Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wolfs are loose among the lambs, an urgent call to reform children’s ministry

Basically our society is disintegrating. No surprise. Welcome to the imploding culture. How should the church help train kids? We could lock them in a room. Then entertain them until the parents have their felt needs met in the worship hour. We could even have a “bible story” with a relevant messages like: “Be a good friend” and “Remember to do what is right” and “Be a world changer.”

I just finished up my J-Term titled Current Trends In Childhood Ministry. I still need several weeks to process what I’ve learned. But the takeaway is simple. Our kids are in trouble. The Kingdom of Satan is destroying our children, while most Evangelical churches don't even know there is a war.

We have lost focus. Entertainment. Bible skills. Relationships. Self-esteem. Fun. Relevant. Spirituality. Good behavior. Liking church. Service projects. Worldview. Ethics. World perspective. Missions. Morality.

What do children need? GOD – GOD himself. Everything else will become an idol if we do not first show God is supremely valuable. Jesus is the treasure. We must exalt God himself as the goal of biblical teaching. God is the goal of relationships. God is the goal of worldviews. Kids must want-love-desire-value God more than everything else. Only God-centered children can will stand up under suffering or temptations.

Only the Spirit can change hearts. But when we teach we must give God the glory. Anything less is like offering a toothpick to a starving man. When we present Christianity without God as the absolute center and all pervasive passion then we have encouraged idolatry in the name of religion.

"For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. (Isaiah 48:9-11 ESV)

John Piper preached a sermon in 1993 titled, “God is a Very Important Person.” Here are a few lines that are helping me.

If you leave the infinite, all-defining, all-controlling, all-pervasive God out of account, all understandings and all interpretations and all analyses are superficial. When the main thing is missing, what's left is distorted and superficial, whatever it is.
And if someone says, "O that's just religion. You can't expect everything to be religion," I answer, "It's not religion. It's reality. God made the world and everything in it. He owns the earth and everyone on it. He is the main actor in the world. He is guiding the history of every people and nation to their appointed goals. Everything, without exception, has to do with God, and gets its main meaning from God. And not to show this, but to take this for granted, is to be superficial.

One discovery that, for me, has made all the difference in the world is that the reason God does not like being taken for granted is not only that it robs him of glory, but also that it robs me of joy. And perhaps the greatest discovery of all is that these two goals – God's goal to be glorified and my desire to be satisfied – are not at odds. Because God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him.


Pastor Robbie Hullette said...

Powerful entry. Lots to think about in regards to what we preach and why.

Tony K. said...

The whole week was devastating. I knew so much of Children's Ministry was weak. But to see it up against all the issues destroying kids was overwhelming.

Dwayne said...

Tony, excellent post! I have marked the Piper sermon for furhter reading this weekend (I have not seen that one as of yet).

I bet the J-Term was good. Have you thought of posting a few bullet points of the main ideas gleaned from class that pastors/children's leaders could benefit from? What were the highlights? I would be interested in hearing what was discussed.


Tony K. said...

While keeping notes I kept writing "blog about this." I plan to post some of this - maybe a cleaned up version of my notes.