Are You Reaching the WHOLE Child with God’s Word?

Are You Reaching the WHOLE Child with God’s Word?

I have spent the past 35 years teaching children. But looking back on the first five years of that time, I now realize that the resources I was given and the training I received were not designed to reach the whole child. Yes, I provided some biblical teaching (i.e., the curriculum included a summarized Bible story to be read), but it didn’t seem as if I was actively instructing their minds with the Bible, engaging their hearts in a meaningful way, or encouraging and challenging them to specific steps of faith-dependent obedience. I grew increasingly frustrated. Something was missing.

Lou Priolo succinctly summarizes why I felt so much frustration in those early years: 

For the Christian, learning is not facts to be learned but truth to lived.

Sally Michael expands on this thought:

Teaching that aims only at informing the intellect falls short of the potential we have to mold young hearts in response to God’s truth. Though knowledge of the truth is extremely important for faith to be born and to grow (Romans 10:17), children must act on the truth, appropriating it into their lives and walking in the truth.

This is why, from the very beginning of our ministry, we intentionally set out to design our resources and training to help parents and teachers reach the WHOLE child—mind, heart, and will—with God’s incomparable, life-transforming Word. Here is a brief description of what is involved:

Instruct the Mind

If children are to know, honor, and treasure God through Christ, they must become well acquainted with His Word. Toward that end, they must be given the proper tools and skills needed for rightly studying, interpreting, and applying Scripture. Beginning in earnest in first grade, our curricula use an interactive teaching model that guides students to personally engage with the Bible. This model fosters critical thinking and reasoning skills that are important for confidence in, and a defense of the Christian faith.

Engage the Heart

While we fully acknowledge that only God can bring Spirit-wrought, grace-dependent faith in Jesus and the ability to walk as His faithful disciple, we believe it is our responsibility to guide, inspire, and implore students toward a personal and sincere response to God’s truth. What is learned in the mind needs to transform the heart and will. Therefore, the curricula include elements meant to challenge and graciously entreat students to love, trust, obey, and delight in God through Christ.

Influence the Will

We believe true saving faith will be evidenced by a growing desire to walk in obedience to God. While this is dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit, God does expect His children to exert effort, choosing daily to trust Christ, submit to Him, and follow in obedience. Therefore, each lesson includes Scripture and discussion prompts that guide, challenge, and encourage students to specific Christ-like thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes. Additionally, these discussions are set in a context of showing the surpassing worth and lasting joy of living life fully surrendered to the perfect will of Jesus.  

Are the resources you currently use focused on reaching the WHOLE child as described above? Are the parents and teachers of your church being inspired, equipped, and trained to pursue these goals? If you would like to learn more, here are a few options:

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