“Daddy,” my six-year-old leaned over and whispered in my ear, “should I change it to baseball? Because that’s what our family does”— and I was reminded that family discipleship can be far simpler than we sometimes think.
This research into the history of age-organized ministries in the church is based on an academic paper that I presented to the practical theology section of the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Providence, Rhode Island, on November 16, 2017.
This post is the second in a three-part series.
“At Midday, There Is to Be Catechism”: Weekly Classes for Children in Sixteenth-Century Geneva
John Calvin provided instructions for catechesis in the same section of the ecclesiastical ordinances in which he described the frequency and locations for weekly pastoral proclamations of Scripture. He directed that each Sunday “at midday, there is to be catechism, that is, instruction of little children, in all the three churches.” The individual responsible for this instruction in each congregation was to be the pastor.
These weekly catechetical classes were designed as a distinct and separate gathering for children, and children’s attendance was not optional. Continue reading.
This research into the history of age-organized ministries in the church is based on an academic paper that I presented to the practical theology section of the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Providence, Rhode Island, on November 16, 2017. This post is the first in a three-part series.
In recent years, a small but vocal cluster of church leaders has contended that age-organized programs and ministries in the church should be eliminated. These proponents of “family-integrated church” have called for churches to dismantle programs that practice systematic “age-segregated discipleship.” In churches that follow this model, the congregation has no youth ministers, children’s ministers, or nursery. “We do not divide families into component parts,” writes one proponent of family-integrated churches. “We don’t even do it in Bible study.” The support claimed for family-integrated ministry is typically twofold, contending both that age-organized ministries are unwarranted by Scripture and that ministries for children and youth are a recent innovation that represents the imposition of “individualistic philosophies” in the church.
The first family ministry book I ever read was Family-Based Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries. My first response was to reject family ministry as a preposterous idea in my particular context.
It took two years for the struggles of ministry and the work of the Holy Spirit to change my mind.
Childhood identity theft.
It’s a real thing.
Thieves steal children’s Social Security numbers and then appropriate their financial identities for personal profit. “Children represent an emerging market for identity thieves who steal their Social Security numbers because they offer clean slates that can be used to commit fraud for years without detection,” one CPA has observed. “Many victims don’t learn about the crime until they are young adults and find their credit in tatters as they are rejected for student loans, jobs, and places to live.”
(If you happen to have run across this post because you need information about that type of identity theft, here’s a helpful and free tool: Child Identity Theft Education Kit.)
Childhood identity theft is also, however, a real phenomenon in a far longer-lasting aspect of a child’s life.Continue reading.
Are you effectively training, involving, and equipping the parents in your ministry to be the main faith influencers for their children?
Consider how your family ministry events might be more effective using this TIE Test, which simply asks, “How could this activity Train, Involve, or Equip parents as primary faith influencers? How could it Train, Involve, or Equip our church to embrace our role with spiritual orphans?” Then write down how each activity might look different after the TIE Test.
Read to take the TIE test? Click here.
Are children necessary in a Christian family? In a recent article Dr. David Schrock, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Seymour, Indiana says,
“In truth, the Great Commission must begin with our own families. In Christ, be fruitful and multiply takes on greater significance—we are to make disciples of those outside our families and we are to have children whom we can disciple. Refusing to raise children for the sake of personal giftedness is not a display of godliness. It is a refusal to participate in God’s plan of creating image-bearers who worship him.”
Dr. Schrock has some challenging thoughts regarding why Christian families must not neglect the responsibility of raising children, whether born to us or through adoption. Read the entire article here.