Many churches are able to move forward with plans for children's discipleship this fall after a long stretch of COVID-related restrictions while some are facing local restrictions brought by the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19. While we don’t know what factors we will have to manage in the months ahead, we do know that Scripture commands us to persevere in teaching the next generation the glorious deeds of the LORD and the hope of the gospel. Like Paul, we should be committed to “teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” toiling “with all [Jesus’] energy that he powerfully works within" us (Colossians 1:28-29).What will it take to teach the next generation this fall?Here below are four critical commitments:
Instead of working towards re-starting children’s programs as they existed pre-COVID, churches can rethink key components of their children’s ministry and rebuild with programs, activities, lessons, and resources anchored in a more robust biblical vision for discipleship. This is also a valuable time for parents to do the same by considering what it will require to guide their children toward mature faith in Christ.
Over the past year, churches and parents have experienced additional challenges in partnering together for a consistent discipleship model. After adjusting to children’s programs not being able to meet in person, or managing virtual classrooms or the disruption of in-person arrangements that were on and off again, churches and families need a renewed commitment to partner together more than ever.This would also be a great time to share with families a vision and practical suggestions for including children in the worship service.
The months ahead have the potential to resemble a pre-pandemic normal and yet we have no guarantee of that. We, and our children, may instead continue to face unexpected challenges and uncertainty. It’s more clear now that children need to build their lives on an unshakable rock—God’s truth. When inevitable troubles come, we want children to stand firm on the truth of God’s sovereign rule, His goodness and mercy, and His sure promises. We want them to have a rock-solid faith that remains steadfast and proves genuine in the face of the challenges we’re facing now, but also for whatever trouble may come their way in the future. Additionally, these troubling times provide opportunities to impress upon our children the all-satisfying treasure and joy that can only be found in Jesus!