Vol. 4, No. 11
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
~ Page 16 ~
I have been a preacher's wife for 29 years; during that time, we have been privileged to work and visit many congregations of the Lord's people. Over the course of time, I have observed what appears to be an alarming trend within many congregations. It appears to me that the Bible knowledge and Bible interest of pre-teen and teenage children among families of the Lord's church is waning. It seems that more and more children in this age group have a disinterest in studying God's Word. (I know that there are pre-teens and teenagers who are interested in following and studying God's Word. To these I give praise and admiration.) When a comparison of the number of students in the preschool classes to the classes for the pre-teen and teenage classes is made, one will see that the younger classes are consistently larger. I do not believe that this is solely because of a difference in births, but that the children in the older classes simply are not attending. This is sad and alarming. If we cannot convert our children to Christ, how do we hope to convert the world to Christ?
There may be various reasons contributing to the disinterest of some of our young people. I believe that one reason is similar to that of many of our older members as well. We often hear, "I am too busy to be at the church building twice on Sunday and Wednesday evening for Bible study and worship." I am afraid our young people have the same attitude. They may be right. Sometimes young people and adults are too busy. Unfortunately, when one becomes too busy, God gets left out.
Think for a few moments about the typical day for your child.
Get up in the morning, maybe have a quick breakfast, then rush out the door for school
Ball, cheerleading or some other sport practice or game
Rush to music or play practice
Home for a quick dinner (no one eats together -- each family member eats what he can when he can)
Work, for the teenagers
Time for bed
It is not uncommon for each child in the family to be at a different event at the same time. Many children participate in a different sport each season including throughout the summer with music, swimming and other activities squeezed in between. All too often, Bible study is pushed to the bottom of the list of things to do and never gets done. When children are continually running from one activity to another, their lives become stressful, as well as the lives of parents (who need to see that each child arrives on time for his scheduled activity). We cannot live a life in fear we might miss something or our children might miss out on something if every waking moment of each day is not planned with an activity. We need to have less concern as to what looks good on college scholarship applications and more concern on what is penned in God's Book of Life (Revelation 20:12-15).
God commanded the Israelites to teach his laws to their children throughout the course of the day (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). At the end of the forty 40 years of wandering, Moses called the people together so that they could make a covenant with God. Included in this gathering were the "little ones" (Deuteronomy 29:10-15). After entering Canaan, Joshua caused the Law to be read at mounts Ebal and Gerizim. Included in the gathering of the people were the children (Joshua 8:30-35). Judges 2:6-12 states that the Israelites served God for one generation past Joshua's death. Verse 10 states that the next generation 'knew not God' and they turned from God to worship idols. That generation was not taught God's Word. When we allow other activities to interfere with teaching our children God's Word, we will raise a generation who 'knows not God' -- a generation that worships false gods.
A New Testament example of someone being taught as commanded in the Old Testament is Timothy. Paul mentions Timothy's "unfeigned faith" that first dwelt in Lois and Eunice, Timothy's grandmother and mother (2 Timothy 1:5). As a young man, he was well grounded in the Scriptures, had a good reputation among the brethren at Lystra and Iconium, and had a desire to teach others. This is evident in Acts 16 when Paul invited Timothy to accompany him on the remainder of the missionary journey. Later, Timothy was left at various congregations to teach while Paul continued his travels. Paul wrote two letters to Timothy encouraging him to continue teaching what he been taught. We know that Timothy was a young preacher when Paul wrote the first epistle to Timothy since 1 Timothy 4:12 states, "Let no man despise thy youth." Lois and Eunice understood the importance of teaching God's Word. They followed the Old Law and instructed Timothy even though his father was not a Jew but a Greek.
I challenge each mother reading this article to take a stand and say, "Enough is enough." When school events interfere with worship and Bible study, say "no my child will not be able to participate, we have Bible class at that time." Teach your children why they cannot participate in an activity that keeps them from attending services. This must be done by example as well as with words. We cannot teach our children how to get and keep their priorities in order when we allow our activities to keep us from worshipping God each time the doors are open. Help your child choose one or two activities, learn to do those well, enjoy life and have some fun. Just because his friend is doing something does not mean he has to do it also. Place an equal importance on preparing for Bible class as on preparing for school. Help your child learn the Bible. Let him see you studying your Bible lesson. Let us raise our children as Lois and Eunice raised Timothy -- to be well grounded in the Scriptures and to have a good reputation among God's people.