Archive - Events RSS Feed

Vroegop on “Why Do Children Need to Know the Whole Counsel of God?”

Children Desiring God Blog // Why Do Children Need to Know the Whole Counsel of God

Listen Here

Hi, my name is Mark Vroegop and I am privileged to be the lead pastor at College Park Church in Indianapolis. I’m also privileged to be one of the plenary speakers at the Children Desiring God National Conference coming up April 14–16.

The theme for the conference is really important. We will explore how to connect the whole counsel of God to the next generations. In the book of Acts, chapter 20, the apostle Paul said to the Ephesian elders that he did not shrink from declaring to them the whole counsel of God. What that means is that over a two and a half year period, Paul helped the people of Ephesus understand the significant realities of who and what God is, as communicated through the revealed Word of God. And it means that creation, the fall, redemption and restoration are key themes that are woven throughout all of Scripture.

The teachings of the Bible should not be viewed as little marbles in a bowl, but rather as a string of pearls all connected together. As it relates to children, it is incredibly important that they understand who God is as their creator, the nature of the fall, and that they are sinners. Then, that they would know the connectedness between their own sin and the need for a savior through Christ–and also that there is coming a day when Christ will return and restore everything that is wrong in the world and make it all right again–that Jesus is indeed coming again. So all of these themes–creation, fall, redemption and restoration–are part of the whole counsel of God. A child has to know that God is creator and that they are accountable. They have to know they are a sinner and that they need a savior.

Children Desiring God Blog // Why Do Children Need to Know the Whole Counsel of GodYou know, my wife has been teaching our kindergarten Sunday school class here at our church for a number of years. In particular, one of the lessons that she teaches is on the Ten Commandments. It is remarkable–when she comes home from teaching that very first lesson, she reports that when she has asked the children “How many of you know that you are sinners?”, invariably, the vast majority of them do not know that they are sinners. But you know what they do know? They do know that their brother or sister is a sinner. The reason we need the whole counsel of God is to help little children be convinced that they, in fact, are human beings who are in rebellion against God. What’s more, in order for them to know that, they need to know who God is and know the beauty of what the cross is all about. The Bible is more than just a collection of stories or an encyclopedia of biblical truth. It is theology stacked on theology stacked on theology stacked on theology. It is the whole counsel of God.

We are going to dig into that theme and see the significance of not only what it means for the Bible to be the whole counsel of God, but how vital it is that our children understand that truth from a very early age. I hope you will come and join us because this theme, this concept of the whole counsel of God, is vital for the health of the church, for the spiritual life of our children and because our culture needs the next generation of believers to understand the whole counsel of the Word of God.

2016 National ConferenceWe are excited to welcome Mark Vroegop as one of our keynote speakers at the Children Desiring God National Conference. He will expound on this topic as he teaches on Declaring the Whole Counsel of God to the Next Generation. We are also thankful for the generosity of Mark’s church to host our conference and are excited for you to experience College Park Church’s hospitality. We hope you will join us April 14-16 in Indianapolis! Learn more and register now!

 

Resist the Smorgasbord!

Resist the Smorgasbord: Strategies for Teaching the Whole Counsel of God

I once read a book in which the Christian author likened the method often used in the church for discipleship to a smorgasbord—various classes and small groups are offered for people to pick and choose from, mainly based on personal preferences, perceived needs, and “hot topics” of the day. His point was to urge the church to resist this tendency and strive for a more vision-driven, biblical, structured, long-term discipleship strategy. Such a strategy takes into account and incorporates the whole counsel of God and builds in stages—precept-by-precept.

I wonder if we sometimes have a similar “smorgasbord tendency” when it comes to planning for and choosing curriculum for our various children’s and youth ministry classes: What seems good this year? What will the children like? What will peak their (or the teacher’s) interest?…I think we can, and must strive for a more vision-driven, biblical, structured, long-term discipleship strategy—one that seeks to incorporate the whole counsel of God from nursery to high school.

