Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 3rd Grade :)

Teaching Children the Bible

on August 23, 2012

….and helping them grow spiritually


Noah 2 Years Old, Reading His Bible

I have read the Bible to Noah since he was a newborn–my Bible, not a children’s Bible. I remember him as a six month old sitting in my lap, chubby hands grasping at the pages, while I instructed him over and over, “Mommy is reading. Let mommy read.” I pushed on, he outgrew that phase, and he remained in my lap through the various challenges of each new developmental stage. We managed by the grace of God, it became easier and easier over time, and to this day Noah will sit with me every morning through a regular adult type and length devotional (bible reading, prayer, and worship) before breakfast. I introduced children’s Bible storybooks along the way (although I never felt like I found the “perfect one”), and eventually read out of the adult Bible with him less than before. I know I haven’t made perfect choices, but these years of shared devotions are my favorite bonding memories……of time spent with my son before the Lord.

I was delighted when Noah at age 2 wanted to pray for Jesus to come into his heart, and how his behavior noticeably changed for the better. However, it has certainly not been all challenge free since then, and issues come up that reflect the still immature state of his heart. “I don’t want to”, “But I am hungry”, and general whining about Bible time have been all I seem to hear from him lately. It PAINS me to hear him complaining and rejecting time with his God, mostly because I want so much more for him. I want spiritual growth–for him to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to actually know that still quiet voice of the Lord for himself, to pray deeply from his spirit rather than his mind, and to be so full of the Holy Spirit that he bubbles over daily with things to tell me about God. Not to mention the even loftier goals of him being filled with the Holy Spirit and having gifts of the Spirit.

The Bible views children with a higher calling than we tend to conceive for our own children. Psalm 8 says, “Through the praise of children and infants the Lord has established a stronghold against our enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Joel 2:28 says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” I feel that our dreams for our children don’t need to be small just because our children are small. As I mentioned previously on this blog, we shall raise up Daniels: skillful in all wisdom, discernment, and understanding, apt in learning knowledge, competent to stand and serve in the king’s palace. (Daniel 1:4)

Do you have a mental, or perhaps actual, list of spiritual aspirations for your children? I am sure knowledge of the Bible tops your list, but if you are like me, perhaps you wonder about the effectiveness or thoroughness of your methods for teaching the Bible. God is so faithful because He is continuing to pour knowledge out as I sow it to you, and He is demystifying some things about the spiritual training up of children for me. I am pleased that once again, Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophies are providing sound practical guidance, including the area of Bible study. After too many years of using casual Bible study methods, I am relieved to have more in depth Biblical education methods to work towards with my children! This post is to share some of my own gems of spiritual discoveries, and to add Charlotte Mason’s Bible education wisdom on top of that. I suspect that I may not be the only parent who has a lot of questions about teaching the Bible, as well as questions about how to foster a child’s spiritual growth in general.

Today I blog to have us consider, What goals do we have for our children spiritually, and what will our methods be for getting there? If you have felt a little aimless like me, I hope this post will provide some of the direction you are looking for. Many parents rely on things like picture Bibles and participation in children’s ministry as methods for attaining the goals of a child’s spiritual growth. I challenge you to consider that these things, though good, are not necessarily best. If your goals are high, are your methods equally matched? If we are really honest with ourselves, we may realize that the methods we are using may not be enough to attain our goals.

 The following list analyzes the validity of 6 popular notions held by the vast majority of Christian parents concerning their children’s spiritual growth.

Mediocre vs. Excpetional Catalysts for a Child’s Spiritual Growth:

#1: My Child Will Attend Public School Homeschool and Keep His Faith

Will your children believe in Jesus when they graduate from high school?

Homeschooled: 94%
Public Schooled: 15%

94% of homeschoolers keep the faith and 93% continue to attend church after the high school years. But a shocking 75% to 85% of Christian children sent to public school drop out of church, and do not hold a Christian worldview after high school graduation. (exploringhomeschool.com)

Education is the greatest shaper of worldview. There are wide gaps between the worldviews of Christian children educated by the government and those educated by their parents and/or truly Christian schools. It’s a fact that Christian schools led by Christian faculty often choose not to use entirely (or any!) Bible-based curriculum.

