Contemporary culture greatly influences our children’s moral behavior and development. As a result, the vast majority of Christian kids today have a woefully inadequate spiritual foundation. Fun and games are fine, but as the research indicates, we are raising a generation of children who have missed out on essential Bible training. When the world comes calling, many are falling prey to dubious activities and deceptive philosophies–and walking away from the faith. In this week’s timely article, Marc Solas presents ten reasons why we’re losing our children.
We all know them, the kids who were raised in church. They were stars of the youth group. They maybe even sang in the praise band or led worship. And then… they graduate from High School and they leave church. What happened? Read the rest of this entry »
Teaching Kids Authentic Worship: How to Keep Them Close to God for Life
by Kathleen Chapman
What if there was a magic potion that would guarantee a lifelong commitment to Christ, a potent elixir that would so enamor a child toward God that the child would never walk away from an intense, personal relationship, an epoxy compound that would form a virtually unbreakable bond between a child and God? Such a product would be an instant bestseller in the children’s ministry market! This is, of course, what we desire . . . to lead the children with whom we minister into unwavering dedication to God. Kathleen Chapman, a 30-year veteran of children’s ministry, does not offer a magic potion, an elixir, or an epoxy; rather, she offers a seemingly simple solution to the problem of children “who have grown up sitting in weekly church classes, memorizing Scripture verses, and winning prizes at Vacation Bible School [who] are turning their backs on God” (p. 17). Her solution is “an authentic, biblical worship relationship with God” (p.14).
In this short, but engaging, book Chapman offers both the rationale for her contention and practical suggestions for making the formula a reality. She begins with an explanation of her search for the glue that would stick children to God, a search that began with focus groups to determine why some followers stick for life and others abandon God in the teen years. The search took an unexpected twist when she was asked to teach a seminar on leading children in worship. Chapman confesses that her initial thoughts turned toward singing, but she decided to research the topic of biblical worship. This research led her to the formulation of the key concept of the book’s thesis: “Worship is one-directional. Worship is focusing on God and giving all glory to Him only, alone, singularly, totally—just Him.” (p. 31). Chapman had stumbled upon the glue. She explains: Read the rest of this entry »
Rick Chromey writes, “No matter his environment, circumstance, or students, Jesus taught for a change. He built cultural bridges through story and simile. He used object lessons, teachable moments, and experiences to communicate truth. Jesus often left his students ‘emotionally disturbed.’ He aimed for the heart and caused the religious leaders to leave mad, the rich young ruler to depart sad, and Zacchaeus to be glad. Wherever Jesus taught, he left his mark. He left God. And so can you. Every opportunity to touch a child is a divine moment. It’s why you teach every lesson as if it’s your last. It’s why you never allow the temporal to crowd the eternal. God’s Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and able to leave a penetrating mark. Scripture that tattoos a life changes it. Forever.” 1 Read the rest of this entry »
Children learn to walk through life by watching adults walk through life. Mike Breen provides an important insight:
“We get the importance of information, right? In fact, our whole system for discipleship is currently built around it.
• Information from Sunday teaching/preaching from the pulpit? (Check)
• Information from Bible studies in small groups or Sunday school? (Check)
• Information from books we read? (Check)
• Information from the next conference we attend? (Check)
• Information from reading the Bible during our personal devotions? (Check) Read the rest of this entry »
Scripture describes what a mature disciple looks like. John 15 outlines five characteristics of Jesus’ disciples:
- A disciple abides in Christ through the Word and prayer ( verse 7 )
- A disciple bears much fruit ( verse 8 )
- A disciple responds to God’s love with obedience ( verses 9-10 )
- A disciple possesses joy ( verse 11 )
- A disciple loves as Christ loved ( verses 12-13 ). 1
As we’ve discussed, discipleship is the ongoing process whereby Christ-followers grow in Biblical knowledge, Christ-like character, and faithful conduct—to the glory of God. Walking in Jesus’ steps and being His disciple are our greatest joy and privilege. As Greg Ogden writes, discipleship is “… an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples to encourage, equip and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ.” 2 Read the rest of this entry »