Purposeful Parenting

Going for Broke

We all want was is best for our kids but what does purposeful parenting look like in practice?

Follow the creator of Anton’s Antics’ as he negotiates the challenges of being a parent.

“The blog's slogan started off as a joke between my wife and I, as it can be tough making ends meet and parenting is not easy. I want to hear Jesus say ‘well done, good and faithful servant’ with what He has entrusted to me.  We have to go for broke don’t we?

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I was ready to punch someone by the end of the week

Call me hopeless, but I didn’t cope too well in the past week trying to play 'single dad'.

To make ends meet, my wife took off to a far-flung part of Oz for a week’s work as a locum, leaving dad here, to hold the fort.

Except I wasn’t just holding the fort, I had full time work as well. That means I’m solo dad and full-time worker for the week.

‘Dad where’s my…

Dad I can’t find…

Dad how can I…

Dad can you pick me up…

Dad can Susie come over…

Dad when is mummy coming home…

I miss mummy…’

It’s all dad…the kids have no-where else to go. Even when you’re doing your business…there’s no escape…right mums?

So, after a full and sometimes difficult day at work, I come home sort the clothes, unstack the dishes, make the dinner…and my kids help out, their pretty great really.

But I still feel the exhausted under the weight of holding everything together. They cope better than I do.

At night I barely can be bothered saying good night to the kids. I’m that tired…and we have some elaborate bed time routines, that normally fly smoothly…not this week!

Even though we pray together most nights and I make the effort to read some Bible and pray myself for the first half of the week, by Thursday it’s all coming apart.

I’m toast, I’m roasted…I’m more than done. I'm double baked and charcoal chicken. Every morning I’m waking exhausted. I’ve got less than zero in the tank.

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My Biggest Mistake in Children’s Ministry

Bundle-Image-1-600x327I’d just left four years of theological college behind and landed my first full time job as a children’s pastor. I was thrilled to have landed a job at a church that cared so much about kids and families, they put serious dollars towards a person who could lead their team.

The size of the kid’s ministry on Sunday mornings was a bit daunting. Previously I’d lead small teams and small kids’ ministries of around 30 kids. This position was for over 130 kids! Yet despite my bible college education and years of experience in volunteer Christian ministry, I was about to make the biggest blunder. A blunder that could be averted if the whole church, from parents to pastors, had the right mindset.

I’m not blaming anyone else…it was my fault. I take responsibility.

What was it? How can you avoid it?

What have parents got to do with it?

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What’s the biggest mistake churches make?

fp-church-checklist-350If you’ve been in any form of Christian service, whether it be leading a kid’s ministry or an adult bible study, a creche or a whole church, then you’ll probably have, like me, sighed, at one time or another, wishing you had more leaders.

It goes like this:

‘If only I had more helpers…’

‘We could easily take on more kids but without more leaders I don’t think we should advertise the kids club.’

‘We’re stretched so thin, all we do is run the ministry, we don’t have time for the people in the ministry’

Parents don’t switch off, because we’re not off the hook either. If we don’t raise up our kids to follow us in Christian service, prayer, reading God’s word and godliness, then we are failing to have the impact on our kid’s lives that God seeks from us.

 ‘If only I had some help around the house…I’m overwhelmed’

 ‘Why are the only ever looking out for themselves when they get their breakfast?’

 Big mistake parents make = not raising their kids to be leaders

It is part of our job description to raise up Christian leaders. They may not run churches one day, but they should grow up being teachable and have a self-sacrificing attitude of service to Christ’s church.

It all starts in the family...

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11 Mistakes That Ruin Christmas Outreach Events To Kids (Bonus Video)

heather duhFBIf you’re reading this, it’s a pretty safe guess that you agree Christmas is a great season to be inviting friends and family to hear about Jesus. While Christmas might still be a way off, most of us involved in churches and schools know that our events need careful planning, well in advance to make the most of the season.

The thing is, even with the best intentions, many Christmas outreach events to kids and families fail to reach their potential due to common mistakes. Ugh.

As both a trained Children’s pastor and itinerant performer, I’ve observed 11 big mistakes that if avoided, will help you to maximise your efforts to reach your community this Christmas:

1.Unclear Purpose

The first mistake is quite foundational. Sometimes we just run events without really knowing why!

