“He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”
Jason and I had the privilege of attending the Children’s Desiring God Regional Conference in Atlanta last month. It was such an encouraging weekend being surrounded by believers who are passionate about teaching and training the next generation.
The conference centered around Psalm 78 and that as Christians, we are all called to teach and proclaim who God is to the next generation.
Going into the conference, my expectation was to gain practical resources that we can use to enhance our Children’s Ministry. However, I walked away feeling more personally challenged.
We were able to choose two seminars to attend. One of the seminars I chose was Lesson Preparation and Presentation. I thought it might be helpful to gain some fresh ideas for our volunteers who teach on Sunday mornings.
This was such an awesome seminar and although I did gain some practical resources, what I took away from this training centered more around Psalm 145:4.
One generation shall praise your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
I have heard this verse many times before, but what stood out to me this time was the word praise. Yes, we are all called to teach the next generation, but how? By praising His works and telling of His mighty acts! We are not called to merely tell our children about Jesus, we are to praise His works to them.
The speaker shared this quote by John Piper, “Dry, unemotional teaching about God–whether at home or at church–is half-truth, at best. It says one thing about God and portrays another thing. It is inconsistent. It says that God is great, but teaches as if God is not great.”
Along with praising His works, the speaker spoke about preparing our own hearts before we teach. She advised spending the entire week before studying the lesson and seeing what God has to teach us before we go and teach children. I often have the mindset that it’s okay if I prepare the lesson the night before, morning of, or even just “wing it” on Sunday morning.
God is ultimately the one at work in our children’s hearts and He uses our teaching, but how much more excited I would be if I adequately took the time to prepare the lesson and see how God used it in my own personal life. Taking time to prepare the lesson, allows ourselves time to meditate on the Biblical truths of the lesson and for God to use these truths in our own hearts. We then have so much more to impart to children and we will prayerfully be more excited about what we are teaching.
I often feel the need to be brainstorming new ideas and thinking of new creative activities to improve our Children’s Ministry. However, it was encouraging for me to be reminded of the simple things, the main thing, the Gospel. To be reminded that it is God who is at work at Trinity Park and how exciting it is to be a part of that. He is the reason we roll in carts and set up chairs.
He is the reason we meet in a school’s gymnasium every Sunday, so that we can share the good news of Jesus with our community.
As a young church, we can sometimes feel busy, over-volunteered, or exhausted on Sunday mornings, but my prayer is that we will not forget that God is great and His acts are mighty. I pray that as a church body, we are full of joy, excitement, exuberance, and exultation when talking about God and teaching His word. Our children will see this excitement and more than likely will be interested in knowing this joy for themselves.
I was challenged after the conference to spend more time with God, memorize scripture, etc, but more importantly to pray that God would be at work in my heart to be passionate about Him and that I will praise His works to the next generation.