Coming Soon…the IMPACT: Atlanta Conference!

Children Desiring God Blog  //  Coming Soon...the IMPACT: Atlanta Conference

 

“The Impact Conference inspired me to keep doing my best to disciple my children but at the same time trust in God’s sovereignty. It sharpened my vision for my children and gave me a path to help get them there. I loved the conference because it was encouraging to be around other like-minded Christians and it strengthened my faith in a good God. I walked away praising God all the more.” – IMPACT: Washington DC Attendee

Join Children Desiring God in Atlanta next month for IMPACT: The Next Generation, our regional conference for parents, pastors, children’s ministry leaders and teachers. This two day event is a wonderful time to refresh your soul and receive life-changing teaching and encouragement in your ministry. Enjoy three foundational main sessions that will help you cast a vision to training the next generation and worship alongside fellow partners in ministry. Then, select two hands-on training sessions to learn practical skills for teaching, training, leading and parenting.

Date: April 17-18
Location: Grace Fellowship, Cummings, Georgia
Investment:
- $60 for individuals
- $80 for couples
- $40 per person for groups of 10+ attendees

Register online today or by calling 877.400.1414 to reserve your place at IMPACT: The Next Generation!

“I am a pastor of a small church and I brought all my Sunday School leaders to the conference so they would have the same Biblical and God-centered vision and goal.” – IMPACT: Chicago Attendee

“This vision of making known the faithfulness of God and declaring His mighty acts to the next generation through Bible saturated material has completely transformed my thinking, not only as a staff member in Children’s Ministry but as a parent. I have been convicted and reminded that we have been given glorious truth in God’s Word and we are to share those truths with our children. We should not hide it from them! They are more than capable of learning such great theology! Rather than focusing on character development and morals through stories like David and Goliath, my focus will be on GOD who used a young boy to defeat the Philistine. Then following up with God-centered questions like, “Isn’t God good, isn’t God Big?” –IMPACT: Chicago Attendee

“The seminar presentations were great! The material was excellent. It changes you as a teacher and parent!” – IMPACT: Chicago Attendee

“I realized that even as a Sunday school teacher of 20 years I can forget to help the kids apply the lesson (time gets spent on things of lesser value). The conference gave me a clearer method of how to do this with the kids and reminded me to share with them of how God enabled me to apply His word to my own life.” – IMPACT: Ottawa, Canada Attendee

I enjoyed the fellowship with others in children’s ministry. It was a great place to share our ideas and thoughts.” – IMPACT: Austin Attendee

“The Impact Conference definitely emphasized teamwork between parents and ministry workers to raise children.  Even though we know that, we were reminded that to see the concept carried out involves more effort, and I feel that it’s more feasible after learning the principles taught at the conference.” – IMPACT: Los Angeles Attendee

It gave me a lot of insight as a parent about how to reach the next generation for Christ. I was very impressed with the teaching and vision.”  – IMPACT: Chicago Attendee

“It literally changed my life. The gospel came so alive to me and I was gripped by a deeper desire to impart the Truth in a way that is God-centered, Christ-exalting and Bible-saturated.” – IMPACT: Ottawa, Canada Attendee

 

 

 

2 Timothy 2:15 Students

ID-10015144

Here are is an exhortation from David and Sally Michael from their conference message, “A Vision for Biblical Literacy in the Next Generation”:

Children need to learn how to rightly handle the Word through incremental age-appropriate instruction in studying Scripture through the use of inductive Bible study skills.

Exposure to the whole counsel of God is vital, but children must also be taught to rightly understand the Word.Our children and young people need the same prodding that Paul gave to his spiritual son:

2 Timothy 2:15—Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

In a postmodern culture where it is acceptable to define your own truth, children must realize that truth is not “what a Bible verse means to me,” but rather that truth is found in discovering the author’s original intent interpreted in light of the whole message of the Bible, leading to the God-given meaning of the text. Therefore, we must guide the next generation to be students of the Word who have the necessary tools to interpret Scripture correctly, as Paul did for Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:7—Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Start with simple questions about texts as children are young, and give them more tools as they mature. This is in direct opposition to what is happening in our culture as we move from a language-based system of learning to an image base.

