What is the ultimate reason for discipling the next generations? To what end should parents, ministry leaders, teachers, and volunteers devote whole-hearted effort?
Our great hope and destiny as Christians is to behold the glory of Christ (1 John 3:2) which Christ has as the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4) and to share in that very glory by reflecting it back to God in love and praise.
Thus God's supreme goal in history, in all that he does from beginning to end, is to display his glory and bring honor and praise to his great name.
(John Piper, “The Glory of God as the Goal of History” ©Desiring God Foundation, desiringgod.org)
Our ultimate goal: Inspire worship of God for the glory of God.
In this 7-part series, we're spotlighting commitments for the discipleship of the next generation with a summary, an excerpt from the book Zealous, examples of applications of the commitment, and recommended resources.
Commitment 7: Inspire worship of God, for the glory of God
If our zeal is conformed to God’s zeal, and if our efforts are aligned with God’s purpose, then the aim of our discipleship will be the glory of God so that His greatness and His worth will be known throughout the earth and throughout the generations. When we rightly emphasize God’s glory when declaring His glorious deeds, the natural response of the heart is worship. The proclamation of God’s glorious deeds in a God-glorifying way inspires children to worship God to His glory and their joy in Him.
Seeing God’s zeal for His glory, and His passion to make His glory known from one generation to the next, is what ignites zeal for the discipleship of the next generation. It is the reason why the fathers in Psalm 78 were commanded to teach the “glorious deeds of the Lord” to their children (verse 4). It is also why there is an implied warning not to hide that glory from the coming generations:
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
Week after week, as my eyes were being opened through John Piper’s preaching of God’s passion for His glory, and for making it known to the coming generations, my eyes were also being opened to see that we were in fact, unwittingly hiding the glory of God from our children, and thus robbing Him of the glory that He deserved.
We were missing two obvious implications of Psalm 78:4. First, the deeds we are to tell are the Lord’s deeds, and yet we were telling the stories in a way that made it look like the deeds belonged to some- one else: “Esther saved her people,” “Joshua defeated Jericho,” “Peter healed the lame man,” “Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream,” etc.
The second obvious implication was that if these deeds of the Lord are glorious, then the glory of the Lord is what should be magnified when telling the stories. And if the glory of the Lord is magnified, then the response of those who hear should be worship.
- Watch The God-Centeredness of God and/or God Is the Gospel by John Piper to better understand the importance of the glory of God in ministering to children and youth.
- Watch A Vision for God-Centered, Gospel-Focused Teaching for the Next Generations and then carefully evaluate your current curriculum resources. (See our curriculum Values.)
- Encourage children to attend the worship service (resource: Children and the Worship Service). Listen to the Truth 78 seminar, Strategies for Involving Children in the Worship Service and The Generations in the Worship Service. Decide how you can practically train parents and how you can accommodate children in the worship service.
- Incorporate a time of worship in the children’s Sunday school classes.
- Distribute the Truth 78 Core Training Series document on Leading Children in Worship to your children’s workers or worship leaders. Encourage them to listen to the accompanying seminar link.
- Consider teaching the Truth 78 curriculum He Has Been Clearly Seen (kindergarten/first grade midweek).
- Establish a family worship time.
- Choose Bible resources that clearly highlight and give honor to the majestic greatness and worth of God. (i.e. Glorious God, Glorious Gospel, Making HIM Known series.)
- Learn hymns as a family. Talk about the concepts and theology taught in the hymn (perhaps choose a hymn a month to learn).
- Participate in the Getty Family Hymn Sing.
- Explore nature with your children and marvel at the creativity, wisdom, and power of God. Keep a nature notebook noting how creation reveals the glory of God.
Listen to the podcast "Inspiring worship of God, for the glory of God"