In part two of this series, we continue to reflect on God's power at work within us and countless others to pursue a vision for the next generation beyond one church and beyond mere curriculum. The Lord has seen fit "to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20, NASB) for 25 years. We look forward with confidence in the praiseworthy work of God and strive to accelerate Truth78’s mission to reach more homes and churches for the comprehensive discipleship of the next generation.
God is doing abundantly beyond all we ask or think.
Recently, I was asked to reflect on 25 years of experience as an author of curriculum and other resources at Truth78. It’s hard to even begin! I am not a trained writer, and my background and degree are actually in science. I joined this ministry simply as a homeschool mom and Sunday school teacher who longed to impart to children the biggest truths in the universe, never aspiring to write Bible resources.
In a sense, my motivation for writing was desperation. I was teaching Sunday school, and the curriculum for children was such a contrast to what was being proclaimed from the pulpit. John Piper was preaching this massive, soul-satisfying vision of God—a biblical vision—and we were teaching children an extremely trite view of God and the gospel. I simply couldn’t use that kind of curriculum anymore. However, back then, God-centered, biblically robust children’s teaching resources were extremely hard to find. So, we begin developing our own.
“Beyond” that, God placed me in a local church that inspired me, and He provided me with a husband who cheered me on and a friend in Sally Michael, who helped equip me to do what He was calling me to do. I never imagined the vision and resources going further—even to the ends of the earth! Only God, in His sovereign mercy and goodness, can bring about that kind of fruit from what appeared to me to be tiny, insignificant seeds. Truly His plans have proven to be exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that I could have imagined!
My all-time favorite title is the first one I wrote—The ABCs of God: A Study for Children on the Greatness and Worth of God. I still remember the seed for this study being planted as John Piper was preaching a sermon series on the pleasures of God. He presented this massive vision of God that was so utterly magnificent that it took my breath away. That series changed my previous and embarrassingly puny perceptions of who God is and what He is like. It was utterly life-changing for my husband and me. The intensity of my joy in God reached levels that I had never imagined! I was in my twenties at the time with two young children, and I didn’t want our children or the children in our church to have to wait until adulthood to receive this kind of God-centered, soul-satisfying teaching. So for me, The ABCs of God is like a starting point that teaches about God’s incomparable glory from which everything else flows—especially the gospel, because God Himself is the essence, means, and goal of the gospel!
Beyond mere curriculum
Much time has been invested in carefully considering the content of our curricula, asking questions like, “By the time our children reach adulthood, what is essential for them to know about God, His Word, man, the gospel, and the Christian life?” The scope and sequence from birth through adulthood is comprehensive, encompassing biblical and systematic theology that supports churches and homes by:
- Fostering relationships with children - In addition to teaching Bible stories and sound doctrine, our resources also create discipleship opportunities through a personal, interactive approach with questions such as, “What kind of response is God commanding in this text? How should these truths shape my heart? My words? My actions?” We have been very intentional to write our resources in a way that fosters this relational aspect, which is often overlooked or minimized.
- Impacting the lives of teachers - Over the years, teachers have shared testimonies about the personal fruit that has come during their lesson preparation. The Spirit has awakened and deepened biblical knowledge, stirred up greater devotion to and joy in Christ, and fueled worship. When that happens in teachers’ lives, they enter the classroom overflowing with soul-satisfying, God-ward delight. Children are quick to take notice of this kind of authentic faith.
- Encouraging partnership with parents - Teaching the whole counsel of God takes the whole church—pastors, members, parents—all working together, both in the church and home with the goal of comprehensive discipleship. That is why, for example, we strongly encourage children to participate in the corporate worship service. They need to hear the preaching of the Word, not just a Sunday school lesson. At home, parents need to be actively instructing their children in the Word. A resource like More Than a Story is a great tool for introducing children to the whole counsel of God, and the titles in our Making HIM Known children's book series reinforce lessons at home.
If you haven't already done so, I hope you will consider our resources in your discipleship efforts.