Archive - October, 2013

The Importance of Parents in Youth Ministry

In the past 10 years or so, there has been a healthy reevaluation of how churches do youth ministry. Increasingly, the focus has turned to the importance of parents in the spiritual discipleship of their children. In this helpful seven-minute video posted at The Gospel Coalition, three youth ministers discuss the topic “Don’t Outsource Your Kids to Youth Group.” An interesting statistic noted at the beginning of the video states: “Seventy percent of kids who go through youth ministry will not continue with the church after high school.”

Teaching Children to Love the Bible

Instructing a Child's Heart
A Challenging Word from Tedd and Margy Tripp,

How do you think of the Bible? Is it law, condemnation, warning, guilt, threats and judgment? Or, is it God’s merciful and gracious revelation for fallen, broken humanity? The Bible provides in God-inspired, rich literary textures, the story of creation, the Fall, the incarnation, redemption and hope through the life and death of Jesus Christ, and a glorious second coming of Jesus to establish the new heavens and new earth.

The High and Holy Calling of Parents and Teachers

In this six-minute video segment, Pastor David Michael reminds us of the ultimate goal in our parenting and teaching.

Impacting the Next Generation in Central America: Part 2

Children Desiring God in “Liceo Cristiano Rev. Juan Bueno” Christian Schools

One of the parents in our Christian school (Escuela Cristiana Oasis) is the Christian Education Director of a network of Christian schools called “Liceos Cristianos Rev. Juan Bueno,” which are part of the Assemblies of God and are spread throughout Latin America. In El Salvador, they have 37 schools and approximately 6,000 students enrolled. This dear brother has been greatly moved as he saw God’s work in his own children, who attend our Christian school and were being taught about God using CDG materials. He asked us to consider working to bring CDG to the schools he represents. God opened the door and gave us the grace to print CDG student workbooks in El Salvador for ease of distribution, and to bless all those children. The receptiveness within the Christian schools was great, so much so that they asked us to accompany them in their monthly training meetings with their teachers, so that we could present the vision of the centrality of God in every lesson (versus the centrality of man), and also provide some practical teaching tips for using CDG. The teachers clung to this vision eagerly, and the Word is been taught freely. It is our joy to see how the children have eagerly received it as well.

Children Desiring God in Guatemala

In recent days I received a call, asking me to meet with the directors of the Association of Christian Schools in Guatemala (about 30 schools), again from the Assemblies of God. These brothers and sisters from Guatemala were deeply moved by the testimony of what God had been doing in the Liceo Cristiano schools in El Salvador. We were overjoyed to see the hunger and willingness of our Guatemalan brothers, to the point that they traveled to El Salvador by bus (5-6 hours) for the sole purpose of holding this meeting. The meeting ended at approximately 7 p.m., at which time they climbed back on the bus and returned to Guatemala, something that is extremely dangerous in Central American countries. Our prayer is that the Lord, by His grace, will grant that we can serve our Guatemalan brothers to the best of our abilities, and that many more children would be reached by the truth of seeing God’s glory through His revelation of Himself in Scripture.

Impacting the Next Generation in Central America: Part 1

Children Desiring God in El Salvador

In 2003, we began using Children Desiring God in the Sunday school classes of our church, Iglesia Cimiento Estable. It was an answer to our prayers, because we were yearning for material that could lead our children to know God, to stand in awe of His greatness, and to enjoy all His wonders. We began teaching children in our church, then in our Christian school, Escuela Cristiana Oasis. We have approximately 570 students currently using CDG in Spanish in the school, ranging from preschool to high school. Using these curricula brought about significant changes in the lives of the children, so much so that we were able to witness how their hearts began to be softened and inclined to God, seeking to experience Him in everyday life. The parents of our students also began to notice a significant change in their children, and many of them sought us out and began to attend our church, yearning for good, healthy teaching of the truth of Scripture they were learning alongside their children through the Parent Resource Pages sent to them each week.

