Confession…I just got back from a children’s ministry conference and I learned SO MUCH!
My mind is full of so much information right now that I think it’s just going to explode! There were topics covered there that were the traditional children’s ministry topics. However, I attended a few that were not so typical. I checked out sessions that covered how to tell interactive stories to preschoolers. I learned how to understand preschoolers (that was insightful). I even checked the worshiping with the children session. The not so typical sessions on gospel centered children’s ministry and ministering to children in a post-christian world were intriguing! Good stuff!
As good as all those things were, I wished they had covered the real need in children’s ministry: How to call parents to teach their children the Gospel and Bible truths, and how to best equip them for that job. Now, this is going to be one of my soapbox issues so bear with me. But remember, you can always quit reading now and save yourself some time.
As parents, my husband and I take the job of passing down faith very seriously. We believe in God. Be embrace the gospel as our centering point. We worship God and we want our kids to see us demonstrate that in our everyday life. We don’t always get this job done perfectly, but everyday we set that as our goal. However, we were not always so passionate about that job. During the early years, we operated under the assumption that our church would cover that for us. We’ll send them to children’s church and they’ll learn about God there. We were off the hook. I’m not saying it’s right, but it is what we believed. Why? Where is that in the Bible? Where does it say that our church is supposed to teach our kids about biblical truths and we as parents take a back seat to the job. Deuteronomy 6 tells us this about who is to instruct the children:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The parents! We do the job! We read this verse and realized it is our job to pass our faith down to our children. It is our job to do. We took that seriously and began asking God to equip us to do this job well. Our church partners with us and we love using them as a resource. The kids are involved in a ministry geared toward them but ultimately, Sunday morning isn’t the only time they hear about God’s love for them. Sunday morning isn’t the only time they receive instruction on what gospel centered living should look like.
Now, I know what you’re going to say. “I don’t know how to do that.” “I never learned how to parent like that.” “My parents didn’t believe in God so I never saw that modeled.” You know what, I get that. I totally do, but please don’t let that be the reason you don’t try. I realize I’m pointing out a problem and I’m not offering a whole lot on solutions, but I really believe that where there is a desire to teach the gospel to your kids, God fills in the gaps you may have. It’s an ongoing job that never stops. It’s exhausting and brain draining. It will take a pride-swallowing siege on your desire to be comfortable and look like you know what you’re doing. Children’s ministry can be an amazing partner to what you are doing daily, but it is not fair to ask them to be the only source of gospel input to our child’s heart.
So, help your churches children’s ministry out and ask yourself, “Am I doing my job?” If you are then KUDOS! Keep it up. If you are not…. well…why not?
Until another confession…