What does this actually look like? To begin with, we believe that there are six basic elements or disciplines that should be included in this long-term strategy:

Elements of Teaching the Whole Counsel of God

  1. A story-based chronological overview of the Bible, which introduces children to the main character of the Bible—God—and acquaints them with key people, places, and events.
  2. A biblical theology that focuses on the main storyline of the Bible, where God progressively reveals His redemptive purposes, which come to their complete fulfillment in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
  3. Systematic theology that teaches foundational doctrines, which summarize the Bible’s teaching on various subjects.
  4. Moral instruction—the commands of Scripture, which communicate ethical instruction, guiding us in the righteous ways of God.
  5. An explicit presentation of the essential truths of the Gospel, leading to a clear understanding of saving faith.
  6. Bible study methods to provide the necessary tools for rightly reading and interpreting Scripture.

A strategic, long-term plan makes curriculum choices at the various grade levels with these basic elements or disciplines in mind. It asks questions such as: Over the span of nursery to high school, are our students receiving the whole counsel of God? Are we introducing these elements at age-appropriate levels? Does our overall strategy reflect a proper biblical balance?

2016 National ConferenceIf you long to explore this topic further and want practical help in structuring a plan for the children’s and youth ministries of your church, I would love to have you come to my seminar at our National Conference in April…

Making a Strategic Plan for Teaching the Whole Counsel of God

This seminar will present an overview for planning and implementing a scope and sequence in your children’s and youth ministry that serves to thoroughly acquaint your students with the whole counsel of God. Starting in the nursery years and moving through high school, we will explore options and strategic goals for various age groups.

Piper Answers: What is the Whole Counsel of God?

Children Desiring God Blog // What is the Whole Counsel of God?

As children’s ministry and youth pastors, teachers and parents, it is critical for us to not only teach children the Gospel, but to not shrink back from teaching them the whole counsel of God. John Piper helps us understand what this means:

 

 

Join us at the Children Desiring God National Conference where we will have the opportunity to spend three days together exploring this meaning further, discovering the glorious truths found with in the whole counsel of God, understanding the ramifications if our children do not understand the whole counsel of God and equipping each other to teach the whole counsel of God to children and youth. We look forward to welcoming back John Piper as one of our five keynote speakers to discuss Understanding the Whole Counsel of God: How Our Children Can Know the Bible is True.

 

Children Desiring God Blog // What Is the Whole Counsel of God?John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminar. For over 30 years, John served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. He’s the author of more than 50 books and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available for free at desiringGod.org). John and his wife, Noël, have five children, Barnabas, Karsten, Benjamin, Abraham and Talitha, and twelve grandchildren.

 

We hope to see you April 14-16 in Indianapolis! Learn more and register now!

 

 

Profound, Yet Simple

ID-10025967

Teachers, here is encouragement from R. C. Sproul to really know and understand the biblical concepts you are teaching your students:

Certain assumptions are made in the classroom. The first is that the teacher knows more about the subject than the student. It is, in general, a safe assumption. The second assumption is that the teacher cannot communicate his mastery of the subject all at once. To educate (as the Latin root suggests), we must lead students “out of” ignorance into knowledge. That knowledge moves in increments, from the simple to complex.

…A great teacher can simplify without distortion. This is the supreme test of understanding. If I truly understand something, I ought to be able to communicate it to others. There is a vast chasm that separates the simple from the simplistic. Jesus, the greatest teacher ever, taught in simple terms. But He was never simplistic. To oversimplify is to distort the truth. The great teacher can express the profound by the simple, without distortion. To do that requires a deep level of understanding. The great teacher imparts understanding, not merely information. To do that the teacher must understand the material being taught.

