Goals and Commitments for Discipling Children this Fall

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:

1. Build from a biblical vision for discipleship 

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. 

RESOURCES

2. Grow in partnership between church and home

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.

RESOURCES
  • Foster a robust partnership between church and home—an overview and application of the 2nd commitment from Zealous.
  • Partnering with Your Church | Partnering with Parents—practical ways for the church and families to partner in discipleship (with some ways that will be more applicable after children's programs have re-opened).
  • Children in the Church Services—a vision and strategy for incorporating children into the worship service.
  • Children and the Worship Service—This booklet equips parents and leaders to help children worship God as they participate in the worship service.
    Available in Print and Kindle
  • My Church Notebook Vol. 1 and 2—These notebooks guide elementary-aged children to participate in the service, teaching them to listen actively to the sermon, take notes, recognize key points, and ask questions.
  • My First Church Notebook—This notebook provides parents with helpful suggestions to prepare children who are 3 to 7 years old to understand and participate in the worship service.
  • More Than a Story: Old Testament takes children (ages 6 to 12) on a chronological journey through the Bible with a God-centered, gospel-focused, discipleship-oriented, theologically grounded perspective. This book would be valuable for every family in your church to have as it emphasizes and reinforces the themes in Truth78 curriculum.

3. Put a rock of truth under children

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!

RESOURCES
SCRIPTURE MEMORY TOOLS
The Fighter Verses Study will help guide you and your family through key Scripture passages and arm you with tools to strengthen your faith in Christ and equip you to fight the fight of faith. Go into the fall with Part C materials for 13 weeks of encouraging one another through the battles of life. See sample pages.
  • The Fighter Verses Discussion Guide: Set 1, Part C—a quarterly discussion guide for parents, small group leaders, teachers, or individuals. This resource will help leaders facilitate discussion as you study each passage.
  • The Fighter Verses Study Guide: Set 1, Part C—a quarterly devotional for group participants or individuals. This resource guides you through questions to study and understand each passage."
  • The Fighter Verses Journal: Set 1—This journal can be used as an extension of The Fighter Verses Study or by individuals who are simply memorizing the Fighter Verses and want to incorporate it into their personal study or devotional times.
  • The Fighter Verses Study: Set 1 Coloring Book—This coloring book gives children of all ages a visual representation of each of the 52 verses in Set 1, along with a key truth statement to focus on.
  • Foundation Verses Resources—The Foundation Verses are 76 strategically chosen Bible verses designed to give toddlers and pre-readers (ages 2-5) a firm scriptural foundation of basic biblical truth. Resources include: a revised Verse Pack in color, a Coloring Book, and a Visuals Packet (available in ESV and NIV), along with a Tote Bag and Memory Stars.

4. Pray with dependence on God’s sovereign grace

When so many things are uncertain, we’re reminded how utterly dependent we are on God every moment. Therefore, our starting point must be God-dependent prayer—for our church body, our pastors, elders, deacons, teachers, parents and for our children and youth. Among our prayers for this fall, let's pray...
  • for teachers who are committed to reaching children in spite of limitations—that they would clearly proclaim God's Word and that children would have attentive ears, minds, and hearts.
  • that parents would feel equipped and helped so that they will actively and joyfully disciple the children in their home.
  • that every child in our church would, by God’s sovereign grace, grow and mature into a man or woman wholly devoted to Jesus Christ.
RESOURCES
  • "The Prayers of this Generation Matter to the Next"—In this excerpt from Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generations, David Michael explains how God’s purposes for our children and our inescapable responsibility to raise them in the faith come together in prayer. 
    Free download
  • Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generations—This booklet encourages parents, grandparents, pastors, children's ministry leaders, teachers, and all who care about the next generation to intentionally pray for the children in their family, church, and around the world.