Four Resources for Moms as Disciplers of Their Children

I thoroughly enjoy watching my daughter and daughter-in-law in the throes of motherhood. There is never a dull moment! But amidst all the busyness – a good busyness – my hope and prayer for them and myself is that we not lose sight of what is most important in our mothering: To acquaint our children with the Scriptures so that, by God’s grace, they will be made wise for salvation in Christ and be equipped for every good work, all for His glory. Continue Reading…

Distinctions of the Truth78 Curriculum

At Truth78, we are committed to making God the main focus of each and every lesson by unfolding the Scriptures for children. Though each curriculum in our scope and sequence differs somewhat based on age and particular focus, all of our Sunday School, Midweek Bible, and Intergenerational curricula share the following distinctions: Continue Reading…

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.

 

 

Vision-Oriented Children’s and Youth Ministry

Truth78 // Vision Oriented Children's and Youth Ministry

In our many years of mountain hiking, my family has only once experienced feeling hopelessly lost. We became surrounded by thick forest between two mountain buttes.  Although we continued to walk and make some progress, we did a lot of backtracking—wasting valuable time. It wasn’t until we emerged from the thick trees that we were able to gain perspective and see our desired final destination—a point in the far distance. Keeping that point constantly before us enabled us to complete the hike without further confusion and backtracking. Our hike became “vision-oriented.” It made all the difference.

Yet, too often, we tend to get “lost in the trees” in children’s and youth ministry. How so? By focusing primarily on short-term goals for the coming year. What curricula should we use this year? What devotional materials should we recommend to parents? What special activities do we want for the youth this year? Etc. All of these are good questions to address, but without a larger vision, you may find your children’s ministry going in various directions from year to year which may result in serious gaps in the children’s spiritual instruction. Continue Reading…

Why “Truth78”?

Truth78 // Why Truth78

Yes, it’s official! Children Desiring God has a new name: Truth78. But in all honesty, I need to confess that this surprisingly “simple” name did not jump out at us quickly. Our leadership and staff spent months considering dozens of possibilities, but slowly, we all became convinced that Truth and 78 best represented our ministry’s heart, vision, and mission. Continue Reading…

Introducing Truth78

Introducing Truth78

Today is the beginning of our mission as Truth78!

We’re releasing three new resources for church and family ministry, updating our web presence, and officially introducing our ministry at the Truth78 Inauguration in Louisville, Kentucky that will be livestreamed for anyone to join. We’ll also be giving away copies of a new book, Indestructible Joy for the Next Generations, both at our launch event and at the T4G Conference April 11-13.

OUR VISION

Our prayer is that this new beginning as Truth78 will allow us to more strategically fulfill our vision that the next generations may know, honor and treasure God.

Hear John Piper describe the significance of Psalm 78’s emphasis on teaching the next generations … so that they might put their hope in God.

 

NEW RESOURCES

Glorious God, Glorious Gospel

An interactive devotional for families that can be paired with a companion coloring book and notebook for children.

When I Am Afraid

This picture book encourages young children to look to God for courage as it weaves together stories about everyday fears, God’s promises, and truths about our all-powerful God.

Indestructible Joy for the Next Generations

An anthology featuring chapters by John Piper, Albert Mohler, Russell Moore, Bruce Ware, and more.

Subscribe to our new e-newsletter, “Joy for the Next Generations,” and we’ll give you a free e-book version of Indestructible Joy for the Next Generations!

Truth78 New Resources

WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA CHANGES

Find new details at Truth78.org. Follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

Our curriculum and resources have received some minor changes to match the new brand but the content is staying the same. You can continue to shop the materials at childrendesiringGod.org until the new Truth78 website is fully launched or contact us at 877.400.1414 with questions.

TRUTH78 INAUGURATION EVENT

We hope you can join us for the Truth78 Inauguration tonight at 7pm Eastern (6pm Central)—either at Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, KY or via our livestream.

