If you went to church as a child, do you remember going to Sunday School or Awana? You learned about God and His plan. If you were blessed enough to grow up in church, I’d bet you remember Mr. Salazar or Mrs. Pollard. Of course, their names were different, but you remember men and women who taught you about Jesus and who modeled a deep love for Him and you and other kids. His impact or her impact runs deep in your faith formation. If this is your story, you know the importance firsthand of passing on the faith to the next generation.
In fact, the Bible is the amazing story of a great and awesome God who redeems a broken and sinful people for Himself. He rescues us from our sin, gives us life, and will one day take us to be with Him forever. David reflects on God’s incredible plan of redemption in Psalm 22 as he envisions the message of redemption being shared with generations not yet born, “… the next generation will be told about the Lord. They will come and declare his righteousness; to a people yet to be born they will declare what he has done” (Ps 22:30-31).
As a church, God calls us to pass the truth of the gospel faithfully to the next generation. This calling is undoubtedly among the most urgent given to the church. What an awesome charge! Of course, the Bible is clear that parents bear ultimate responsibility for their children’s faith training. However, the church comes alongside parents in this critical mission and ministers to children who come from homes whose parents aren’t believers.
Who will teach and disciple the next generation of kids who are growing up in the church? When our little ones are adults and many in our generation have gone on to be with the Lord, who will our little ones remember as that woman or that man who showed them what it means to love Jesus and to be shaped by God’s Word? Will it be you?
As you read these words, a thousand thoughts probably flood your mind. Reasons that it can’t be you. It is so difficult to commit to teaching a class every single Sunday or Wednesday night. You have this and you have that to take care of; you need to travel for this reason or that reason. Many of these things are truly important, but might the Lord be calling you to sacrifice for something that is even greater? Could you be that man or that woman who will be remembered by the kids for the rest of their lives? What a great and lasting legacy! Is God calling you?
Last week, I wrote about the importance of passing on our faith to our children (Part One). Spending time together in family worship is a crucial part of this faith training. Here are some tips for family worship:
Keep it simple and fun
- Keep a manageable time (10 -15 minutes)
- Don’t lecture. Encourage family discussion
- Strive to maintain an enjoyable and fun atmosphere; make it a special family time
Set a regular time
- Encourage everyone in the family to plan for this time
- Find a time that is not hurried or pressured (if that’s possible)
Have a plan
Here’s an outline to help you as you plan your family devotional times.
- Pray (1 minute)
- Read the Word (7 minutes)
- What’s the main idea of the passage?
- How can we live out this truth?
- Sing a song (2 minutes)
- Pick a song that is related to the biblical passage if possible
- If no one in your family plays piano or guitar, use YouTube
- Pray (5 minutes)
- Write down prayer requests in a family prayer journal
- Ask for a volunteer to pray for each request
Strive for consistency
- Meet daily or as many days each week as possible
- Strive to have all members of the family present, but proceed even if not
- When schedules don’t work out, don’t give up. Keep trying.
Click here for more resources for family worship.
Your elementary child comes home from school asking if God really created the universe. Your teenager tells you that God seems mean to limit marriage to a man and woman. Your college student says that she no longer believes in Christianity in light of the various world religions.
In today’s world, holding to the Christian faith is more challenging than ever. Undoubtedly, our faith will not be reinforced by other cultural forces as it might have been in the past. Consider the fact that nearly every cultural institution has capitulated to the sexual revolution, even the Boy Scouts. In fact, much of the culture not only doesn’t support traditional Christian beliefs but instead is openly hostile to biblical faith.
If our children remain steadfast in the faith, it is vital that dads and moms take faith training of their children seriously. Without a firm commitment to teach and model a vibrant love for Christ and to teach a biblical worldview to our children, it is very unlikely that they will hold to the Christian faith as they mature. Consider this biblical admonition:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:4-9
A crucial tool in passing on the faith to our children is family worship. In family worship, parents and children gather together daily or several days a week to read the Word, pray, and sing. This time might be at breakfast, around the dinner table, or even a few minutes before bed.
Next week, I’ll post some practical tips for leading family worship.
 Richard Gonzalez, “Boy Scouts Will Admit Transgender Boys,” NPR, January 31, 2017, accessed March 15, 2017, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/31/512541372/boy-scouts-will-admit-transgender-boys.
Greg Gibson, family ministries pastor at Foothills Church in Knoxville, TN, challenges teens to rethink dating. He encourages teens to view dating as prep for marriage and to date when marriage is actually in view. While many teens will push back at Gibson’s suggestions, there is much wisdom here for those who will hear. Read Gibson’s article.