More than 85 percent of Christians in America send their children to government schools. That number is staggering. However, it has been the norm for so long that we fail to see its significance. Imagine if 85 percent of Christians voted. Better yet, imagine if 85 percent of Christians witnessed or tithed or showed up regularly at the churches where their names are on the rolls. I guarantee you there would be headline stories in every Christian publication if any one of those things happened anytime soon. It is almost impossible to get 85 percent of Christians to participate in any single activity. However, a whopping 85 percent make the same educational choice. (kidsinministry.org)

We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans. More importantly, we cannot continue to use Caesar’s methods in our Christian schools and expect a different outcome. Education is inseparable from discipleship (Luke 6:40). We need to be aware of the consequences of our educational choices.

Keep your child at home and you will be discipling them in the truest sense of the word as you customize their education to an entirely Godly worldview. Homeschoolers are blessed with time to study God’s Word. Historical leaders of the great “evil empires” knew the importance of training up the next generation. Do Christians?

#2: My Child Will Participate in a Thriving Children’s Ministry Family Worship Experience for His Solid Food

Church childcare programs are an altogether modern invention. In the early church of the Bible it can be presumed that children were present when spiritual gifts were being exercised and even practicing them in a very natural way, as part of the body of believers. Whole families came and stayed to partake in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at that time. We must stop feeding our children baby food in our church’s children’s ministry. Children are created to desire the supernatural, and if we don’t don’t lead them towards the the deep things of God, they will search through the darkness and find everything that is not God to fill that void that aches for the supernatural. In my opinion, “high fantasy Harry Potter” type occupations, or even fascinations with superheros like Superman and Spiderman with their superpowers are signs that our kids are trying to fill that void.

Do We Need Children’s Ministry Programs?

My husband and I have started asking Noah if he would rather go into his children’s class or into service with mommy and daddy. I want him participating in what God is doing and speaking in the main service. Plus, I feel that pulling children higher up is a good thing (I think CM would agree). And Noah is learning to sit through the whole service! The way families in church must have toys or edible distractions for all non-puppet moments, underestimates the abilities of our children. Remember, they are image bearers, and they are capable of taking in the best mind food. I especially feel that the strong presence of God present in the adult worship service is something that children should not grow up separated from. How will they learn how to worship if they are never in the worship service? I know the idea of intergenerational services goes against everything most of us are used to, but learn something new with me and read on for a list of reasons supporting family worship. (The following is taken from inrich.org)

