Back to church with vision

After two months of being unable to meet during pandemic control measures, many churches are now preparing to re-open. The guidelines recommended for re-opening in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, however, will make the church experience quite different from what we knew at the beginning of March, especially for children’s programs. It’s understandable that a commitment to safety will guide when and how children’s programs re-open, but how can we be equally committed to the needs and opportunities for discipleship during this transition?

Four commitments for discipling children while reopening church

For church leaders and parents seeking to navigate the season ahead, here are four commitments to guide ministry to children in this time of reopening churches, along with resources to help.

1. Rebuild from a biblical vision for discipleship

Instead of working towards re-starting children’s programs as they existed in early March, churches have the opportunity to rethink the components of their children’s ministry and to rebuild with programs, activities, lessons, and resources anchored in a biblical vision for discipleship. This is also a valuable time for parents to consider what their vision is for their children and what it takes to guide their children to a mature faith in Christ.
Vision for discipleship
FREE RESOURCES
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Zealous: 7 Commitments for the Discipleship of the Next Generations
In Zealous, long time pastor and Truth78 executive director David Michael describes a fervor and diligence born out of a passion for God and His glory and presents seven commitments that provide a vision and framework for the discipleship of the next generation...so that they might set their hope in God (Psalm 78:1-8). Read sample.
Free PDF available | Print copies available for only $9.99 | Buy 10 for $5.99 each or 50 for $4.00 each.

2. Grow in partnership between church and home

Over the last two months, churches and parents have had to change how they relate to each other in guiding the faith of children. After adjusting to children’s programs not being able to meet in person, churches and families will now have to make adjustments that will require even more partnership.

Based on local guidelines, churches will likely re-open with one of two scenarios: 1) Meeting again for a worship service, but delaying the start of children’s programs (with family members together for the service, but spread apart from others) or 2) Meeting again for worship and children’s programs (with both limited by a range of guidelines for distancing and healthy operations). In either scenario, there will be vulnerable church members who are still unable to meet with the larger body and will look for support similar to what the church has provided while being closed.

Any church that meets with families together would benefit from a vision and practical suggestions for including children in the worship service.
Vision for discipleship
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  • Children and the Worship Service
    This booklet equips parents and leaders to aid children in worshipping God as they participate in the worship service. See sample 
    Print and Kindle for only $5.99 ($5.00 each for 25 or more)
  • My Church Notebook Vol. 1 and 2
    These notebooks guide elementary aged children to participate in the service, teaching them to listen actively to the sermon, take notes, recognize key points and ask questions.
    $6.50 each or $6.00 for 10 or more.
  • My First Church Notebook
    This notebook provides parents with helpful suggestions to prepare children who are 3 to 7 to understand and participate in the worship service.
    $8.00 each or $7.50 for 10 or more.

3. Put a rock of truth under children

The season ahead will be challenging and marked by uncertainty, but that has always been true. It’s only now more obvious that the things we and our children plan on (and even hope in) are not certain. It’s more clear now that children need to build their lives on a rock of truth. When the inevitable troubles come, we want children to be deeply rooted in the granite truth of the promises of God. We want them to have a rock-solid faith that remains steadfast and proves genuine in the face of the challenges we’re facing now, but also through the grief, marital problems, miscarriage, wayward children, disability, cancer, hostility, persecution, or whatever trouble may come their way in life.
Vision for discipleship
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SCRIPTURE MEMORY TOOLS
The Fighter Verses Study will help guide you and your family through key Scripture passages and arm you with tools to strengthen your faith in Christ and equip you to fight the fight of faith. Use Part A materials for 13 weeks over the summer to encourage one another through the battles of life. See sample pages.

  • The Fighter Verses Discussion Guide: Set 1, Part A
    A quarterly discussion guide for parents, small group leaders, teachers, or individuals. This resource will help leaders facilitate discussion as you study each passage.
    Only $11.99
  • The Fighter Verses Study Guide: Set 1, Part A
    A quarterly devotional for participants in a group or individuals. This resource guides you through questions to study and understand each passage." See sample.
    Only $9.99 or $8.99 each for 5 or more.
  • The Fighter Verses Journal: Set 1
    This journal can be used as an extension of The Fighter Verses Study or by individuals who are simply memorizing the Fighter Verses and want to incorporate it into their personal study or devotional times.
    Only $7.99 or $5.99 each for 5 or more.
  • The Fighter Verses Study: Set 1 Coloring Book
    This coloring book gives children of all ages a visual representation of each of the 52 verses in Set 1 along with a key truth statement to focus on.
    Only $6.00 for print or $4.00 for electronic.

4. Pray with dependence on God’s sovereign grace

When so many things are uncertain, we’re reminded how utterly dependent we always are on God. Our starting point is God-dependent prayer—for our church body, our pastors, elders, deacons, teachers, parents and for our children and youth. Among our prayers in this season, let's pray for fruit in teaching the next generation—praying that:
  • teachers who are making the effort to reach children in spite of limitations would clearly proclaim God's Word and that children would have attentive ears, minds, and hearts.
  • parents would feel assisted and helped, and would be moved and equipped to actively disciple the children in their home.
  • every child in our church would, by God’s sovereign grace, grow and mature into a man or woman wholly devoted to Jesus Christ.
Vision for discipleship
FREE RESOURCE

The Prayers of this Generation Matter to the Next
In this excerpt from Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generations, David Michael explains how God’s purposes for our children and our inescapable responsibility to raise them in the faith come together in prayer. 
Free download

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Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generations
This book encourages parents, grandparents, pastors, children's ministry leaders, teachers, and all who care about the next generation to intentionally pray for the children in their family, church, and around the world.
Only $6 for print or $5.00 each for 25 or more.