Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pass on a Heritage of Faith - It Matters

The Question Nobody Asks About Our Children - Larry FowlerIn light of Larry Fowlers book, The Question Nobody Asks about Our Children and the new results of the Pew Research Center's Study on Religion in America, we can not rely on the one to three hours out of 168 to 336 hours our grandchildren/children are in our churches to pass on our faith. We have to become serious about focusing on the other 165-167/333-335 hours which provide opportunity to impact children. (Larry wrote about how there are 168 hours in a week and children are at church for one to three of these hours. If children only attend church every other week - as so many do, they are only there for one to three hours of 336 hours.) This means we have to focus on passing on a heritage of faith to our grandchildren/children and can not just rely on the church with the mind-set "It's their 'job'."

Again, yes, I do believe it matters if our grandchildren/children participate actively in a children's minisitry and I do believe churches  have to have effective, engaging and exciting children's ministry. But, we can not continue to, "put all our eggs in one basket", the "basket" of children's ministry and expect we will have enough influence to reach and keep children. The statistics just do not back this up. Of course, there are children who are reached by children's ministry. Children who do go on to know, love and walk with Jesus, but there are far too many who leave the church as they grow up. Far, far too many.

So, I want to ask you; what are you doing to pass on a heritage of faith? While the church can have a role in ministry to and with children, the primary responsibility for this is lies with the parents and grandparents. Look at Deuteronomy 6:1-9, 12a -
These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess,so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. 
10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord
God gave the primary responsibility for passing on a heritage of faith to parents and grandparents - "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." This is talking about our day-in-day-out everyday lives - the 168 hours of a week; not the one to three hours of a week.

So, again, I ask, what are you doing to pass on a heritage of faith? It matters so very much for us to not be intentional about passing on a Heritage of Faith to our grandchildren/children. This is not only something, one of many things which are important; it just is important. If we do not do this, really, everything else we do will not truly matter.

I am going to be writing about this on both of my blogs, because while it matters what happens at church with children, if we truly want to impact children, we need to be focused on doing all we can to pass on a Heritage of Faith to our own grandchildren/children. Keep watching because this Summer I will be releasing a curriculum I'm writing which will help grandparents/parents do exactly this. It is called, Science, the Bible & Fun! Each week's activity has a science project, options for fun Minute-to-win-it type games, crafts, cooking projects, service projects and the first year focuses on helping children learn to pray the Psalms!

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