No task is more vital than Bible teaching. Jesus charged His disciples to teach (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 2:42). As the church grew, Jesus provided “teachers, for the equipping of the saints” (Eph. 4:11-12). Their subject is Scripture, which “is inspired by God and profitable for teaching…” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Carrying out this command requires a commitment from our leaders, our members, our parents, and even our children.
Many churches rely on entertainment to attract and retain children. While we certainly see the need to have fun with the children, helping them build edifying relationships, nothing replaces deep, interesting, applicable Bible study.
As our children mature into adults, whether or not they make good decisions for the Lord, build strong families for the Lord, and make positive contributions to the Lord’s kingdom, will have everything to do with whether or not they learned the story of the gospel from Genesis to Revelation, and grappled with meaty doctrine in the context of Bible study.
Our leaders must make children’s Bible classes a priority, six-months through college. Gone are the days (if they ever existed) when a bare lightbulb and a KJV were sufficient for Bible class. Spend money for the best materials. Train new teachers. Demand meetings and accountability. Measure progress.
Imparting the faith incurs “a stricter judgment” (James 3:1), a verse written less to discourage teachers, and more to demand responsibility. Every Christian should work toward being able to teach (Heb. 5:12). Good teachers are created by personal commitment and study, and by assisting others in order to learn good classroom techniques.
Be the best Christian you can be in all aspects of your life. Then, engage in personal study (2 Tim. 2:15). When you agree to teach a class, spend a few weeks before the quarter begins mastering the curriculum provided, and preparing props and resources. Prepare again before each class. Each lesson takes a few hours of study, preparation, meditation, and prayer. Show up, on time, with a smile.
God gives to parents the ultimate responsibility of passing along the faith to children. “These words … you shall teach diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6-7).
Still, we urge parents to take full advantage of the great Bible classes we provide. They are age-appropriate, are full of fun activities which enhance learning, and lay down a foundation that will be hard for Satan to undermine later in life. Make bringing your children to Bible class a priority in your household.
A flimsy faith has many causes, but we are foolish to think that choosing the beach over Bible class isn’t one of those causes. When God judges our parenting, He will be less concerned with how many homeruns our children hit or how many A’s they brought home on a report card, and more concerned with whether or not we brought them up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Bible class is one excellent way to do this. Don’t take whining or sniffles or excuses. Put your foot down and make Bible class a non-negotiable part of your activity as a family. If you start this pattern at age 3, they won’t find it odd at age 13, and they will continue it in their own homes at age 33. If you commit to this pattern, you will figure out ways to make dinner, homework, sports, clubs, and family fun fit around Bible class. There is nothing “more fun” or “more important” than God.
Make sure your kids prepare for class. Also, ask your kids about class during the week; ideally, in the car on the way home. This is a powerful way to reinforce class teaching, and to make sure your kids are engaged. Require them to do the bits of homework they are given. Require them to do the memory work. Support the teacher 99% of the time when they are reported as having behavioral issues in class.
While young children are at the mercy of their parents, many of you are old enough to exert an influence on your folks, and even make your own decisions. Third graders, tell your parents you enjoy class and how much you look forward to it; they will respond to your excitement. Middle schoolers, don’t beg to spend Saturday night at a friend’s house or go to a Sunday ball game, tempting your parents to cave; make Bible class your own priority. High schoolers, don’t whine about wanting to sleep in; learn to manage your time and drag yourself to class. And when you have the keys to a car, see to it that you make it to class in spite of your family. I’m sorry to say that some of you need to take charge of your own growth in the body of Christ, because your parents will not make it easy for you. —John Guzzetta