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Questions for Discerning a Child’s Profession of Faith

Children are amazing sponges and excellent mimics. They have the God-given ability to soak up and recall an enormous amount of information. They also are, to a lesser or greater extent, attentive observers who will act out and imitate our words, demeanor, and actions.

This provides Christian parents and teachers with a great opportunity, challenge, and caution when it comes to nurturing our children and students toward genuine faith in Christ. During their young years, we should take the opportunity to pour biblical truth into their lives — acquainting them with the Scriptures which are able to make them wise for salvation in Christ (2 Tim. 3:15). We must gently challenge and implore them to respond to these truths with heart-felt trust and devotion. But we must also be discerning in how they respond: are they simply affirming truths or embracing Christ as Savior and Lord? Are they simply mimicking Christian responses that they have seen and heard? Are they simply trying to please their parents and teachers? Therein lies the caution. (more…)

When Children Aren’t Being Discipled at Home

God has ordained parents as the primary teachers and disciplers of their children and it is a sacred responsibility and privilege. All the many wonderful Sunday school classes and other children’s and youth programs in your church are no substitute for parents’ calling to nurture the faith of their children. Consider these words from Charles Spurgeon:

Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that the Sunday school is intended to ease them of their personal duties. The first and most natural condition of things is for Christian parents to train up their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let holy grandmothers and gracious mothers, with their husbands see to it that their own boys and girls are well taught in the book of the Lord.

  • But what about the children who come to your church who do not have believing parents?
  • What about children who are receiving a minimal amount of spiritual nourishment in their homes due to a variety of factors?
  • What about children who live in a one-parent home—and that parent is doing the best he or she can but is overwhelmed with simply holding things together?

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Passing the Baton in the Midst of Battle

Successfully passing faith in Christ on to the next generation is one of the most important responsibilities Christian parents and ministry leaders are to pursue. It’s also one of the most difficult.  Author Chap Bettis talks about the opportunity and challenges:

Passing on the [Christian] faith has been compared to handing off a baton in a relay race. And there are many things to commend that analogy to us. There is a real gospel—the baton—to pass on. It must be passed on individually. The one with the baton has to hold it out, and the one receiving the baton has to reach back for it and close his hand around it. There is a time to pass on the baton, the exchange zone, which does not last forever. All of these are excellent pictures to help us think through this subject.

There is a problem with this illustration, however. We are not handing off the baton at a friendly track meet—rather this exchange takes place on a battlefield! We are attempting to pass on this baton of the gospel while we and our children are being shot at! And what about those observing in the stands? A few are cheering us on, but many in the stands—the world—are laughing at our child’s attempt to run the race. (From The Disciple-Making Parent, p. 8.)

Rather than be discouraged by this, we as parents and ministry leaders should use this as motivation to prepare our children and students to face the challenge. We must arm them with God’s Truth and point them to complete dependence on His sovereign grace. (more…)

Doing God’s Word, for Change

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (James 1:22-25).

How easy it is for us to read the Bible, close the pages of this life-changing book, and walk away unchanged. Our response to God’s Word is much like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and forgets what he looks like.

When a man forgets his reflection in the mirror, is it because there something wrong with the image reflected in the mirror? Is the mirror faulty? No, and neither is God’s Word faulty, though we walk away unchanged. The problem is with us. We read but we do not apply; we do not consider what God’s words mean for our everyday lives. (more…)

How to Suffer with Joy

by John Kimbell

Is it your expectation that as you give yourself to obedience to Christ and to loving service for others that you will suffer? Or are you surprised by this?

  • Do you assume that volunteering to serve in the children’s ministry should bring no difficulties or inconveniences whatsoever into your life?
  • Do you assume that committing yourself to consistent, servant-hearted care for the members of your small group will just happen at no cost to you?
  • Do you assume that parenting and discipling your children should be trouble-free?
  • Do you expect all your neighbors to break down your door to ask you about the gospel, or will it take sacrifice and effort to move into their lives in order to make Christ known?
  • Will the unreached peoples of the world hear the gospel without toil and struggle on the part of the church?
  • Fill in the blank with the ministry that God has set before you as ask yourself, Do I expect to suffer?

We must not be surprised that the way of Christ and the way of ministry is a pathway of suffering. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake” (emphasis added), and he rejoiced that through his toiling and struggling to make the gospel known, and all of the difficulties that were necessary for him to do that, people would hear about Jesus and trust Him as Savior and be saved from their sins. (more…)

Partnership takes Things Hidden and the Gospel to over 100,000 children in India

India has over a billion people who don’t know Jesus and over a third of them are under the age of 15. Seeing the opportunity for broad Gospel ministry, Patrick Shannon, a member of College Park Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, initiated a partnership with Truth78 and Child Evangelism Fellowship India. In only a few months’ time, they reached over 112,000 children with Things Hidden, an evangelistic study for children on kingdom parables produced by Truth78. (more…)

Why I Stole a 1st Place Ribbon from a Child in Sunday School

Imagine the scene: a jumping-jack contest in Sunday school with the teacher pitted against a first grade student. The student easily wins the contest, but the teacher claims the beautiful 1st Place ribbon for herself. The children break out in LOUD disapproval: “That’s wrong. You didn’t win. That’s not fair!” Righteous indignation spews from a group of 30 children over a stolen award. What kind of teacher does this? (more…)

Making the Most of Classroom Worship

For many children, one of their favorite activities of the Sunday school hour is singing. Loud, happy, energetic singing maybe even accompanied by musical instruments, clapping, jumping, and other visibly active expressions. However, as much as I delight in watching a roomful of 6- and 7-years-olds jubilantly sing songs of praise to God in the classroom, I am reminded of these important words from worship leader and song writer Bob Kauflin: (more…)

Spiritual Benefits of Active Learning

One of the God-given means for influencing the heart and the will is to encourage students to be active participants in the learning process. Most people would agree that active participation by students creates a positive learning experience. Most of us could even give reasons why this is so:

  • Participation makes the lessons more interesting, aids in holding the attention of potential wandering minds, and minimizes boredom.
  • Involvement maximizes the possibility that concepts are retained over a longer period of time.
  • Discovering truth rather than just hearing it provides a greater potential for truths to be internalized. The critical thinking skills involved in discovery can not only inform the mind, but also offer a more profound impression on the heart.

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Help for Reaching the Hearts of Your Students

Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge.
(Proverbs 23:12)

Each Truth78 curricula lesson is built upon two foundational pillars: the Large Group Lesson which emphasizes instructing the mind with God’s Word, followed by the Small Group Application which focuses on engaging the students’ hearts and wills in response to God’s Word.  Both are vitally important in nurturing faith. (more…)

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