here are some basic tips for our students and parents.  In a separate post, i’m going to share some hyperlinks to recommended plans.

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Brushing Your Teeth

Parents, how many of you have children that developed the healthy habit of brushing their teeth without you ever asking about it, encouraging it, or reminding them to do it?

My guess is that most did not. Many were reminded every day, for years. Many were asked, “have you brushed your teeth yet?” 1000 times before it became a habit. (at least)

As kids mature, they see the benefits of brushing their teeth, and at some point it kicks in that consistently brushing your teeth is normal and a non-negotiable habit if you are going to be healthy. Until then, you remind them and you model the importance of doing it.

The same is true of the healthy daily habit of reading the Word. It is not unspiritual to have your tween or teen block off 5-10 minutes each day for it. Even if they don’t feel like it. My guess is that you didn’t tell your kids to brush their teeth every day they felt like it.

No, maybe they don’t see the value in it right away. But they will if you give it time. They certainly won’t see the value in it if they never do it.

As they mature our hope is that they will build an appetite for the Word and see the value of hearing from God daily. Till then, we remind them and we model it. We don’t need to apologize for anything we expect that is good for our kids.

==>>> Sign up for the YouVersion Bible App on a phone or go http://www.bible.com

==>> Friend Kevin Bryan Hash  

The Corona Curriculum. A Youtube Playlist of Christian videos.

The Corona Curriculum: 20 minutes a day!CORONOACURRICULUM
Most families, or maybe all families, are going to have very different schedules due to the impact of safeguards against the spread of the Corona virus.  School closings, sports dead periods, and the cancelling of March Madness are just a few of the cancellations that will create a major void in your otherwise busy schedules.
That void is going to be filled with many things during your waking hours.  I have put together over 75 videos, most of them under 5 minutes.  Some videos are animations of the Gospel of Luke/Acts, some are testimonies of love for Jesus or how He saved the, some are very short clips explaining basic Christian doctrine, and some are clips defending the faith.

The Corona Curriculum

My hope is that every student will block out 20 minutes a day.  Maybe 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night, or 20 minutes in one setting, to watch something from this playlist.
Parents, plan to use these videos as a break in day.  Maybe a break from gaming or maybe something to watch first thing in the morning, or after lunch.  Try to create your own rhythm for using them!
These videos are so short and interesting.  Many students will already bouncing around youtube or watching video in other social media platforms for many hours each day.   Perhaps your student will build an appetite and want more!
Accountability:  Students need not give a report on the videos they watch.  But consider having a single sheet of paper or a notebook nearby so that they can jot down the titles that they have watched.  Some days, they might watch a 20 minute testimony.  Some days they might watch 10 – two minute videos.  But have the write down what they have watched so that you can look back when this is over and appreciate what they have learned.
You can do MORE than that, but don’t do less than writing down what has been watched.  You’ll thank me later for being intentional in your stewardship of the extra time you have.

Blessings!  Kevin

God and Gender: An evening with Andrew Walker

godgender_andrewwalker_march1I spoke on culture at a KBC event this weekend. I shared how students are shaped by culture’s view of reality even when they are unaware that they are being shaped.
I gave the illustration of kids playing out in the ocean, they are 15 yards from the beach, right in front of their hotel. They splish and splash and play, and without even being aware of it, the undercurrent has bobbed them down the beach a pretty far way. They were moving, even though they were unaware of it. That does, and is, happening on various cultural issues, you think you are standing still, but the whole culture shifts around you and you find yourself in a different place than you thought you were.
Gender is an issue that I think this is playing out. Once upon a time if a student was asked questions like, “how many genders are there?” or “can you change your gender?” “can you not have a gender?” They would have answer quickly and confidently like you had asked them if 2+2=4. But my guess is that today and moving forward there will be more and more hesitation before answering because of the cultural undercurrent shaping perception of reality. From teachers in positions of authority, to youtube influencers, to governments seeming affirmation of new gender ideology, to netflix dramas, to friends who identify in categories that didn’t even exist a generation ago, students may wonder if 2 + 2 still equals 4.
 That’s one reason why we are having Andrew Walker come Sunday night to speak on the subject of God and Gender.
And yes, we want students there. It is no longer prudent to assume students will stay orthodox on this basic human reality. I hope your family will plan to come Sunday night at 6 pm. There will be childcare.
Thanks! Kevin

