Children's Bible ClassThe #1 response to my change of direction for church has been around the impact on the children (Colton and Noah). From my reading, the #1 question among all people that first encounter or consider simple church is “What about the children?”

Usually that question is a bundle that can cover many dimensions depending on the persons stage in life and life experience. I’ll do a series of blog entries to cover some of the many dimensions to that question.

  1. How will the kids learn Bible if there is no organized children’s education program?

I think we all know the answer to this, but we have gotten very attached to our children’s education program and have seen amazing results.

Here are the two gold-standard passages about who is responsible for teaching the children. We all know them and tremble in their shadow.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them 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 on your gates.

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Much like secular education, you can pay to have someone train your children or you can do it yourself. We all have varying degrees of capability when it comes to training children, keeping their attention, keeping our patience, etc. So for the same reason that we send our kids to schools or tutors, we may send them to a bible school or a bible tutor. The fundamental difference is the gravity of the subject matter, the necessity of getting it into the heart (not just head) of the child, and the limited ways that that knowledge and experience can get driven into the heart.

God knew that only the spiritual leader of the household can create a learning environment that is up to the task of driving the knowledge deep into the heart and psyche of the children.

So as Caitlin says “you’ve said a lot of words without saying anything.” How will we proceed?

    1. Caitlin and the kids are still at BRCC, so we don’t feel the pressure to deliver the facts about the bible, just the life lessons that illustrate the meaning of the bible facts.
    2. I plan to look into some material to help with family Bible study
    3. I will put together several passage that will be useful to memorize and work on memorizing them with the kids
    4. I will work on a survey of the Bible to work through with the kids that will acquaint them with the content and purpose of the characters, stories, and teachings. Perhaps each week will be a new bible event, character, teaching that we will study and make application on throughout the week.
    5. I will keep in mind that other families in simple churches will need to provide the same training, so it’ll be important that I use and demonstrate methods that can be accomplished by even new believers

Questions to be covered in subsequent entries…

  1. What about the children that do not have a father to train them or a father that is not willing or able to train them?
  2. How will you be able to conduct an edifying corporate worship if you are in a relatively small space and there is no children’s church, cry room, or nursery?
  3. If you have poorly behaved children and/or parent’s that have no common sense on how to control their children, will anyone volunteer to host the church? And won’t that just kill your meeting times?
  4. If the kids are not in a church youth group as they get to be teenagers, will they be tempted to hang out with worldly kids, get involved with drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll?
  5. If the kids are not in a church youth group as they get to be teenagers, will they drop out of church because it is too dull and doesn’t connect with their youth subculture?

Want to learn more?
Here are a couple of useful and interesting links related to this topic. Please note that some writers appear to have a chip on their shoulder so you have to look past the impassioned (even hostile) rhetoric and find some real world experience and insight on how children work in simple or house churches.

House Church Basics Pt. 7: What About Children?

7 Practical Suggestions for Working With Children (about half way into the article)