The following are excerpted “Ministry Topics” from a new book by David Kraft called, “Mistakes Leaders Make.” Here, they are adapted for children and speak to how we as teachers, educators, parents and other extended family, who are essentially leaders to our children, can apply these principles with them. The “Ministry Topics” which are underscored are some of the mistakes that David Kraft says are frequently made by leaders:
- o Ministry Topic: Allowing ministry to replace Yeshua
- Application for Kids: (in our case “teaching” the essence of His character – meaning that we are not always as patient or as loving as we need to be. Therefore, our kids don’t always take in those godly character traits from us, and we should be the ones from whom they learn them! Even as we teach our children, that teaching must never replace the essence of Yeshua and His nature.
- o Ministry Topic: Allowing pride to replace humility
- Application for Kids: We, as educators and parents can definitely have an impact on our children by teaching them humility and the importance of how pride and arrogance can hurt relationships and put off others. We should always balance ability, gifts and talents with a healthy dose of humility, knowing that what we are and who we are is by the grace of God alone.
- o Ministry Topic: Allowing pleasing people to replace pleasing God
- Application for Kids: So often kids want to be popular, and that may cause them to compromise things they know to be right for the instant admiration of others. It is up to us to help them remember that pleasing God takes precedence over everything else. Once they do that, God will reward them, and they will have favor with both others and the Lord.
- o Ministry Topic: Allowing busyness to replace visioning
- Application For Educators and Parents: We must always remember our goals as educators and parents. Investing in our kids, training them up to be godly people, keeping our eyes on the goal and not giving them second best or pieces of leftover time will pay rich dividends in the end as they successfully attain the vision for themselves.
- Ministry Topic: Allowing artificial harmony to replace difficult conflict
- o Application for Kids: Real harmony demands loving confrontation. Often parents and educators opt for the easy way out – not dealing with the root problems, because it will demand a lot of hard work and delving deep into difficult issues, but, without it, the real problems don’t get worked through. Delaying the conflict only delays real harmony. It never serves anyone.
- Ministry Topic: Allowing information to replace transformation
- o Application for Kids: In our desire to direct our kids’ path towards God, we sometimes give them the information (bible stories, congregational attendance, etc.) but we always need to check to see if there is a personal daily transformation in their lives. Are they incorporating the information into their character in order to show forth their faith in tangible ways?
- o Ministry Topic: Allowing control to replace trust
- Application for Kids: We don’t ever want to be guilty of teaching “control” rather than trust. Real trust causes kids to do the right thing on their own. Control causes kids to do the right thing out of fear. God wants our trust based on His goodness, not based on fear of punishment.
- Ministry Topic: Allowing selfish ambition to replace godly ambition
- o Application for Kids: As parents and educators, we have aspirations for our kids and students, but we must understand that God creates each child with certain gifts, and they may not match our own aspirations for our kids. We need to defer to God’s calling and ambitions for our kids. He created them knowing what would be best for them.
- o Ministry Topic: Allowing teaching to replace training
- Application for Kids: Training means constant follow-up, correction and perseverance. That is different from teaching which is only the information. Training is the practical daily application which parents and educators must do in order to see the desired outcome.
- Ministry Topic: Allowing tactical to replace strategic
- o Application for Kids: When we operate tactically, we are not always thinking about “the best” possible choice for our kids. Tactical thinking may result in a temporary advantage, but strategy results in a chosen plan which takes into account what works best for your child or student for the long haul.
- o Ministry Topic: Allowing politics to replace principles
- Application for Kids: Principles are what we want to transfer to our children. Those don’t change. Politics changes according to the circumstances, needs or desired goals. Children need to see consistency in their parents and educators and not changing principles due to compromise in favor of personal agendas which is really another way to express the word “politics.”
- Ministry Topic: Allowing talking to replace listening
- o Application for Kids: We must always endeavor to listen to our children. Their feedback is so critical. If they feel they are not heard, we can talk all we want, but what we have to say will not be effective. Kids know the difference between someone who is listening and someone who isn’t.
- o Ministry Topic: Allowing competence to replace character
- Application for Kids: So many of adults have incredible gifts, talents and abilities, but their personal behavior disqualifies them from taking on a leadership role where personal example is demanded. Likewise, we want to teach our children that character is often more important and vital than competence. Their lives must back up their faith, and without that, all the competence in the world will help them achieve God’s real purposes for them.
The biggest mistake is allowing competence to replace character! Most leaders who fall do so over character issues rather than competency issues!
The legendary NCAA basketball coach John Wooden said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
Far too many leaders are overly concerned with their reputation in the eyes of others, and under concerned with inward character, which God is deeply interested in.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7, ESV
Matthew 23:25-28, ESV:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Here are four areas to zero in on when teaching children:
1. Purity: Knowing the Importance of living holy before the Lord and how it’s a protection for them. Valuing themselves enough to respect the body which God has given them and to live according to His rules – knowing that impurity leads to degradation and personal damage of self.
2. Humility: Having a proper proportion of self-esteem without needing to be preeminent or garner accolades all the time. Showing deference to others and being willing to take a lesser role in order to promote someone other than themselves.
3. Contentment: It’s so important to teach contentment to our children and, perhaps, the best way they can learn it is to see our own contentment. If we feel happy and blessed in our lives, our children will hear that and mimic it. If we are always complaining and feeling that our lives lack blessing, it’s a sure recipe for kids to never feel contented or at peace with what they have.
4. Patience: As we have patience with our children, they learn to extend patience towards others. If we are quick-tempered, intolerant or harsh with them, that behavior is passed on to their peers and also usually manifests itself in a “lack of respect” for others. Patience is how we want others to treat us. It’s an important Fruit of the Spirit which will result in well-adjusted, kind children who are able to show mercy and tenderness to others.
This post is also available in: Hebrew