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Helping Children Pray

Following is part two of Truth78’s interview with Bible teacher, Nancy Guthrie. Nancy and David Guthrie experienced the death of two of their children and now lead respite retreats for parents in similar seasons of suffering. (more…)

Help for Turbulent Teens

It’s a problem that affects millions of teenagers; likely someone you know in your own church or family. What is it? Interior angst. Loneliness. Depression. Fear. Despair. All these and more are part of the emotional roller coaster that goes with the changes and development of adolescence.

This is an age-old problem that should lead to maturity and growth. But teens today are missing key supports that made it less volatile for generations past. (more…)

The Three Ds of Deuteronomy 6

When it comes to understanding and articulating cultural shifts in light of biblical truth, Dr. Albert Mohler is a welcome source of clarity, exhortation, and encouragement. Joe Eaton wrote a summary of Dr. Mohler’s message Holding Fast to the Whole Counsel of God Under Pressure to Conform from our last National Conference, which pointed to three Ds from Deuteronomy 6 that we, as parents and teachers, can take to heart. 

The dominant culture tends to replicate itself in each new generation. This is why Paul calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12). The last thing that should surprise us is that our children are going to grow up to look like the culture around them…unless a great work is done. Deuteronomy 6 tells us how we can influence our children biblically to remain steadfast in an ungodly culture. Three key words guide us through this text. (more…)

Teachers: Is This Book on Your Summer Reading List?

Summer is an ideal time for reading to refresh and energize the soul. For anyone who teaches children and youth it’s also an opportunity to become a better teacher. At only 152 pages, Teaching to Change Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive  by Dr. Howard Hendricks is filled with practical, biblical, seasoned wisdom that is helpful for both new and experienced teachers alike. At Truth78, we highly recommend this book. Our curricula’s teaching philosophy and methodology closely mirrors the principles found in his book. (more…)

True Faith Takes Mind, Heart, and Will

As a parent and teacher I find these words from Jesus especially sobering,

This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me… (Matthew 15:8-9)

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:26-27)

We can teach our children and students a lot of biblical information–and so we should. We should acquaint them with as much Scripture as possible; it is the only means of making them wise for salvation in Christ and living in a way that is pleasing to Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We want their minds to know, understand, and be able to rightly interpret the Bible. However, as Jesus’ words remind us, it is not enough to simply receive knowledge about God. (more…)

12 Reasons to Choose Truth78 Curriculum

After an unusually long, cold winter, it’s finally summer! But churches are already thinking ahead to the fall. What will they teach the students next year; the current curriculum or something new? There are many varied reasons for choosing one curricula over another. Here are 12 reasons why you should consider teaching the Truth78 curricula: (more…)

Showing Honor to Those Who Minister to Your Children

Have you ever been struck by the number of people the apostle Paul mentions at the end of many of his letters? For the most part, we know very little about these men and women. Yet to Paul, they were beloved ministry partners who assisted him in a variety of ways in spreading the gospel and establishing churches. His acknowledgement must have been a great encouragement to each of them; a type of “thank you” to them for their faithful service. (more…)

Church and Home: Better Together

My birding binoculars recently went haywire. When you look through both eyepieces you get a distorted double image. Yet if you look through each individual eyepiece using one eye at a time, you get a clear image. The problem is that this image is very limited in its scope. Somehow the two eyepieces are out of sync with one another, greatly reducing the usefulness of the binoculars. (more…)

Ordinary Means, Extraordinary Fruit

As a Sunday school teacher, I have always approached the last weeks of the school year with mixed emotions. Was I faithful week to week in teaching God’s Word? Did my students “get it”? Do they give evidence of faith in Jesus? Have I seen any spiritual fruit? What about that child who seemed bored all year? What about the one who was often disrespectful in class? What should I have done differently?… The list of questions goes on and on. At times, it’s easy to lose heart when I don’t see spiritual fruit coming about in the manner I expect. Parents often struggle with these same questions and emotions regarding their children’s spiritual condition. (more…)

Summer Sowing with Backyard Bible Clubs

Truth78 // Summer Sowing with Backyard Bible Clubs

My backyard looks like a barren arctic landscape. It’s hard to imagine planting a garden here when it’s currently buried under 18 inches of new April snow. But spring will come—eventually. God controls the times and seasons. He is faithful! Soon this lifeless looking space will burst forth in a myriad of beautiful colors. How? I will go out and sow seed, water and care for it, and God will bring the growth. And yet, these plants will fade and die come winter, ushering in another season of barrenness.

But there is an infinitely better seed for sowing; one that can be sown in your own backyard this summer. This seed has the ability bring about and spread eternal joy in your neighborhood—God’s Word! Truth78’s Backyard Bible Club (BYBC) curricula are designed for just such seed sowing in your neighborhood. Read on to find out more.

What is a Backyard Bible Club? How is it different than Vacation Bible School?

A Backyard Bible Club is simply a new twist on an old idea; namely, a new twist on a traditional Vacation Bible School program. VBS usually takes place for a week’s duration, during the summer, at a local church or other designated location and is organized and led by the children’s director along with volunteers. Most often the focus of the VBS is evangelistic: Creating an appealing environment for welcoming children from non-Christian homes in order to expose them to the Gospel. A BYBC shares this latter goal but uses a different venue for doing so. Instead of taking place at the local church, the BYBC is located at homes of church members, in their backyards (or front yards), and is led by these same members who have been equipped and trained by their church.

