Any Star Trek fans out there? I’m one. Aside from some fantastic sci-fi adventure, Star Trek has provided its fans with some great characters and great dialogue. I like this exchange between Captain Kirk and Scotty from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
KIRK: How much refit time before we can take her out again?
SCOTTY: Eight weeks, Sir, [Kirk opens his mouth] but ya don’t have eight weeks, so I’ll do it for ya in two.
KIRK: Mr. Scott, have you always multiplied your repair estimates by a factor of four?
SCOTTY: Certainly, sir. How else can I keep my reputation as a miracle worker?
Scotty’s modus operandi would appear to be “under-promise and over-deliver.” Frankly, I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that principle. When you over-deliver on your promises, people are generally pleasantly surprised with the results.
Following that principle is a real challenge for me when it comes to the new Sunday School curriculum we’re adopting in a few weeks. I think this curriculum may be the single greatest children’s discipleship tool ever created in the history of the church. Too much? You’re probably right. But I am excited about it.
This fall, our children’s Sunday School classes will begin using a line of curriculum called Generations of Grace. It’s published by Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA, where John MacArthur serves as pastor. The curriculum has a lot of great features that will not only improve the depth of instruction in the classroom, but will also help parents to continue the discipleship process at home.
All Kids Cover the Same Material
Generations of Grace is what is known as a unified curriculum. That means the same subject matter is taught to children of different ages in ways that are appropriate to their respective levels of development.
But how does this play out? Let’s consider the example of Noah’s Ark. In studying that event in Scripture, a toddler may learn that God protects those who are faithful to Him. From that same passage, an elementary student may learn about the dire consequences of sin and the faithfulness of God.
The goal of this approach is to help parents engage all of their toddler and elementary-aged children in spiritual conversations about a common subject. And, as an additional benefit to this curriculum, the memory verses are the same for each respective age group. So, instead of trying to learn several different memory verses, you’re working together to learn one great lesson.
Imagine sitting down for Sunday lunch with your family and asking your kids the standard post-church question: “What did you learn today?” Instead of going around the table to hold separate conversations with each child about the passage he/she studied, you’ll be able to engage all of your kids in a group conversation about a single section of Scripture.
Your younger kids will be able to talk about the basic details of the passage, while your older kids will be able to discuss the significance and implications of the events described. This curriculum should allow you to conduct a more in-depth conversation about the content of the Bible and the ways in which it ought to impact the thinking and behavior of your children.
Kids Study the Entire Bible Three Full Times
Generations of Grace will help your children gain much deeper understanding of the Scriptures. Over a three-year period, this curriculum covers the Old Testament historical books, the life of Christ, the Acts of the Apostles and the book of Revelation.
That means a two-year-old entering our ministry this fall will study the historical and narrative portions of Scripture three complete times before leaving our Children’s Ministries. We believe this instruction will provide your kids with a solid theological foundation that will serve them well as they move into our junior and senior high ministries.
Several years ago, the Barna Group published an incredible statistic. It found that less than 10% of families who regularly attend church have spiritual conversations in the home.
While we don’t believe that statistic accurately reflects the home life of the average family attending our church, we want to make sure that we’re doing what we can to be certain it doesn’t become true of the Faith community.
One of the chief goals of our Children’s Ministries is to supply parents with tools that will help them disciple their kids. On August 21, you’ll begin to see a regular section in our church bulletin that provides parents with simple conversation starters, suggestions for family devotions, and ideas for helping your kids apply what they learned in Sunday School throughout the week.
Here’s a sample of what one of those sections will look like:
God Floods the Earth
Passage: Genesis 6:5–7:24
Principle: God judges man for his sinfulness.
Praise: “Rise and Shine”
Prompt: Ask your child these questions: Why was God going to flood the earth? What did God command Noah to do?
Practice: Help your child apply these truths in the following ways: Respond by repenting and trusting Jesus as Savior and Lord. Respond by obeying and trusting the Lord, as Noah did.
This Week: As a family, read Genesis 6:5–7:24.
Next Week: Genesis 8:1–9:17
We also plan to place these prompts on our church website and send it directly to parents via e-mail each week. If your child attends one of our Sunday School classes and you would like to receive a copy of this e-mail, please sign up at our Children’s Ministries blog, Faith Kids Connection. (Here’s a link to just the discipleship helps on that blog.) You can sign up for all of our posts, just the discipleship helps, or others.
We’re excited about the ways in which this new curriculum will help us to improve our ministry to families, and we look forward to helping you disciple your kids in the days ahead.