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Dumb Things #3

This week I’ll be covering some of the more dumb things I’ve ever done as a Children’s Pastor.  Be sure to visit  www.jonathancliff.com/tags/dumbthings to keep up with all the dumb-ness happening here this week!

Today’s edition of “Dumb Things” is a more recent addition.  Many of the boys that we have in our ministry are products of a single-mom household.  They’re great kids, but many of these boys are in desperate need of some physical touch and tossing around.  These boys are growing up without wrestling matches, and tackle take-downs in the living room.  I know which boys are which and often times will greet them lightheartily with a fist punch to the arm, or maybe challenge them to an arm wrestling match.  Trust me, I don’t wrestle with other peoples kids; but I do the things I can do to bring some physicality to my relationships with boys that I know need it.  It’s a love language for 4th and 5th grade boys, and it helps me open them up during small group time.

So a few months ago I was leading a group of 5th grade boys in a small group environment.  I purposefully leaned into one of the boys as I sat down in the small group time, as I moved to sit on the floor.  This boy then thought I was really saying, “Bring it on, it’s wrestle time!”  He jumps on my back and starts pulling hair, yelling wrestling terms.  The entire time I’m yelling, “Whoa!  Whoa! Whoa!  It is not wrestle time!”  Horrified, I finally convinced him to stop and we did an arm wrestle match instead.

This is a safer alternative...

So what’s the lesson learned in this scenario?  The boys are anxious for physical contact, and want to wrestle…but I’m not the guy for the job.  Not in small group time, and not at church on a Sunday morning!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Joe McAlpine · November 4, 2010

    You shoulda body slammed him! That would have commanded attention during small group…haha just kidding