(From “A Great Teacher Can Simplify without Distortion,” www.ligonier.org)

For the above to happen, we need to take our call to teach the Bible to children very seriously. Too many times, curricula and/or teachers assume that we need to be “simplistic” with children. Hence, there are shallow lessons that never dig deep into the profound truths of Scripture. Or, a teacher may have good, solid curricula but may fail to adequately master and understand the material before teaching. That is why it is so important for teachers to use good curriculum and spend a serious amount of time in prayerful study to understand the material.

Teachers, I would like to extend a special invitation to you to come to our National Conference this year. As a long-time teacher, one of the seminars that would be on the top of my list to attend would be:

Practical Tips for Teaching with Passion and Purpose (Tim and Amy Bell)
Join us as we discuss teaching children about our Great God with enthusiasm. Come explore classroom ideas and encouraging tips for knowing your lesson, knowing your students, and managing your time well. We’ll also touch on how to work better in ministry teams and partner with parents in order to leave a Godly legacy for coming generations. Whether you are a new or seasoned teacher or volunteer, this seminar will give you ideas you can use in your class.

(Image courtesy of Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

On Not Shrinking, but Upholding, Embracing and Declaring

On Not Shrinking, but Upholding, Embracing and Declaring

Paul’s declaration in Acts 20:27, “. . . for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God,” are richly inspiring, yet deeply sobering words.  Why inspiring?  Why sobering?  Let’s take the latter first.

These are deeply sobering words because they imply that, due to what is contained in “the whole counsel of God,” there may be sources of temptation to shrink from declaring to others the very content of these words.  More specifically, to declare the whole counsel of God requires that we overcome both the fears of external resistance, and the deep discomfort of internal inclinations, that lead us to seek to avoid disapproval by others.  In a word, we see that faithfulness to the whole counsel of God is an issue, at bottom, of the fear of God vs. the fear of man.  Whose approval do we most long to receive?  Whose opinion do we most value?  Whose assessment weighs in heaviest in our own hearts and souls.  (BTW, “most” and “heaviest” are important terms in these questions since it is simply impossible to care not at all—nor should we—about the opinions or assessments of others.  So, the question is not whether we care about what others think, but whose opinion and assessment matters to us the very most!  Here is a test of faithfulness to and worship of the true God vs. idolatry in the very ways we assess what others think about us).

But, why should this be?  What is it about “the whole counsel of God” that would elicit such fears and deep discomforts?  The answer is obvious once one considers the content of “the whole counsel of God” in contrast with the values, commitments, and moral sensibilities of the culture in which we live.  That word of God in its fullness contains many teachings and truths that are at one and the same time, glorious, beautiful, humbling, strengthening, and awe- and hope-inspiring, to those who have the eyes of faith, and also deeply offensive, seemingly foolish, and fully at odds with the zeitgeist and wisdom of our culture as it divines what is good and right and fulfilling.  Paul is conveying this notion when he speaks of the word of the cross as foolishness to those perishing but to us who are saved, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:18-25).  Again, he speaks of the gospel as emitting one aroma which to some is the fragrance of life, whereas to another it is the stench of death (2 Cor 2:14-17).

Children Desiring God Blog // Bruce Ware QuoteBecause we live in a culture where what is truly (as God knows these to be) right, good, and wise is considered wrong, bad, and foolish, while what is truly (as God knows these to be) wrong, bad, and foolish is considered right, good, and wise – due to this sinful and Satanic (recall he excels in deception above all else) inversion of truth, faithfulness to proclaim the actual content of the Word of God is to invite scorn, ridicule, and rejection from the cultured despisers—Schleiermacher surely was correct here—of biblical religion.  Hence, there will inevitably arise within our hearts, as with the heart of the Apostle Paul, a temptation, even a stubborn inclination, to “shrink from declaring” what that word actually says and teaches—a betrayal of the truth that Schleiermacher and a host of subsequent liberals have done right down to the Brian McClarens and Rob Bells of our day.  So we are faced with one of the ultimate and most central questions of our lives as Christians and particularly as Christian ministers – will we fear man and so shrink, or will we fear God and so not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God?  Choose this day whom you will serve.  We cannot not serve both the Word of God and the wisdom of men.

