A Word from Pastor Oren - July
Psalm 127:3-4 - Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.
How do we as a church family reach generation after generation with the gospel? This is a difficult question, and even more difficult to answer. In fact, there have been countless books, articles, conferences and seminars written and hosted for decades about how to do children and family ministry effectively within the church. If the answers to those questions were easy and the effectiveness of those principles was certain, then every church would be doing it and doing it well. But that is not the case in our modern, fast-paced, entertainment driven culture where it seems the church is spending more time and resources trying to keep up with an increasingly secular society rather than keeping up with honoring God’s commands.
One of the challenges that we face together is the tremendous need in our city to reach families. Let me be clear on this matter: We are not just searching for more children; we want moms and dads just as much as children. There is merit in reaching out with focused ministry directed at children, because they will at the very least indirectly involve their parents. But what I believe FBC BR must do is make a concerted and intentional effort to reach moms and dads as well as children. We want families, and we want to strengthen and encourage families for generations to come.
I want to share with you three ideas based upon Psalm 127:3-4 about what ministry to children and families is really about. 1) We must first understand that ministry to children and families is a lifetime investment, not just a short-term program. We are participating in Kingdom work, but it is not our kingdom, it is God’s. This is why the Psalmist writes “children are a heritage from the Lord”. The young lives that walk through our doors each and every week are God’s blessing to us and they will be his heritage for generations to come. Our children are not ultimately for us; rather they are for God and his purposes. We must be intentional about the ways we teach and care for them. 2) The way we bless God’s kingdom is by helping parents understand their eternally significant role as the warriors who have been given arrows for battle. “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” As a parent, this truth has always struck me as being so much bigger than me. The parents of children are to be God’s people, like warriors, who are fighting for God’s truth and glory here on earth. And in our hands we hold our greatest weapons: our children. They will one day inherit the task of fighting for God’s truth, so we are to sharpen them day after day, week after week, and year after year. This is a challenge that is always before us. Therefore, we must not only train up children, but more importantly, parents. Because every parent will one day send their child out into this hostile world, they must sharpen them in preparation for what they will encounter. 3) How do we prepare our children like “arrows”? Teach them the Word of God! Parents sharpen their children by teaching, singing, and praying the word of God. When we teach our children to “hide God’s word in their hearts”, we are actively “training them up in the way they should go.” This makes sense doesn’t it? Teach parents to train children in what God’s word commands, and when they are ready, send them out to do as God commands. This must be our priority as a church. I know these only seem like lofty concepts without any real actions, but if we don’t know what family ministry is really for, then our actions will be about programming for entertainment and convenience without a purpose.
Here is what we are doing now, but with more to come.
- Masterpiece Kids is our art camp that is essentially replacing our annual VBS, but it has the same purpose and goal. We will teach children God’s word and the gospel message while training them in the arts. This will engage entire families in the life of FBC.
- Pastor’s Pals is the weekly challenge for our children to memorize scripture. Those that memorize all their verses will be treated to a pizza and putt-putt party with the pastor (fun!).
- Our plan is to begin Bible drill this fall. We will develop a plan to involve parents and children in this effective ministry. And what must you do? Get involved. Serve where servants are needed. Pray with expectation that God will bless our efforts. We are in this together, so let’s do this together with all of our hearts for God’s glory.
Your Pastor, Oren
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