Think about your or your child’s Sunday school classroom for a moment. What characterizes the overall atmosphere of the classroom from beginning to end?Is the classroom characterized by an atmosphere of serious joy in God through Christ?
It is fairly simple to encourage children to participate in singing and other outward expressions of praise and doing so is an important part of their biblical education. They are learning the habits and rhythms of the Christian life. But the worship leader should also be imploring, guiding, and encouraging the children toward genuine faith in Christ — making clear that true worship that is acceptable to God can only come about through belief in Christ.
What is the ultimate reason for discipling the next generations? To what end should parents, ministry leaders, teachers, and volunteers devote wholehearted effort? Years from now, what should we long for our children and students to express with genuine conviction, earnestness, and joy?
This past Sunday in our corporate worship service, I saw and heard some of the following…
Being seriously committed to the discipleship of the next generation means being seriously committed to praying regularly, earnestly, and biblically for the faith of the next generation. How can the church and parents become more committed to this kind of prayerful dependency on God?
With the diminishing practice of honor in the wider culture, it’s imperative for Christian parents and the church to teach children what honor is—what it looks like, sounds like, and involves—and why God is worthy of the highest honor.
The disease, disasters, outrage, destruction, despair, and death we've seen in the past year can, if left unchecked, bring forth hopelessness. Consider learning the hymn "Christ Our Hope in Life and Death" together as a family. Sing it over your younger children and encourage your older children to sing along with you.
Have you ever had ambitious plans for starting a new and exciting project but then partway in, your enthusiasm dwindles and you’re tempted to give up? Unfortunately, family devotions can follow this same kind of pattern. At the beginning of the school year, we’re all geared up and excited to commit to regular family devotions but maybe days or even weeks later, we’re ready to throw in the towel. Sound at all familiar?
Parents, if you aren’t already doing so, sing God’s truth over your children. Consider including it in your bedtime routine. Sing over them when they are fearful and troubled. Sing over them when their hearts seem far from the Lord. Sing over them in times of celebration—always pointing them toward the unshakeable, all-satisfying, unending joy found in God alone, through Christ alone. Sing!
It is amazing to me how many times—especially in life’s most difficult situations—the words of great hymns come to mind to guide my thoughts and emotions.
…though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet…Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and heaven be one.—This is My Father’s World
…The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him—His rage we can endure, For lo his doom is sure: One little word shall fell him.—A Mighty Fortress
…Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love: Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.—Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing