The history of Truth78 is a testimony of the providential leading of God and His faithfulness to accomplish his purposes through weakened vessels who long for children to know, honor, and love God.
This testimony by our founder Pastor David Michael provides a glimpse into God’s grace on Truth78:
I started attending Bethlehem Baptist Church in 1980 about a month after John Piper began his ministry there. Though I graduated from a Christian college and had graduated from seminary the previous year with a Masters of Divinity degree, my eyes were opened to a God I had never seen before. A God that is infinitely more glorious than I had realized. Questions that I never thought to ask before were answered. Truth mattered, theology mattered, God mattered, like never before. God-centered, Christ-exalting, congregational worship opened the floodgates for my overflowing affections. I became a very wealthy man who discovered in those days how infinitely valuable is the treasure that I had in Christ.
At 27 years-old I wondered, how I could grow up in a Christian home, “invite Jesus into my heart” at age seven, attend Sunday School every week and sit under Reformed preaching since age 10, complete a 4-year degree at a Christian College and graduate with a master’s degree from a solidly evangelical seminary and feel like I was meeting this God for the first time? One of the answers to that question came when we became involved in Sunday School. Week after week, the defective teaching in Sunday School was being adjusted in the worship service through John's faithful ministry of the Word.
Every week, my wife, Sally, and I were confronted with this contradiction and an irresistible passion and vision for the faithful instruction and discipleship of the next generation was born. I joined the pastoral staff in 1986 as Pastor for Urban Ministry, a ministry I loved for 10 years. But I could not escape my heart longing for intentional discipleship of the next generation, and in 1996 I became Pastor for Parenting and Children’s Discipleship.
Sally joined our staff part-time and in the first month, she and her friend Jill Nelson started developing curriculum to use for the instruction the children of our church. Because of John Piper’s increasingly national and international exposure, people were asking if they could have copies of what we were teaching our children and Children Desiring God (now Truth78) was birthed initially to facilitate the sharing of our resources.
Over the next 20 years, the ministry developed curricula with a scope and sequence extending from nursery through junior high, written by teachers, scrutinized by theological editors, and taught for a generation. We also developed several resources for the discipleship of children in the home, and the Fighter Verses program for Scripture memory. The ministry also began to grow internationally as the global need for biblically sound resources for children and training materials led a growing number of churches, non-profit ministries, and ministry supporters to partner in translation projects in more than 20 countries now.
In that time, Children Desiring God and Desiring God shared many things, including a similar name, typeface, and color palette. Over the two decades however, Children Desiring God grew more broadly as a developer of curriculum and the Fighter Verses Scripture memory tools, while Desiring God increasingly focused its emphasis on spreading a passion for the supremacy of God through resources on the website of DesiringGod.org. This resulted in distinctive needs for infrastructure, technology, fundraising mechanisms, and artistic and editorial methods.
“We saw pretty clearly after a while that we were holding each other back from the maximum flourishing of both by trying to constrain this under one organizational structure,” said John Piper. “Hence the new name and new organizational structure.” Reflecting on the transition process, Piper adds, “If you put your ear to the sound of this transition, what you'll hear is mutual cheering on both sides for the joy and hope of what's going to come of these two ministries.”
In 2015, Children Desiring God began a strategic launch from Desiring God, to become an independent non-profit ministry structured to more strategically fulfill its mission to equip the next generations to know, honor, and treasure God. After re-structuring as a 501(c)3 organization, the ministry changed its name to Truth78 and launched its new identity in April 2018.
“The name Truth 78 connects us to Psalm 78, which has been a signature text defining our ministry over the past 20 years,” explains David Michael, founder and chairman of the board. “Psalm 78 charges us to take this testimony we've received from our fathers and faithfully pass it on to the next generation...so that they would set their hope in God.
"The heartbeat of the ministry has always been a vision and passion for the discipleship of the next generation, making Truth78 not a curriculum company, but a ministry of equipping parents, church leaders, and church workers to nurture the faith of the next generations."