There are several reasons we believe a BYBC is strategic. Here are just a few:

  • An increasing number of people are completely un-churched. Therefore, they may be less willing to send their children to an actual “church” event. On the other hand, most Christians already have some level of positive involvement with the parents and children in their own neighborhoods. A BYBC takes advantage of these existing relationships and seeks to build upon them. Therefore, a BYBC helps foster a long-term, relational model of evangelism that can provide ongoing interaction with both parents and children. Unbelievers can see the Gospel modeled and lived out in the lives of their Christian neighbors.
  • Because a BYBC is not centralized in one location, it can be conducive to a local church’s larger mission of engaging the community—reaching unbelievers close to where they live. Thus, unbelievers learn to identify “the church” as not mainly a building but as a people—a people who trust and follow Jesus, not just on Sunday, but every day of the week.
  • A traditional VBS program is labor intensive for both church staff and volunteers. By design, a BYBC is smaller by nature, more flexible in its structure, can accommodate a greater diversity of schedules, and distributes the work among a greater number of members. Furthermore, a BYBC offers individual families within the church an excellent way to minister together. Every member of the family can participate in a meaningful way.
  • Most VBS curricula is not only expensive but also requires extensive set-up and preparation. Much of the expense and preparation is geared toward lots of “bells and whistles”: exciting visual elements, fun activities, crafts, food, etc. While a BYBC does include some of these in limited measure, the focus of the time is given to communicating the life-giving message of God’s Word and encouraging thoughtful interaction with the Word.

Truth78 Backyard Bible Club Curricula

Truth78 // Things HiddenWe currently have the following curricula available for BYBC. All of them are designed for school-aged children and have an evangelistic focus. These curricula can be used in any order, and may also be used for a traditional VBS.

Wisdom Calls Aloud
Once we are free from the fear of God’s wrath, our fear of Him is the beginning of gaining wisdom.

The Call of God 
It is the duty of every human to respond to God in faith and belief, and yet, every person is dependent on the work of God in redemption.

Things Hidden 
Exploring the Kingdom parables Jesus used in order to conceal the kingdom from those who doubted and explain it to those who would believe.

God Always Wins 
No matter individual circumstances and challenges, God’s sovereign wisdom, power, and purpose show the Greatness of God in Salvation.

Getting started – Basic questions and answers regarding using our BYBC resources

1. How often do Backyard Bible Clubs meet and when do they meet?

Most clubs run five sessions. These can be held in the morning, afternoon, or early evening. Most people hold the sessions in a one-week period (i.e. Monday through Friday) but they can also be held once-a-week for five weeks. The sessions can be held inside or outside.

2. What is the duration of each session?

The sessions can be from 1-3 hours long, depending on how many activities you would like to include.

3. Who should be invited?

Neighborhood children, friends of your children, and children of relatives—especially children you will have continued contact with.

4. What age children should be included?

The material is recommended for kindergarten through 6th grade. 

5. How many children can be included?

The number of children you invite should take into account the number of helpers you have and the size of your yard and/or home.  A recommended ratio would be one adult for every six-to-eight children. The younger the children, the smaller the adult/child ration should be.

6. What does a typical session look like?

  • Opening activity
  • 30-minute interactive lesson
  • Application discussion done in smaller groups that may be separated into age groupings
  • Additional activities: Games, crafts, songs, snacks, etc.

7. What roles (people) are needed for hosting a Backyard Bible Club?

For each session you will need people to assume one or more of the following roles:

  • A host to provide the location
  • A teacher who prepares and presents the Bible lesson
  • Adults to facilitate small group discussion
  • Volunteers to prepare and help with additional activities

We strongly suggest the above be done by a committed team of people working together. This may be one or more families working together, a small group from church, etc.

8. Is there any outreach to the parents of the children or any other follow-up with the children?

Each day a parent take-home sheet is provided giving a brief summary of the lesson, the memory verse, and something to think about. Also, we strongly recommend that you (and your church) consider giving each child a Bible or other Bible resource to take home. Here are some family-friendly resources that would introduce parents and children to some basic truths of the Christian faith:

9. Is conversion the goal of the Backyard Bible Club?

The goal is to introduce children to spiritual truth and provide an opening for ongoing spiritual discussion with children and their parents. Each of our BYBC curricula present essential Gospel truths and encourage children toward a right, genuine response to those truths. However, we do not overly press children toward a profession of trust in Christ. Rather, we emphasize planting seeds of the Gospel, praying that the Holy Spirit would bring about the fruit of faith in the lives of the children, and pursuing an ongoing relationship with the children and their parents.

10. How can the church help facilitate Backyard Bible Clubs?

  • Communicate the vision behind the BYBC strategy. Ideally, this should be done early in late winter or early spring to give your members time to understand and embrace the vision.
  • Equip and train those who want to participate in a BYBC.
    • Provide all the necessary curriculum components.
    • Offer practical training in how to host a BYBC and effectively use the materials.
    • Facilitate and coordinate networking, matching volunteers with their desired roles.
    • If possible, offer financial assistance for any additional costs associated with activities, snacks, crafts, etc.
    • Consider providing a Bible resource for the BYBC hosts to give to the children who will be participating.
    • Commit to praying for each BYBC as it occurs.

 

 

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