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
Many Sunday school classes incorporate a time of singing in the morning schedule. But often the main purpose and goal of this time is not so readily grounded and communicated within a larger context of children’s formal biblical education. Why do we sing? What do we sing? In what manner do we sing? These are all important questions that should be addressed and should serve to transform this time into something of greater significance than simply singing songs, filling time, and engaging the children.
I have to confess that, over the years, my prayers on behalf of my children and students have often been smaller in scope and weaker in depth than they should be. In part, this is the failure of my mind to more intentionally ground prayer in the powerful truths of Scripture, and the failure of my heart to truly and fully love and embrace these truths—eternal truths, such as the immeasurable greatness and worth of God. Truths that clearly communicate God’s purposes and promises for His people, enjoyed through Christ alone. Truths regarding the almighty power of the Holy Spirit to bring life, growth, and maturity in our children.