Archive - January, 2016

Early Bird Savings End TODAY! Register Now!

Children Desiring God Blog // National Conference

Register Now!Yes! This is your last chance to save with the early bird discount! Join your fellow children and youth ministry pastors, leaders and volunteers at the Children Desiring God National Conference.

The conference is the perfect place for you and your ministry team to gather for practical training, spiritual encouragement and networking with other children’s ministry leaders.

Over the three day conference, you will experience five thought provoking keynote sessions exploring the importance of teaching the whole counsel of God to the next generations; chose from over 60 practical workshops covering every aspect of ministry to children, youth and parents; gain a Bible-based vision for children’s ministry; glean ideas from experienced pastors andSunday school leaders; and join others in worshiping our great God.

Early bird registration closes tonight, January 31, at 11:59 pm (CST)!
Register online!

Already Registered?

We can’t wait to meet you in April! Don’t forget to:

  • Reserve you Seminar Selections. Use your confirmation code to log in and select the 4 seminars you want to attend.
  • Make your travel arrangements. We have rooms set aside for attendees at a variety of area hotels as well as discount codes for airline tickets and car rentals.
  • Join the Children Desiring God Facebook Group to get to know other attendees before the event. Feel free to connect here to find people to share travel arrangements.

 

What Are the Biggest Challenges Facing the Church?

Children Desiring God Blog // National Conference

What Are the Biggest Challenges Facing the Evangelical Church in 2016?

Children Desiring God Blog // National ConferenceIn a recent Ask Pastor John segment, John Piper shared his thoughts on the biggest challenges facing the evangelical church this year. Here is an excerpt:

…if you start at the beginning, the first and great commandment says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). So I would think, since that is the first commandment, that is the first challenge in every generation. Does the church and does the world love God with all their heart and all their soul and all their mind and all their strength? …if we don’t know God, we can’t love God.

Our worship to glorify God must be based on what we have seen of God, what we know of God, what he has revealed of himself. If we are just worshiping a haze, God is not getting a lot of glory from the warm feelings that we are having in our hearts because of the ignorance of not being in our heads because of the haze over our lives.

I have got this picture in my head of somebody who runs up to me on the road and says, “Here is $10,000. Please go put it in my bank. Here is my pin number, and here is my account number.” And I say, “I don’t even know you. What are you doing?” He just says, “I trust you.” I say, “Why do you trust me?” He says, “Oh, I don’t know. I feel inside like I should trust you.” My response is not to be honored. I feel like this guy is a nut.

However, if he runs up to me and says, “Here is $10,000 in cash. Please, here is my account number. Here is my pin number. Would you deposit it for me?” And I say, “Look, I don’t even know you. Why do you trust me?” He says, “Oh, I know you. We work in the same building. I have been watching you for a year. You are trustworthy. I will trust you, because I know you.” Then I feel honored.

That is the way it is with God. If we say, “Oh, I am just coming to God. I trust him. I don’t have any reasons for trusting him. I don’t need that theology stuff.” God thinks we are nuts. We are not honoring him. We are honoring a haze. And so knowledge really matters underneath the commandment. You have got to love God with all your heart and soul.

So today I think the biggest challenge is: Do people know God? Do people have a knowledge that is trustworthy? Therefore a huge issue is: What is the role of the Bible in the church today and is it trustworthy and are people basing their lives on it in their preaching on it? Are they getting the whole counsel of God so that they can love the whole God?

What Does this Mean for Children’s Ministry?

We are excited to have Pastor John and others join us to help us explore the topic of teaching the whole counsel of God to the next generations at the Children Desiring God National Conference, April 14-16 in Indianapolis. Our Keynote Sessions will include:

  1. Declaring the Whole Counsel of God to the Next Generation // Mark Vroegop
  2. Exploring the Fullness of the Whole Counsel of God // Bruce Ware
  3. Holding Fast to the Whole Counsel of God Under Pressure to Conform //Albert Mohler
  4. Believing the Whole Counsel of God: How Our Children Can Know the Bible Is True // John Piper
  5. Persevering in the Whole Counsel of God // David Michael

We hope you can join us in learning how to teach the whole counsel of God to the children in your church so they can wholeheartedly love God in response to this knowledge!

Early Bird Registration Closes Sunday January 31

Register by 11:59pm (CST), January 31 to receive Early Bird Pricing!

