Updated: Sep 21, 2022
I am so grateful to all the parents that allow the local church here at Sandhurst be a part of their children's discipleship journey! We take that seriously. And we want parents to know what we do when we gather our kids together. Some consistent threads run through every kids event: Scripture, prayer, age-appropriate fun, active engagement from more seasoned saints. But we are also intentional about planning our discipleship-events to complement one another. Why?
As a church invested in growing our kids into godly, faithful, missional adults, we know that what we do now matters. Much has been written about children growing up and walking away from the church. Some people think the kids grow up and leave because they didn't get enough truth. Others believer that these children never really experienced what the church is meant to be. Still others think that they've never been mobilized as members of God's team. There is likely truth in each of those ideas, but the truth is that there is no secret ingredient that guarantees life-long faithfulness. Even so, some ingredients are necessary for living a godly life. If a key ingredient is missing, there will be a problem. A cake without sugar won't turn out right. A cake without flour won't either. So, even if having the right ingredients doesn't guarantee a deliciously baked cake, that cake can't be rightly made without those ingredients. So here is what our events emphasize: trusting the Word, experiencing the community, and sending the saints.
Sunday School (9:00am on Sundays). Trusting the Word. Purpose: To give our kids knowledge and skill in hearing God speak through the Bible. We want them to learn the Word. They need to be trained in reading it, studying it, sharing it. We want them to grow under God's clear authority because the Lord speaks through the Bible (2 Tim 3:16-17). We want our kids to hear his voice. Distinctive: Each child interacts directly with the Bible in age-graded ways.
Worship Hour (10:15am on Sundays). Experiencing the community. Purpose: To show our kids a joyful, life-giving church community. We want them to corporately worship the Lord if they believe. And we want them to be exposed to the reality that God is worthy of worship even if they don't yet trust in him. We put them in position to enjoy gathering in his name, using the gifts he has given, and learning from one-another. We desire that they grow through meaningful experience with God's presence in the context of his people because the Lord is worthy of praise. We want to teach kids to lift Him up and to lift one another up. Distinctive: Each child is given opportunity to respond to the gospel in worship and to enjoy a distinctively Christian community of peers.
KIDS on Mission (6:00pm on Wednesdays). Sending the saints. Purpose: To fuel a passion for joining with God in his mission to make his name great in the world. We want our kids to grow in Christ so that they can go with Christ. We pray that they submit to the God's control by joyously engaging in his mission because the Lord leads his people into world-changing, life-giving action. We want our kids to actively live missional lives. Distinctive: Each child engages with God's mission by seeing it in the past (especially in Scripture), participating in it in the present (especially through prayer), and preparing for it in the future (especially by learning about contemporary missions work).
So how does the family fit into the church's intentional discipleship of children? What about volunteers? Do we have specific goal or milestones? After reading this, you might have questions like these. Stay tuned. There is more to come.