Leading in Thanksgiving

We’re at the beginning of Thanksgiving week, and we’re all ready for the turkey, pie, and celebration. 

As I was thinking about the holiday, I started wondering how well I’m doing on raising my kids and leading my family to be grateful. We all know kids are not born oozing thankfulness. None of us are. It’s actually, I believe, something we can get better at as we age (although not all of us do). 

According to dictionary.com, thankfulness is “feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.” (Not very profound, I know)

I’ve said before that many of the most important behaviors and attitudes have to be modeled before they are passed on to the next generation. I believe that to be true for gratefulness. My kids have to see me model a thankful attitude and hear me express it before they will fully understand what it is. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” It’s not easy, especially when circumstances include a global pandemic, economic instability, and so much uncertainty. But it is a command.

I know if I want to train my kids in gratitude they must see me as a grateful, thankful person. They have to see my contentment with what I have. They need to observe my joy in the Lord and trust that He is in control and He is good. 

Those who are around you (your family or friends) need to see you model this as well. It’s the only way we will see Thanksgiving be more than just one more day on the calendar. 

How are you modeling gratitude on a regular basis to those around you? I hope you’ll spend some time this week pondering that question and acting on it.

015 – Teaching Kids Civility with Jeff Coleman

How can our kids learn to be civil in a world full of anger and fighting? If we don’t teach our kids basic civility, we will only see society continue to decline and division will increase. Parents should be proactive in teaching their kids civility and being positive examples in this arena.

In this Podcast Episode, I sit down with an old friend of mine, Jeff Coleman. Jeff served on the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and is founder of Churchill Creative. He also wrote a book titled “With All Due Respect: Recovering the Manners & Civility of Political Combat” (Affiliate).

You can get in touch with Jeff at: https://churchillmedia.org

You can also find the podcast on any of your favorite podcast players. Just search for Dennis Poulette.

If you prefer to watch, here’s the YouTube link: Teaching Our Kids Civility with Jeff Coleman

The Church in France

I recently returned from a trip to France for family vacation, and, while I was there, I remembered what some of my missionary friends had told me about religion in the country. 

As my family and I gazed at the Notre Dame Cathedral (which is closed due to the recent fire that took down the famous spire), my heart turned toward the state of the church in the country. 

I decided to do some research and found a site that gives some unbelievable statistics about the state of the evangelical church in France. 

Here are some of the numbers:

  • 1.2% of France’s population is evangelical. 
  • There are more than 300 towns with over 10,000 inhabitants that do not have an evangelical presence. 
  • The average size of a French church is 50-75 (this number is up from 35-50). 
  • There are six mega churches (1000+) reported to exist in France. 
  • Thirty five churches are planted each year in France. 
  • The number of evangelical churches in France—which has a population of 70 million—is 2,521 (that is one church per 27,767 inhabitants)

I have returned with a burden to pray for the gospel to spread throughout France. 

May God give those who are currently working there insight and favor as they preach the gospel, and may He open the hearts of the next generation in France to hear the gospel and respond to it in ways we have never seen before. 

May the churches be more than monuments to the past. May they become testaments to the living God and His redeeming work for all mankind. 

Will you join me in praying for France?

Children’s Church? Or Kids in Worship?

A few weeks ago, I started studying for my doctorate, and the first course was called, “Christian Formation of Children and Adolescents.” One of the topics of discussion was whether children should attend the worship service, sitting with their parents, or if the church should provide age segmented programming for them. This topic obviously interests me because I have three elementary aged children.

I think both have their pros and cons. I’m not arguing either way. I just want to put this out here as I think through the topic.

Results of Formal Youth Ministry Training

When we started with Youth Ministry International, the main focus of the youth ministry training that they were involved in was informal, seminars and conferences to help local church youth workers. YMI trainers would also informally mentor local church youth workers in various countries, but there was very little formal structure beyond the level one or level two seminars that they would teach.

All of that changed when we were invited both in the Ukraine as well as Mexico to begin formal youth ministry training programs in Seminaries.

Of course, for me, that meant that I would begin my missionary work as a professor at the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary. The formal aspect of the youth ministry training has provided some benefits that weren’t present in the informal strategy that we were employing as an organization before the change. Here’s what I think happens when we train youth workers at the formal level.

  1. Elevate the view of youth work: the local church comes to see youth work as more than just entertaining young people that anyone can do. In many cases it has come to be seen as an important ministry within the local church with trained leaders who come alongside the parents to disciple the youth of their communities.
  2. Increase the quality of local church youth ministry: obviously, with better training comes better quality ministry. That is not to say that those with no training cannot effectively minister, but the more we reflect with youth workers on how to better minister to young people, the more effective the youth ministry becomes in the local church.
  3. Produce local experts on the subject of youth ministry: again, with formal academic work comes an elevated thinking process on the subject, and after spending time in a classroom thinking about and discussing youth ministry, as well as doing projects that require work, our students become the local experts in the field of youth ministry.
  4. Multiply ministry: Every one of our graduates in Latin America is involved in training others. The “experts” are expected to teach others what they have learned, and this multiplies the ministry of training because they want to teach others.
  5. Evaluation of theories and practices: when you only go in for one weekend and do a youth ministry training event, you have little interaction and evaluation of the best practices and theories in ministry. At least in a four year bachelor’s degree program (or more if you are the professor), you can evaluate the principles and practices of youth ministry and have a long haul mentality of what works in youth ministry.

Over the next 15 years, our Latin America team hopes to begin 60 formal youth ministry programs in Latin America, which will have the capacity to graduate and certify over 3,500 local church youth pastors.

Please join us in prayer as we continue to train youth workers at both the formal and informal level.

Check out the video below of the graduates from our formal training programs around the world.