Children Desiring God Blog // National Conference

 

How Children Learn

The confession of a CDG curriculum writer: I was a science major in college and have no formal training in educational philosophy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have deep convictions about how children learn, and how teachers can best encourage and challenge to them embrace biblical truth. Those convictions—or educational philosophies—underpin every curriculum and resource produced by CDG. How would I summarize our philosophy? Watch this very informative 10-minute video clip by Pastor David and Sally Michael:

To watch the entire video, visit this page, and see “A Vision for Encouraging Faith in the Next Generation. And to experience this type of training and encouragement in person, check out our National Conference, April 14-16 in Indianapolis.

Free Fighter Verse Devotional for Your Family

The Fighter Verses Study

In yesterday’s post, I quoted Albert Mohler, who made a passionate plea for Christians to pursue serious Bible knowledge. Parents, here is crucial portion from Dr. Mohler’s words:

Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. [See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.] Parents cannot franchise their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful and biblical it may be. God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God’s Word.

There are many good resources available to help parents “mine” the Word of God with their children. The new Fighter Verses Study Guide is one of these resources. How does it help in the mining process? Here is an example from Fighter Verse 4:

Part 1: In Awe of God

God’s Wisdom and Knowledge

Think about an incident or situation in which you or another person responded with amazement or awe, perhaps a time when you saw someone doing an amazing stunt. What caused that feeling of, “Wow, that is incredible!”? The apostle Paul had the same sense of awe, but for a totally different reason. This is how he expressed his awe:

Romans 11:33-36—Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35“Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

  1. What is Paul in awe of? 

 

  1. What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge? 

 

Here is one illustration that shows the difference between knowledge and wisdom:

  • Knowledge is knowing that motorcycles can be dangerous. Wisdom is having the good sense to wear a helmet and to drive carefully.

Complete the “wisdom part” of the next few examples. 

  1. Knowledge is knowing that icy roads can be slippery. Wisdom is… 

 

  1. Knowledge is understanding that if you disobey your parents you will be punished. Wisdom is… 

 

  1. Knowledge is understanding that paint can stain a wooden table. Wisdom is…

 

Wisdom is taking your knowledge and making good decisions and right actions because of what you know. It is taking the information you have and making a good choice in what you do.

Paul understands that God has more than just knowledge. God uses the knowledge He has to make good decisions. That is why he says:

Romans 11:33b—How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

  1. What does unsearchable mean?

 

  • God’s judgments—or His decisions and plans—are so wise that we can’t even understand the goodness and rightness of them. They are “inscrutable” or mysterious to us.
  • We cannot clearly understand the ways of God. His understanding is so great that we wouldn’t understand an explanation of why God does what He does. We just wouldn’t “get it.”

 

  1. When we say, “Oh, my!” what does that mean? 

 

  1. What does Paul mean by the expression, “Oh, the depth…”?

 

  • “The depth” shows Paul’s amazement at the extent or the amount. He is in awe of how much wisdom and knowledge God has.

 

As you can see, the directed questions and comments slowly walk you through the text to discover the meaning.  But it doesn’t stop with this short example…Enjoy this passage further by downloading the entire week’s study material here. It’s filled with other helpful questions, explanations, illustrations, application, prayer points, etc. By God’s grace, you and your family will have a deeper and richer understanding of the passage, leading to a greater love and awe of God and desire to walk in His ways.

Last week to save! Register for the National Conference today!

2016 Children Desiring God National Conference

 

Register Now

Early Bird Savings Ends January 31!

Are you brand new to children’s ministry and just trying to figure out how things work? Have you been serving for years and feel burnt out? Do you have specific area of ministry that is not working and need advice on what to do? Are you looking for new ideas for your classrooms? Are looking to build a support network with others in children’s ministry?

The Children Desiring God National Conference is the place for you! We hope you will join us in Indianapolis, April 14-16 to experience:

  • Worship of our unchangeable God
  • Five encouraging plenary sessions led by Albert Mohler, John Piper, Bruce Ware, Mark Vroegop and David Michael. They will explore the meaning of the whole counsel of God and examine the impact to the next generation if we don’t teach this in our children’s ministries.
  • Over 60 practical seminar sessions to fuel fruit-bearing ministry. Topics include teaching with purpose, partnering with parents, training volunteers, teaching youth to study the Bible, discipling children, intergenerational teaching and more.
  • Networking with churches across America and around the world
  • Fellowship and exchange of ideas with ministry workers
  • Refreshment, encouragement and revival

Don’t wait! Register now to save your spot at the lowest price! Early bird pricing ends January 31 at 11:59 pm (CST).

