While talking with pastor Joel Hayworth today, I asked him, “What has sustained you most in life and ministry?” He shared, “I learned spiritual disciplines while I was in the fourth grade. These disciplines carried me through junior high, high school, and college, through good times and difficult times. I learned how to have a daily quiet time, Scripture memory, and service at a young age.”
If you are a children’s pastor/leader, you, like me, want children to walk through life with a solid, faithful foundation that will sustain them through the storms of life. Children today face challenges that many of us never faced at their age. Our culture is bent on their destruction. Without a solid faith, it will be difficult for them to withstand the tests they face. However, they have a Savior who will maintain them and give them a solid footing—Jesus Christ. He is our source of strength and power. He is the center of our target and the goal of our salvation (Hebrews 12:1-5).
Teaching children how to spend time at the feet of the Master daily is so important. Through these times, they learn not to depend on their own strength, but His. They learn to tap into the power of the One living in and through them. When children learn the habit of daily Bible study, Scripture memory, prayer, and service, they learn the keys to enduring faith.
It is funny how parents will fight you on these critical disciplines for their children. I had a deacon’s wife catch me in the hallway and tell me to my face, “You are asking too much of these kids to make them do a daily quiet time!” Months later, she came up to me and said, “You were right. Amy is completely different now.” You see, Amy learned what was most important—to sit at the feet of the Savior. Paul tells us, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
Children today are not going to have an enduring faith through knowledge of Scripture only. Their continuing faith will come through a relationship with the risen Savior. Here are a few things that will help you get children started on the journey:
- Share the importance with parents. Help parents see the importance of their children spending time daily in God’s Word. Help them to make this a priority each day as a family.
- Provide devotionals for children. This gives them direction and a path to begin the journey. It will lead to the day when they venture out on their own in confidence and with a desire to be in the Word daily.
- Hold them accountable. Have your small group leaders check up on them and ask them about their quiet times and have them quote their memory verses. This adds traction to the process.
There are battles in your ministry that you will have to choose and not choose that are worth fighting for—this is one of them. We want children to step into the student ministry headed down a solid path for life, knowing that their spiritual source for life is Christ.
Check out our samples of daily devotionals for children by clicking here.