Training Children to Be Healthy Church Members

At Children Desiring God, we like to talk about "vision-driven" ministry for children, youth, and families. A vision-driven ministry keeps the end goal in sight, and then carefully and thoughtfully steers a course toward that end goal. Have you ever considered that one of the end goals should be that our children and students grow up to become healthy church members? What might that look like? In his very helpful and practical book, What Is a Healthy Church Member?, Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile identifies 10 "marks" of healthy church member. A healthy church member...
  1. Is an expositional listener—"Listening for the meaning of a passage of Scripture and accepting that meaning as the main idea to be grasped for our personal and corporate lives as Christians." (2008, page 20)
  2. Is a biblical theologian—"Ignorance of the ways of God and of communion with him is rampant in too many instances. Members of Christian churches continue to think small thoughts of God and great thoughts of man. This state of affairs reveals that too many Christians have neglected their first great calling: to know their God. (page 27)
  3. Is gospel-saturated—"As church members, our aim is to understand the gospel so deeply, so intimately, that it animates every area of our lives." (page 42)
  4. Is genuinely converted—"Genuine converts to Christ grieve at their sin. They hate their sins, and they desire the light of life in Christ, which is to say they desire and work to walk in integrity and righteousness." (page 51)
  5. Is a biblical evangelist—"... biblical evangelism requires of us one thing primarily: that we be faithful to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the people God places in contact with us." (pages 58-59)
  6. Is a committed member—"A committed member gives resources, time, and talent to the furtherance of the gospel in the local church." (page 70)
  7. Seeks discipline—"Without the proper establishment of routines, boundaries, and patterns, thriving spiritually most likely will not occur or will be haphazard at best." (page 74)
  8. Is a growing disciple—"... someone who looks more and more like Jesus in attitude of heart, thought, speech, and action." (page 89)
  9. Is a humble follower—"... healthy members of a local church should strive and encourage others to strive to follow their leaders with wide-open hearts, eager obedience, and joyful submission." (page 103)
  10. Is a prayer warrior—"When we survey the activities of the early church...we discover that one of the central things early church members devoted themselves to was prayer." (page 106)
How are we doing as parents and teachers? Are we teaching, training, and equipping our children toward being "healthy" members of a local church—a community of believers?
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