Do You Know How to Navigate Today's Culture?

Yesterday I took my son kayaking.  The river we were in had several different currents going on.

Unfortunately, at one point, I found myself in the wrong current and ended up smashing into a fallen tree that was  emerged out of the water. 

When I hit the tree, the current pinned me against the tree and my kayak flipped over. 

I lost the paddle and my water shoes.  But it gets worse.  I also lost my wallet with all my credit cards and driver's license in it. 

Thankfully, after some major struggling, we were able to pull the kayak out of the water and regroup.  My legs were scraped up with several gashes.

Why did this happen?  It was because I wasn't familiar with the currents in the river and didn't know how to navigate it properly. 

Leading in ministry is like kayaking in a river.  There are cultural trends you have to be able to navigate.  The currents can quickly change just like ministry.  It takes knowledge and hard work (paddling) to stay on course.  There are pitfalls to avoid.  You have to look ahead and see what is coming.  If you want the ministry to do well, then you must navigate well.

This reminds me of a verse in the Old Testament.  Here's what it says.

"From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives.
All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.
1 Chronicles 12:32

There are some truths we can learn from this verse that will help us guide our ministry. 

Notice first of all that these men were leaders.  You can see in the verse that it calls them leaders.  You are a leader as well.  God has called you to lead the ministry you are now in.  Embrace your calling.  You've got this because God is with you.  Is it always easy being a leader in children's ministry?  Of course not.  But remember when God calls you, He will equip you to lead.

Notice next of all, that there were 200 leaders.  Don't try to navigate today's culture alone.  You must gather other leaders around you.  
  • Leaders who will speak the truth to you. 
  • Leaders who will hold you up in prayer. 
  • Leaders who have the same heartbeat as you. 
  • Leaders who are passionate about reaching kids and families. 
  • Leaders who are students of the culture.
The leaders in this verse also had their relatives with them.   Your team needs to feel like family.  You are close to each other.  You have each other's back.  You do life together.

Next we see they understood the signs of the times.  They knew the culture.  They understood the ramifications of where things were headed.  They keep up with "the currents" so they would know how to navigate well. 

As children's ministry leaders, we must stay on top of what is going on in our world and specifically when it comes to the next generation. 

How can you stay current with the culture?   The best way I have found is to enter the world of today's kids and families. 
  • Find out what music they are listening to. 
  • Find out what their favorite movie is. 
  • Use google to find out what is "cool" at the time. 
  • Swing by the toy aisle when you are at the store and  see what is currently popular. 
  • See what is currently "cool" in the clothes they buy.
  • Turn over to the Disney channel, Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network.  Watch some of the shows and see what kids are watching.
  • See what websites are popular with kids.
  • What video games are popular with kids?
Doing this will help you see what the current trends are and where things are headed.  With God's help you will be able to do what the leaders did in this verse.  They were able to chart the best course to take.  What approaches to take.  What methods to drop and what methods needed to be ramped up.   

As a children's ministry leader, your team is looking to you for leadership.  Follow these steps and you will be equipped to lead them well and help navigate which course is the best to take. 

If you are looking for help in leading a children's ministry, then check out my book "Lead Well in Children's Ministry."  It will provide you help in leading all aspects of children and family ministry.  It is available at