I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s post is from our managing editor of The Gospel Project and a new author, Brian Dembowczyk, whose book, Cornerstones, launched on April 1. Knowing God is the first step to loving Him and living for Him. Read, learn, and enjoy.
I am one of the bookworms that have not got halfway into my Bible yet; but I am eating my way as fast as I can. This one thing I have proved to myself beyond all question; I shall never, never exhaust this precious book. —C.H. Spurgeon [The Treasury of the New Testament, II:365.]
In one sense, the Bible is simple to summarize: It is the story of God’s plan to redeem people from sin through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But this summary is pregnant with concepts needing further explanation. Who is God? Who is Jesus? What is sin? What is redemption? How did Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection provide redemption? How does a person experience this redemption? Then, each answer to these questions prompts many more questions. And on and on it goes, which is why Spurgeon realized he would never exhaust God’s Word. There are always more questions to explore, more truths about God to digest, more reasons to be in awe of our Creator.
As parents, God has called us to teach our children this Bible, one that we are often still struggling to understand ourselves. We are to plunge into its waters and explore its inexhaustible depths with our children, which can feel overwhelming in itself. But God has called us to even more than that. We aren’t just to help our kids understand God’s Word; we are to help them love God’s Word and, more precisely, to love its Author.
So how do we do this? Where do we start? This is where it might be helpful to consider that if you are a parent, you are a leader. That’s not to say that parenting and leading an organization are exactly the same, but many times, leadership principles carry over into parenting (and vice versa).
Imagine, then, that you were responsible for launching a challenging, new initiative for your organization. What would you do? You would probably begin by formulating and casting vision, then you would develop and work a plan, and finally, you would seek to anchor the initiative into your organization’s culture. So what if we swap out “initiative for your organization” with “teaching God’s Word to our kids”? It might look something like this:
1. Formulate a compelling vision.
The vision for teaching our kids God’s Word cannot rest on being obedient to God’s calling. Yes, we need to obey God, but our vision must be deeper than that. It needs to be one that moves us from a posture of “have to” to “want to.” Our vision, then, should be anchored to the win we are after, not the process, and that win is kids who have God’s Word implanted deeply in their minds and hearts and who live out the gospel with joy and gratitude. That is a better vision, one that compels us to roll up our sleeves day after day and teach our kids God’s Word even when it is challenging.
2. Develop a plan.
As leaders, we don’t toss a goal out before our people and merely hope we reach it. We know wins don’t happen by accident; they require careful planning and intentionality. Teaching kids about God is no different. We need to set aside regular times to teach our children about God and the Bible and then ferociously guard it each week. During these times, we should at least seek to read God’s Word together, break down the big ideas we find in Scripture into bite-sized morsels our kids can digest, and pray together.
3. Change the culture.
Sticking to our family discipleship plan is the best thing—and the worst thing—we can do. We need to work our plan and not give up, but if we only work our plan, we will miss important opportunities during the normal rhythm of life to talk about God with our kids. Our scheduled times of family discipleship are just the start. Our goal is to have organic conversations about God throughout the day—that’s what Deuteronomy 6 is all about. We need to look for every opportunity we can find, or create, to talk about the wonders of God, His Word, and the gospel. We are after a family culture where we naturally talk about and live out God’s Word.