PLEASE STOP Paying Your Kids to Know Jesus

Over the last few months I’ve seen too many parents and children’s ministry leaders and directors who are skewing the Gospel of Jesus with well-intentions. For some reason in our we are compelled to feed the cultural idea that the end justifies the means.

I read (and often fight against) ministry program after program having kids earn Bible Bucks or Jesus Money at church. Play money is awarded when a child successfully memorizes a Bible verse, or the Books of the Bible, or completes their “homework.”  Stores are set up where kids can purchase meaningless prizes in exchange for knowing John 3:16. I even know of a KIDMIN teacher who paid her kids an actual ONE DOLLAR BILL for stopping for a few moments in class to listen to God.

Even parents have jumped on this bandwagon.  They are having their kids earn X-Boxes and extra dessert for reading their two chapters a day, and are doing so unashamed.

I can go on and on about how this is so unhealthy for your environment and community. I can explain how it sets certain children up to fail, because they can’t physically follow through with what you are asking of them. I could give you insight on how this is completely unfair to the child of divorce, or who have experienced trauma.  Instead I will slap you with this:

WHEN YOU PAY KIDS IN ANY WAY TO LEARN ABOUT JESUS YOU ARE PREACHING A PROSPERITY GOSPEL. 

A prosperity gospel preaches and teaches that in return for your faith, or works, or tithes God will return the favor and bless you with wealth and/or health. This is the dangerous ministry that is often taught by most televangelists and some majorly known pastors in the Christian community…and it just might be taught by you.

When I tell a child that knowing Jesus and learning to know the Bible is worthy of a paycheck we are completely tainting the truth that His grace is a free gift. We set our kids up to think that there is always instant gratification in our relationship with God. We teach them to focus on the prize of the world instead the prize of Christ.

Bible bucks

By paying kids to know Jesus, we are training them to think of Jesus as some sort of slot machine, who if you pull the right lever, read the chapters, memorize the verse, Jesus will spit out some sort of blessing in return.

Out of all the bribes we make our kids day in and day out…Knowing Jesus should NOT be one of those. How disappointed will they be when their faith doesn’t pay dividends in a way they expect? What’s going to happen when they do all the right things in life, and they don’t get that job they want?

Will this type of faith, that is dependent upon earning something, be foundational enough, or more importantly, relational enough?

Jesus is about relationship–and relationship is built on love, and trust and time and effort, not “what can you do for me?”

When we pay our kids to learn about Jesus as a “harmless incentive” we are missing out on the opportunity to share the real gospel –it’s about what Jesus did for us at the cross that matters, nothing else.  He doesn’t owe us, we owe Him.

Paying kids to know Jesus:

Cheapens the Gospel

Devalues the Bible

Stifles the Holy Spirit

And Sets Kids Up on a faith that is not rooted in authentic relationship but rather superficial temporal motivations.

I know we want our kids to read their Bible. I know it’s important for them to form habits.  I know that we want our kids to know the books and commandments. But is it worth teaching the absolute adulterated perspective of Christ and His sacrifice in order to get there?

We don’t need incentive programs, we need Holy Spirit revival.  We need to spend as much time on our knees praying for movement in their hearts instead of developing stores and money and payment programs.  As parents and ministry leaders, we first must believe that Jesus in and of himself is absolutely enough. We must have the faith that when a child tastes and sees how good the LORD is, he will be hooked. We must trust that God can come in and give that conviction to a child to know and be known by Jesus.

So, I beg you, please, in your ministries, in your homes, please, please, please, stop paying your kids to know Jesus. It’s just not helpful.

Comment and share!

LG|LP

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No Mercy, Kids! No. Mercy.

Zac’s been home sick a few days. I was so over hearing “I’m bored!” “There’s nothing to do!” “I don’t want to be sick anymore!”

I decided to be a great mom, like a super great mom. We turned on some National Geographic Show about polar bears brutally eating innocent little baby seal, ate pizza and played cards. When playing games with my kids, my rule is: No Mercy. (Well okay, maybe a little.) But the one thing I will NOT do is let my kids win.

Sounds mean, doesn’t it?

We were playing Skip Bo and Zac only had one card left in his pile, I had four. He was so arrogant, just knowing he was going to win. But then mom AND

Boom

 

But the thing is, Zac doesn’t lose well:

skip bo

 

He was so mad, he threw the cards everywhere and stomped his way upstairs.  I sat and patiently waited for him to come back down and pick them all up. It took a good 20 minutes or so before he worked through his tragic loss and picked up the cards.   I thanked him and we moved on.

I just don’t “get” the everyone deserves a trophy, where we don’t take score, and all kids are winners. Life doesn’t work that way. Life is way harsh and mean. Losing well is a necessity in life. We spend way more time on this earth losing, than winning. If our kids can lose well, even at a game, then they will be more prepared to deal with the real losses, the ones that actually matter.

