How do you address evangelism and visitors in Truth Trackers?
Truth Trackers is a discipleship program for children. By that we mean that we focus both on the first step of discipleship, which is becoming a believer, and on the continued walk in Christ, which is progressively growing spiritually. We believe the first step of discipleship is a very important step. Our approach to evangelism is different than most children's programs. We use two strategic methods to evangelize the children.
The Forgiven Tract is the entrance tract the children go through to enter the program. Every child must personally sit down with a leader and go through this tract. When a child comes to Truth Trackers for the first time, a leader sits down with the visitor during the memory time and reads through the Forgiven Tract with the child.
The goal of the Forgiven Tract is simply to give the child the Gospel. First the leader turns to the back of the tract and explains the requirements to enter the program. His/her name is written in the tract, and the expectations and rewards are explained.
The tract is designed so that a child can easily fulfill the requirements. There are two requirements written on the back of the tract. Requirement 1 is completed when a child reads through the tract with a leader. The child and leader both sign this. After the completion of Requirement 1 the child will go to the registration desk and receive an award. Requirement 2 is completed when the child returns home and reads through the tract with a parent or guardian. The parent or guardian signs Requirement 2 and then when the child returns the next week, the leader signs Requirement 2. The child will also receive an award for completing this Requirement.
This is not only an opportunity for the leader to assist a child in completing the tract, but also, and most importantly, we want to help this child understand his or her need for Jesus Christ. We do not encourage the leaders to push a child into a decision or scare him/her into a decision. This is not a time to call for a decision, but rather leaders can use this time to help the child understand God's Word and to make themselves available for future counsel. This is also a great opportunity to enter into the home of that visitor and talk with the parent (who has read through the tract with their child) about the gospel.
After the child has completed the Forgiven Tract, he can purchase materials to enter into the program.
Friend Nights are special nights set aside by your club to evangelize the children's friends and neighbors. Your club will schedule three friend nights somewhere in your yearly calendar. These nights either replace or fall on the same night as Truth Trackers*. This allows for your church to have a children's evangelism night every season: fall, winter, spring, and summer (if you have VBS). These nights are special Truth Trackers nights for evangelization. A theme can be picked and prizes can be award to children who bring the most visitors. Many churches have seen these nights be fruitful nights of strategic and focused evangelism for their church.
What is your advice?
Why are you switching programs?
We think you should consider Truth Trackers for many reasons. We produce quality materials. We try to keep our costs low. Our materials are simple to understand and implement. But we think the number one reason you should use Truth Trackers is this: we believe Truth Trackers can best equip your children and families to know and apply Bible doctrine. We have discovered when church members understand the Truth Trackers philosophy and methods, they are excited about the new club and whole-heartedly support it.
What is lacking in your children’s ministry right now? What do you want the Sunday/Midweek service program to do that no other program is doing?
Look at your entire children’s ministry and write out your goals for each program you run. What do you want the Sunday school to teach and do? What is the children’s church (if you have one) teaching and accomplishing? What should the Sunday/Midweek service program accomplish and teach? Many churches don’t know these answers, and the result is usually that every ministry tries to accomplish every task. For instance, Sunday school has a memory verse and a devotional they send home, while children’s church has a memory verse and a take home sheet. The children’s choir gives a prize for memorizing a verse. Then on Sunday/Midweek service the children have even more verses to memorize. Probably, the teaching is random as well.
Our suggestion is that you gather all your children’s teachers and workers lay out the goals for each program. Give specific goals for each program and show those teachers and workers how they complement each other.
What do you want to accomplish in a new program?
In answer to this question, we encourage you to make sure you have a goal(s) for starting a new club. Consider your vision for this club in your church and community?
Are your workers trained and excited?
Your workers need to be ready to go by the first night of club. Make sure they understand not just WHAT to do, but WHY they are doing it. This is so important. Your workers will have many different ideas. They will probably follow the methods, but if they understand WHY these methods work, they will follow with excitement. Sometimes training isn’t so much telling people what to do, but it is showing them why you want it done a certain way.
Do your parents understand how the program works and what their responsibility is?
Truth Trackers is a family memory program. We want families to memorize the Bible together. In order to do that, you will want to teach your families the importance of learning Bible doctrine and of memorizing Scripture. If parents are NOT encouraging the children to memorize and learn doctrine, the children probably won’t care either. Admonish your parents to take responsibility for their children’s discipleship and use Truth Trackers as a tool to do that.
The devotional books are clear, simple and yet have purpose. However, my first thought is about overlap between the Sunday school devotions and these. What should we do about that?
Answer: We encourage churches to do the Truth Trackers devotions because they help the children understand the doctrine their verse and lesson teach. If other children’s ministries have requirements for devotions, you should think about either eliminating those devotions or making those devotions optional. We advise you to evaluate all your children’s ministries, define the purpose of each one, and then coordinate the materials and requirements of ALL your children’s ministries. Many times the leaders in each of your children’s ministries do what it best for that particular ministry. This can cause children and families to be overburdened with requirements, and it can cause the children’s ministries to be less effective.
Why can’t the children memorize as many verses as they want?
Answer: The memory program for Truth Trackers is meant to be different. We focus on qualitative learning, rather than quantitative. Most children who can say 4-5 verses a night are not really retaining them anyway. The Truth Trackers goal is qualitative, long-term memorization. Also, this is a meant to be a family memory program. It helps families memorize together when everyone is working on the same doctrines and verses.
Do the children learn the verse during lesson time?
Answer: No, the verses are not learned in lesson time. The children come prepared to say their verse and to present their finished devotions the night of Truth Trackers. Then, the doctrine the verses teach are reinforced in lesson time. The week's verse and devotions correspond with the lesson's topic. In other words, the lesson wraps up their week of learning about a particular topic in their devotions and memory verse.