In the book What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry, Dr. Rob Rienow chose the Word “Sufficiency.”
He begins his chapter by asking two questions. The first is:
Will we use the Bible as an all-sufficient guide for our ministry strategy?
He answers this question with a resounding yes which leads to the next question.
If we were to lock ourselves in a room with the Bible and ask, “God, what have you said in your Word about how children are to be discipled?” what would we find?
He explains that the church’s first and primary job should be in equipping parents to pass on their faith at home to their children. He also notes that:
The second answer the Scripture gives is that we are to include children in the regular corporate worship gathering of the church (Deut 16:9-14; Jos. 8:34-35; Ezra 10:1; Joel 2:15-16; Acts 20:7-12).
Dr. Rienow makes a convincing Biblical argument for the inclusion of children alongside parents in corporate worship. He concludes his argument with the following observation:
Children’s ministry may be a great spiritual vitamin, but it cannot replace the spiritual meals of family worship in the home and children worshipping with their parents in the weekly worship service.
…and the following challenge:
The question is: Do we believe Scripture is a sufficient guide for our ministry strategy…or not?
I have tremendous respect for Dr. Rienow and thoroughly enjoy what I’ve read of his work. However, the one observation I would make is that these verses and scripture reflect the fact that children were part of the normal spiritual life of their parents. While I believe these verses are applicable to children worshipping alongside their parents, I do not believe they are restricted to worship. What they call for is children to be intricately involved in all aspects of the family’s spiritual life. I think the bottom line if that parents should worship, and read, and learn, and discuss spiritual things both with, and in the presence of, their children. I think parents should sing worship with their kids. Whether that is in church on Sunday or driving home from school is irrelevant so long as they are worshipping God.
Questions for further discussion
The stated purpose of this book is to spark further conversation. I have included some of my thought above, but like other chapters I have included a listing of additional questions to spark further conversation. Here are the questions I came up with:
- How do you worship God with your kids?
- What do you do as a church to encourage parents to worship with their kids?
- Does the Bible mandate that children be included in weekly corporate worship services?
- Does family worship mean that you have to ditch a separate worship time for parents and kids?
- What are the benefits and costs of having separate and combined services for parents and kids?
- Has your church done an integrated family service? What were the positive and negative aspects of that?
- What is your interpretation of the biblical guidance on how children are to be discipled?
You can find a link to this, and all the other articles I’ve done related to this book, on my What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry Page.