Social Media Contract Sample

This is a version of a contract my kids read and agreed to before they were given access to social media.  My daughter jumped in her freshman year of high school and her twin brother as a sophomore.   When he jumped in, we all went over it again for clarity with some modifications.  This is NOT exactly what they have, but hopefully it will be helpful to other families.  Depending on how young or old your student is some of these may be more or less relevant.  Some may say this is too much.  But my philosophy is lets start more strict and then loosen up.  So its pretty comprehensive.

Social Media Contract.  Edition 1.0

  1. Everything can be done for God’s glory, whether we eat, or drink, or Instagram.
  2. Be a person of integrity. Integrity means that you are the same person evsocialmediapictureerywhere, to all people, whether friends, enemies, parents, teammates…. Whether in person or online.   Being a person of integrity means no secret or alternative accounts.   There is freedom in being the same person everywhere.
  3. If you are a Christian then there should be nothing you do online that you would be ashamed if your parents or pastors saw it.   There is no need to try to get around parental controls, unless you plan to do things you would be ashamed of.  As someone who wants to glorify God and grow in godliness, you should welcome any accountability that restrains an impulse to sin.
  4. Your value comes from your identity in Christ, not the number of likes you get. You are not more valuable if you get more likes, or less if you get less.   God’s pleasure is worth more than a million likes.
  5. Use social media to encourage, to inspire, to celebrate good things…. and have fun!
  6. Social media is for communication and entertainment. Recognize when social media is becoming a time drain.  If grades slip or finding time for devotional time slips, we may caps that amount of time you have access each day (though Qustodio)
  7. Avoid toxic people and consuming toxic content online that can drain you.  Gracefully, excuse yourself or remove yourself from group conversations that are toxic or gossip.
  8. Likes.  In our family, likes (hearts) = affirmation.  Since “likes” mean different things to different people and are open to interpretation or misinterpretation …  we (our family) won’t like or heart things that might send a confusing signal to people about what is good, right, or praiseworthy.  Refrain from mindlessly “liking” things.  Before liking, think about the captions, and not just the pictures.  You encourage what you like, so don’t “like” things that encourage unhealthy behavior.
  9. Don’t use social media to criticize people or paybacks, even passively, or to make people jealous.  Don’t use social media for therapy.  Do not shout your feelings to social media when you are mad or upset or lonely, find a flesh and blood person to talk to, or send a private message to a mature person.
  10. No disappearing pictures on apps. If boys send you disappearing pictures, simply tell them you do not receive them.  If they don’t respect that, block them.
  11. Your parents must know about every account you have, have passwords to those accounts, and be on whatever platform you are on.  If you create an account we don’t know about, or if you go onto a platform without our permission, you will have a dumb phone for 1 month (meaning we will pause social media on your smartphone), if you do it again it will be 3 months.
  12. Welcome godly people to follow you online. If they express concern over something you have posted, listen to them humbly, and not defensively.  Give it thought.
  13. Summer Pictures…. fun in the sun pictures in a swimsuit is ok. But pictures posted specifically to draw attention to your body is not ok.  You aren’t a swimsuit model.
  14. If you are sent something inappropriate, or someone requests something inappropriate… parents are to be notified and the person blocked and reported. Sending something inappropriate means you get a dumb phone for a year.
  15. When it’s bedtime, its bedtime.    Plug the phone in away from your bed.  If you can’t stay off your phone at bedtime, we will pause it (Qustodio), or you will need to charge it in your parents room.
  16. As you grow in maturity, we will gradually give you more freedom.
  17. Jesus said, “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks”. In social media our heart speaks or overflows through our posts and our likes, keep in mind that you reveal something about yourself online, so have a heart for Christ that shines online.

 

Why everything is Word centered in VBC Student Ministry?

About 90% of the things we promote at vbc have a teaching element to it…  why?

1. Because in 2020, unlike 2000, ministers may only get one shot a week with a student at church, it must be Word centered. A generation ago, a church kid might be there 2 or 3 times a week. Today, for some, it’s once a week, maybe 2 or 3 times a month, maybe once a month.

