What if you were to ask your children and the children in your church this simple question today: What’s special about today? What do we celebrate and why? Would the historic event of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door to the door of a Roman Catholic Church in Wittenberg, Germany in the year 1517 come to mind—an event that sparked the great Protestant Reformation? Why does this 502-year-old event even matter? Why should we teach our children about it and celebrate it?
We fill words with meaning. The more important the word and what it relates to, the more essential to “fill it” and interpret it with the intended meaning. When it comes to our children’s and students' response to the gospel, two words require careful attention: repent and believe.
On the long drive home from our Louisville conference, the Truth78 team listened to “One Generation Shall Praise Your Works to Another,” a sermon by John Piper during the early years of David and Sally Michael’s ministry to families and children at Bethlehem Baptist Church. This message by John beautifully communicates the heart and soul of the vision and mission of Truth78.
Parents, when your child disobeys, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? What do you say in response to your child? Do you lead your child to see his disobedience in light of God’s authority and commands? Do you use this moment as an opportunity to point to the gospel?
The new school year is well underway and, if your children are like most kids, their schedules are increasingly packed with tasks and activities—homework, sports practice, music lessons, church programs, friends, family, and more. But what about Bible reading? Are you helping them to prioritize reading the Bible as a daily, beneficial habit?
What might happen in our classrooms if we took these words by David Wells to heart:
Until we recognize afresh the centrality of God’s holiness, until it once again enters into the innermost fibers of evangelical faith, our virtue will lack seriousness, our belief will lack poignancy, our practice will lack moral pungency, our worship will lack joyful seriousness, our preaching [and teaching] will lack the mordancy of grace, and the church will be just one more special interest pleading for hearing in a world of competing enterprises.
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus gave every Christian in every century a commission with eternal significance:
…"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."—Matthew 28:18-20
Suppose an observer came to visit your church’s Sunday school classrooms—specifically first grade through high school. Would they see Bibles in the hands of every student during the lesson time? If so, how long will those Bibles be open? Will the students be actively engaged in looking up texts, reading, and answering questions from the text?
Does it ever feel like the parents in your church seem to view children’s and youth ministry as a “drop-off” center meant to do the work of discipling their children? Or, maybe as a parent, you feel as if the church treats you somewhat like an incompetent outsider when it comes to discipling your own children?
The focus of the Truth78 conference this month is "Biblical Literacy for the Next Generation." What is at stake in cultivating biblical literacy for the next generation?
Consider this exhortation from David and Sally Michael from an earlier conference message and what the implications are for children who would be guided by 2 Timothy 2:15: