How can we as parents and teachers help children understand the glorious riches of the gospel? It begins by understanding how the role that God has given us is like that of a farmer. Have you ever pictured yourselves as farmers and your children and students as soil?
One of the things that brings a smile to my face every Sunday morning is the presence of little children—even some 2-year–olds—sitting with their parents in the corporate worship service. They are not all perfectly behaved, and sometimes their parents look a little frazzled by the end of the service. A few children won’t make it all the way to the end and will be taken out by a parent. And, once in a while, a child who should be taken out is left in the service. But these are very minor inconveniences compared to the wonderful benefits of having children in the corporate worship service.
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.
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
A new Sunday school year is upon us, and ministry leaders and volunteers are busy planning, preparing, and setting classroom schedules. There are so many options for classroom time: hands-on activities, crafts, games, birthday celebrations, singing and worship, prayer, missions focus, Bible memory work, time to simply hang out, etc. These all can be good and compelling activities. But what should ultimately provide the “measure” by which all of our classroom activities are assessed and then incorporated…or not incorporated into our limited classroom time? ... More
I can still remember cringing when I heard this announcement from the pulpit one Sunday morning long ago:
We need more workers for children’s Sunday school. If you’re interested, there is a table in the hallway where you can sign up to help.
Does that kind of recruitment pitch sound at all familiar? I hope not. Needless to say, I don’t think that particular announcement got anyone excited to give up their Sunday mornings in order to serve in children’s Sunday school.
The people who have the most access, the best opportunity, and the greatest potential influence—not to mention the biblical responsibility for helping children walk in the truth—are their parents. My plea to parents and grandparents is that they make the most of the fleeting opportunity they have.
The life of a parent today can quickly become consumed by so many good things that there is little time left for what is most important. Parents must not trade the greater things for lesser things.