5 questions – sissy goff & david thomas

i first got to hear sissy and david at the etch family ministry conference in nashville and as a ministry leader and new parent, there was not enough paper for me to record my notes. not only are they wiser than i could ever be, they have a heart for Jesus that permeates their approach. they are authors and counselors, and their website has a blog full of practical information for every parent and ministry leader. we recently hosted them for a parenting conference for the second time at dawson and the response was overwhelming. my favorite part was when the ministerial staff got to sit with them as ask questions about the kids and families we minister to each week. they are the same people in a small group as they are on a stage – authentic and passionate. you can learn more about them and their ministry here – raising boys and girls

1 – what do you see kidmin and family ministry leaders doing right? 
 Making kids feel seen and delighted in and loved… I talk to so many kids who don’t feel that way at home, but have someone who they can point to in their church leadership who has made them feel believed in more than anyone else in their lives. – Sissy Goff
2 – what do you see as the greatest need in kidmin and family ministry right now? 
To speak the truth to kids in love. Parents seem to want so badly to be fun and relatable to their kids…for the kids themselves to be “happy”…to help them through and even rescue them from any pain, that it often seems that these kids don’t have anyone to look to for stability. Kids need desperately for an adult in their life to be bigger than they are…to feel strong and steady…and to point them toward Christ and his strength and steadfastness. Parents can end up valuing their happiness over their character and over the Gospel. We want kids to know that pain is a part of living in a fallen world and that the answer and our security AND hope is found in Christ. Seems like we’re talking around and at them so much about the issues and culture and feelings and technology that we miss the simple truth that Jesus is enough. And that so are we under His love. You all do an amazing job of teaching that. – Sissy Goff
3 – if you could have coffee with every kidmin/fammin leader, what would you want to make sure you shared with them? 
First and most of all, I’d want to thank them for investing in the lives of kids and families. I don’t think there’s ever been a time in history where families need more support. I don’t think it has ever been a harder time to be a kid or adolescent. Therefore, I don’t think it has ever been a harder time to be a parent. There have been 3 school shootings in the last 4 weeks in our country. Two of those happened in a neighboring state, and I had countless conversations this week with kids who spent multiple school days running safety drills in their classrooms. I didn’t spend a moment of my growing up in public schools wondering if someone would enter the building and open fire on me. It has triggered so much fear and anxiety for kids and adolescents. And that’s but one of many issues facing today’s kids in a unique way. I’d remind leaders that never has the world needed a message of hope more than right now.
I’d remind them of how important their voices are, particularly those working with middle and high school students. That’s a moment developmentally where kids are more interested in other voices. They so desperately need other trusted voices in their lives speaking truth to them, listening to them, and supporting them. – David Thomas
4 – what word of encouragement do you have for today’s kidmin/fammin leaders? 
I commonly say to parents that I’m not only saying similar things to what they are saying, but often identical things. Kids can sometimes hear it more clearly from adult voices around them they trust and respect. Your words have such power and impact. I also believe you have that unique place in the lives of students where you get to be a champion and a cheerleader. You can call out who they are becoming, and celebrate the growth and movement you see happening (minus the heavy lifting parents have to do).  – David Thomas
5 – why are you passionate about children’s and family ministry? 
I believe we are doing similar work as counselors and children’s ministers. It’s hard work, that’s for sure, but it’s such meaningful and life-giving work. Every day, we are about the work of shaping and molding young lives. I’ve officially been doing the work long enough to now have parents come in for parent consultations, who I saw as children themselves. It’s such a gift to see them as intentional, passionate, loving parents who are pouring into their children’s emotional and spiritual development. It’s also a gift to have a front row seat to so much redemption – to have seen kids who walked out hard and painful chapters in their own story, become remarkable adults and parents themselves. What rewarding work we’ve been called to do! – David Thomas

SISSY GOFF, M.Ed., LPC-MHSP spends most of her days talking with girls and their families, with the help of her counseling assistant/pet therapist, Lucy the Havanese.  She has worked as the Director of Child and Adolescent Counseling at Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville, Tennessee since 1993, with a Master’s degree from Vanderbilt University.  Sissy speaks to parents and children’s ministers across the country, and is the author of nine books including her newest, Are My Kids on Track? The 12 Emotional, Social & Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach, as well as Raising Girls. Sissy is a regular contributor to various podcasts and publications and is currently working on a soon-to-be released podcast with David and Melissa based on their book, Are My Kids on Track.

DAVID THOMAS, LMSW

DAVID THOMAS, LMSW is the Director of Family Counseling at Daystar Counseling (daystarcounseling.com) in Nashville, TN, the co-author of eight books, including the best-selling Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys (Tyndale House Publishers), a frequent guest on national television and podcasts, has been featured in publications like USA Today, and speaks across the country.  He recently completed Are My Kids on Track? The 12 Emotional, Social & Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach. He and his wife, Connie, have a daughter, twin sons and a feisty yellow lab named Owen.

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