2. Because Jesus prayed, “sanctify them by the truth, Your Word is truth.” (John 17:17)  Jesus prays that his people would be shaped and transformed as they consume truth about who God is and what God has done for them.

3. Because the world is teaching your kids all the time through through youtube, through social media, through memes, through their favorite tv dramas. Kids will default to worldly thinking, unless they are taught a Biblical worldview. They don’t inherit a Biblical worldview genetically.

If I was 13 years old and calling the shots on what I will or won’t do with discipleship opportunities, I I had the choice to go to discipleship where God’s Word is taught or staying home and playing captivating video games, or playing pick-up ball at Falling Springs, or binge-watching netfix, I would as an immature believer, almost always choose the later.
I would also chose those things over studying for a test. If my parents would let me, but they wouldn’t. Why? because making good grades is important! Academically or athletically, parents would not give their student autonomy to do what they felt like doing.
And spiritual matters are no less pressing, and God’s design of parental

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wordcentered_passagesrity is how an unmotivated, perhaps an unconverted student gets to where the gospel is taught. Of course, with all the captivating things at this generations fingertips, it isn’t surprising that they wouldn’t be “devoted to the apostles teaching”. But God’s Word is powerful if they are exposed to it, if they have a steady diet of it. God can transform them, God can use it to adjust their appetite toward spiritual things and worldly things. But it doesn’t happen in one shot and GenZ wants what they want now. But the best things don’t happen immediately. Someone who goes to the gym for the first time because of a new years resolution will not love working out right away. And they will be tempted to quit because they don’t see the pay-off right away. It takes time, time to let the process work. You don’t go to the gym on Monday expecting to be able to run a mini-marathon on Tuesday.
Likewise, there are some amazing things our students can do, there are spiritual equivalents of a mini-marathon, but it won’t happen without time and access to Word-centered discipleship
.

The Church and the Washington Generals

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Even though I have never seen the Harlem Globetrotters in person, I never missed them when they were on tv when I was a kid.  And who my age can forget when the Harlem Globetrotters were on Scooby Doo?

Also unforgettable are the hapless Washington Generals, the Globetrotters’ perennial punching bag.   Most people love rivalries, maybe not the stress of an uncertain outcome, but they love seeing their favorite team challenged and prevail.  However, that was not the case with the typical Globetrotter fan, they knew almost infallibly the result of the game before it began.   That was half the fun, was watching the Generals look foolish.   The last time the Generals won was in 1971.  The winning percentage of the Globetrotters is about 99.96%.

As a youth pastor, one that has worked with students for over 25 years.   I can tell you that when it comes to a competition between sports and church, the church’s winning percentage isn’t much better than the Generals.

DISCLAIMER ONE:  I can be unbalanced or disproportionately indignant on this, because I am a student pastor and because I am a sinner.    I live with a low-grade indignation about the tension between sports and church because, as a student pastor, I’m told every week, multiple times a week, that a student can’t come to a spiritual growth opportunity.   As a sinner, each of these events are events that I have personally invested myself in, so I confess that in my flesh I can take it personally when I view church events as “my events”.    So parents, I want you to know that I do wrestle with the source of my zeal on this, whether it is spirit or flesh.   Even as I type this, I do so prayerfully.

“Sorry coach, we cannot make it.  We have a church commitment,” is something that many Christian students have never heard their parents say.  Kids know that the Globetrotters always beat the Generals and that if there is a choice to be made between an athletic event (open gym, practice, game) and a spiritual one (Sunday School, discipleship, retreats), the sport is going to win almost every time.

Perhaps you are already feeling defensive about what you have read.  But stop for a moment and ask, “Is there more than a grain of truth to what I am saying?”   Some of you maybe already have a pre-loaded response.   Because I’ve been around, I’ve already heard it.   “Pastor, we make it to all the practices and games because we want our child to learn commitment.”

Helping a student learn the value of commitment is one of the best things a parent can do!  But it is a fallacy that being committed to one thing will naturally produce commitment in other areas.  The reality is that being fully committed to one things, by necessity, means you must be less committed to other things.   A man may be fully committed to success in his job, resulting in less commitment to his wife.  When you commit yourself fully to something, you learn commitment to that thing.   The irony of the “I’m teaching commitment” is that while teaching kids commitment to sports, many have been taught to not value commitment to Christ’s church.

