Encouragement From The Word

Investing in eternity

Each morning this week at St. Paul’s Church, Nobleton, we’ve welcomed some 50 children to our vacation Bible camp, ‘Camp WannaKnowGod’.  As we come to our last morning, everybody’s a bit tired out, but we’ve done this work with joy.  Why?

Because we’ve been investing.

In one sense, these five mornings have been like a whole year of Sunday kids’ ministry crammed into 15 hours.  No wonder everybody’s tired!  But we carry on because we are investing…in the spiritual lives of 50 kids.

All the time, money, creativity, and effort that have gone into making this week possible have had but one motive: to help this group of children entrusted to us have a personal encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ.

These kids could be at soccer camp or at the cottage or at Canada’s Wonderland, but they are with us.  And we express our gratitude by investing in them.

Because, after all, in 100 years, it won’t matter how good they are at soccer.  It won’t matter how much time they spent at the cottage.  And it definitely won’t matter how many roller coasters they’ve ridden.  The only thing that will matter in 100 years is what they did with Jesus.

Some of my earliest Christian memories are of a vacation Bible school, which was done in the form of a musical called “A 100% Chance of Rain”, about Noah and the flood. I was probably around 5 or 6 years old. While that was not a “give my heart to Jesus” time, I’m sure the Lord used it to prepare my heart for the time when I would trust Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

This week, our prayer is that these children would know Jesus.  And if not through us this week, then in the future, when someone else’s ministry leads them to faith, and our investment will pay eternal dividends for the children.

We also hope to invest in the parents, equipping them with resources that will help them nurture faith in Jesus.  After all, they have a lot more hours to invest in their kids than the church does!

How are you investing in children – either as a parent, or as a part of the church?  It’s an investment in eternity where others reap the benefits, and God gets the glory.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it” (Proverbs 22.6, NLT).

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Encouragement From The Word

An holy partnership

This week, we’ve been hosting our annual Bible Fun Camp at St. Paul’s Church, Nobleton. I think when a church puts on a vacation Bible school, it receives a sacred trust from parents, grandparents and guardians.

But, as I said to the parents gathered last night, the church is not the purveyor of a consumer religious service. Parents don’t bring their kids to Bible Fun Camp so that we can dispense religion to their kids. No: sharing faith is the parents’ job, primarily, and the church’s job is to act as a partner with the parents, grandparents and guardians in helping their children experience a personal relationship with Jesus.

Neither party can do it alone. If we leave the spiritual formation of children to the church alone, it will not work, as the past 50 years have proven. And if we leave the spiritual formation of children to the parents alone, they will grow weary and discouraged; they need the church to support them and partner with them.

If you have children in your care, I ask you to let the church partner with you in helping your kids to know and love Jesus. If you’re in the leadership of a church, find ways to help the congregation partner creatively with parents so that they don’t feel cast adrift in a sea of various spiritualities.

Being a parent is the hardest job known to the human race. Being a Christian parent is harder still! If you’re seeking to raise children to know and love Jesus, I’m in your corner. Let us all pray for parents as they steward the church’s future!

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” (Deuteronomy 6.6-7, NIV).

P.S.: Today is International Hug A Calvinist Day, otherwise known as John Calvin’s birthday. If you see someone with a Reformed bent today, give that person a hug!