On 29th April around 20 children’s leaders and helpers met at church for an evening with Mel Lacey of ‘Growing Young Disciples’. This was one of our termly training sessions for our children’s team. It’s always wonderful to encourage one another in this work, to be reminded of the importance of teaching and loving our young people and to share ideas, and this evening was no exception!
Mel shared the incredible statistic that 85% of Christians in the UK say that they started following Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14 and urged us to consider therefore the importance of passing on the gospel to the next generation. We looked at Psalm 78:1-8 and reflected on this. As we teach our children excellently and wisely we lay the foundations for youth work, which lays the foundation for adult work in church, which becomes the foundation for children’s work as those adults teach the next generation of children – it’s a virtuous circle!
We live in a culture where more and more children are leaving the church when they leave home (around 70%) and where most children never attend at all. How can we make sure that our children’s work is impactful?
Mel encouraged us to make sure that we keep the bible central in all we do and pray for our children regularly. As we teach our sessions we seek to teach them who God is, help them to know him personally, and encourage them to trust him in all things and to live according to his word, even when that makes them very different from the culture around them. We should encourage them to ask the ‘so what’? of any Bible passage. How does what they’ve learned about God change their lives? Following Jesus is about knowing him better and having his Spirit change our hearts and attitudes; this is the same for us and the children God has brought into our church family.
Thanks to Mel for such a brilliant session. And thanks to all our chidlren's leaders who prepare to teach our children so carefully Sunday by Sunday. Parents, why not think about how you can encourage and support our Sunday school teachers, as they support you in teaching your children? And why not make it your ambition to make the most of their hard-work for you by bringing you children Sunday by Sunday?