DISCLAIMER TWO:  My family is committed to sports and to our kids’ success.  We, the Hashes, scramble to get our kids to just about any place and anywhere the coaches or dance teachers ask them to be.   Sometimes we have had events for all three kids in three cities at the same time and made it work (thanks to grandpa and uncle Todd).  We have spent the extra money on outside training and clinics.  We have driven to other states to watch one kid run a 2-minute race and another throw a discus 3 times.  We have driven an hour to watch another child lose a 15-minute tennis match.   But it is not an abnormal thing at all for us to say “no” to coaches and dance instructors.  We tell our kids to give 110% BECAUSE we know that they will sometimes need to miss.  We’ve said to coaches, “our son will almost never be at practice on a Wednesday” and our daughter will dance with a lesser skilled group on Tuesday so she can be at church on Wednesday.    We’ve said, “No we aren’t going to add that dance if it means a 6th trip to Lexington on Sunday for dance practice.”

Something has to give, and is giving.

Of course, commitment to sports is GOOD!  Commitment to teammates is GOOD!   But in the last 15 years, sports starts younger, seasons last longer, commitment week to week is more intense, and there are more sports than there were 15+ years ago.    Why is this a problem?   It’s a problem because there are only so many hours in the day and week.  A generation ago a regular church attender was 3 Sundays a month and usually one or two other programs a week (Sunday night or Wednesday night).  Now the average is less than 2 Sundays a month and for many, nothing else.

The Time Trap

Two statements pastors hear from time to time, from the same parents.   One: “We can’t make it to mid-week discipleship opportunities because of sports.”  Two:  “We can’t make it as often on Sunday morning because we are so tired.  Sunday is the only time during the week when we can get any rest.”

But the truth is, no matter how long the week has been, if that same parent got a text from the coach on a Saturday night at 9 pm, telling them they have an unscheduled game in another town the next day, they would be there.

Two anecdotes from the last 12 hours.

First, I got a text from my 5th grader’s coach saying there is a practice tonight at 8 pm.  We’ll be there!  There’s nothing dramatic about that really, but it is notable, how one text from a coach and a busy family with a very busy schedule, will make it work.

Two, I saw on social media that the high school basketball team has practice at 5 am every Friday morning.  AM, not PM.  I tweeted the coach and asked what percentage of the boys make it there on time.  And he said, “100%”   Think about it, not one parent said, “that’s ridiculous, I’m not getting out of the house at 4:50 am to get my kids to basketball practice.”  Of course they got them there.

DISCLAIMER THREE:  If you haven’t noticed already, student pastors have major coach envy.  Student pastors are jealous of the fact that coaches get a blank check commitment.   For contrast, a student minister wishing to get kids to an event typically does these things:  they create a graphic design, they email, they tweet, they text, they Instagram, they Facebook, they snap, and even make postcards with stamps and labels to send to families to entice them to choose to come to an event which is designed to make them a stronger Christian.

FYI, there is NOTHING wrong with that, by the way. It is admirable.   So do not hear what I am NOT saying in this article, I am not criticizing sports.   I am simply drawing attention to the disparity between sports and church commitments.

Closing diagnostic questions…

Many parents are prepared to give whatever it takes for their student-athlete to succeed.  But how much is needed for your student to be a fully-devoted, life-long, world-changing follower of Jesus Christ?    How much is needed for your student to be so thoroughly equipped in the faith that they could pass it on to your grandchildren?   How much is needed for them to withstand the pressure of living out their faith in a post-Christian culture?

 

I can get the attention of parents very quickly when I talk about anti-Christian, secular powers in the culture that will try to pull your child away from the church when they turn 18.  But the reality is that we are RIGHT NOW living in a culture that is tearing your kids away from the faith or keeping them distracted enough so that they won’t be established in the faith.

Many kids who walk away from the faith, will not do because they were savaged by anti-Christian wolves.   No, many will have been groomed to walk away from it by their busy schedules.

The church is the bride of Christ, bought with His blood.  The church is not the Washington Generals.