Archive - August, 2016

Strategies for Engaging Children in the Worship Service

My Church Notebook

Sunday mornings are “all hands on deck” for our family. My husband and I are actively involved in helping our daughter and son-in-law engage their four young children in the corporate worship service. I’m happy to say that progress is being made with the 3- and 5-year-olds. The 1-year-old twins have a long way to go, but they are observing and benefiting from the experience in more ways than we can imagine. Much of this progress can be attributed to a partnership of church and parents—a church that encourages, assists, and welcomes children in the worship service, and parents who actively prepare and train their children.

That is why I am so excited that we now have these resources available to share:

For the church—“Let the Children Come to Me in Worship” (video), in which Pastor David Michael lays out a biblical vision and philosophy for encouraging children to be in the corporate worship service.

For parents—“Strategies for Engaging Children in the Worship Service” (audio), in which Sally Michael gives very practical advice for parents.

8 Tips for Helping Your Child Worship—a free brochure.

MyChurchNotebook_Cover_TNAnd last but not least a special resource for children:

My Church Notebook is designed to guide elementary aged children to participate in the service. It teaches them to actively listen to the sermon, take notes, recognize key points, ask questions, and discover more about God and His ways.

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Introducing a NEW Resource for Families: My Church Notebook

INTRODUCING

My Church Notebook

My Church NotebookChurch services give us the opportunity to come into the presence of God with other people of God, both young and old. As children observe the example of their parents and join believers in worship, they learn to concentrate on God and see His greatness.

Children are more likely to cherish and delight in the worship of God if they witness that heart for worship in the church. When they see their parents and other adults bow their heads in earnest prayer, or lift their hands in praise, the genuine worship they observe can stir their hearts to worship. Children can observe parents listening intently to the sermon, taking notes, and processing the truth they are hearing. They observe this hunger for the Word of God which can stir the same longing in their own hearts.

My Church NotebookMy Church Notebook will guide your elementary aged children to participate in the service. It teaches them to actively listen to the sermon, take notes, recognize key points, and ask questions. In response to what they hear, children can determine what God wants them to think, be, or do. With God’s help, children can discover who He is, understand more of His Word, and grow in their love for the truth.

My Church Notebook helps children to concentrate on God as they come into His presence.

Learn More

Order a My Church Notebook for your children today and discover the vision for including children in the worship service!

 

 

 

Already Relevant

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Our young people—especially teenagers—are looking for answers. As they grow and mature, they increasingly have big questions and big concerns. They are searching for answers that make sense for both the world outside their door and their day-to-day lives. As Christian parents and teachers, we need to carefully direct them to the Bible. But there is a right way and wrong way to go about this. Consider these words by Pastor Eric McKiddie in his post “Stop Trying to Make the Bible Relevant to Teenagers”:

It’s easy to feel pressure to make the Bible seem cool and relevant to teenagers…

In my years in youth ministry, though, I’ve seen unhelpful and even harmful methods of trying to make Scripture relevant. Book publishers make Bibles look like magazines, youth workers preach a hipster Jesus, and parents confuse their child’s involvement in a fun youth group for a growing relationship with God.

Yet in our efforts to make Scripture more entertaining, we actually confirm suspicions that it is in fact boring and irrelevant. And when youth workers aren’t as cool as they think they are, their efforts end up looking cheesy, which is the last thing that will help a teenager see the Bible’s importance.

…If you want teens—whether in your home or youth group—to appreciate the Bible, the first thing you must do is trust its relevance in your own heart. That trust should come across in how you talk about what the Bible says and why it matters. Scripture testifies to its own importance for God’s people, sometimes even pointing to young people in particular (Prov. 2:1–15; Eph. 6:1–3; 2 Tim. 3:16).

Peter’s words are especially helpful: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Pet. 1:3). Notice that Peter writes, “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” That means stress over grades, sexual temptation, loneliness, awkwardness—and how to honor God in each of these areas. But also notice how the power for everything that pertains to life and godliness comes to us—through the knowledge of God. And how do we attain this vital knowledge? Through the Scriptures.

At CDG, we are striving to do just that in the teen years—to present our students with a vital knowledge of Scripture that explores essential doctrines of the Christian faith in a manner that not only informs the mind but also challenges the heart by paying attention to how these doctrines intersect with ALL aspects of everyday life. In other words, showing that the Bible is already, in and of itself, relevant.

There are least four ways in particular that our youth curricula does this:

  • Encouraging teachers to devote an adequate amount of time in spiritual preparation for each lesson so that he or she teaches from a heart that has been personally transformed by the truths of Scripture. It gives the teacher an opportunity to share personal insights and practical application. Students take notice of this.
  • A lesson content that provides examples of connections between Scripture texts and real-life scenarios.
  • A depth of teaching that does not shy away from difficult doctrines and topics: evil, suffering, gender issues, etc.
  • A “Small Group Application” section following each lesson with carefully crafted questions and discussion points to actively engage the students to see how the truths of Scripture apply to each of them in a very personal way.

Click on each of our youth curricula to find out more and see lesson samples.

Teach Me Your Way 
A Study for Youth on Surrender to Jesus and Submission to His Way

Abiding in Jesus
A Study for Youth on Trusting Jesus and Encouraging Others

Your Word Is Truth
A Study for Youth on Seeing All of Life Through the Truth of Scripture

Rejoicing in God’s Good Design
A Study for Youth on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Open My Eyes
A Study for Youth on Studying the Bible

(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Calling All Grandparents and Seniors—Again!

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I have arrived at the age in which I now qualify for a variety of “senior” discounts. The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) keeps sending me mail trying to get me to join their organization. Magazine articles, commercials, and other media want to convince me that as I enter these “golden years” I should be more and more focused on me—my interests, pleasures, and entertainments. Supposedly, I deserve to simply sit back and relax…So sad, especially if I were to apply this mentality to ministering to children and youth. Here is a post from last year that I want to highlight again:

When I first became a grandparent four years ago, people would ask: “How do you like being a grandma?” My answer typically was something like, “It’s great! All of the benefits of having children without the responsibilities.”…A bad answer for many reasons! The most important reason being:

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;

incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

I will open my mouth in a parable;

I will utter dark sayings from of old,

things that we have heard and known,

that our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children,

but tell to the coming generation

the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,

and the wonders that he has done.

(Psalm 78:1-4, ESV)

As a grandparent, I have a great responsibility to my own grandchildren, and to the next generation—especially the children in my church. I am to proclaim the glorious deeds of the LORD and the wonders He has done. That is my calling, no matter how old I get! Whether reading Bible stories to my grandchildren and praying with and for them, teaching in Sunday school, volunteering in nursery, being a mentor to a teen, bringing a meal to a busy young mother…the list of possibilities goes on and on. Each can be used as a means to proclaim to the next generation the glorious deeds of the LORD.

Grandparents and seniors: Don’t “check-out” during these years! You have a wonderful and crucial calling from the Lord. This fall, explore how you can invest your time and gifts for the glory of God and the joy of the next generation.

Being reminded of this has tipped the scales for me this week as I have weighed whether I should commit to teaching 1st-3rd grade Sunday school this year. Yes, I am older and yes, it will be a lot of work. But I have been given the great responsibility and the great privilege to proclaim to the next generation the glorious deeds of God (and in this case, through teaching The ABCs of God). And, as far as I can tell from Scripture, I should never, ever want to “retire” from that!

(Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

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