A Formidable Challenge
Jesus told his disciples that if they offended the children it would be better for them to hang a millstone around their necks and jump in the sea. A powerful statement, to be sure.
He must have foreseen our adult-oriented society. If there has ever been a society that has offended it’s children it would be Western culture.
We continue to develop technologically, but the plight of children continues to grow worse and worse. Each year sets new records for child deaths, illnesses, abandonment, and abuse. Psychotropic prescriptions for children are at an all-time high as even small children suffer from depression and anxiety.
In the Church we don’t do any better. We’re all so busy with our distractions—such as trying to be doctrinally superior or, even worse, in control of others, that we don’t think about or include children in much of anything related to church. We plan activites for them that separate them from us, but we don’t plan activities that include them with us.
We are so busy with our own adult agendas, most of us haven’t even noticed that the Church is bleeding to death – our life’s blood is oozing away – as so many of our children forsake the faith.
How do you motivate people to replace culturally inculcated behaviors with Godly ones?
There are things that can be done.
We All Have A Part
Each child God gives to the community of the Church is a moral challenge issued by God to each of us.
We all have a part to play even if we don’t have children of our own. By our example of the lived Christian life, we can all help make our congregations safe, spiritually nurturing places for children.
To help us fulfill our God-given role in the lives of children we offer thought-provoking presentations on such topics as: Personal Growth, Christian Living, Parenting, Family, Marriage, Congregational Health & Mental Health.
These materials are available—all FREE and available from this website.
Why the Tree?
People see our logo and ask us, from time to time, “Why the tree?” The inspiration comes from the Bible, where we read in the first chapter of the Psalms:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
A tree planted by a river has an unending source of sustenance. This is one of God’s ways of telling us when we make even an imperfect effort at living the Christian life, God supports us with an unseen source of nourishment, protection, blessings, in otherwords, the grace of Jesus Christ.
LifeResource Ministries was founded to add to (as God provides) that stream of nourishment — resources for living the Christian life. To do this, we know we must walk, as well as talk, the walk.
The Lived Moral Life
We value the term. We first heard the term “the lived moral life” from Dr. Robert Coles.
He is a prolific writer, with 50 plus books to his credit. One of them earned him a Pulitzer. He is a true intellectual, a Christian, and a psychologist.
His life’s passion is the spiritual development of children. He has spent thousands of hours in the presence of children, learning about how they develop faith, values and morals.
In a PBS special done by Dr. Coles, called Listening to Children, he concludes that children need adults who understand the power of the lived Christian life.
Of ourselves, we cannot do much when it comes to spiritual things. We are clueless unless God enlightens us. We don’t know what we or our children need, except that God shows us and provides it for us.
But that tree — planted by the river — is gigantic, and rooted deep. It powers multiple tons of water high in the air every day without a sound and withstands the ravages of weather for years on end. It cannot be moved.
So it is with us, if we walk in the way of God. We are supplied from an unseen source with wisdom, knowledge, creativity, energy — unimaginable power beyond measure to do the will of God if we are so inclined.
What Children Need for Faith Development
We know God wants us to pass our values to the children so the Church can extend itself through generations and across time. It’s a part of God’s plan.
At LifeResource Ministries we specifically focus on the children, knowing that they are not only a large part of the present day church, but also the Church of the future.
We know that children are spiritual beings, and that they have spiritual needs. We continually observe, in Western culture, that adults may give lip service to the needs of children. But when it gets down to allocation of resources (such as time, money, attention, and care) the needs of children almost always take a back seat to adult issues (such as control, recognition, and doctrinal issues).
This deplorable phenomenon cuts across all aspects of life in the West — the Church included.
When we founded this ministry, we asked ourselves the question, “What can we do to help all the children?”
Most people in the West answer that question by saying that parents have the greatest influence on children and therefore care of children falls completely on parents. It is true that parents have the greatest influence and the greatest responsibility. However, because the influence of the extended family diminishes in a disconnected culture, our family experience becomes increasingly nuclear.
Most parents bring up their children in isolation, rather than in an environment of extended support. The idea that two parents, or in some cases one parent, are sufficient to properly bring children to a spiritually mature adulthood is a new concept in human history. Ours is the first culture to accept it.
It is interesting to consider where the concept has taken us. Several years ago, I hear Dr. Bruce Perry, one of the nation’s leading brain researchers and child advocates, say that Western culture was the first culture in the history of civilization to lose the ability to transmit it’s values to the next generation.