What do you think? Do you let your kid win at games? Comment below.

Let’s Chat!!

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I NEED YOUR STORY

No reason for me being MIA on my blog, except for my laziness, and internal battles, and pizza eating. I’m working on something very cool, something God put on my heart to write years ago, but for some reason now is when it makes sense.

It’s Big.

So Big.

And so important.

And it is so much of not just my story, but of me.

But it wouldn’t be really me if it didn’t include YOU. People make me who I am. Your lives and struggles challenge me, encourage me and change me.

I want you to be a part of this project.

father daughter

Here is the deal:

If you

1. Grew up a majority of your life without your biological father,

2. would be willing to answer a few questions about your life

3. would be willing to possibly have part or all of your story published as told by me, but would remain completely anonymous —

then send me an email at tiffany@tiffanycrawford.org.

You will be contacted BEFORE using your story in anyway to give full permission.  If at anytime you wish to back out, then I will honor you completely. And any information will be kept completely confidential until we agree that your info can be used (anonymously).

I want to know your story.  I want your voice to be heard. I want the world to be impacted by YOU.

EMAIL ME TODAY. tiffanycrawford.org

and SHARE THIS SO THE WORD CAN GET OUT!

I’m so excited at what God is going to do!

Love God and His Peeps,

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How to REALLY Fight For Your Kids

I caught her expression out of the corner of my eye. I was rushing to pile stuff on tables, and convince every person that my stuff was worth the $5 bucks I was selling it for. We were moving to Texas–suddenly. My three kids were in shock, but with some happiness. Except my daughter.

She would be leaving behind her friends.

She wouldn't be a varsity cheerleader anymore.

She sat there, in the chair, huddled with her friends, on her 16th birthday, watching me sell our stuff.

I will never, ever forget the look on her face. I tried my hardest to be positive. I had conversations with God and told him that I trusted him. But inside, as a mom, I was dying. I felt like a failure. I felt the worse sense of shame that somehow I was causing harm to my kids. I hated myself.

From that moment forward I hated everything about life and everything about how utterly helpless I was to change our circumstances. We moved to Texas and did our best to settle, temporarily at my brother's and then soon after into our own place. No matter what I have done, being in San Antonio just hasn't felt like home. I hated this place. And I convinced myself that if I chose to like it, then I chose my daughter's pain, and I couldn't own up to that.

Her depression was ruining her. Daily tears, hating her school, feeling utterly alone, feeling like she just didn't fit in. Our pain was unified, she hurt, and I hurt…I hated and she hated. I couldn't take it anymore. What happened to my independent,sassy, life-loving, joy-filled, fisher of men? She was slowly fading, with every tweet: I hate school, I hate my life, I hate people.

I told her counseling was inevitable, she was stuck without perspective and I could only encourage her so much. She refused, with all the stubbornness inside her. It only made sense to fast for her. I had to.

As a mom, I have certain control over my children's spiritual life. She is flesh of my flesh, and I have every right to approach the throne on her behalf. I have every authority over the principalities of darkness to fight on her behalf. And I did!

With every bite I denied myself, every Coke I passed up, my prayer was this: My daughter needs freedom more than I need this piece of bread. The pangs in my stomach are my spirit crying to you Lord to free my daughter and give her vision for her life.

And He did.

Her depression is lifted.

She can be sad about missing her friends without it controlling her life.

God has given her a clear vision for her immediate future. And she has been favored already as she starts her own business and blog. She no longer cries everyday. She no longer hates people. (However, she still very much hates her school).

She is seeking God's word, and has once again embraced her desire to conquer the world.

Although nothing has changed, everything has changed.

As parents we must go head to head with the enemy, refusing to allow anything to overcome our children. God entrusted them to us and it is our job to protect them, not just physically, but emotionally and especially spiritually.

A group of us are fasting

JULY 1

JULY 2

JULY 3

Join us if you have a child who:

  • Is overcome with depression
  • Needs a relationship with Christ
  • Is lost or alone
  • Is being bullied
  • Struggles with Addiction
  • Has a broken relationship with you
  • Just needs some breakthrough.

FAST WITH US!

FIGHT FOR THEM!

A leader of the local synagogue, who name was Jairus, came and fell down before him, pleading with him to heal his little daughter. “She is about to die,” he said in desperation. “Please come and place your hands on her; heal her so she can live.” Mark 5:22-23

Right away a woman came to him whose little girl was possessed by an evil spirit. She had heard about jesus, and now she came and fell at his feet. She begged him to release her child from the demon's control. Mark 7:25-26

One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son for you to heal him…” Mark 9:17

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them….He said to them, “Let the children come to me.” Mark 10:13&14

Parents! Bring your children to Jesus…they will be blessed and healed, And you will have a grateful heart, an overwhelming spirit of thankfulness whenever you look at our child. You will have evidence of God's present day miracles in the eyes of your very own child!