But Paul’s words, “. . . for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God,” are also deeply inspiring words, for they call to mind the story of a remarkably faithful while violently opposed life lived for the cause of Christ and his gospel.  Often when I read Paul’s description of the suffering he endured in his ministry of the gospel (see especially his record of affliction and opposition in 2 Cor 11:23-29) I call to mind also these words in Acts 20:27.  There is a connection between the two that should be obvious to all.  His was not the kind of affliction due to foolishness and sinfulness that Peter warns against (1 Pet 3:17b) but rather of the affliction that comes from the offense of the truth and doing what is right that Peter commends (1 Pet 3:13-17a).  It was his very not shrinking from declaring the whole counsel of God that resulted in the massive opposition, suffering, hardship, and agony that Paul endured.  Yet, because he knew with all of his heart that the truths which he taught and for which he suffered were life-giving and hope-building, he could suffer even with joy—recall this theme in his letter to the Philippians which he wrote from prison.  Indeed, because of the inestimable glory of this truth, he could even consider the fullness of his own suffering as merely “momentary, light affliction” (2 Cor 4:17) in contrast with the eternal weight of glory awaiting all who knew and embraced the wonders of the truths he faithfully taught from the whole counsel of God. Incredible. Almost unbelievable.  Yet, this indeed makes perfect sense because (but only because) Paul knew the words of truth he embraced as his own, the words of truth he proclaimed without compromise, the words of truth for which he suffered, were the very words of life.

Do you know the whole counsel of God as the very words of life?  Do you uphold and embrace every aspect of the whole counsel of God as God’s own word and words, and therefore as true and right and glorious and good?  Do you accept the inevitable opposition which comes with faithful proclamation of those words?  May God grant us hearts like the Apostle Paul’s, to proclaim with joy what may bring us opposition, knowing that, in the end, we await the words “well done” from the One who embraced and proclaimed the truth most faithfully, and who, as a result, suffered most fully.

Bruce A. Ware
Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

2016 National ConferenceWe are excited to welcome Bruce Ware back for a third time as one of our keynote speakers at the Children Desiring God National Conference. He will expound on these issues and help us answer these questions as he teaches on Exploring the Fullness of the Whole Counsel of God. We hope you will join us April 14-16 in Indianapolis! Learn more and register now!

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

 

They Need the Whole Counsel of God

A lot of thought and prayer goes into choosing the focus of our national conferences. “Persevering in the Whole Counsel of God—What’s at Stake for the Next Generation” is no exception. This recent video clip from Dr. Russell Moore, “You Need the Whole Bible (Even If You Don’t Know Why),” really gets to the heart of the matter. Whether or not you plan to attend our conference (and we would LOVE you to come!), this three-minute video is a must see.

 

Training Up the Next Generation to Follow Christ the King!

LouisvilleWebPromo

 

What drives your children’s ministry? Is it the desire to impart the greatness of God, His Word, and the Gospel at every stage of a child’s development? If so, come and be equipped and encouraged! Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky will be hosting a “Children Desiring God Vision & Training Conference” with keynote speakers David and Sally Michael, founders of CDG, on September 11 & 12. This conference is designed to strengthen and equip pastors, teachers, children’s discipleship workers, and parents in the ministry God has given to raise up the next generation to hope in Him.

