Give them Truth (Starr Meade)
Our children cannot apply Scripture without knowing what it says. They cannot love Christ without knowing who he is. They can’t obey God without knowing what he has commanded. And they will not know these things if we do not provide deliberate, thorough, rigorous instruction, just as we would do for subjects like math or grammar.
We need to cling to every one of the worthwhile goals in our list. But we also need to back up a step and acknowledge the priority of—yes, I’m going to say it—filling children’s heads with knowledge of Christian truth. God could have ordained for us the ability to simply intuit truth about him—but he didn’t (although most Americans act as though he did). He ordained a book, studied like any book, as the primary means of acquiring knowledge of God. Yes, we may rely on the Holy Spirit to bring to our children’s minds what they need to know when they need to know it, but God has ordained Word and Spirit to operate together. In his usual way of working, the Spirit will not bring to our children’s minds what has never been put into them.
We worry that if our children don’t act on each piece of biblical information we give them, they are not making proper use of God’s truth. We need to realize that, with children, a large part of our teaching must have, as its goal, the simple provision of information to believe. If our children possess an adequate, Christ-centered, biblical belief system, we can guide them in applying it now, and they can find ways to apply it again and again later, all through life. In one sense, right believing is its own application.
This column is from the new issue of Credo Magazine. Read others like it today!
Ministry is complex. Business meetings, sermons, youth group, small groups, counseling sessions—the list is endless. In the midst of these many important ministries, sometimes churches can neglect one of the most important ministries of all. That’s right, children’s ministry. This is a dangerous thing to neglect. After all, the children filling our churches will carry on the torch long after we are gone. Therefore, whether or not they are being taught sound doctrine should never be underestimated.
But where does this teaching really begin? It begins in the home, when mom and dad take time out of their busy schedule to sit down with their little ones and tell them about Jesus and the great things he has done for our salvation. If you’re anything like me, this is much easier said than done. Home life can be just as busy as church life. Yet, could there be a more important 15 minutes in the day than when dad and mom read the Bible, sing songs, and pray with their children? I think not. Ironically, in my experience it’s not just my kids who are spiritually nurtured during this family worship time, it’s me too!
Having in mind the importance of teaching our children the core doctrines of the faith, this issue of Credo Magazine brings together some outstanding contributors to teach both parents and those in ministry alike how to better approach children so that they know God in a saving way. Perhaps the words of Jesus should hang as a banner over this issue of the magazine: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14).
Contributors include: Nancy Guthrie, Sally Michael, Simonetta Carr, Jason Helopoulos, Starr Meade, Jessalyn Hutto, Bobby Jamieson, and many others.