COME SEE US AT T4G

If you’re going to be attending the T4G conference April 11-13, find us at our booth in the Galt House exhibit hall where you can see our new resources and learn more about our change to Truth78. Everyone who signs up for our new Truth78 e-newsletter, will get a complimentary copy of Indestructible Joy for the Next Generations and will be entered to win a framed leaf of Psalm 78 from a 1611 King James Bible.

PRAYER

We would value your prayer for this new mission as Truth78—that it would be the means for millions in the next generations to set their hope in Christ alone, so that they will live as faithful disciples for the glory of God.

 

Children Desiring God to Become Truth78 on April 10

Children Desiring God to Become Truth78

After months of planning and preparation, we are excited to announce that on April 10 Children Desiring God will officially become Truth78, an independent 501(c)3 organization structured to more strategically fulfill our mission to equip the next generations to know, honor, and treasure God. We will mark this launch on April 10 with a new website, new resources, and a special launch event.

The name Truth78 connects us to Psalm 78, which has been a signature text defining our ministry over the past 20 years. Psalm 78 charges us to take this testimony we’ve received from our fathers and faithfully pass it on to the next generation so that they would set their hope in God.

Ever since Children Desiring God was established as a ministry of Desiring God in 1998, these two ministries have shared a similar name, typeface, and color palette. Over the past 20 years, however, as Children Desiring God grew more broadly as a developer of curriculum, the Fighter Verses™ Scripture memory tools, family discipleship resources, and vision-casting and training, Desiring God has increasingly focused its emphasis on spreading a passion for the supremacy of God through resources on DesiringGod.org. Continue Reading…

When the Spring Storms Blow

Children Desiring God Blog // When the Spring Storms Blow

Spring is for warmer days, longer light, budding trees, and…storms! As a young child, I remember being terrified of storms. The winds, lightning, thunder, and hail made me a nervous wreck. The sound of a severe storm warning siren would send me running to the basement where I would huddle in a corner. Thankfully, a storm no longer strikes the same kind of terror in me because…

For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.Psalm 135:5-7

As a child, I wish I had had these truths spoken into my life. A foundation of God’s providence over nature serves as a sure stronghold for enduring the storms that come our way. To that end, here is a short story from Noel Piper that you could share and talk about with your children and students:

Hiding from God’s Storm

Continue Reading…

Chicken Soup for Children’s Ministry

Children Desiring God Blog // Chicken Soup for Children's Ministry

I don’t know about your family, but our family has been hit hard with the cold and flu season this year. We are tired and worn out! So I really appreciated the day my good friend Linda showed up at our door with some homemade chicken soup. Oh how good and soothing that soup was! Her thoughtfulness made us feel very loved and cared for. Encouragement from others goes a long way.

In children’s ministry, there are times we, too, need “chicken soup.” We need the “food” of biblical encouragement—words that soothe our souls, cheer our hearts, and build up our strength and resolve to persevere, especially during the hard times. We need to be reminded that the work we are doing, when done for the Lord and in His power, is never in vain. Continue Reading…

Don’t Toss Aside the Hull and Mast

Children Desiring God Blog // Don't Toss Aside the Hull and Mast

One of the things I’ve noticed about children’s and youth ministry in the past few years is a renewed and increased evangelistic impulse—an urgency to teach children about Jesus and the Gospel so that they might be saved. This is a wonderful change from the all-too-common emphasis on Gospel-less moralism of the past. My concern, however, is that sometimes for the sake of urgency—wanting our children to get saved as soon as possible (a really good desire)—we may be minimizing the very foundation on which that salvation depends. I found this illustration, from an article over at 9Marks, to be really helpful:

Let’s say, for the sake of illustration, that you are on a ship sailing to a faraway town to warn the people of impending doom. If you don’t get there in time, everyone dies. Needless to say, you want your ship to sail as fast as possible. You avoid any excess cargo that might slow your progress. You don’t waste time worrying about clean decks or polished brass. The urgency of the task requires you to operate with efficiency and leanness. Continue Reading…

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