Although these words were written by a young pastor specifically for other pastors, his point should be thoughtfully considered by anyone involved in children’s and youth ministry, and parents as well.
My generation has been big on propagating the “Jesus loves me” mantra. And he does. And praise him that he does. Without God’s self-initiating love towards me, I would be lost in hell forever. The love of God is our sacred doctrine.
But it is possible to abuse it. There is more to God than “God loves me.” There is more to my relationship with God than “God loves me.” Not every sin in our lives is exclusively due to a failure to sufficiently ponder how much God loves us.
My grandson is now five years old, and he is increasingly aware of scary and dangerous things. Some are small fears—splinters, loud noises, and new children at the playground. But other fears are much more significant, like the fear of death. As he grows older, the number of scary and dangerous things he is exposed to will only grow—terrorism, cancer, calamities, etc. How can you help a young child run and trust in an “unseen” almighty God for his refuge? How can he be confident that God is a perfect refuge, even when he gets hurt or your house is damaged by a storm? One way is to talk about the concrete images that God has given us in Scripture: God is a strong tower, shield, fortress, rock, refuge…and more.
Below are some examples of texts and discussion questions to use with
Late summer is a busy time for children’s and youth ministry as church staff and volunteers gear up for the beginning of a new school year. And, increasingly, there are new and exciting resource options out there to consider—resources that claim to engage students in ways that are “relevant” to their particular age group, along with teaching methods and class resources that will keep students happily wanting to come back week after week. There’s nothing wrong with that...necessarily. How about first setting before your teachers and volunteers this sobering and instructive challenge?
“If the Word does not dwell with power in us,” wrote Puritan John Owen, “it will not pass with power from us” (The Works of John Owen
In a Sunday school class, application discussion is vital after the lesson because it is in this time that the children are most personally challenged to embrace the truth with their hearts and respond to it in their lives. Biblical truth is not meant to merely remain head knowledge, but is meant to transform the heart. Small Group leaders have the privilege of leading this application time as they serve as mentors for a group of four to eight students during the year. In the revised curriculum, The ABCs of God, the application section has been rewritten to better equip small group leaders. Each lesson includes four to six topics, based on main ideas in the lesson, to choose from and discuss with their students. During the week, leaders are encouraged to study the lesson and pray through
Speaking of hymns (see yesterday’s post), one hymn I learned early on was Standing On the Promises by R. Kelso Carter. The hymn included these memorable and reassuring words:
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
But though I had the words and tune memorized, I don’t remember anyone actually describing and explaining what these promises were. What was I supposed to be standing on? Well here are 28 promises found in the Bible—all given by a faithful God who ALWAYS keeps
There are days when I feel completely empty of words to build up and encourage both myself and others…including words to encourage my own grandchildren! Tragic events swirl around us, and it would be so easy to simply give in to despair. But then biblical truth comes crashing in to my mind and heart—in a good and powerful way. That Truth changes everything. Sometimes it is a particular memorized verse or series of verses that comes to mind. Hope arises and replaces despair! Give your children the great gift of memorizing Scripture!
Another way we can help encourage our children is to teach them great hymns. I know there are many seemingly “kid-friendly” song options out there—songs that are fun, exciting, and simple, but these type of songs only take our children so far. Yes, there is
We try to include an array of helpful resources in our curricula, and the newly revised ABCs of God curriculum is no exception. However, something very important is missing—on purpose. What is it? Let me convey a true story that will emphasize what it is and why it’s missing.
About 20 years ago, I was busy writing the first version of The ABCs of God for use in our church. At the time, I was teaching
The ABCs of God revised curriculum is now here! This 40-week Sunday school curriculum helps first grade children discover our amazing God who is worthy of our greatest love, honor, trust and obedience.
When I think back to my childhood, there are many fond memories that stick out in my mind. One in particular was from a Sunday morning. I sat in a small wooden chair, surrounded by a couple dozen other first grader students, and gazed at the big, shiny red box at the front of the room. What was inside? My teacher started pulling letters out of the box—16 to be exact—and started to spell a word. What word could be that long? INCOMPREHENSIBLE! What did that mean?
Another day, my teacher decided to make cookies for our class. Yum! Out of the box came sugar and butter and flour and chocolate chips and a bowl and a spoon and a spatula. She set them all out
Our children and students long to be “wowed.” And the world presents them with a myriad of things to be wowed by—spectacular movies, sports, food, fashions, music, toys, and electronic gadgets…and on and on. My grandson happens to be wowed by pulleys—yes, those simple machines that can do all sorts of heavy lifting. Go figure.
But ultimately, what do our children and students need to be wowed by? What is truly worthy of their highest affection and praise? What will fully satisfy their “wow” hunger? There is only one answer to that: seeing and loving the incomparable greatness and grandeur of God!
How will this happen? Ultimately, by the sovereign grace of God bringing new life in our children’s lives so that they may know and treasure Him for who He is and what He is like.