David and Sally will impart a biblical vision for the next generation in four plenary sessions. They will later be joined by seminar presenters Jeff King, Ben Hedrick, JC & Bethany Mojica, Ward Young, and Jay & Lynn Shreve to give practical application for parents and children’s ministry leaders and workers. Below are the plenary session and seminar titles:

Plenary Sessions with David and Sally Michael:

  • A Vision for God-centered Worship in the Next Generation
  • A Vision for Biblical Literacy in the Next Generation
  • A Vision for Encouraging Faith in the Next Generation
  • For the Joy of the Next Generation: Psalm 1

Seminars—Session 1

  • Wife, Mother, Disciple-Maker: Being the Catalyst for Your Child’s Spirituality—Sally Michael
  • Sustaining the Vision—David Michael
  • Making War Against Anger in Parenting—Jeff King
  • Starting Right! Nursery & Toddler Ministry—JC & Bethany Mojica
  • Discerning Conversion in Children—Ben Hedrick

Seminars—Session 2:

  • A Father’s Blessing—David Michael
  • Leading Children to a Solid Faith—Sally Michael
  • Embracing a Massive, Christ-Exalting Vision for Youth—Ward Young
  • Trusting the Lord and Training our Kids—Jeff King
  • Caring for Kids with Special Needs—Jay & Lynn Shreve

We hope you can join us!

 

Beyond “Something” for Youth

ID-100103366

Summer is often a great opportunity for scheduling special events for youth. Without the demands of school many students have more free time on their hands, so it’s important that the parents and ministry leaders do “something” to keep youth interested and involved with church-related activities over the summer months…right? Well yes, but how about aiming higher than merely “something”? Maybe think in these terms instead:

How can we…

Glorify God and increase joy in Him by planning events that…

…will display the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

…will cause His Word to dwell richly in His people by His Spirit (Colossians 3:16-17).

…deepen the relationship between Christ and His church and build relationships within the believer’s household (Psalm 25:4, 14; Philippians 3:10).

…make disciples of Christ and work to bring them to maturity in Him (Colossians 1:28-29; Titus 2:3-8).

The above reflects the aim of Betty Dodge’s informative and inspirational seminar, “Reinforcing the Vision with Events and Programs.” Her handout, available here provides a wealth of information to help parents and ministry leaders with a step-by-step process for planning special events. But also listening to her seminar here will give you even more encouragement and helpful ideas.

(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Light in a Dark World

Lighthouse2 jpeg (1)

 

 

…Karl Marx declared that the modern age would sweep all conventional morality and political structures aside in a complete transformation of values. In his memorable words, “all that is solid melts into air.” We are in the age of the advanced meltdown of those values. What Marx promised is now happening before our eyes. What can explain it? A witness to the collapse of Marx’s revolution, that great Russian prophet Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, explained it with four simple words: “Men have forgotten God.” And so they have. Nothing else can explain the great shift in worldview we are witnessing.—R. Albert Mohler,Jr.

When I read this quote, it would be an understatement to say my heart is moved. Christians will be stirred by God’s calling to bring his light and truth to a darkened, shifting world. But how quickly this passion can be beaten down and intimidated by thinking about the enormity of the task—discouragement, even despair can settle in and immobilize us.

How near “the point of no return” our society seems to be! What can one person do to pull it back—even a little?

To start, we can remember God! He is all-powerful and wonderful, and nothing is impossible for Him. He sends forth His word, and it accomplishes His purposes! The darkness will not overcome His light! Do not be afraid! Now is the time to immerse yourself in God’s word and let Him equip you to teach the Bible to the next generation—that these young ones also would remember God and know that He is all-powerful and wonderful, and that nothing is impossible for Him.

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 78:4 ESV)

Then, as you faithfully and persistently disciple the next generation, trust in God’s promises to bring forth the growth! You are pouring the light of God’s truth, His words of life, into those who will one day courageously lead their generation as Christ’s beacons in the world.

Children Desiring God partners with churches and families for just this purpose. Through curriculum, books, website resources, and the IMPACT regional conferences and seminars, we hope to encourage and equip you with tools to effectively disciple the next generation of light-bearers. We invite you to join us and learn more about our discipleship vision at our next IMPACT Regional Conference to be held in Austin, Texas on March 21-22, followed by IMPACT: Los Angeles on May 2-3. Click here for more information on these conferences, and then watch our website for dates and locations of future IMPACT Regional Conferences near you.

Page 2 of 2«12