Thursday at the D6 Conference was all about the general sessions. We had the privilege of hearing from many influential voices in ministry over the course of four general sessions. Can you say ministry idea overload? It has been an amazing, idea-filled day to say the least. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite moments and teachings from today. I was challenged, convicted, and encouraged by the speakers today, and I hope you will be too.

Teaching Like Jesus – 10 Principles from the Master Teacher
Dr. La Verne Tolbert | @drltolbert

  • Principle 1 – Jesus taught based on His character.
    • “Sometimes we are so busy working for God that we forget to spend time with God.”
    • Sabbath rest is critical. Take time to rest.
    • You don’t have to teach every Sunday. Choose leaders who have Jesus’ character to be on your team.
  • Principle 2 – Jesus understood the learner.
    • Jesus spent time with his disciples and had relationships with them.
    • Do we have relationships with the kids and families in our ministries?
  • Principle 3 – Jesus taught developmentally.
    • “A church without children is a dying church.”
  • Principle 4 – Jesus used teachable moments.
    • A teachable moment is a time when the student is ready to learn and the teacher is ready to teach.
    • Baptisms, communion, and calendar holidays are all teachable moments.
  • Principle 5 – Jesus was sensitive to time.
    • “Use the fear that people are experiencing to draw them to the Savior.”
  • Principle 6 – Jesus capitalized on the environment.
    • We don’t have to be speaking on a stage to influence others. Look for opportunities.
  • Principle 7 – Jesus considered cultural needs.
  • Principle 8 – Jesus appealed to mind, emotions, and behavior.
    • How do we maximize these in our ministries?
    • Write down objectives, set goals, and make them measurable.
  • Principle 9 – Jesus involved the senses.
    • Why do we sometimes only teach auditory? We need to involve more of the senses to be more effective in our teaching.
  • Principle 10 – Jesus addressed social concerns.
    • Take John 3-4 for an example. Jesus took the time to talk to Nicodemus, answer his questions and care about him, even when it was after hours.

Are we teaching like Jesus?

Ministry in Thirds – To see a young generation walk in faith for a lifetime
Richard Ross | @richardaross

Many times we try to figure out why teenagers leave the church after graduation, but we need to ask the question, why do 50% of teenagers stay in the church after graduation?

There are three factors to why teenagers have been known to stay in the church after graduation.

  • Factor 1 – Spiritually alive parents
    • The degree of involvement of parents in the church is important.
    • “Spiritually alive parents are not pew sitters. They are all in!”
    • “Spiritually lethargic parents raise spiritually lethargic kids.”
  • Factor 2 – Experience the congregation as a family
    • Teenagers who spend their time with all generations in the church stay in church.
    • Kids must love The Church, not just a church.
    • Teenagers and kids need two things: relationships and ministry.
    • We have to find ways to get our teenagers (and kids) involved in ministry.
    • “Children are wet cement.”
  • Factor 3 – Bible-drenched, age-group ministry
    • Get yourself out of the event management ministry!
    • Age-appropriate ministry is still important.

We must work on having strong ministries in all three of these areas: impacting the home, intergenerational ministry, and age-appropriate ministry. All of them are important! The mission and the function of the church is the same in all three areas. The ultimate goal is families who love God, love people, and disciple others.

Leading Churches Through Change into Family Ministry
Michael Bayne | @michael_bayne

  • Why do pastors spend so much time day-dreaming about the future church and not focusing on their present church?
    • I’m tired of people not getting it, the pastor won’t listen, parents won’t partner, and we dream that the other church will be better or different.
  • The church I am leading now needs me to take the stirring to lead families and do it.
  • When we look at our current church we see the roadblocks. When you think about the other church you only see the positives.
  • “Our focus on the future church should never hijack our passion for our current church.”
  • “Create something beautiful right in the place that God has you currently.”
  • Leading and not leaving:
    • 1. What God has entrusted you with is critically important.
      • He is going to hold us accountable for how we steward the ministry he has given us.
      • “You will get zero credit for coveting other churches.”
      • My church deserves my fully present best effort.
    • 2. You will always have to work to avoid temptations.
      • I am needed right where I am at.
      • People matter more than my position. Leading people demands time and focus. There is no shortcut to leadership.
    • 3. Don’t wander from your calling.
      • How do I lead my ministry towards family ministry?
      • Set realistic goals, take time, write them down, evaluate them, and share them with others.
      • Experiment and be willing to adjust your plan. Be a humble learner.
      • “We love our plans more than we love our people.”
      • “Failure leads to innovation.”
    • 4. Joyfully expect opposition.
      • The devil is going to try to oppose us, but he is already defeated.
      • Change will always bring complaints and opposition.
    • 5. Lead with a long-term perspective.
      • Think in 10-year blocks. You don’t really know anything until you have been in a place for 5 years.

I am left with much to reflect on and pray about as I go to sleep tonight. Tomorrow is a day full of breakouts. I can’t wait to learn even more about how to connect the church and the home tomorrow!