In a recent blog post Coleman Ford, PhD student at Southern Seminary, asks the question, “Should we reward children and youth for spiritual activities?” He says,
Spiritual activities such as reading and memorizing Scripture, prayer, worship and evangelism are the duty (yes, duty) of all followers of Jesus Christ. These activities do not accumulate merit, but rather are the natural outflow of a heart raptured by the love of Christ (see John 15:8-11). When rewards for such activities are introduced into the equation then the matter of motivation becomes suspect. Does Scripture memorization stem from a heart to know God’s word, or to receive a reward for committing a series of words to memory? Is inviting friends to church based on a heart-felt desire to bring lost people to the Lord, or is it based on a determination to receive recognition? By rewarding youth with prizes for most friends invited to a youth event, we are communicating a message which says, “This is not important enough to implore you to bring friends because of a love for the gospel and the lost. Instead we will incite you with rewards and recognition for performing a task with a pragmatic outcome.”
Why are rewards dangerous? What’s the alternative? Ford goes on to give three reasons for why rewards for basic spiritual activities can be lethal to our children’s spiritual health. Take a look at the article and evaluate your own ministry priorities and practices.
Click here for the entire post.