I’m going to ruffle a feather or two…So, let me start out by saying I think highly of the people and many friends who work in children’s ministry. It’s a tough ministry…I called it the Armageddon ministry when I labored therein. Why? Because some days when the last kid was (finally) picked up I would have gladly welcomed the End of Days…with open arms. No joke. Children’s ministry is exhausting and a labor of love. I make it a point to thank every individual who tends to my children on every Sunday morning.
I used to haul the kids to church every time the doors were open. Over the summer I would enroll them in several Vacation Bible Schools in the community. We quit attending all but Sunday morning service almost a year ago. I just did not feel that my children were really learning much and we were losing time together as a family. Service is great but not at the expense of time with my husband and children. I’ve thunk a thought or two over this and sought God’s heart on the matter.
I’ve heard a few sermons now on young adults leaving their faith. These are Christian kids reared in the Church who are leaving their beliefs behind and embracing worldly, secular culture. I think today’s culture is increasingly anti-Christian and is becoming more actively hostile each year. I do not want my children to embrace the secular culture. I want them to have a deep and abiding faith in God and a trusting love in the Scripture. Statistics show they will not get this in children’s ministry. Why?
I really do not know the answer. There are some books that have come out recently but I am not sure anyone has a concrete answer to why our kids are leaving their faith behind. I will share my thoughts and welcome your views as well. My kids have been taught many Old Testament stories. They know about Abraham, Isaac, Noah and Moses. Once my oldest asked me if I would kill him if God asked me to. When I asked him why he would ask me such a crazy question he told me the Abraham story he learned in church that day. Sobering moment.
I think the theology of the Old Testament is not for children. We teach them about Noah and Moses but the significance of these passages are not easily grasped by young children. We teach our children how great and faithful Abraham was and fail to point out that it is God who is faithful despite Abraham’s unfaithfulness. God remained faithful to his people despite their unfaithfulness to Him. The Law points out our need for a Savior and I think this is the basic teaching of the Old Testament. I am not sure that my children are ready to learn this…or capable until the middle school years. The Old Testament is rich and I do not want them to disregard it as reading material for children when they get older.
We are going to disciple our children ourselves. I was naïve to think they received enough instruction from church. God’s word is meant to be passed from the parents. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9,Proverbs 1:8, 2 Timothy 1:5) The whole point of the Scriptures is to teach us about and point us to Jesus. So we will not begin with the Old Testament…we will begin with the Gospel…with Jesus. I want them to know and trust Jesus more than I want them to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible.