September 26

Five Smooth Stones for Children’s Ministry: Truth

Mom and Dad had a strange rule when we were growing up. We could not play football in the front room, or inside the house anywhere.

Can you imagine? The three boys felt that this was an overly restrictive policy.

So, when Mom and Dad went out, we recruited my sisters for a game. My older sister went down and out, and my older brother threw a pass to the sideline.

The ball was just off her fingertips...shattering mom’s favorite lamp.

We quickly placed all the lamp parts on the coffee table. The guilt and fear was palatable.

However, instead of telling the truth we decide to lie as a unit and stonewall my parents. This was a popular strategy in those days ?!

They returned home and soon discovered the broken lamp while the five kids were sulking around the house in fear. Dad called all five children into the front room, and we lined up from oldest to youngest.

He started with my oldest brother and asked what happened to the lamp. Steve denied any knowledge. This line of inquiry continued, one by one, down to my younger sister who sweetly chirped out a lack of knowledge. Awesome!

Dad looked at mom and then back to the kids and announced that all five of us were going to be spanked. One for breaking the lamp and four for lying! Not so awesome!

He began with my younger sister Julie, who I was sworn to protect. Before Dad had even taken her out of line, I blurted out, “Tim did it!.” Half of us started crying as the stonewall was dismantled.

Dad never did spank any of us but instead talked about how we had household rules for a reason and how lying only made matters worse. I remember the feeling of relief, joy, and freedom when the truth came out and the lie was exposed. 

Children Need Biblical Truth

children need biblical truth

Children need freedom, joy, and relief today. They need the truth to replace the “stonewall” of lies that society has erected. 

The third smooth stone, biblical truth, is just the tool for exposing the lies. Children are taught that their value is in accomplishments, possessions or looks (Ephesians 2:4-5).

The truth is, they are children of God, who loves them dearly and unconditionally.

Children are taught that relationships are temporal and are broken at will. The truth is that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35). This list could go on endlessly.

Biblical truth is a crucial “Smooth Stone” for defeating the giant lies of our age.

Impressing God's Word on Our Children

impressing God's Word on our children

Earlier, we noted the foundational importance of Smooth Stone #1 – Relationships.

In Deuteronomy 6:6, Moses taught us that God’s commandments “are to be on your hearts.” In a relationship with children, we are to model the Christian life and let the love of God flow through us into their lives. 

Smooth Stone #2 was the need to teaching through the everyday experiences of life “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up (vs. 7).”

Moses then built on that relational foundation with the truth. He said to “impress them on your children” (v. 7).

The key to understanding what Moses meant is in the words “them” and “impress.” The word them appears five times in Deuteronomy 6:7-9. 

Them certainly refers to the Ten Commandments that Moses had reiterated in Deuteronomy 5. Them, however, came to be understood during the Christian era, as the entire Law and then, as the entirety of Scripture.

In line with this view, we understand that God commands us to impress all of God’s Word on our children.

There is a lot to be said about the word impress. My wife made me promise me that I would not go into “trivial” detail about the meaning of impress, so I’ll just say that the general sense of the word is “repetition.”

This Hebrew word is only used this one time in the entire Old Testament. A closely related word is found in Deuteronomy 32:41—When I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me.

Picture the repetitive motion used to sharpen a sword on a stone. The point being made is, communicating the Word of God once is not enough. Only with repetitive teaching will a child be able to grasp the meaning of Scripture.

When children really understand God’s Word, they are likely to act upon it.

The Response of a Child Who Understood God's Word

response of a child who understood God's word

I am reminded of a young girl at a church service in Chile.

The pastor of the Assemblies of God church in Quilpue, Chile, was the chairman of the EGM-Chile Board of Directors. Whenever I visited, he asked me to preach.

So, there I was, sitting with two colleagues on my right. The pew to my left was empty until a few minutes into the service when a girl about nine or ten years old came and sat by herself at the end of the pew.

When I was invited to the front, I stepped into the pulpit and preached up a storm. Well, actually, the translator preached up a storm, and I really have no idea what he said.

My colleagues assured me afterward that he accurately translated most of what I said. It all appeared to go great! 

Now it was time for the offering. The pastor rose in front of the congregation, and four deacons with large baskets came and stood before the church. The pastor prayed, and then people came forward with their offerings.

I looked down the pew, and the little girl stood up and headed to the front. Standing right behind her, I saw her drop one small coin into the offering basket. Her gift was about the value of one US dime. It touched my heart.

When we returned to our places, the worship team led us in a time of praise and worship, and then the pastor asked our EGM team to the front.

He introduced our Chilean director who shared briefly about the ministry. Then the pastor announced that the church was taking a special offering for our ministry’s work with children in Chile.

The four deacons returned with empty baskets, and most of the congregation rose and walked to the front, including—to my amazement—the girl at the end of my pew. She dropped her other coin into the offering basket, and I was choking back tears.

This young girl was giving an offering to God for a ministry that was for her benefit. The sincerity on her face and the sacrificial nature of her gift touched me deeply. I will never forget her. 

Effective Children's Ministry Teaches the Truth

effective children's ministry teaches truth

When children hear biblical truth and understand it, they frequently respond, just as that girl did in Chile. 

We will return to this crucial issue in the weeks ahead but suffice it to say here that children need to know what God’s Word says and means.

We who teach children need to be able to communicate God’s Word in a culturally relevant way that is developmentally appropriate.

We need to be committed to repeating again and again the truth of God’s Word; God’s Word is truth, and effective children’s workers must repeatedly teach that truth to boys and girls.

Effective children’s ministry teaches the truth (Deuteronomy 6:7).

You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}