Having a long-term, God-centered, Gospel-focused vision is crucial for discipling children and youth. The fruit of leading and teaching with this vision is illustrated well at North Wake Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Stephanie Jackson, children’s ministry director at North Wake, shares how vision has shaped the past decade and a half of ministry to children there:
Romans 10:17 says, "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." One of the great joys we have at Truth78 is receiving testimonies about the fruit of faith that comes as children hear the word of Christ in a variety of settings.
We hope you'll be as encouraged as we were by some of the testimonies we've received in the past few months:
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.
I remember when every night was a struggle to get our daughter to bed. It was as if nighttime brought to her mind every possible catastrophic scenario. She was terrified! As parents, we were tempted to simply address her fears with simple, rational explanations: “See, there are no monsters under your bed.” “The dark can’t hurt you.” Etc. Sometimes these explanations can be helpful, but they can never give our children unshakeable peace and assurance in the myriad of fearful situations they will experience both now and in the future. That’s why I am so excited about When I am Afraid, a new children’s resource from Truth78. A full-color picture book, When I am Afraid addresses one of the most common experiences of children: FEAR. It provides parents with a tool for helping their children look to God’s all-powerful Word to conquer fear and worry.
As a Sunday school teacher, I have always approached the last weeks of the school year with mixed emotions. Was I faithful week to week in teaching God’s Word? Did my students “get it”? Do they give evidence of faith in Jesus? Have I seen any spiritual fruit? What about that child who seemed bored all year? What about the one who was often disrespectful in class? What should I have done differently?... The list of questions goes on and on. At times, it’s easy to lose heart when I don’t see spiritual fruit coming about in the manner I expect. Parents often struggle with these same questions and emotions regarding their children’s spiritual condition.
As a team, we are always encouraged and uplifted when we receive news of how the Lord is spreading the fame of His name throughout the nations. Recently, we received an update from one of the most pain-stricken, war-torn regions in the world: South Sudan. Since 1955, the region has experienced two civil wars and casualties of more than 2.5 million people. In this seemingly hopeless land, Emilie Gonzalez and her team are being used to share the truth of the Gospel and the beauty of God’s character to children using Sally Michael’s book God’s Names. In her message to us, Emilie writes,
How many times do we as parents miss out on recognizing God at work in the most ordinary everyday circumstances? How many times do we fail to call upon Jesus in prayer thinking that the problem isn't "big enough" to warrant His attention? Here is a true story of how a little girl's simple faith in a big God taught her daddy a big lesson.
Does God care about a doll coat? Yes, He does. God cares about doll coats and He cares about the faith of little girls.
Driving down the highway coming home from summer vacation, a little girl was playing with her doll and doll clothes in the back seat. She hung up her doll coat on the wing window of the station wagon and noticed a few minutes later that it was gone.
“My doll coat! It’s gone!” she exclaimed. After looking around the back seat and realizing that the coat had probably gone out the window, she asked her daddy to turn around and go back for the coat.
Children Desiring God in “Liceo Cristiano Rev. Juan Bueno” Christian Schools
One of the parents in our Christian school (Escuela Cristiana Oasis) is the Christian Education Director of a network of Christian schools called “Liceos Cristianos Rev. Juan Bueno,” which are part of the Assemblies of God and are spread throughout Latin America. In El Salvador, they have 37 schools and approximately 6,000 students enrolled. This dear brother has been greatly moved as he saw God’s work in his own children, who attend our Christian school and were being taught about God using CDG materials. He asked us to consider working to bring CDG to the schools he represents. God opened the door and gave us the grace to print CDG student workbooks in El Salvador for ease of distribution, and to bless all those children. The receptiveness within the Christian schools was great, so much so that they asked us to accompany them in their monthly training meetings
Children Desiring God in El Salvador
In 2003, we began using Children Desiring God in the Sunday school classes of our church, Iglesia Cimiento Estable. It was an answer to our prayers, because we were yearning for material that could lead our children to know God, to stand in awe of His greatness, and to enjoy all His wonders. We began teaching children in our church, then in our Christian school, Escuela Cristiana Oasis. We have approximately 570 students currently using CDG in Spanish in the school, ranging from preschool to high school. Using these curricula brought about significant changes in the lives of the children, so much so that we were able to witness how their hearts began to be softened and inclined to God, seeking to experience Him in everyday life. The parents of our students also began to notice a significant change in their children, and many of them sought us out and began to attend our church, yearning for good, healthy teaching of the truth of Scripture
This is the fourth in a series of posts to help you prepare your staff, volunteers, classroom, and parents for fall Sunday School.
Jan Golias has served as Team Leader in a Sunday School classroom for over 15 years. We asked her a few questions about the role of Team Leader and her experience in the classroom.
A: It is really important for the church to partner with parents,