Wednesday Reflection – September 04, 2019
The Teaching Ministry
Things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us – we will not hide them from their children. Psalm 78:3-4
How do we know what we know? The limited knowledge that we have, how did we acquire it? Four answers come immediately to mind – what we have read and researched, what we have gained through experience, what the Holy Spirit has revealed, and what others have taught us. The contribution of persons who have taught us, academically, spiritually or otherwise, cannot be underestimated. Today’s text highlights the importance of spiritual education. There is a commitment in the text that what they have been taught, they will teach their children.
I love the expression in this text – “…we will not hide them from their children.” Our negligent silence must not deprive our children of the precious truth of God; it would be shameful if we did so. There is the anticipation of future generations and a promise to provide for their godly education. Indeed, it is the duty of the church to maintain, in fullest vigour, every agency intended for the religious education of the young. We must sow the seeds of righteousness and godliness now, so that we reap a righteous reward. Children are to be taught to magnify the Lord; they ought to be told about God’s wonderful works in ages past, and they should know that a decision to follow Christ is the best decision to make in life. The remainder of verse 4 says, “…we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.”
Rick Warren supports this important programme of Christian education. In his book‘The Purpose Driven Church’, Warren notes that one of the factors which result in church growth is that people grow deeper through discipleship. Such discipleship results in maturity among members. He emphasizes an intentional people-building process. He says, “If you will concentrate on building people, God will build the church.”
Bishop Robert Schnase, in his book, ‘Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations’, contends that successful congregations often have certain characteristics in common. These fundamental practices demonstrate congregational health, vitality, and fruitfulness. One such characteristic is Intentional Faith Development. He describes this as offering high quality learning experiences that help people understand scripture, faith, and life in the supportive nurture of caring relationships. Schnase views the ministries of Christian education and formation, small group work and Bible Study as absolutely critical to our mission. For him, we must consistently offer opportunities for people of all ages, interests and faith experiences to learn in community.
The Church has the awesome task of providing spiritual education to all, but especially to our children. We must have effective Sunday/Sabbath Schools, Bible Studies that are transformational, and sermons that are impactful. May God find us faithful.