As a child, October 31 only meant two things to me: costumes and candy – lots and lots of candy! I wonder how many children, even children from Christian homes, think the same?
Often lost on this date is something vastly more significant: Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of a Roman Catholic Church in Wittenberg, Germany, in the year 1517. With this act, Martin Luther sparked the great Protestant Reformation. As Christian parents and teachers, we must teach our children about this historic movement.
Let’s face it: trying to get the children in your classroom excited about engagement with the Scriptures can be difficult. It just doesn’t seem as “fun” as doing other things. Plus, for a teacher, leading the class to actually read and study texts can be a laborious process. What do you do when you have a classroom full of wiggly, distracted first-graders who are just learning to read? What Bible study goals are realistic for your fourth graders? How can you help a child that isn’t from a Christian home and has no prior acquaintance with the Bible?
Recently The State of Theology survey was published by Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research. Ligonier says the every-two-years survey is designed to “… take the theological temperature of the United States to help Christians better understand today’s culture and equip the church with better insights for discipleship.” The title may sound academic, but the report is essential, sober reading for every believer. For all its discouraging news, it is full of insights that have the potential, by God’s grace, to awaken American believers to the need for theological clarity.
At the start of the Truth78 launch event in April 2018, Ryan Fullerton, head pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church spoke about the experience of using Truth78 curriculum in Immanuel's children’s ministry. What follows is drawn from his remarks.
What characterizes good Bible teaching for children? Number one on the list is obvious: teaching that acquaints children with the whole counsel of God through the faithful proclamation of the Scriptures, with the aim of making children wise for salvation in Christ. But over my years of teaching, I also have become more and more aware of a second item on the list: good Bible teaching needs to be undergirded and permeated — soaked — with earnest prayer.
What if you were to ask your teen the following questions:
When Mike and Deb Watters first started teaching My Purpose Will Stand, a study on the sovereignty of God, to their church's sixth grade class, they were excited to explore big truths with the kids. What they didn't realize was that God was also teaching them, preparing them for the storms that were ahead of them as a family.
As parents and teachers, our greatest goal for our children and youth should be that they come to genuine faith in Christ and live as His faithful disciples for the glory of God. Therefore, clearly presenting and explaining the essential truths of the Gospel and demonstrating what it means to follow Jesus in daily life is our greatest duty and privilege as we teach and train them. But it’s harder to discern or assess whether or not a child has truly understood and grasped the meaning of the Gospel. Therefore, we can better serve our children and youth by applying wise discernment when we share the Gospel with them.
Successfully passing faith in Christ on to the next generation is one of the most important responsibilities Christian parents and ministry leaders are to pursue. It’s also one of the most difficult.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (James 1:22-25).