Whenever Anton’s Antics performs for a school or church, I always try and ask the person booking, ‘what would it be that makes you go on social media and share with your friends how happy you are with the event?’.

In other words, after all your planning and advertising, all the hard work on the day…what ticks your boxes? What will put a big smile on your face? Once you’ve identified this, you’ll realise what it is that you really want to achieve.

If you can go one step further and quantify some measurable outcomes for your efforts, even better.

Let’s say your agreed purpose is outreach. What are some tangible outcomes?

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Screenagers: Proof our kids are getting dumber

screenager3gimp‘Mom, can I have a new phone?’

‘But you have a phone’

‘No, I want a real phone’

Ahh, she means a smart phone with all the video, pictures and internet access not just a flip flop thing that makes phone calls.

‘Why do you want a smart phone honey?’

‘Because I’ll be cool…Because I’ll be connected with everyone...Because I’ll have something to do in awkward situations.’

Our church youth group organized a full cinema screening of ‘Screenagers’ to support parents in their job of raising kids in a screen dominated world. The film is a documentary made by an American (or was it Canadian?) mum who is a doctor and concerned about the health impacts on children, especially her own.

With three kids, all with iPads that have internet access at home, plus the creep or shall we say, ‘pressure’, toward functioning smart phones as they get older, we decided to go see the film as a family. I’m glad we did. Here's what you're missing out on...

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Kids, pray for your country's leader

bansingleusePMHow’s your country's leader turning out for you?

I hear riots in Colombia.

War still raging in Syria

Trump tweeting defense from fake news again

But did you know Australia is on to its 5 or 6th prime minister in 11 years?

Fact is we’ve never been very good at recycling. We go through prime minister’s like single use plastic bags at the grocery checkout

Recently our 2 big supermarket chains have banned the single use bags because community and media pressure (Much thanks to the ABC’s program ‘War on Waste’, if you haven’t seen it, check it out on our national broadcaster’s iView, ABC). Single use bags might be very convenient but they all end up in land fill and take yonks to break down, fill our water ways and kill our marine life.

Right now, though our country is in crisis as our politicians are killing our country.

Ban the single use Prime minister

You’d think people in public office might concern themselves with actually serving the interests of their people, not their own petty wounded pride and playground in-fights. But if it’s good for Mugabe, it’s good for democracy it seems.

So much anger and disappointment in the Australian public has morphed into comedy with the design and sale of a new shopping bag, to replace single use plastic bags, that is emblazoned with the words:

“Ban the single-use prime minister”

 And it’s selling like crazy!

The bags have resonated big time. 

We’re over it.

We’re sick of infighting and self-interest.

Where sick of voting people in only to have their party mutiny, like they did Bligh on Norfolk Island 200 years ago.

Where are the true public servants…you know the ones who serve the public interest, not just their own?

There is hope…

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Should your kids 'Wear it Purple'?

WIPD-300x300Students at my kid’s high school announce that next week is a mufti day and all kids are to come in casual clothing to support students who are transgender, gay or lesbian as part of ‘Wear it Purple Day’.

Wait, hold that…say what?

Don’t you choose to support causes, instead of being forced or co-erced to do so?

Like White Ribbon Day (to support anti-violence against women) or Red Nose Day (to raise support for infant death syndrome), you wear the ribbon or put on a red nose if you support the cause or would like to show support. But no-one goes around forcing you to wear a nose, or ‘outs’ and socially shames you if you don’t.

So why the broad requirement to wear mufti for transgender, gay and lesbians?

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Putting on Bono's sunnies: How school projects wake us up to more important things

anniebonoblogThe electric kitchen knife is out, ripping through some polystyrene foam. We’ve cut the main stage out and now it’s my daughters turn to cut the ramps down to the B-stage that will be shaped like a Joshua tree.

Me: ‘Careful of your fingers, don’t put them in front of where the blade is threshing!’

Ahhh, school projects don’t you love them?!

Here we go again. Life on hold. Nobody leave the room or go to bed until this is done.

But school projects actually can be a pointer to better things.

School projects can wake us up, clear our vision so we can see other areas of our children’s lives that we are perhaps less worried or focused on than we should be.

