Our small church has been blessed with a large number of children. Through the years we have noticed the availability of programs designed to bring children to make professions of faith but the lack of children’ programs that are useful in making disciples.
Last year we came across Kids’ Quest Catechism Club (Great Commission Publications), a curriculum that takes children through the Children’s Catechism (a preparation for the Westminster Shorter) and allows for the memorization of related Scripture. We have had to make minor adaptations of this Reformed material for use in a Baptist church but have been impressed with the discussions that have arisen as a result of the work the children are doing throughout the week.
Part of our club is a devotional time that I lead. I usually start by asking the children if they have any questions about the material they studied in the previous week (our program is structured so children can work at their own pace). Usually the questions arise from misunderstanding a Bible word or a theological concept.
Here is one example from the Children’s Catechism:
Q: “How does God justify you?”
A: “God forgives all my sins and accepts me as righteous through Christ.”
The related Scripture to memorize is Romans 4:25: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
God has used these Q & A sessions to allow me to repeatedly present the gospel to our church children. It is refreshing to have six- to twelve-year-olds asking questions like, “What is repentance?” “What is regeneration?” “What is justification?” because they have been memorizing God’s Word and the theological truths that come from God’s Word. Some children do not understand a certain concept and ask the same question again the next week. Imagine having the opportunity to repeatedly explain the glorious gospel more than once to a curious group of children!
At home after another evening of explaining guilt, condemnation, and the only way to stand justified before the Judge, my seven-year-old daughter, Promise, told my wife and me that she knew she needed to be saved. We knelt as our sixth child called on her Master for forgiveness.
We understand that knowledge of concepts does not make professions of faith more valid, but we have grown weary of children’s material that pictures Jesus waiting for the favor of entrance into our heart’s door. It is refreshing to see children understand that we are the ones on the “outside,” that Jesus died not because we are special but because we are sinful.
Steve Svendsen, Pastor
Rice Lake Baptist Church
Rice Lake, Wisconsin