We look forward to seeing you in April!

2016 National Conference

 

 

Getting Serious about Teaching the Bible

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Suppose an observer came to visit your church’s Sunday school classrooms—specifically first grade through high school. Would they see Bibles in the hands of every student during the lesson time? If so, how long will those Bibles be open? Will the students be actively engaged in looking up texts, reading, and answering questions from the text? (Yes, even first graders can do this, with help, from a short text.) Will they be challenged about how to rightly interpret and apply it? In other words, would the observer see a teacher diligently teaching in a way that expects and encourages his or her students to seriously interact with the Bible—the actual, physical Bible?

Now, someone might object and say, “But they are children! They’re too young for this. They will learn best through videos, skits, and other activities. We need to keep the Bible teaching fun and energetic!” Yes, there may be a place in the classroom for all of the above. BUT, these kinds of teaching aids must never replace or minimize or obscure actual, serious study of the Bible itself.

Here is a timely word from Albert Mohler:

Christians who lack biblical knowledge are the products of churches that marginalize biblical knowledge. Bible teaching now often accounts for only a diminishing fraction of the local congregation’s time and attention…

Youth ministries are asked to fix problems, provide entertainment, and keep kids busy. How many local-church youth programs actually produce substantial Bible knowledge in young people?

…This really is our problem, and it is up to this generation of Christians to reverse course. Recovery starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. [See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.] Parents cannot franchise their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful and biblical it may be. God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God’s Word.

Churches must recover the centrality and urgency of biblical teaching and preaching, and refuse to sideline the teaching ministry of the preacher. Pastors and churches too busy–or too distracted–to make biblical knowledge a central aim of ministry will produce believers who simply do not know enough to be faithful disciples.

We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs. The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.

This generation must get deadly serious about the problem of biblical illiteracy…

 (“The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem,” www.albertmohler.com)

2016 National ConferenceWe are so pleased and honored to have Dr. Mohler speaking at our National Conference this year. Through the years, I have appreciated his unwavering call to churches, parents, and Christian schools to promote serious, vigorous, in-depth biblical teaching. I am looking forward with great anticipation to his message, “Holding Fast to the Whole Counsel of God Under Pressure to Conform.”

(Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

5 Reasons You Should Join Us At Our 2016 National Conference

2016 Children Desiring God National Conference

The team at Children Desiring God is joyfully working on the details of our National Conference being held just three months from now.  Please consider joining us at this event! Here are my top 5 reasons why I hope you’ll come.

2016 National Conference1. This theological theme is incredibly timely

The church in America and around the world is under extreme pressure to conform to the social and cultural norms of the day.  We must lovingly declare the whole counsel of God and be transformed by the entirety of God’s Word.  Everything God gave us in written form is from Him and for us. John Piper, Al Mohler, Bruce Ware, Mark Vroegop and David Michael will deliver inspiring and challenging messages bringing you into the glorious depths of God’s Word as they challenge you to embrace the whole counsel of God.

2016 National Conference2. The next generation needs you

We have been called by God to declare the truth about God, His Word and our rightful response to Him, to the next generation. We share this passion and this challenge–that the reality of our calling extends beyond the next generation. Those we serve now, who embrace God and His Gospel, will reach the generations yet unborn.

2016 National Conference3. This conference will equip you

The plenary sessions will equip you theologically, but that is not where the equipping ends. You will choose four (out of 60) breakout seminars in categories of Vision and Leadership, Classroom Training, Youth and more. Seminars will be led by experienced and passionate presenters whose mission is to inspire, encourage and equip you with ideas for practical application of the biblical principles they present.

2016 National Conference4. We want to encourage you

We are aware that ministry to the next generation, along with its joys, presents many challenges:

You are shepherding, instructing, and nurturing faith in children of all ages including youth. Some children are joyfully submitting to Jesus and many are not.

You have an enemy. Your position in Christ and your ministry to the next generation, causes this ancient enemy to rage against you as he prowls around like a lion seeking to destroy you (1 Peter 5:8).

You incur a heightened degree of criticism. Sadly, in conversations with others in ministry to the next generation, it is likely that you are not insulated from criticism, even from within your church.