When we think about the Church as a chain human beings passing faithfully followed beliefs accross time and spanning generations, the meaning of Dr. Perry’s observation sobers us.
If he is right, the fate of the Church in the West hangs in the balance.
Before the West, all other cultures saw the extended family and the community as vital in the process of passing on cultural values and bringing children to healthy maturity. We believe that God intends each child to grow up as part of a nuclear family which is part of an extended family which is part of a community.
For Christians, as society loses its ability to transmit values, the Congregation becomes the most important faith-transmitting community.
We, then, approach the problem as a systemic issue. What do we mean by the term “systemic?” If you have a mobile hanging from the ceiling, and you touch one of the figures hanging from it, what happens to all the others? They all move, of course, because they are all connected.
If our efforts are to make any difference at all, we must approach the problem as systemic. What does that mean in terms of strategy and application of resources?
We focus on four initiatives.
1. Engaging children one-to-one
We see from scripture that faith is transmitted from person to person. Consequently we try to engage as many children, teens and young adults as we can. We believe it’s not only good for them, but also for us. If we are going to encourage people to do likewise, we feel compelled to set an example. As a part of the faith community, we want to make a difference one at a time, as God permits.
2. Support for parents
All the research shows that until a person is college age, parents have the greatest influence on their children. We try to provide parenting materials based on solid research and contextualized for Christian parents. We also know that it’s not just parenting that passes faith, but mostly the lived Christian life — the example that parents set. We provide bi-weekly presentations to raise awareness of parenting skills and modeling among Christian parents.
3. Support for congregations
While we all know that we are to put our faith in God, and not in men we also know that God has given us the Church to be “the mother of us all.”The church, then, is the place where Christians are to go for support and help. As the greater community moves further away from Christian values, the congregation must step up to the challenge.
Adults need to stop playing at church and become sincere practitioners of the lived Christian life at church. Arguing over doctrine, vying for power, creating a cast system — these all have to depart from us in favor of becoming sincere, kind, honest — all the things Jesus told us to do and be.
To help with these spiritual necessities, we not only provide an ongoing stream of materials but also host activities, such as Camp Outreach where people can learn the value of caring for the poor, and seminars, delivered in congregational settings to educate, train, and encourage congregations to engage the children in their midst more inclusively.
4. Support for individuals
Each congregation is made up of individuals who are all challenged by God to care for their spiritual brothers and sisters. We use our professional counseling skills to help people and families who ask for help. We provide support, insight, and help people find help locally if necessary through our profession. It is our hope that each person we help will be able to help others, multiplying God’s efforts us.
LifeResource Ministries Resource Materials
Our efforts to help stimulate The Lived Moral Life include the following efforts:
Currently we produce a presentation every two weeks and distribute them through a mailing list and this website. Topics are far ranging.
Presentations come in the following formats:
- Transcript (download)
- Mp3 (download)
To listen or read the presentations, go to our presentation list.
As with all our materials these presentations come at no charge to those who order them. We also have available for presentation a number of seminars and shorter messages suitable for church services or special events.
Bringing It to You
Groups invite us to speak and advertized the event as a drawing card in their community. We have no fee other than transportation, food and housing. We take a one-at-a-time approach, so large numbers are not required.
If you are interested in hosting us, send us an email.
This website is packed with information on the Lived Moral Life. Check out the headings in the left column menu.
We always need help with our website. If you are knowledgeable and want to help, please contact us.
Taking a Different Path
If we really want to reach the entire Church of God with our vital message, the only way we can do it is by giving it away.
Consequently we give away all our materials at no charge to those who ask for them, believing that our message of family and congregational health will help strengthen the Church.
By extension, we also believe those who help us will be helping the Church become a healthier place for God’s people to glorify God in their lives and relationships.
Is it possible to give everything away and still continue long term without becoming depleted? It is a complicated issue. Jesus said “Freely you have received, freely give.”
The Bible also says that the laborer is worthy of his hire. We know also that always seeking to get something for nothing is not a godly approach to life. The scriptures tell us that we are supposed to give full measure.
LifeResource Ministries started with a leap of faith. After counsel, thought, and prayer, we have concluded that this ministry must continue to be a daily leap into God’s arms. Since we want as many people to hear our message as possible, we can’t do anything except provide materials without charge.
Our materials are expensive to produce and distribute. We hope those who receive them will support our efforts to the extent that they have been blessed by them and as they are able.
Contributions to LifeResource Ministries are tax deductible.