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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!

An Invitation to Parents (and Parents-to-Be)


Here is a great question to ponder from Lou Priolo:

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what it is you are trying to accomplish as a parent? What exactly is your objective?

Let that weigh on your mind and heart for a moment. Think of the variety of things that consume your time in your parenting efforts—meeting basic physical needs, attending church, education, sports activities, hobbies, music lessons, special family celebrations, and more. Are all these efforts serving a common objective?

Here is how Mr. Priolo answers his own question:

Since you are a Christian parent there is only one ultimate answer to this question—and that answer is found in the Bible. The supreme objective you should have for your children is the same objective the Apostle Paul had for his spiritual children—that they be conformed (gradually changed into) the image of Christ.

He then goes on to state three necessary ingredients to produce Christ-like maturity:

…the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and time.

(Teach Them Diligently: How to Use Scriptures in Child Training, copyright©2000, pages 1-2)

2016 National ConferenceIt seems so simple, doesn’t it? Yet every parent knows it is an awesome task and a weighty responsibility. And, for many parents, especially those who did not grow up in Christian homes, it can be even more daunting! In the past, I have recommended many helpful books on parenting, including the one quoted above. However, if there was just one event that I could recommend for parents this coming year, it would be our National Conference. You see, contrary to what you might think, it’s not just for church leaders and ministry volunteers. It is packed with biblical parenting help and encouragement. From a parenting perspective, I have found the pre-conference seminars by Pastor David and Sally Michael to be extremely beneficial. Just look at the seminar titles:

  • A Vision for God-Centered Worship in the Next Generation [i.e., your children]
  • A Vision for Biblical Literacy in the Next Generation [your children]
  • A Vision for Encouraging Faith in the Next Generation [your children]

In my opinion, it’s not an overstatement to say that these 3 seminars present some of the best biblical parenting advice that I have found in any other single resource! These talks may literally transform your parenting and provide you with much needed encouragement. Furthermore, consider these seminars that distinctly apply to parenting:

  • The Parent-Church Connection
  • “Let the Children Come to Me” in Worship
  • Strategies for Engaging Children in the Worship Service
  • Teaching Youth to Study the Bible
  • Teaching Youth to Rejoice in God’s Good Design
  • Teaching Children and Youth to Stand Firm in a Hostile Culture
  • Picking Up the Digital Blitz: Recognizing and Countering the Technology Rush in Our Homes
  • Sins or Synapse? Are Teens Controlled by Their Brains
  • The Power of the Memorized Word in the Fight of Faith
  • Strengthening the Church-Home Partnership in the First Three Years
  • Communicating the Gospel Within the Whole Counsel of God
  • Encouraging God-Esteem in a Culture of Self-Esteem
  • Foundations for Family Discipleship
  • Intergenerational Teaching: Why and How?
  • From Genesis to Revelation: Disability and His Sure Promises of Help
  • Catechism: Out of Date or a Tried and True Teaching Tool of Eternal Truths

Grandparents: Consider helping your children attend this conference by providing financial assistance and/or childcare.

Church members: Do you know of parents who would especially benefit from this conference? Pass this post on to them. If necessary, look for ways that you and others could provide resources to make it easier for them to attend.

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


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



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!


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.


Join us at the 2016 National Conference! Registration is Open!

2016 Children Desiring God National Conference

2016 National ConferenceYou are invited to join us at the 2016 National Conference, April 14-16 in Indianapolis!

It is a special time for pastors, children’s ministry leader, Sunday school teachers, small group leaders/mentors, youth ministry leader and parents to join together for a time of training, refreshment and encouragement.

Plenary Sessions

During our five plenary sessions, Albert Mohler, John Piper, Bruce Ware, Mark Vroegop and David Michael will inspire, educate and encourage you in your personal walk with the Lord as they discuss Persevering in the Whole Counsel of God, What’s at Stake for the Next Generation.

Seminar Sessions

The hands on training in our four seminar sessions provides the perfect complement to the theological training in the plenary sessions. Practical instruction from 29 experienced teachers and leaders in over 60 seminar options will equip you and your ministry team for real-life ministry to children, youth and their parents.

There is a seminar for everyone whether you are brand new to children’s ministry or a veteran teacher, a prayer warrior for babies or a mentor for youth, a children’s ministry leader trying to get church leadership to join you in your vision or for children or a parent trying to figure out how to have your child sit with you in a church service, a volunteer coordinator in a tiny church trying to make resources stretch or in charge or recruiting enough teachers to fill you classrooms in a large church.

We look forward to meeting you in April! Register now to get the early bird special!


Register Now2016 National Conference

Have questions? Here’s where you can find the answers:

  • I can’t wait to meet y’all! How do I sign up?: Registration
  • That’s an incredible keynote speaker line up. Can I learn more about them?: Keynote Speakers
  • Will I get bored? Definitely not!: Schedule
  • Are there really seminars for me? Check out your choices: Seminars
  • Are the seminar speakers amazing? Yes, meet them here: Seminar Presenters
  • Indianapolis? How do I get there and where will I stay?: Travel and Lodging
  • I still have more questions: Frequently Asked Questions
  • …And even more questions! Let’s chat: Email us at or give us a call at 877.400.1414.



Training Up the Next Generation to Follow Christ the King!



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!


You’re Invited to the 2016 National Conference

2016 Children Desiring God National Conference

Over the last two years, we have enjoyed meeting with more than 2000 of you, our partners in ministry, at our regional Impact conferences. But now, we are thrilled to invite all of you to come together once again at our 2016 National Conference.

You are invited to Indianapolis, April 14-16, for Persevering in the Whole Counsel of God: What’s at Stake for the Next Generation. Join us along with other children’s ministry leaders, pastors, staff, teachers, volunteers, and youth workers as we encourage each other in “Paul-like” ministry to the next generation, through intensive teaching, Christ-centered worship and sweet fellowship.


Registration opens Fall 2015!




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