It will be very difficult for children to become serious students of the Word if they are used to a steady diet of sound bite technology. Over exposure to sound bite technology will reap a crop of students who are incapable of serious, careful Bible study, who will not be equipped and competent for every good work.

We must impress on the next generation the discipline of Bible study—careful observation of the text; thoughtful, objective interpretation; and appropriate life-application—as well as the value of meditating on the Word “day and night” and memorizing Scripture.

Questions to think about:

  • Are we careful to emphasize and use “the Book” in our teaching rather than media and “sound bite technology”?
  • Do we have age-appropriate goals and measures in place for assessing our students Bible study skills?
  • Does the curriculum we use encourage and help students to interact with the text?
  • Are we providing our students with resources that will instruct them in proper Bible study skills?
  • Are our teachers adequately trained in the use of inductive Bible study methods?

(Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Beyond “Fun”

ID-100275700

More often than not, if you search on a church’s website for information about their children’s ministry, you will come across the word “fun.” The “fun” may include creative activities, high-energy singing, Bible memory games, and Bible stories told using drama. These all can have their proper place. I am not opposed to children enjoying their time in the classroom! But I think we need to be very careful in not making “fun” what characterizes our children’s ministry. It is not to be the end aim and goal. What happens in our classrooms should be a holy endeavor—set apart—whereby we are aiming to help children encounter something beyond fun. Carefully consider these words from Pastor John Piper:

Those who have seen and savored the holiness of God and justice and wrath and grace of God, can never again trivialize worship…I don’t like to use the word “fun” for what we do in worship—or in ministry for that matter. It is a sad commentary on the superficial condition of our times that one of the most common things said about good experience in ministry and worship is that “we are having fun.”

The point is not that Christians can’t be light-hearted. You are probably sick if you can’t be light hearted. The point is, there is time and season for everything under the sun. And something should happen in corporate worship, before the face of the infinitely holy God, that calls forth a different vocabulary than what you experience at the amusement park.

(From a sermon titled, “The Present Effects of Trembling at the Wrath of God,” ©2015 Desiring God Foundation, desiringGod.org)

(Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

As If Parenting Wasn’t Difficult Enough

ID-10065979

When it comes to new digital/media technology, I have a tendency to stick my head in the sand. I’m still having a hard time figuring out how to use my “dumb” phone, and the thought of a “smart” phone overwhelms me. Getting on Facebook almost gave me an anxiety attack—but now I like it, and I post daily Bible verses to encourage my friends. My son introduced me to Google Earth, and now I can explore the galaxy—how amazing that is!

But with all that wonderful technology comes new challenges, especially for parents. It is crucial that you teach your children and young adults to navigate the world of technology in a God-honoring way. Last week, Tim Challies posted an article titled, “Parenting Well in a Digital World,” in which he offered some very helpful counsel for parents:

  • REJECT IGNORANCE, EMBRACE EDUCATION
  • REJECT FOLLY, EMBRACE RESPONSIBILITY
  • REJECT FEAR, EMBRACE FAMILIARITY

Read the whole article here.

(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

How Big is the God of Your Sunday School?

God is So Big for Blog

Years ago, Dr. Bruce Ware wrote an excellent book titled, Their God is Too Small, in response to the false teaching of open theism. Open theism denies God’s omniscience and immutability. Like all false teaching, it “downsizes” the greatness and worth of God. It attempts to make God smaller and more “palatable” for the sinful, self-centered human heart. In the end, it also undermines confidence in God and praise and worship of God.

One should pause and wonder: Is the God we teach in our homes and Sunday school classrooms too small? Do we sometimes, without even intending to, make God smaller than He has revealed Himself to be? Are we giving our children something akin to a Happy Meal version of God?