Here’s a little personal reflection on a recent whoppa of an assignment one of my kids roped me into…or perhaps I roped her into…you decide…

This is the (annual?) night of notables. Where children choose a celebrity and show to the school what contribution their celeb has made to bettering our planet. They research their celebrity, present a folio and build an informative, well presented display booth for the school to see.

Normally, I’d be very anti-school projects.

Just think it ends up being more parent, less child doing the work.

And get this, this year my wife said it was up to me to get our daughter through.

I stopped breathing.

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When kids are too old for Bible stories, what next?

unpollutedpicFBthumbI loved it when my kids were little. You could pull a children’s Bible out and read some of the stories over and over and it never felt like a waste of time. Some stories were unbelievably popular and would be read on high rotation.

Hey, perhaps one day it would be worth us revisiting this and analyse what made those particular stories work so well and others not?

Right now my kids are older and you may think that just because I’m trained, just because I’m a teacher, just because I’m a kid’s performer, it’s easy peasy, lemon squeezy when it comes to reading the Bible regularly with my kids in my home.

Nup.

It’s probably just like yours.

Do your kids groan… ‘do we have to do this?’

‘Oh no, he’s getting the Bibles out!’

‘Can we hurry this along…’

#metoo

Or perhaps you haven’t tried to read the Bible regularly with your kids, you’re willing to give it a go but not sure where to start?

I’ve got something cool for you to try and it’s toats FREE.

As my kids grew out of the children's Bibles my wife and found it a huge jump to try and read the adults Bible with our kids. We didn't want to bore our kids or make regular devotions with them a chore for us, so I began experimenting, doodling on an iPad, looking at small chunks of Scripture, together with my crazy friend, Anton. If you don’t know already I produce live shows and videos for kids called ‘Anton’s Antics’ using a trio of fun characters, story-telling with colourful live drawings, rap music and a whole lot of energy!

I have a new series in the works, but before I go any further, I’d like some input from you on how well the videos go with your kids.

What I’ve done is make one, and only one video on the book of James so you can preview it and tell me how it went in your home or ministry.

Test out the video with your kids or ministry today for FREE right here:

How to make reading the Bible with 9-13 old's easy! James 1:2-4

While the video is aimed at the home, I don’t see why you couldn’t also use it in a church or school setting, so don’t be put off, if you can’t see it being used in your home but might have a kid’s ministry you could give it a whirl in.

Try "Unpolluted", my first video in an upcoming series of devotions for 9-13 year olds from the book of James with your kids and let us know how it went! 

(new music) Future-proof your kids against atheism

God You Really There song release by SkitoDo you want your kids to stick with God and stop them being led astray by atheism?

Future-proof your kid’s hearts with this awesome new song release from Skito.

“God You Really There”

Watch the full music video and get a copy of the song ‘God You Really There’ to etch the truth in your kids minds.

Who is Skito?

Skito is one of the three aliases performed by Australia’s most engaging, Christian, one-man show for kids, Anton’s Antics.

God You Really There is an anthem for your home/ministry that will remind your kids how they can be sure God is there and protect them from unbelief.

Background to the song

“God You Really There is inspired by my reaction to the rising tide of sensationalist, atheistic preachers, like Richard Dawkins and the trickle-down effect of their words on society. I wanted to try and catch the moment in sound-bytes, allowing kids to hear that it’s OK to have conflicting thoughts. I just don’t feel comfortable not talking about stuff that’s in our media. Our kids need us to acknowledge the voices of dissent, the doubt they raise and provide safe spaces to talk more about these issues that threaten faith.

The song is also an anthem, with a fantastic chorus to remind kids why belief in God is fixed in empirical evidence, not wishful thinking of weak minded, irrational folk. I really pray a lot of kids and families, fall in love with this song and it becomes a little anthem in their homes” Stephen Shearsby (creator and performer of Anton’s Antics)

Watch the music video and get your copy of God You Really There…Out now in all online stores.

If you’ve just tuned in, for the past few weeks I’ve been covering a series on God’s existence and atheism in an attempt to equip parents and leaders in how to lead conversations with kids about reasons for why God exists. It’s my conviction that unless we prepare kids for how to defend their faith they’ll have little chance at sticking with God for the rest of their lives. Kids need more than knowing the truth, they need good reasons to defend it.

Conversations to Protect Kids From Atheism (read more...)

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