Raising Gospel-Centered ChildrenMonday, July 22, 2013
Training children to put their hope and trust in Christ is one of the greatest privileges we have. Marty Machowski has devoted decades to helping churches and families do just that. Although my kids were grown before he wrote his materials, I read The Gospel Story Bible to my grandkids and can’t recommended his children’s ministry curriculum highly enough.
1. Briefly share your testimony of conversion with us.
I submitted my life to Christ I the summer between by junior and senior years of college. Every morning that summer I followed the same routine. I got up, got showered and dressed then ate a bowl of cornflakes while I watched the early morning news. One Monday, in the providence of God, the programming changed. Instead of the news, a televangelist was on, holding a crusade. Since I only got one channel on my small black and white TV, I continued my routine. That week I understood for the first time that Christ died for ME and each day as the preacher pointed to the television audience and called us to join him in prayer, I bowed my head and asked for God’s forgiveness. Sometime in that week, the Spirit of God filled my heart and rescued me from darkness.
2. Why do you think what you’re teaching on is an important topic?
The Bible is clear that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Our children, meeting in classrooms during our Sunday worship services represent the largest group of gathered unbelievers across the world. It is critical that our teaching present the gospel. Helping pastors and teacher know how to partner with parents in the gospel work of reaching the next generation is something I’ve given the last 25 years of my life for.
3. What do you hope will be filling people’s minds and hearts as they walk away from your message?
Sometimes we need the encouragement to keep up the good work of the gospel and to be reminded that our labor to pass the gospel to the next generation is not done in vain. Many folks, converted later on, look back at their Sunday school days with fondness, recognizing God was at work in the lessons of their teachers, drawing them to himself.
4. Is there any passage of Scripture that sums up what you’ll be sharing?
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” That verse gives us all the motivation we need to make sure we are proclaiming the gospel to our children.
5. Can you expound on one point that you’ll be making in your message?
It is really important that we avoid teaching moralistic messages to children, particularly when we are presenting the Old Testament stories. It’s not that we can’t draw moral lessons from the Old Testament heroes, but God didn’t give us those stories to challenge us to grow in our courage or to tell the truth. David, for instance, fought Goliath as Israel’s representative head. He went into battle to answer the charge of Goliath for one Israelite to fight for all of Israel. The other soldiers were standing fearfully on the sidelines. David came as a picture of God’s salvation to deliver them from their sinful disobedience.
David was a picture of God’s salvation in Christ, who came to deliver us from our sinful disobedience and defeat our giant – death. While David did display great courage, that lesson is presented, like the others in the Old Testament, to point toward God’s gospel plan through Christ.
6. How has what you’re going to speak on affected your own life?
God has graciously given me six children. While I’ve been tempted to trust in my own work and look for a system to guarantee my successful parenting, God has allowed those efforts to fail, that I might be brought back to my knees in prayer, and then trust in nothing but the gospel and the Spirit of God to save my children. Ultimately, I now know any success in parenting I’ve come to know is by God’s grace and the power of his word.
7. Can you recommend any books, articles, websites, or materials on this topic?
If folks would like to get a preview of the materials I’ve put together to promote the gospel in both church and home, they can visit my website. If folks would like a great book to read, I would recommendGospel-Powered Parenting by William Farley.
8. What would you say to someone who is trying to decide whether or not to come to WorshipGod2013?
WorshipGod is all about showcasing the gospel in your church. Because you just can’t get a better message than the gospel, you can’t get a better conference than WorshipGod.