  1. Age graded programs are unwise, unnecessary and largely unproductive. Segregating and separating children is both unbiblical and unnatural. When families are referred to in the Scripture, the children are included in the family worship, never otherwise. The secular society has tried to keep kids from their parents. The public education system was influenced heavily by G. Stanley Hall, John Dewey, G.F. Hegel and Rosseau who advocated isolating children from their parents. This has been one of the fundamental problems of the public schools. But these secular ideals must be recognized and resisted on the basis of clear Scriptural teaching on how to raise children. The church needs to strongly resist the anti-christian culture that purposefully or unconsciously attacks the family and biblical values.
  2. The church should lift the standard for both parents and children. Some parents will be “uncomfortable” with the challenge to train their children to listen, to follow through at home (and be held accountable for it!), or with strong preaching on the Scriptural admonitions. We should have high expectations for our children, giving them something to reach for–demonstrating our confidence in their ability to relate to adults and to learn at a higher level.
  3. Intergenerational activities (classes, programs, special events) provide an opportunity for individuals to relate to others of all ages in the natural way they are placed by God in society (church and family) instead of in the unnatural and negative peer structure. These cross-generational groups also furnish ample occasion for the church to follow God’s plan for older women to instruct younger women, for older men to instruct younger men, and for parents to train their children, etc.
  4. Children need to see their parents worshiping God and responding to His Word (preaching and teaching); children worshiped with their parents in the Bible record and this was part of the educational (learning to fear and trust God) experience. Deuteronomy 6 and Psalm 78 state the principles; examples are seen in Deut. 31:10-13, 2 Kings 23:1-3, Neh. 12:43.
  5. Sunday School was not formed originally as a biblically-based and balanced approach to discipleship. In some ways the pattern of the first Sunday Schools would be akin to government subsidized busing “ministries.” In relation to traditional Sunday Schools in most evangelical churches today, one must be careful to evaluate all discipleship programs in light of the core values of the local church. In other words, are we adding more classes or programs because people want something more to do or desire to acquire more information? The questions to ask in reference to the core values is: “what ministry ‘programs’ will have the greatest influence in making mature followers of Christ and thus accomplish our God-given vision for this church?”
  6. The local church needs to be more than “family friendly.” The philosophy of ministry, because of God’s plan for the family, needs to be decidedly based on building family values since that is clearly God’s plan and since strong families are a major component in producing healthy churches.
  7. Having the family-based church leads to effective and fruitful ministries that come naturally from the healthy family. For example, instead of creating artificial or contrived ministry programs, the family – in the context of their relationship to the local church – reaches out to the lost, embraces the “foreigner” (single parent, single adult, church visitor, unsaved individual, etc.), “adopts” newcomers, practices hospitality, and serves together. “HOME” groups can also be structured to include family groups, instead of creating another night out away from family members. The family learns a missionary mentality.
  8. Sundays need to be a family-together experience. Families are already fragmented excessively in American culture. We already spoke of the contrast between “sending away” and “walking along side” in parental education. Deut. 6:6-7 can be experienced on Sunday mornings. Churches can bear the “inconvenience” of having children learn to sit and worship with their parents, giving their parents the opportunity to train (and be with) their kids. See Exodus 10:8-10; Deut. 29:10-13; Psalm 78:1-4 for additional examples of all ages together in corporate worship. Child training can happen on Sundays.

#3 My Child Will Be On Fire as a Result of Salvation Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Zeal for accomplishing God the Father’s purpose was burning in Jesus like an unquenchable fire. How do we get on fire like Jesus? By being filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit. “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire,” said John the Baptist of Jesus. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit visibly descended in holy flame upon the men and women gathered in the Upper Room. “Fan into flame the gift of God which is in you,” Paul urged Timothy about his gift of the Holy Spirit. (2 Tim. 1:6). As much as our children need the Father and the Son, our children need the Holy Spirit to empower them, set them on fire, and give them hope just when they feel they are running low. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a life-changing experience. Cowards become courageous. Peter denied he knew Jesus three times on the day He was crucified, but on the Day of Pentecost Peter stood up like a giant. The fearful become fiery. The worried become bold.

We talk lots about Jesus and tell all his stories, but we also need to tell stories about the work of the Holy Spirit! How can children love someone whose name they haven’t even heard? Right now, in this nation, boys and girls are going to churches where they are taught either nothing or half-truths about the Holy Spirit. How can they keep on, keeping on without the precious Holy Spirit? Spending years in primary education being told the same stories again and again, engaging the head without the heart being touched by the phileo – demonstrated love of the Father (manifestations of the Holy Spirit) – is the cause of a mass exodus out the church door.

If our Lord and Savior worked all of His mighty miracles (resurrecting people from the dead, healing blind eyes, opening deaf ears, and cleansing lepers) as the Holy Spirit anointed His humanity, what is it WE need in the church today? We need the anointing, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And its through the Holy Spirit that we release our children into the supernatural – there is no junior Holy Spirit! It’s exciting to be a Christian! Not meant to be dull and one-dimensional, but to be felt, experienced, laughed, cried, tried and practiced. Learning how to be filled (controlled and empowered) by the Holy Spirit by faith can be the most important discovery of your child’s Christian life.

Why Do We Need the Holy Spirit?

Understanding the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

As you prepare daily Bible readings for your children you will need to rely heavily on the office of the Holy Spirit as well. Ask the Holy Spirit: what would He have you draw out from the Scriptures tomorrow? Has it breathed life into you as you prepare? Holy Spirit, is there an application you want me to bring to MY children?

