Thank you so much for your partnership. We really appreciate you and consider it a wonderful privilege to minister together. We trust and pray that the Lord is strengthening you during this very busy season as you prepare for fall programs.
One item that may not come to your full attention during this time is the license agreement for our electronic resources. If you have not recently done so, we would be very grateful for you to carefully review these agreements.
We love the fact that Children Desiring God is a non-profit ministry. Some implications:
No, it’s not the highest priority in the Sunday school classroom, but appearances do matter especially in the younger ages. What do the children see when they enter the classroom? How might the physical appearance and design of the classroom serve to help or hinder a child’s experience in musical worship, biblical instruction, and meaningful discussion? These are some considerations to keep in mind as you go about preparing your classrooms. Yes, we are limited by many factors. For example, there may be space and budget constraints, the need for multi-use rooms, etc. But here are a few suggestions to implement if at all possible:
Many of you have already read or listened to this recent excellent response by John Piper to the question: "Should Children Sit Through 'Big Church'?" It is definitely a must-read for every pastor, ministry volunteer, parent, grandparent…every church member. Here was one mother’s comment regarding this post:
Thank you, Pastor John & Noel. I was in a panic when our very active son aged out of the nursery shortly after we came to Bethlehem [Baptist Church]. My child has to sit through the worship service? You've got to be kidding! But our church family was patient, and we persevered—paper & crayons, church notebooks, sermon quizzes...we used every tool we could.
One of the great joys of being a parent is watching your child parent your grandchildren. But it also is a reminder of how difficult parenting is—really difficult! This is especially true for those of us who long to raise a future generation of men and women who love the Lord their God with all their minds, souls, hearts, and strength and are equipped to stand firm amidst the follies of this present age. So parents should make use of as many good, biblical, and encouraging resources as possible. Here is a list of CDG favorites:
Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes
What comes to mind when you see the term “Gospel-centered” applied to children’s and youth curricula? For some, this description depicts a curriculum in which every single lesson presents an easy-to-recite, step-by-step overview of the Gospel that students are encouraged to affirm. For others, there is a belief that every lesson must explicitly connect to Jesus’ redeeming work. At CDG, we believe being “Gospel-centered” entails understanding and committing to the following in our resources:
The central message of the Bible culminates in the Person and work of Jesus—the Gospel—in which He brings sinners near to God. The Gospel is simple, yet amazingly profound, freely offered, yet extremely costly, and should be communicated as
Here is an encouragement for teachers or those considering teaching children or youth who may feel inadequate because they lack some kind of formal theological training and don’t “know” as much as they would like to:
“The gift of teaching isn’t knowing much, but helping others know more with warranted reasons and clear explanations” —John Piper
I love this quote. Ponder it for a few moments, and then ask yourself: Do I sincerely desire to help children and youth know more about God and His ways? Does my heart long to see children and youth come to saving faith in Jesus and grow in their walk with Him?
But now comes the part about providing students with “warranted reasons and clear explanations.” That
No, “OAUUK” is not a typo. It’s an acronym for five characteristics of God’s truth that we need to teach and impress upon our children and students.
Truth is determined by a source outside of us and is independent of us: God. God alone is the source of all truth. Therefore, truth is not measured or determined by our personal thoughts, feelings, or desires. Something is not true simply because we want it to be true (Isaiah 45:18-19).
Because God is the source of all truth, and because His authority is fixed and immovable, truth is fixed and immovable. Truth does not bend to suit our own personal preferences.
In the coming weeks, we will be making available some new training resources for teachers and small group leaders, including video, audio, and printed handouts from our 2016 National Conference. Additionally, here are two resources that I believe every teacher and small group leader would benefit from:
Teaching to Change Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive by Dr. Howard Hendricks.
Excellent, short (150 pages), practical, and highly encouraging. I love this book!
The above title came to mind after watching a recent “Ask Pastor John” installment over at Desiring God regarding the question, “Does John Piper hate Fun?" Apparently, some people believe he does indeed hate “fun.” And the question, in general, peeked my interest since “fun” is often advertized as a key component in many children’s and youth ministry resources.
In looking over our stated mission, vision, philosophy, and distinctions of our children’s and youth resources, I noticed that the word “fun” is completely absent. So, one might ask, “Is CDG opposed to children and youth having fun in the classroom? Are our resources written in a manner that is meant to squash fun?” Well,
Sunday mornings are “all hands on deck” for our family. My husband and I are actively involved in helping our daughter and son-in-law engage their four young children in the corporate worship service. I’m happy to say that progress is being made with the 3- and 5-year-olds. The 1-year-old twins have a long way to go, but they are observing and benefiting from the experience in more ways than we can imagine. Much of this progress can be attributed to a partnership of church and parents—a church that encourages, assists, and welcomes children in the worship service, and parents who actively prepare and train their children.
That is why I am so excited that we now have these resources available to share:
For the church—