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
Many kids have lost interest in spiritual matters. They are discouraged about trying to please God. From their perspective, it’s not “cool” to be godly. So they focus on their own desires and let the world guide them. The number one challenge in churches today is to overcome mediocrity. Christian kids are satisfied with lukewarmness.
To counteract this trend, some churches have replaced content-rich children’s ministries with high-energy programs. This may keep kids from being bored and it may eliminate the need to recruit volunteers, but it also severs teacher-learner relationships that foster discipleship. If we routinely motivate kids with flashy events, we are doomed to the “bigger and better” cycle. Each new program must offer more energy, more excitement, and more “wow” than the previous one.
Instead, we must move kids from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation. Throughout the Bible, God uses a variety of cause-effect techniques to motivate His people. Some are positive and some are punitive; some are earthly and some are eternal. Some are fascinating and some are frightening. Remind children that every human being will someday meet the Creator face-to-face—and give an account to Him.
Every child can be motivated—though not every child responds to the same stimulus. Find ways to lift your child’s eyes from self to God. Help him or her realize that our omnipresent God is both loving and just. Establish an appropriate system of rules and rewards. Reinforce attitudes and behaviors that honor God. Show how faith is relevant to life. Encourage, affirm, model, pray.
A Pattern To Follow
Unless a force greater than the influence of gravity is exerted on an object, it will fall to the earth. Unless Christianity exerts a stronger influence than the world, the enemy’s persuasive tactics will pull our kids from the truth and ultimately cause them to fall away. The Great Commission hinges on the effectiveness of the church’s educational ministries.
Discipleship is the one thing that kids really need. To navigate the turbulent seas and reach the spiritual harbors that God intends, kids need a firm foundation in God’s Word. They need help to grow into solid disciples of Jesus Christ.
LeRoy Eims explains, “Jesus Himself showed the importance of being an obedient example. When He called the disciples, He didn’t say, “Listen to Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” No, He said, “Come, follow Me” (Matthew 4:19). Even Jesus didn’t try to change people with words alone. He gave them His life as a pattern to follow.” 2
Discipleship Begins With Our Children
As we’ve discovered in this practical series, discipleship is the one thing that kids really need. DiscipleLand’s family of Biblical resources forms a complete Children’s Discipleship System™ – an intentional, relational, and transformational process designed to help children know God intimately, love Him passionately, and to serve Him selflessly. Learn more by clicking on the following: