while geography makes our conversations less frequent than i would like, i have never left a conversation with sam luce without be challenged to be more intentional about the Gospel and ministry. to put it simply, sam gets it and he doesn’t waste much time on the things that don’t matter. sam brings with his ministry role a mix of passion and humility that inspires you to be a better leader for the sake of the kids, their families, and most importantly the Gospel. not only does sam inspire you in person, he is the author of one of my favorite ministry blogs – samluce.com. if you are in need of the “why” in ministry, ideas, or current data you will want to make sure to check out samluce.com. 

1 – what do you see kidmin and family ministry leaders doing right? 
I see almost all of them asking how can we engage with moms and dads. How can we encourage and equip parents to spiritually lead their kids. That is super encouraging. One of the marks of the Great Awakening was the intentionality and widespread nature of family worship.
2 – what do you see as the greatest need in kidmin and family ministry right now? 
Men leading at home and at church.
3 – if you could have coffee with every kidmin/fammin leader, what would you want to make sure you shared with them? 
1. The importance of communicating and transmitting to kids a love and reverence for God’s word over relevance and fun.
2. The need for a greater awareness of the supremacy of Christ in all things.
3. Remember Jesus builds the church.
4 – what word of encouragement do you have for today’s kidmin/fammin leaders? 
I would encourage Family ministry leaders to live lives of Active-Passivity. We work as hard as we can and trust as much as we can never forgetting that Jesus not only builds the church but loves the church and gave his life for her. What a privilege and responsibility to represent her to the world and to the next generation. Do it well with the strength God supplies not the strength that you muster.
5 – why are you passionate about children’s and family ministry? 
Because children are who Christ says we are to be like and Marriage and family is his idea to demonstrate to a watching world what his love is like.

5 question with sam luce

My name is Sam Luce and I have been a pastor at Redeemer Church in Utica NY for the past 18 years. 14 of those years serving as children’s pastor. Currently, I am serving as the Utica Campus Children’s Pastor and the Global Pastor to Families. This is my personal blog it is focused on Leadership, Family Ministry, and Theology.

I write about things I am passionate about, the power of the gospel, becoming a better leader, ministering to kids, technology, humorous anything, and being the best dad and husband I can be.

Through each blog post, it is my goal to be to each of you what I wish I had when I was starting out in ministry. I desire to help you grow as a leader and avoid some of the bone-headed mistakes I learned am still learning along the way.

You can expect around 2 to 3 blog posts a week. If you would like to subscribe to my RSS feed or via email I would appreciate it. Thank you for your time feel free to jump in and leave a comment on any of my posts. I would love to hear from you.


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 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.

one of my favorite things about kids and family ministry leaders is their open hearts to share wisdom, ideas, and challenges with other ministry leaders. there is no way i could have made it in ministry without my journey intersecting with so many ministry leader friends i look up to and admire.

so i thought what if i could have coffee with some of my favorite ministry leaders and ask five questions – the same five questions for all of them? well, i am in ministry and don’t have the travel and coffee budget to roam around the country for coffee, but i thought i can do this in a blog format. (and it is free for me and you.)

out of this dreaming came a new blog series i am beginning called “5 questions.” i am so excited about answers i am already getting in from leaders, so look for this new series on here.

who would you like to see answer 5 questions? comment below and let me know. 

at the end of this month, i will mark my 21st 24 hours 4 Him. i created this event my first year in ministry as a chance for kids to spend a weekend growing in God’s Word and closer to one another. i have blogged about 24 hours for Him several times but i still get questions from others wanting to try this event. so here are some answers to my most asked questions.

what is your schedule like? 
over 21 years the schedule has changed many times and i believe we finally have it in a place to make the most of each moment we have the kids and leaders together. you can check out a schedule from the last couple of years here.

is this a lock-in?
to that question, i say no. i define a lock-in as an event where kids are pushed to stay awake the whole time and leave like zombies. at 24 hours 4 Him we sleep. think about it. we have to spend the whole next day with them, so we want them to have some sleep. 🙂

where do you get your curriculum?
over the past two decades of this event, we have used curriculum from the following places:
hillsong big kids
– children desiring God
– z
ip for kids

– northpoint superheroes 

who are your leaders?
we have a great mix of parent, college students and life group investors that serve as Bible study leaders for the weekend. we also allow youth to apply to be assistants for the weekend and they are such a great asset.
we have booked some amazing worship leaders like the lads, yancyjonathan and emily martin – the Word in worship, and we have also recruited local talent to lead us in worship. our worship speakers have included past camp pastors, local seminary students, other church staff, my associate or even me.

can kids go and come during the weekend?
this is the hardest topic of the weekend. in the early years of 24 hours 4 Him kids were allowed to come and go, but it became a distraction and a security issue. after many conversations and prayer, we have decided that kids need to make the choice to be present for the whole 24 hours. this is a great time for conversation as a family.you can read more on my thoughts about that here.

how do you fill all the time?
the schedule is pretty detailed for our events, but saturday can get long real quick. we have done service projects as a rotation, but last year we found our groove with prayer stations. these stations provided leaders and kids some more quality time praying, discussing, and applying the theme. i will share those stations in a future blog.

any other questions?


[box] if we truly believe that kids are the church of today we need to provide a safe place for them to ask the tough questions and give them Bible-based responses. [/box]

find part 1 of 3 here.
find part 2 of 3 here.







i would love to hear how you tackle the hard questions from kids in your ministry. comment below with your ideas.

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