deliberateKids in Today’s World

By Phil Joel

For twelve and a half years Phil Joel was a member of the Christian band Newsboys. In 2007, he stepped down to fully dedicate himself to the ministry that God had led him and his wife Heather to begin two years earlier. DeliberatePeople began as the result of a profound change that happened in their lives.

In November 2000, they had a major realization that changed the course of their lives. The Lord brought them to a “T” in the road and allowed them to see that, although they were doing all the right “Christian stuff” and knew a lot about Him, they didn’t really know Him.

Phil: Our pastor had challenged our church body to commit to reading the Bible by following a one-year plan. Heather and I began our deliberate pursuit to meet with the Lord in the mornings, to spend time in the Word and to redefine our time of devotion. The ministry of deliberatePeople began as a fruit of the challenge to increase in intimacy with Him. Heather and I soon realized how having a deliberate encounter with God everyday was the key to building a real deal relationship with Him. We found out that God wanted us to know Him. As a result, we experienced change in our lives like never before. We also realized that this lifestyle would revolutionize peoples’ lives if they got a hold of this simple practice.

As a result of this new level of intimacy, new music began to be created and recorded, resulting in the release of the deliberatePeople album in September 2006.

So where did deliberateKids come in? For the past 6 years, Heather and I have been involved in kid’s ministry at church. It began when someone who had heard I was a musician thought I might like to lead worship for the kids. To be honest I somewhat reluctantly obliged and began to gather together the appropriate songs like “I’m in the Lord’s Army” and “This Little Light of Mine”, etc. We found ourselves singing the same classic Sunday school songs week after week and it wasn’t long before we felt like we were in a bit of a rut. We decided it was time to create some fresh material. We began writing and in no time at all the songs began to flow – deliberateKids was born.

Most of the songs on the deliberateKids CD were written and used to reinforce our weekly Sunday school teachings. We decided to record the songs so that the kids could listen to them in the car or at home. Originally, I took a simple, acoustic approach to it but in the end I knew it needed to rock, which makes my kids and me really happy!

We wanted the sound to be something that kids could enjoy but wouldn’t eventually drive their parents crazy. To me that was a big deal, it needed to be appreciated and enjoyed by kids and parents alike.

The whole idea behind deliberateKids is to plant seeds of truth into the hearts of our kids while they are young. Music is such a great tool to accomplish this. The fun thing is that each song is actually a simple, yet comprehensive lesson. Kids are learning Scripture, as well as learning about the Fruit of the Spirit, obedience, prayer, and what it means to build your life on the rock (Jesus!).

Through the process of making the deliberateKids CD we realized that this deliberate pursuit was not just for the kids. What would it look like for families to spend more quality time together in the Word? How could this be exciting and fun for the kids? Heather put together a family devotional with activities, recipes, discussion points and all kinds of other fun stuff to help further the messages of the songs and to give parents a place of reference to talk and teach in a fun natural way.

Parents need to have a deliberate plan in raising, protecting, and equipping kids. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 clearly gives us, the parents, a mandate to teach our children about the Word. We need to be active in choosing what and how much media we allow into our homes (and cars). The media giants of the world understand that children are sponges and are working hard to get their messages and agenda to them. We are raising kids in a world where there is a full-blown media assault directed at them, their hearts are being stolen and their allegiance is being turned from God and family to the world. We must capture their hearts at an early age. A recent study claims that 70% of kids raised going to church do not continue going after their high school years. Heather and I are passionate about providing parents with real, practical resources to fill these kids with the truth about God. Because the fact is that when we raise our kids on a steady diet of truth, the lies just won’t smell or taste as appealing.

We are all created by a creative God who made us in His image. We are all capable of bringing new ideas to help raise up a new generation of young believers and the truth is that in this day and age it’s all hands on deck!!

Our hope is that deliberateKids resources will inspire ideas and energize other parents like us with creative tools in raising our children into men and women who love God with all their heart, soul and strength.

After twelve years of touring all over the world as part of the Contemporary Christian band Newsboys, Phil Joel left his role as bass player and support vocalist to focus on deliberatePeople, the ministry that he and his wife Heather started in 2005. You can contact Phil and Heather at [email protected] or learn more about deliberateKids at www.deliberatekids.com.

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