Our family has had the pleasure of attending our denominations annual conference this week-end. It was the first time we've been able to attend, because they've been too far away for us to drive to with all our little people in the past. I went this weekend not knowing exactly what to expect. (For those of you who are wondering, I grew up Nazarene, and still feel somewhat Nazarene at 'heart'. But Joel and I are now happy members of the Conservative Mennonite Conference.
We actually first started attending the church not because of denominational reasons, but simply because it seemed like the 'right' church for us to go to. It was (and is) a place where we could raise our family in the faith, be supported in our efforts, and also join in the ministry as we felt led. It just so happened that this church also belonged to the Conservative Mennonite Conference. But that all is side information, and irrelevant to the point of this post.
At the conference today, I was able to attend a workshop on building a Biblical Framework for Children. The leader of the workshop did an excellent job. Her main point was that we ought to be using children's young years----when they're so like 'sponges', soaking in everything----to really give them a good, solid Biblical Foundation.
And we're not really even talking about the general Sunday School stories of David and Goliath and Noah and the Ark. No, she was talking about digging deeper---challenge them, help them to learn! Do they know all the books of the Bible? Can they tell you the difference between the Major and Minor prophets? Do they know the Books of the Law, as opposed to the Books of History? Can they place Isaac, Abraham, Moses, and Paul on a Biblical Timeline in the right order? Can they show you the path of Pauls missionary journey? Can they show how water was used as a symbol of salvation throughout the Bible?
And you might be asking "Why is this important? Aren't you just trying to make little snobs out of them?" Absolutely not. The idea of teaching them all this is not so that they can regurgitate impressive sounding information to awe people and make themselves sound smart. It's not to make us as parents proud. So what's the point?
God gave us the Bible. In fact, He gave us all of history as a way of showing us, and building up to, the Redemption offered through His Son. Scripture says that (loosely paraphrased) "all this (history) happened as an example for you today."
In giving children Bible stories like David Goliath and Noah and the Ark, we are only showing them part of the 'puzzle'. They deserve to know how all of the pieces fit together---to be able to see God's redemptive plan throughout history. A child who knows the whole Truth is more likely to remember it, accept it, and be able and confident to share it with others.
So, my challenge to you---teach your children! Read to them, memorize with them, spend time as a family learning things like Biblical Timelines and Paul's missionary journeys. Research some fun games to play together to help you learn and remember all this stuff! God's redemptive plan of Salvation is there---clear and ready for anybody who wishes to take the time to know it. Your children are your most treasured blessings---don't miss this opportunity!