who still has his whole life ahead of him. Children may seem like small lights in the congregation, but we dare not overlook their potential as the leaders of the next two generations. During the past week Charles and Joan Farley, Educational consultants with International Partnership Ministries, INC, challenged and sharpened our committed CCC Sunday school staff to aiming at that long-term objective.
Joan gave testimony to this principle in her own family. Her grandfather, an alcoholic, was changed when he trusted Christ. He left behind a heritage that can still be traced today at family reunions, where about 100 people gather, only four of whom are not believers in Christ. One changed life can impact two or three generations. Many leaders in Christian history were saved as children, including the early church father Polycarp, Bible commentator Matthew Henry, and hymn-writer Isaac Watts.
In three sessions with the staff, the Farleys emphasized the need for parents and Sunday school teachers to take the long term view in teaching and training. We are praying that God will touch the lives of CCC children, so that they will be able to teach their own children and grandchildren the truths of Scripture (Psalm 78). Parents are first in line in this process; the Sunday school staff is ready to assist them. Even if parents fall down on the job, the church is committed to making an impact that can last a lifetime.
How do we take the long view? We learned three things:
- Be able to lead our children to faith in Christ. This involves mastering a simple and clear presentation of the gospel (wordless book, the Romans Road, or similar approaches. Dads and moms should be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in their children, as evidenced by a conviction of sin.
- Be able to disciple our children. Knowledge of the Word of God should lead to wisdom, then action through new godly habits, and finally reproduction (Colossians 1:9-11).
- Stand ready to assist Sunday school teachers in their ministry by. . .
* reading the Sunday school Bible text aloud in the child's mother tongue Saturday evening;
* helping the child learn his memory verse;
* encouraging the child to bring his Bible to church with him (of course this means dads and moms will give the example themselves);
* being sure the child brings along other materials;
* encouraging participation in the class;
* praying regularly for every child and let the Sunday school teacher know how to pray for the child.
It's a sobering privilege for our staff and parents to labor together under God for the future of our CCC children. We pray God will give us the kind of fruit the Farleys spoke to us about in late September!