Raising godly children is not an easy task. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 we are provided a pattern to follow in raising godly children. Similarly, we see this pattern expressed in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). What does our Lord mean by His command to ‘make disciples’ and how do we apply His mission in children’s ministry? In this article, Pastor Gary Armstrong provides three keys that will help you impress God’s Word on the hearts of children.
What does the Great Commission look like in your church? It is not prayerlessly waiting for God to bring in the lost and hurting. We are not an outreach center. That is an oxymoron. We are called to GO and make disciples, not wait for those who may or may not come. The Great Commission also is not the assembly of Christians. That is the Church gathered. That is only part of the Great Commission. The Great Commission is the Church scattered as well. The gathering of the Church is central in our lives. However, it is not the end but the means. It is the means whereby we are reminded, encouraged, and equipped from God’s Word to GO. GO and live righteously, and GO and make disciples.
If most of our resources such as time, energy, and money are invested in the building or gathering of the saints, then we are failing. What then does the Great Commission look like in your area? Here are a few ideas.
1. It intentionally reaches out.
As a pastor, my primary role is to equip the saints for the Great Commission. I have several opportunities on any given week to speak with people about spiritual things simply by nature of my role as pastor, but I will never have access to the people and places you do. Occasionally praying for someone will not get it done. The tract rack should need refilling every month, and new believers should pepper the church. Imagine what God could do if we trusted Him and opened our mouths?
2. It intentionally loves.
The truth is most people don’t really care about what you believe about God or the Bible. They are probably not pondering the deep things of God or wrestling with whether they should give their lives to Jesus Christ. What they are wrestling with is life and its problems. They most likely will not join you for a Bible study, but I bet they will join you for a barbeque and board games.
Don’t get discouraged when people don’t respond to your invitation to church or a church event. Instead, take time to love them where they are, and build a relationship with them over time. Be patient and allow the Lord time to form a bond between you, and then look for Him to open up opportunities to speak about spiritual things.
This goes for unbelievers and nominal believers. The Apostle Paul modeled this wonderfully in his interaction with the Thessalonian believers when he said in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.” There is only one way to understand this. Paul took time to patiently and lovingly invest himself into the lives of the Thessalonians. It may not have been a long stay, but it was intentional.
3. It intentionally remains faithful.
I am sure that most of us would be willing to show up to an “outreach event” or even sign on to a six-week Bible study (no more though), but how many of us would stay the course and do it all again?
Making disciples is a life-long commitment that never ends. The reality is most people do not come to Christ overnight or grow like weeds when they do. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule, but often times planting and watering seeds take time and constancy. Too often we’re ready to bail when we don’t think someone is progressing fast enough in becoming as holy as we are, so we give up and look for more “fertile” soil. God calls us to be faithful and to allow Him to give the increase in His timing, not ours. It’s about trusting Him to do what He said He would through us as willing vessels.
Christians, we must understand this; there is no great church growth strategy upcoming that will grow our churches. There is no new book being published that will unlock all the mysteries of why our churches aren’t growing. Quite simply, we have all we need. God has already given us the mandate, model, and muscle (ok, the preacher is coming out) to accomplish what He’s called us to do on this planet. Therefore, go. Pray. Seek. Engage. Stay faithful.
Discipleship Begins With Our Children
Children need meaningful, shared-life relationships. That’s the heart of discipleship. 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. Click here for your Free Catalog
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Permission granted by Pastor Gary Armstrong. South County Bible Church.