Children Desiring God Conference in Mexico City, Mexico

By God’s grace, in July of 2013, my wife and I were given the privilege to host a Children Desiring God conference in Mexico City titled “Passing on a God-centered Legacy to the Next Generation,” as part of our visit to Iglesia Cristiana Bíblica, a church that God, by His grace, allowed us to plant some years ago. A total of 150+ pastors, Christian school principals, and teachers attended the conference. They were extremely thankful and receptive as they began to understand and consider the call that the Lord has given His people to tell of His wonders to the next generation. They were eager to use CDG materials in their Christian schools and Sunday schools.

Fields Ready for Harvest

Fields Ready for Harvest

I make my way down the stairs and out the door of the downtown Minneapolis offices of Children Desiring God–get in my car, and begin the 45-mile-drive home. At about mile 20, I reach the bridge over the Minnesota River and notice the freshness coming through the air vent. Across the river, the city skyline gives way to an expansive view of colorful forests and native Minnesota grasses swaying in the autumn breeze. But the really good part is still to come . . . At last, I make the turn onto our country road for the last four miles to my home and there, for as far as my eyes can see, is the harvest. Golden fields of corn and soybeans stand waiting for the farmer to gather in their bounty. I find myself thinking about last spring when I watched this farmer faithfully labor, with skill I’m sure he learned from his boyhood, to plow his fields, plant the seed, fertilize and cultivate the rows–and now, I rejoice with him in the reward of all his efforts. I think about the reliance on God the farmer must have for the fruitful outcome of his labors. And, then, my thoughts turn to Jesus and I hear his words to me, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, see that the fields are ripe to harvest. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. (more…)

“Hooks” and Illustrations

In her seminar, “Effective Teaching Strategies,” teacher Liz Stein talks about the purpose of using “hooks” and illustrations when teaching children and gives some practical tips about how to do them well.

Preparing Your Heart Before You Teach

A great one-minute reminder and challenge as you prepare to minister children this coming week.

Creative Classroom Ideas: Books of the Bible Games

In previous posts, we shared the “clothesline” activity for helping children learn the books of the Bible. Here are some fun, additional activities to expand your repertoire.

To complete most of these activities, you will need to make a “Books of the Bible” set of boxes or signs.

For a box set, collect 66 cereal or gift boxes—one for each book. Wrap each box in white paper, and write a book name on its spine. For a sign set, print each book name on the bottom half of an 8.5” by 11” sheet of cardstock. Fold the sheets in half to make tent cards to set on a table or hang on a clothesline in the classroom.

Whether you make boxes or signs, also make a set of cards for the books. Print one name on each card to match the boxes/signs. These cards will be especially important if you ask non-readers to search for certain books, as they will work to match the names letter-by-letter.

  • Bible Songs: There are a number of good books of the Bible songs for children. Choose one of these songs and teach it to your classroom. Make a poster of the books of the Bible so you can point to each book as you sing its name. Not only will this help keep the children together and reinforce the order, but it will also help to familiarize them with the spelling of each name.
  • Recite in Rhythm: Have the teacher start a rhythm, in which the children then join (e.g., slap the knees twice, clap twice). At some point in the rhythm (for example, after the second hand clap), have the children say a book of the Bible, starting with Genesis or Matthew. Have them progress with other book names in order.
  • Echo the Books: Have a teacher lead in reciting the books, pausing after each name so the children can echo. As the children learn the order, the teacher can say more books between echoes, until the children recite the books without the help of the teacher.
  • Act Out the Books: For each book of the Bible, come up with a hand motion. Teach the children the names of the books and the hand motions. (Note: the children might enjoy helping you figure out the hand motions.)
  • Hide-and-Seek Scramble: Before the children come into the classroom, hide your Books of the Bible Boxes or Signs around the classroom. As each child enters the room, hand him a slip of paper with one book of the Bible written on it. This is the book he is in charge of finding. As children find the books, they should bring them to the front of the room and start putting them in order. Have an adult leader there to help them put the books in order. If necessary, assign children to find more than one book. The game is done when all the books have been found and put in the correct order. (Note:if you don’t have time to do a whole testament, consider focusing on just part of the Bible.)
  • Books Scramble: Before the children come to the classroom, select a number of books to unscramble. Set them up, in a scrambled order, either on a table or clothesline. Seat the children and, one at a time, let them come to the front to change the position of one book until all the books are in the correct order.
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