So, the idea of encouraging you in your role is very sweet to us.

2016 National Conference5. You are not alone

Whether you minister as a lone volunteer in a church or are part of a team…at this event, you will be part of a large group of people who have a similar calling to serve the next generation. We want you to take advantage of the many opportunities to learn from each other. And it may not end at the conference. Our past events have served as a catalyst for “regional type” gatherings that continue into the future.

 

And…I am so excited that the College Park Worship team is going to lead us in
God-centered, Christ-exalting worship!
And…we will have great discounts on a large selection of books in our bookstore!
And…we will have a curriculum display in which you can interact with others about Children Desiring God Resources!Thank you for sharing in my joy and anticipation for this important gathering of pastors, parents, children’s ministry leaders, children’s and youth workers!

 

Join Us!

Our hope is that you will make plans today to join us! Our early bird discount is available through January 31. You can register online or call us at 877.400.1414 if you have any questions. We look forward to meeting you in Indianapolis!

Have you been to a past Children Desiring God Event?

Let us know if you are coming in the comments below and share your top reasons for coming back to our National Conference!

 

Creative Idea: Fighter Verses Encouragement Cards

The Fighter Verses Coloring Book

A while back, I noted how the new Fighter Verses Coloring Book could be used during sermon time for young children (see that post here). Since then, my daughter has come up with an additional idea—using the individual pages for home-made encourage cards. Here is the scenario: We have a family member who is going through some intense and difficult chemotherapy. My grandchildren wanted to cheer up cousin Matt, so my daughter printed out an encouraging FV coloring page for each child to color. The children then mailed the finished pages to cousin Matt—and yes, he was thrilled and encouraged to receive them!

So, along with getting a Fighter Verses Coloring Book for your children, consider getting an electronic copy, too.. One $5 coloring book will provide your children with 52 notes of encouragement to choose from. It’s a great way to encourage your children to minister to others—giving them comfort and hope from the Word!

A Must-Have Conversation

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I wish that Tim Challies didn’t need to write the article, “Before the Birds and Bees,”  but I’m so thankful he did. Every parent should read it. Here is his main point:

I want to say this as clearly as I know how: If you neglect to train your children in their use of the Internet, you are failing in your parental responsibility. If you neglect to monitor what your children are doing online, you are neglecting your duty. If you are going to allow them to use the Internet—and I think you should so they can learn to use it under your care—you absolutely need to train them to use it well. To train them well you simply need to engage them in the tech talk.

Please read the entire article as he discusses three categories of danger that should be discussed and some helpful resources for your family. Also, if you are planning to come to our National Conference in April, I would highly recommend attending the following seminar:

Picking Up the Digital Blitz: Recognizing and Countering the Technology Rush in Our Homes (Tim Keeter)
Many may be surprised to learn that God’s Word has plenty to say about how Christians should handle digital technology—and it’s clear and grace- filled! Our goal in this seminar is to come alongside parents and students (and those who minister to parents and students) in their effort to interact with technology in their homes and personal lives. Practical instruction will address strategies for introducing technologies into the home, training children in the wise and faithful use of technology, and how to identify, correct, and prevent idolatries surrounding digital technologies.

(Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Parents: Biblical Worldview Starts at Home

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Yesterday’s post presented some thoughts by Nancy Pearcey on the necessity to train our students and children to have a biblical worldview. What is meant by “biblical worldview”? Here is a simple definition:

Biblical worldview is seeing and interpreting all of life through the truth of Scripture.

Parents, we have the primary responsibility to teach our children the truth of Scripture. We are also in the best position to help our children see and interpret life as we experience it together with them. Therefore, biblical worldview training should begin in the home. Here are 8 basics things parents can focus on:

Teach your children…

  • that God is the source of all truth and that His Word, the Bible, is truth.
  • a biblical understanding of God’s nature and character.
  • that biblical truth is relevant to everything in life.
  • to evaluate all things through the truth of Scripture: biblical discernment.
  • the enlightening and transforming truth of the Gospel.
  • that a biblical worldview is meant to point them to true, lasting joy.
  • to boldly proclaim God’s truth in a spirit of humility.
  • to expect opposition and to be prepared to stand firm.

For a further explanation of each point and practical tips for application at various ages, download this free handout from the seminar, “Helping Children Develop a Biblical Worldview.”

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

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