These types of questions were what first motivated us to produce resources for the local church. The glorious majesty of God being preached from the pulpit was, at times and unintentionally, being down-sized in the children’s Sunday school classrooms. As our pastor preached big truths about God from texts such as Acts 17:25, “nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything,” we were teaching children that Jesus needed helpers. Ouch!

Hence, here is one of the distinctions we are committed to promoting at Children Desiring God:

A Big Vision of God 

Our curricula aims to acquaint children with the incomparable majesty of the triune God by digging deep into His divine character as revealed throughout Scripture. We believe that children should be taught the beauty and grandeur of His manifold perfections. In completing our scope and sequence, children will have learned and explored, with increasing depth, more than 20 distinct attributes of God.

Carefully examine the curricula and resources you use. Observe what is being taught in the classrooms from preschool to high school. By the time your children and students reach adulthood will they know and understand what it means that God is…

  • Almighty
  • Beautiful
  • Blessed (happy)
  • Creator
  • Eternal
  • Faithful
  • Good
  • Glorious
  • Holy
  • Incomprehensible
  • Jealous
  • King
  • Love
  • Merciful
  • Omnipresent
  • Omniscient
  • Patient
  • Righteous
  • Savior
  • Self-existent and self-sufficient
  • Sovereign
  • Spirit (invisible)
  • Unchanging (immutable)
  • Wise
  • Wrath

 

Imitating What They See

ID-100109908

Here’s some good and sobering parenting advice from Randy Alcorn:

Teaching our children the truth is absolutely necessary, but it is not sufficient. The solid foundation for a life is not just hearing the words of God, but doing them (Matthew 7:24-27). By our own example as their parents, we must teach our children God’s truth, demonstrating it in application and obedience. The truth that time must be spent with God must be demonstrated by the time we spend with God. The truth about Christ’s forgiveness must be shown as we seek and grant forgiveness in our home. The truth that evangelism is important must be demonstrated by our efforts in evangelism. As parents, we must model our stated convictions with courage and devotion. Otherwise what we do will speak so loudly they won’t hear a word we’re saying. Sometimes our children will fail to listen to us. Seldom will they fail to imitate us.

(“Training Our Children,” www.epm.org )

(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

 

Families Together in Worship

ID-100275765

One of things that brings a smile to my face every Sunday morning is the presence of little children—even some 2-year–olds—sitting with their parents in the corporate worship service. They are not all perfectly behaved, and sometimes their parents look a little frazzled by the end of the service. A few children won’t make it all the way until the end and will be taken out by a parent. And, once in a while, a child who should be taken out is left in the service. But these are very minor inconveniences compared to the wonderful benefits of having children in the corporate worship service.

Here, John Piper gives some reasons why children should be in worship:

There are three reasons, at least, why I have urged that, at the latest, from first grade on the children join their parents in worship. First, we live in a day in which pressures from all sides are on the family to be fractured and atomized. Fathers are worked to a frazzle and so are too dogged to spend quality time with children; mothers are lured away from their little children to the work force; children have their own activities, and the one thing that pulls them all to the same room makes zombies out of them all: the television. Stir into this a general cultural mood of “me first,” and my rights and my self-realization, and you have got a powerful anti-family milieu. In this atmosphere, the church, as the preserver of biblical principles, must find ways to say “no” to these pressures and affirm the depth and beauty of familial bonds. But where and how? It seems to me that the high point of our corporate life together is the place to start. Let’s make worship a family affair as much as we can.

Second, five-, six-, seven- and eight-year-olds will gain tremendously from being in worship. Many six-year-olds have made professions of faith after sitting through a worship service. But even where most of the sermon goes over their heads, the children profit. They learn more theology and piety from the hymns than we realize, they come to be comfortable and at home with the form of the service, they experience from time-to-time the large and awesome moments of quietness or the blast of an organ prelude or fervor of an old man’s prayer. Week-after-week they see hundreds of adults bowed in worship, and unless we teach them otherwise, they will grow up thinking, “This is where I belong on Sunday morning, and this is the way one behaves in Sunday worship”…

Which leads me to my third reason for wanting the children in worship. I want us, as a church, to say, “No!” to the lackadaisical attitudes toward child training and the harmfully low expectations placed upon children in our day…The expectation that a six-year-old sit quietly to the honor of God one or two hours a week is not a high expectation, and we should demand it of our children.