Comment your YES! and stay tuned as we prepare our hearts!

Share this with 3 people who can fast with you!

And for those of you who are already committed, I am praying for you!!

LIVE RECKLESS

 

 

School Awards Can Suck It!

Two more days people. Two. More. Days. I am overwhelmed with excitement that summer break will be here before the week is over. Mom taxi is going in the garage, and the kids will have to take the city bus anywhere they want to go from today forward, I’m not even kidding.

Ok, maybe I’m kidding.

This last week or so of school has brought relief.  No more homework, easier pick up schedules because of testing. No forgotten backpacks, because they don’t need one.  And last week was official end of the year awards for my third grader. And all I can say about that is that:  Awards from school can suck it.

See this kid…the tall one in the back.

zac awards one

Look at that face.

 

zac awrds 2

Does he look happy? Does he look proud?

Oh yes, he did receive an award…for learning his math facts.  And every other six weeks, he’s received an award for A-B honor roll. He was so determined, and proud that he’s worked so hard, and just knew he was going to get A-B honor roll this time, too–and that meant for the entire year. But no…he made a 79 in math. To him, his hard work pretty much meant nothing.

Other kids got medals and trophies for attendance and reading. Not my kid. He couldn’t get those awards even if he tried. He’s took sickly to ever make it to school every single day for six weeks, so you can forget an entire school year. Then there is reading, let’s talk about reading.

My child is not a natural reader, and his first and second grade year in the Florida Public School system was disastrous.  He was barely on level when he left first grade, even though the teacher insisted he would be fine and just needed a little extra help.  By half way through second grade, his teacher labeled him and he was entire year behind in school.  He was belittled and ridiculed for being who he was.  We changed teachers, who punished him through her behavior system for missing spelling words.  We worked with him at home, even though he threw books at our faces. We yanked him from public school and enrolled him in private. His teacher was patient and loving, but taught differently than public school.  He improved and built some confidence. Then we moved to Texas.

We thought he might have a learning disorder. He was tested, and put in special groups and had one-on-one attention in order to teach him all that he had not been taught in the last two years. After a long school year of wondering and working and praying, last week I got a call from his teacher

“Mrs. Crawford, I want to let you know that Zac WILL be going to the fourth grade. I know that he has struggled, but we believe he truly is on track. He will be placed not promoted, so he will need Reading group starting the first week of fourth grade. ”

She continued, “Looking back I realize that when Zac came to third grade he really, truly did not know how to read. And now, even though he’s barely on level, he’s made it there.  He’s improved so much!”

By the end of our conversation, I was in tears. He had overcome.  Zac had pushed through the difficulty, he had dedicated himself to doing his best. He overcame his fear, and all the voices in his head telling him he was stupid and couldn’t do it. He conquered something huge, and worked hard. And was not recognized for it by the school, not even for a minute.

So this face     zac awrds 2    this face is defeat and disappointment. 

Now I get it, there will always be those kids who are super smart because they are born that way. Sure, they should get a high five for being themselves. But I sat and looked at all those kids on the floor waiting for their name to be called and wonder how many of them accomplished some major feat this year at school and no one gave a crap because they weren’t there everyday, and they couldn’t collect the most reading points, in that race for “who is the smartest.” I wondered how many kids wished they could get a trophy like that or get a medal, but their mom was an alcoholic and couldn’t always get them to school, or they just absolutely hated reading.

LBR (Let’s be real) not every kid likes to read. So what about Art and Music awards? What about awards for kids that recognize the things that are going to actually matter when they get out of school like

Perseverance

Dedication  

Integrity

Helping Others

….and even Overcoming.

The American education system is whack and the older I become I wonder if it does more harm than good.  Zac left school, in fact, he’s leaving third grade feeling not enough. He’s received the message that no matter how hard you work, you coming to school every single day is more important than never giving up when things get hard. He’s learned that reading the most books is more important than learning to read at all.

So this weekend–I am giving my own awards to my kids.  I’m going to present them with the awards that matter to our family, that align with our values. We are going to cheer, and have trophies and eat cake.  We are going to celebrate hard work and commitment and not giving up even when the cards are stacked against you. And we might even scream really loud “School Awards Can Suck It!” 

 What do you think? You think the award systems are fair?  Has your kid ever deserved an award for something he/she never even got a wink for? 

Comment and SHARE! (and encouragements to Zac are certainly welcome!)

LG|LP Tiff  <3