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Chapter 2

Youth Ministries, Instruction and The Battle for Our Children

We must teach our children to handle the word of truth correctly. We must prepare and strengthen them for life’s battles as they begin Middle and High School. Our children need encouragement to start reading the Bible. We need a bible revival. Our children need to do good deeds in the community, such as volunteering in an area of interest or at church. Volunteering will teach our children how to give back and think more of others than themselves. This will be a blessing on the community as they learn to help and treat others with respect. In turn, when we selflessly give to others, we gain confidence, compassion and happiness within ourselves. We measure success by a simple gesture of gratitude, eye contact and/or a word of thanks from the recipient.

Youth Ministries
It is our duty to have our children start a relationship with Jesus and be disciples starting from a young age. Parent participation is strongly encouraged. Jesus said do not cause them to stumble or hinder them from coming to him. Are we teaching and training them in the Way they should go? We need to be examples by opening our bibles, leading our children in love and faith. As we (parents and leaders), teach and lead our children, we will learn and grow more too.

Volunteering at my church’s First Grade children’s ministry has brought me great joy. Doing this allows me to see God through a child’s eyes. Recently we asked the first graders if their parents’ share Jesus and read the bible to them. Three out of twenty-eight children said yes. Parents, get involved with your children by reading the bible to them and teaching them about Jesus. We encourage children to ask their parents to read the Bible with them.

There are many articles on the internet of how children’s ministries can improve. The following are notes taken from a recent article: 

  • Children’s ministry is more reactionary and responsive to children’s needs than actively engaging children in serving/ministering to others. 
  • Children’s faith formation will blossom when we help parents become living embodiments of Jesus. 
  • Do we know it takes a church to raise a parent? 
  • Suppose parents are going to embrace and become great disciple-makers. To make it happen, the leaders of local churches and mission agencies must champion parents by equipping and encouraging them to disciple their children. 
  • If you invite children to attend Sunday School or mid-week clubs, you affect their faith development for that day. 
  • If you teach parents how to nurture their children’s faith formation, you influence children’s faith development every day. 
  • Practical training for parents must be integral to a new plan for children’s ministry. For without training, parents will not know how to impress the Scriptures on their children 24/7 as part of the daily rhythms of life. 
  • Faith without works is dead. 
  • We compromise children’s faith formation with academic models of ministry geared to biblical instruction divorced from acts of service. 
  • More attention must be given to the cultural context of the child in her/his church and community. 
  • Children should be active, not passive participants, in the journey of faith.”

Love Our Children
Jesus loves the children. He instructs us to be humble like them, protect and prioritize them, value them and not hinder them. Jesus warns us what will happen if we cause a child to stumble or hinder them:

Matthew 18:1-7 (humble)
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!

Matthew 18:10-14 (prioritize)
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. 11 For the son of man came for which is lost.
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Matthew 19:13-15 (value)
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Matthew 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

When Jesus said to make disciples of all nations he also meant the children. It’s our duty to raise them up to be disciples of Jesus, teaching them to obey his commandments and to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Teach Your Children the Word and You will grow in the Word too

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 22:6
6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 1:8-9
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 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. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21
18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Ephesians 6:4
Instruction should be given with love and respect to the children and Jesus while instructing them in the Lord’s ways to not undermined what you are teaching.

John 1:1-5
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Matthew 7:24
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Ephesians 6:16-17
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

James 1:22-24
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

2 Timothy 3:14-17
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

bible study praying

bible study

Our goal is to help our children on their journey to Jesus. We go to church, send our children to Sunday school or youth ministries during the week. That’s 1-2 hours a week. How much of Jesus and his ways are they getting during the 100 plus waking hours of a week? A simple home bible study with the family would produce more Jesus time. The Holy Spirit was given to us by Jesus and the Father to guide us, inspire us, teach us and convict us to do right. We must pour our faith and life lessons to support and foster spiritual growth to our children thus preventing them to stumble

Battle for our Children:
We need our children to grow strong in their Faith and Love for Jesus so worldly influence cannot shake their foundation. We need to build their foundation on the rock of Jesus so they become leaders who go out into the world and bring others to know him.

A Life Way Research article states that 70% of teenagers stopped going to Church their first year as an adult. Our goal is to help strengthen youths’ relationships with Jesus so they continue to pursue that relationship when they are in the world and out on their own.

We have a suicide rate that is continuing to get worse among teens and even preteens. The Jed Foundation states that 18.8% of high school students reported having seriously considered suicide in the past year; and bullying in schools having a huge impact on this population and leading to suicide in many teens. What are schools doing to eliminate bullying? We must ensure that school boards are run by moral, competent and good people who’s best interests are in the welfare, safety and support of our children.

Our youth should be able to express their faith in any given situation and feel safe. We need to unite and stand strong, supporting to protect the hearts and minds of our children. Our children will learn to be strong in the Holy Spirit by understanding the word of God. They will gain strength by applying the word of God in their daily lives. During Middle and High School years our children must use their strength to stand up to adversity and resist the evils of the world. Life after high school poses an even greater risk of pulling our children away from their faith. They must stand firm in their relationship with Jesus Christ when the risk of going astray comes before them. We must keep lines of communication open in our families so that our children have a safe place to express their feelings and experiences and receive support and sound advice.

We must emphasize the New Testament to learn more about Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the will of the Father. Following Jesus and being his disciples is the priority to solidify their faith.

Our goal is to teach our children to have love and faith in Jesus. We want our children to be gracious and be grateful. It has been said that grateful people are happier. Gratitude will help make them servants of God. We need to make Jesus the super hero of our children. Jesus is a hero that will never fade away. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

We encourage are church youth ministries to be creative. Below are two examples to encourage and lead our children to be leaders for Jesus.

Discipleship, Stewardship and Servanthood (DSS) Project:
We encourage leaders from children's ministries and youth organizations to start a bible revival and actively teach our youth about becoming disciples, stewards and servants. All middle school and high school age children are candidates for the DSS Project. There is a job for everyone as disciples, stewards and servants. Our youth can serve on a DSS Project and raise funds for good causes to help the in the church and communities. JAC would like to partner with you.
When one serves on a DSS Project, they grow in spirit and maturity. The individual learns what it means to give of one’s self by serving the community. They develop empathy, respect and gratitude towards others. They grow in self worth and understand what it means to be selfless.

The Bible Revival Project:
The Bible Revival Project is to focus on the life of Jesus which begins in the New Testament. We encourage our youth to read the bible individually and with their parents. Read. Pick a chapter or verses from the Bible to read. Parents read to your children. Children read to yourselves too. Children read with your siblings. Older children read to younger children. The Bible is full of a multitude of stories that give us examples of how to live a more enriched life, to be kind to one another and life lessons. It has been said that to build a desired habit, do it for six weeks. After six weeks the desired habit becomes part of your daily routine. We want reading the Bible to become everyone’s daily routine.

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