( “The Children, The Church, and the Chosen,” ©2015 Desiring God Foundation, www.desiringgod.org )

 

Here are some additional resources for encouraging your church and providing practical tips for parents:

(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Youth Ministry: Set Apart or a Part?

Most churches heartedly affirm the importance of a thriving youth ministry within the local church. However, unless we are intentional, youth ministry can also be mistakenly viewed as a separate entity apart from the wider church body. So it’s important that we ask, “Are the structures and programs we have in place serving to help or hinder incorporating our young people into a bigger and more biblical vision of what it means to be a community of believers?”

Pastor Jon Nielson has some good diagnostic questions for youth ministers to think about. These questions also apply to parents and the wider church leadership:

  • Does our ministry compete in any way with the priority of corporate worship for students? 
  • Do our youth leaders intentionally encourage intergenerational relationships for the students? 
  • Does our ministry generally support or compete with the discipleship work of godly parents in our congregation? 
  • Are students encouraged to choose between youth ministry involvement/leadership and service in other areas of the local church? 
  • Does the youth ministry hinder, in any way, the preparation of young men and women to engage in local church contexts as adult Christians? 

 (“Does Your Youth Ministry Mess with Christ’s Bride?”, www.thegospelcoalition.org.)

(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

 

Singing the Catechism

The other day while spending time with my grandchildren, I created a simple little song to emphasize that God made everything. They helped me add various verses to include the different animals and things God has made. Later, while driving them home, 3-year-old David began singing the song aloud. With just one 10-minute exposure to a new song, he had it memorized. Not surprising since it is well documented that music can help children and adults alike to memorize.

Now imagine your children memorizing something much more substantial: the Catechism (read here why that’s important). Jim Scott Orrick has created a great resource bringing together music and the Catechism: “The Baptist Catechism Set to Music.” Here is a brief overview:

  • CD format
  • 114 questions from the Baptist Catechism (a Reformed and Baptistic question & answer teaching tool)
  • musical pieces are simple and brief, serving as a helpful memory tool

You can listen to a sample here:

 

 

 

Reaching Their Hands with a Biblical Worldview

ID-10035106When I think of “biblical worldview,” I almost exclusively think of the mind—training children and students to think biblically about all of life. But Timothy Paul Jones reminds us that biblical worldview in not just about training the mind—it should also serve to train the hands.

In a biblical worldview, the training of children is worldview training. This training includes far more than merely increasing children’s biblical knowledge or involving them in a community of faith. Moses commanded the Israelites to teach their offspring to view all they did (“hands”) and all they chose (“forehead”), as well as how they lived at home (“doorposts”) and how they conducted business (“your gates”) within the all-encompassing framework of a God-centered worldview (Deut. 6:8-9).”Wisdom” in Proverbs was conveyed from father to child and included not only knowledge about God but also practical skills for engaging with the world in light of God’s truth. Skills in craftsmanship, leadership, and a broad range of other fields all fell under the heading of wisdom, which begins with “the fear of the Lord” (Exod. 31:3, 6; Deut. 34:9; Prov. 1:7). Persons outside the believing community may possess these skills, but only the believer sees them as God intended, as signposts pointing to the order and glory of God. There is no biblical warrant for separating the training of children into “secular” and “sacred” categories, with one handled by the world and the other superintended by parents. God is Lord over all of life.

(“How a Biblical Worldview Shapes the Way We Teach Our Children,” www.timothypauljones.com.)

(Image courtesy of Worradmu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Page 1 of 4512345»102030...Last »