Here is a good question. Is it wise to build a church based on people’s wants? Meeting “felt needs” often takes a bad rap when it becomes the underlying purpose of a local church. Aiming every program and activity toward what people want could be a recipe for a soft and mushy, feel-good type of ministry. But what if what they want is in line with what God wants? What if some of the deeper aspirations of young families actually are in alignment with the Scriptures?
I propose that many of them are just that. Additionally, I believe a local church can carefully and wisely manage its programs and actions to meet these needs in a non-compromising way.
In our church many of these come to the surface in what we call The Kid Essentials. Sinclair Baptist and the team here at ReachKeep.com has identified four absolutes in raising effective and solid children. Let’s take a look at just one of them—Quality Friendships. (For a podcast on the rest of the Kid Essentials click here.)
Both the Bible and good parents know the value of Quality Friendships. Parents who aspire to have their kids aligned with supportive, respectful, and character-filled peers, find full support from the Scriptures. Proverbs is filled with admonitions to walk with the wise, and run from the fools. A church can effectively and wisely target programs and actions toward these outcomes. And a church SHOULD aim their efforts this way. It is biblical to encourage good friendships. It is biblical to guide and steer families toward these goals. It is perfectly OK to meet people’s wants in this area. Why? Because it is also one of God’s “wants”!
So how do we aim at important and biblical needs in the lives of our children? Here are five ways to meet people’s biblical wants, in regard to Quality Friendships.
- Create a schedule where many of the events have discussion and team building activities. Application exercises can be done in smaller groups with feedback times.
- Schedule lengthy amounts of free time during camps, day camps and retreats. Wisely guide the conversations and purposely steer them in wholesome directions.
- Supply your teachers with the freedom to discuss and bond with their children. Teach your teachers relational skills and celebrate discussion as opposed to celebrating lengthy and complicated information transfer sessions.
- Use digital photography and video to capture great friendship moments. Display pictures around church of fun, friend-filled activities. Provide personal copies of pictures to all involved.
- Encourage private game nights, sleep overs, family trips and what ever else you can think of that will place good kids together for lengthy, family-oriented times. Help parents come up with ideas. Give encouragement from the leadership for these events.
It is God’s desire that kids have good friends. not bad friends. A wise church will align their strategy with what God is already aligned with. Identifying and developing programs around God-given aspirations is wise. It gives clarity and focus when scheduling and budgeting; and it give your workers some real handles with which to work.
What are some “wants” that your community has that also aligns with God’s “wants”?
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