#4 My Child’s Will Learn to Pray Effectual Prayers from His Heart the Word of God

The best way to learn to communicate with God is by saying things his way. He wants us to learn a new language. He wants to teach us a new way of thinking. So he gives us a whole vocabulary and new way of thinking: His words. As we learn to declare his words appropriately, a new bond of communication between us and Him develops. The more we do it, the better it gets, and we sense our relationship with the Lord becoming stronger and more passionate . We are like babies learning our parent’s language. One of the signs of growing up in spiritual maturity is how much we pray God’s words.

I John 5:14-15 tells us that if we pray in accordance with His will, which is His Word, and believe that He is hearing us pray His Word, then we will receive answers and results from our prayers. The Bible is full of people praying this way, by quoting other Scriptures. The word of God is alive and powerful. Words being alive is hard to imagine but it is true. God created the world and the universe by SPEAKING. When we speak the Word of God back to Him, we are praying in agreement with what He has already spoken, thereby releasing His power into our lives. Without this power our prayers and lives are empty. So, help your children open their mouths every day to speak God’s own powerful words over their lives, and their prayers will avail much! Speak those things that are not as though they are. (Romans 4:17)

It is very important to memorize God’s word because Jesus has said that the Holy Spirit will bring His word to our remembrance, and this will eventually transform your child’s prayer life. Scriptural prayers prompted by the Holy Spirit are the goal! Don’t leave it up to your church to teach your children their memory verses, the Word of God is mind food that should be fed on all week long at home. Index cards or post-it-notes with scriptures or sections of scriptures can be strategically placed so that we, and our children, may rehearse and quote them frequently. Mirror in the bathroom, dashboard in the car, on the refrigerator, or on an item next to a favorite chair are just a few examples of memory verse placement.

A few examples of scriptural prayers:

— Father let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight … Psalms 19:14a
— I thank you Lord that you order my steps today … Ps. 37:23
— Let my speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that I may know how I ought to answer everyone… Col. 4:6
— I thank you Lord that by your stripes, I am healed… 1Peter 2:24b, 3John: 2.
— Father please give me the spirit of wisdom in every area of my life. Eph. 1:17.
— Help me to know the love of Christ and be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:19
— Please work in me to will and to do your good pleasure. Phil. 2:13

Ever wonder how to keep track of verses you have learned, the verses you want to learn, the verse you are learning, plus the verses you need to review? It gets confusing! Simply Charlotte Mason has an effective practical system that makes all this possible. Here is their very Organized System to Scripture Memorization.

Goal #5 My Child Will Know the Word of God by Reading a Picture Bible Diligent Scholarly Bible Study

When Charlotte Mason philosophies and methods are applied to Bible study (and the rest of life), the benefits your children receive during these activities are amplified tremendously. The following are all her thoughts to inspire you to greatness:

Children’s Picture Bible vs. the Bible

How many of us have been on an unending search for the “perfect” children’s Bible, only to find that it may simply not exist? That is me! The Bible is God’s word, and the story book is man’s fallible writing on the subject. The Bible Story Book, can be a weak ‘authority’ for you to feed your soul and your child’s soul from…. so reading from the Bible, and a story book would be better. Or just read the Bible. Bible Story books can be useful tools, but tools are only tools, they are not the best food…… (you can read about feeding your child’s mind the best mind food here under “Living Books”)

One truly does not need to water down the word of God ‘to a child’s level’. When listening to the same story, the child will not glean the same depths as a great theologian, but he will receive his milk, and in time his own meat from the same Biblical literature which is a banquet for the theologian. Our wise and omniscient Lord does indeed know which foods to offer to each child from the Biblical literature which He has provided for us all.

If you choose to use a children’s story Bible, this one is one of the few storybooks that accurately retells, and includes over 200 stories told in simple language.

King James, NIV, or what?

Which Bible translation is best for my child? The proliferation of Bible versions in the past few decades places today’s parents among the first generation in almost 400 years wherein most have never read the King James Bible. In pursuing a literary education, will one version stretch our children’s thinking skills, and elevate their ability to understand works of classic literature, better than another version? Yes, the King James Version.

