For most of us, the church has begun again. What a wonderful time of fellowship being able to see our church congregations again and to feel the atmosphere of fellowship. Even though we still have to take precautions and be very careful to social distance, the fact that we can wake up on a Sunday morning and exercise our choice to attend church, is surely a wonderful bonus. Praise the Lord!!
The biggest casualties throughout this pandemic have most definitely been our children. So few churches were able to reach out and attend to our children’s spiritual needs during the pandemic. For so many of them, the church just disappeared during a time of trauma and great stress. How heartbreaking! The children have suffered greatly. We know that many of you have not had the equipment to go online but, I think the question should be asked: Does that release us from our responsibility to ensure that children received spiritual upliftment?
We have spoken to many churches over the months. Some were able to start out by doing online services. It was great fun in the beginning, but as always the grind set in and many of us found it more and more difficult to prepare something each Sunday, and to present it to a screen. I know that children’s ministers lost heart as they felt that no-one was making the effort to look and listen, and engage. Parents were exhausted, running home school and everything else on top of that. They had little energy to ensure that the children watched their Sunday service. So, a few children’s ministers really went the extra mile, delivering craft bags to kids homes in an effort to encourage engagement, but let’s face it, most of our ideas and efforts fell far short of our children receiving good spiritual instruction and them having an opportunity to be in the presence of God. So much effort and so little result.
What a confusing time it has been for all of us that minister to children. We have prayed fervently for you and tried to support in as many places that we can in an effort to find a way forward.
During our prayer time, one thing the Lord has highlighted to us has been our oversight on not preparing our parents more to lead their children in their spiritual walk. The responsibility for our children’s spiritual growth is clearly set out in the Word of God.
These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your child and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised. Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about the when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and your gates.
It couldn’t be more clear! Parents, specifically fathers are to give their children the spiritual foundation that will help them to enjoy a long life, flowing with milk and honey. Yes, community does play a large role in instructing the children too, but the primary responsibility for spiritual growth is in the home. Parents have been left floundering with no clue how to instruct their children spiritually. This has to change. The pandemic has given us a clear message. Equip the parents!
Our JR training programs will be starting up again and one thing is for sure, we will place a large emphasis on equipping parents to lead their children in spiritual things. Look out for our promotional flyers – they will let you know about all our upcoming seminars. We would love to have you join us for one or two, if not more, trainings.