I am an avid gardener. But last summer I was laid low by knee surgery, so I simply planted my garden in late spring and then “let it go” for the rest of the summer, thinking that a couple of months of neglect wouldn’t matter too much. It’s amazing how many weeds can take root and take over a garden in a short period of time!
How about the “garden” of children’s discipleship? Will it be okay to take a few months off from doing any kind of formal biblical instruction due to the seemingly overwhelming obstacles related to our current circumstances? Should we just let children’s ministry “go” this fall until we can all get back on track as a church and in our families?
Consider these words:
Our children’s minds are like spiritual gardens, notes William Gurnall (1617-1679), one of the great seventeenth-century Puritan preachers."This is the difference between religion and atheism; religion doth not grow without planting, but will die even where it is planted without watering. Atheism, irreligion, and profaneness are weeds that will grow without setting, but they will not die without plucking up."
Gurnall was right. No garden is a vacuum. Something grows. Untended ground—untaught minds—will yield weeds. But we want fruit, not weeds, and fruit grows only by planting, weeding, and fertilizing with great persistence. If you don’t want weeds, you must teach your children regularly and intentionally.
(William Farley, Gospel-Powered Parenting, ©2009, pages 178-179)
And these words from Jerry Bridges:
A farmer plows his field, sows the seed, and fertilizes and cultivates—all the while knowing that in the final analysis he is utterly dependent on forces outside of himself. He knows he cannot cause the seed to germinate, nor can he produce the rain and sunshine for growing and harvesting the crop. For a successful harvest, he is dependent on these things from God. Yet the farmer knows that unless he diligently pursues his responsibilities to plow, plant, fertilize, and cultivate, he cannot expect a harvest at the end of the season.
(The Pursuit of Holiness, ©1996, page 9)
Is your church diligently pursuing its responsibility this year with regard to discipling the next generation? Are parents being inspired and equipped to regularly and intentional provide their children with biblical instruction? Does it seem as if there are overwhelming obstacles to making these things happen? How can we pursue our biblical mandate (e.g., Psalm 78:1-7 and 2 Timothy 3:15-15) in the midst of these obstacles?
We invite you to join us next Thursday at 10 a.m. EST for a Truth78 webinar:
A Vision and a Plan for Children’s Discipleship This Fall
The upcoming school year has presented a whole new array of challenges for both the church and home, leaving many ministry leaders and parents feeling overwhelmed. As a result, many churches and families have little in place for the intentional discipleship of children at a time when, more than ever, children need God’s truth to take root in their lives. This webinar will offer vision and encouragement to persevere with God's strength and discuss moving forward for faithful discipleship in various circumstances. REGISTER