4 COMPONENTS NECESSARY IN A GREAT CHILDREN’S DISCIPLESHIP PROGRAM

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Ernie and Bill were children’s group leaders at Grace Baptist Church. Wednesday night came and the guys were doing verse time with the third grade boys. Ernie looked down at Gavin as he asked doubtfully, “Hey, Gavin, did you learn your verse this week? No. Oh well, repeat it after me three times. Okay! Now say it. Um, not quite. . . Say it again! Well, I guess that’s good. I gave you two helps. Where do I sign? Ok, here’s your patch. You’ve got five minutes until game time. Maybe you can learn another verse and win a sucker!”

Meanwhile Bill interrupted, “Hey, Ernie, who’s doing the challenge tonight? What’s it supposed to be about?”

“Aren’t you supposed to do the lesson, Bill!? And it’s supposed to be from, like, the Bible.”

“No, duh! Oh man, I hate it when I forget! Think, think fast… Got it! Ernie, would you do game time next while I get something ready? I just remembered this wicked awesome animal balloon trick that helps you tell Jonah and the whale. Be back and ready in about ten. Thanks, Ernie!”

Gavin whispered, “Please, not Jonah, AGAIN!”

Sound familiar? Ok, maybe you do not want to admit it sounds familiar. But this has happened countless times in countless churches over the past years. And the result is kids who grow up to have a shallow knowledge of Scripture and shallow approach to Biblical living in general.

How can we counter this? How can Truth Trackers help you?

We have implemented four components that we believe are necessary in a great children’s discipleship program.

DOCTRINE:  Many Baptist churches teach OT and NT Survey for the main of the junior Sunday School years, so we feel it is equally vital to present an organized system of doctrine while children are young. Many of our peers grew up with an emphasis on quantity verse memorization. This is important, but how many Christians are still unable to prove the basics of Bible doctrine? Ask believers you know, “Can you tell me two verses that prove Jesus Christ’s deity? How about two that demonstrate the Trinity? Can you tell me where to go to find proof of Biblical inspiration? Can you show me the way of salvation (and not just the Romans Road J)?” Therefore, the teaching of 18 major doctrines is the core of our curriculum. We present each doctrine through the venue of catechism, though not catechism in a traditional sense. The question is asked and the answer is an actual verse of Scripture. How valuable this skill will be to children as they grow and have to defend the faith—they will know how to prove the truth using Scripture!

DEVOTION:  We realize that an intellectual approach to Scripture is popular in Christian culture today. This is not all bad, but it is not all good, either. Our program builds in the emphasis on heart through guided daily devotions that bring home doctrine to practical, heart-before-God living. And our lessons are designed not just to instruct, but to apply these truths to the hearts of children.

DILIGENCE: Truth Trackers is designed to promote faithfulness and rewards the diligent, rather than the smart. The devotion books are great for children to use and see that they have been faithful. Weekly Scripture memory is cumulative, so the diligent will KNOW their verses. Families can utilize a weekly devotional which will keep them in tune to what the kids are focusing on for the week since all devotions, memory, and lessons are on the same topic. Parents can seek to teach the doctrinal topic of the week in their homes on a practical level. The children’s workers will find that the “lesson menus” give them many options for personal study. Four parts are included in each weekly “menu”—some of it is so detailed as to be used verbatim, yet other parts are more resource-oriented so a worker can personalize the lesson for the benefit of the children at their particular stages. Both Lukus and I have presented many children’s sermons or lessons and also have listened to many of the same. We feel a burden to provide detailed material so pastors can trust any lay person to present accurate and exciting lessons or sermons.

DELIGHT:  Activities for fun and fellowship with families, various and unusual game times (to get the wiggles out of the kids before preaching/teaching time!), simple rewards for positive reinforcement, great graphics, and fun skits and stories and songs—Truth Trackers puts in these extras for the main purpose of building memories for the children, families, and workers! Our children’s greatest memories should be those of wonderful times with friends and family in God’s house and Truth Trackers is a practical way for this to happen every week. And an aside for pastors:  through the help of so many talented volunteers, this program has great quality and is available for an inexpensive price—now that’s delight!

So, Ernie and Bill—pull out your lesson menu for the week and get it together—you have no excuse to pull another JONAH! And Gavin, you can do your memory verse tonight—you’ve practiced it every day while you were doing your devotions. Gavin, can you answer this, “Is Jesus Christ God?” That’s right, buddy, “John 1:1—In the beginning was the Word and Word was with God and the Word was God.”
Written By Liesl Counterman

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