The KJV was penned at the pinnacle of English writing style, and it served as a common fount of influence for classic authors for over three hundred years. Most of the classic literature, the living books, Charlotte Mason students study in homeschool were written by authors intimately familiar with the King James Bible. The result? Its influence is inextricably woven into their works, informing their phrasings, illuminating their expression, and burying treasure chests of meaning beneath the surface of their words. Those great minds of between roughly 1611 and 1930, the pinnacle of English writing style, are the backbone, breath and muscle of the books employed in advanced literary curriculums. These are the minds daily appealing to your child’s mind, whose great thoughts and ideas your child is continuously narrating and absorbing. And the majority of those authors share the KJV as a common fount of thought, tone, ideas, construction, phrasings and references. Therefore, as your children become more familiar with the KJV, they will also become increasingly more at ease with an expansive body of great literary works. It’s like having the map to buried treasures. For these reasons, the KJV stands alone as being uniquely suited to serve as our “prime spine” in a classic literary curriculum.

The way children encounter information today is changing. As image-based information becomes more prevalent, our cultural mastery of language is eroding. In response, modern schools move toward materials and methods that are more image-based, and less language-based, than those used in the past. But the great teachers of the past knew something so simple it’s profound: wrestling with rich language develops a strong, agile mind.Their master tool was a literary curriculum, which is inherently language-based. Studies now confirm what they knew by instinct: whereas images are largely passively received and require minimal exercise of the brain, grappling with language requires the mind to work, flex, expand, and make connections. Classic books are steadily moving beyond the grasp of modern readers. A widening language chasm cruelly threatens to separate us from our own cultural treasures.

But what if your children are already accustomed to a more recent version? Is it too late to get comfortable with the KJV? Any exposure is better than none. The younger the better, since language is assimilated with more ease at early ages. But even if your children are older, don’t despair. Once children begin to hear the KJV read regularly, it’s just a matter of time before the strangeness fades and the language rings familiar. A few ideas to help you ease the transition from a recent version to the KJV:

www.amblesideonline.org/WhyKJV.shtml

Teaching Your Children the Bible Should Grow You

This was key information for me. Charlotte Mason said parents should stop waiting around for the perfect Picture Bible storybook, and tell the Bible stories themselves. Consider sharing the Bible stories from your own telling, especially if your own children are young. If you really learn the stories well enough to do that, it means that God is using the whole process to help those stories become a part of your heart. If you can narrate each story that you prepare for your precious 3 1/2 yo, and with His gentle, gracious love, do so in a meaningful way, then you have meditated on the Word in such a way that you have accessed a rich and edifying power for your own life. The stories will become real and more alive in your own life. When those stories become alive in your heart, it adds to the telling to your child. This builds you both up powerfully in preparation for guiding him through the years.

This bit of advice resonates with me so much!! I finally realized that this is the answer to my long search for the perfect children’s Bible, and is what more truly aligns with my beliefs that “whatever comes from you, is part of you, brought out to fill a need, is the most effective and strangely satisfying way to provide” (from my post Simple At Home Preschool). Whatever you teach, you do not forget. If it is our aim to really learn the Word of God, should we consistently rely on children’s Bibles, or rather the story fleshed out of our own hearts by our own telling? Could this be one reason God gives us children–so that we may really learn His Word? The light finally went on for me on how to correctly approach teaching my children the Bible!!

With no pictures to look at, you and your child will connect more deeply during Bible story time as he looks into your eyes while you tell the story yourself. No pictures also has the side benefit of strengthening a child’s powers of imagination. “All little children, more or less, have this power of imagination while they are young, some far more than others. What is wanted for success, is the getting hold of it early, by encouraging the putting into words of the rambling and meditative little thoughts, sometimes exquisite in their poetry and simplicity. Now a Mother (or a Father) has a better chance of doing this than anyone else. She can get the children round her early in the morning when their thoughts are clearest and brightest. She has them earlier of all, before shyness of their fellows closes their lips, and custom stops their “wonderings.”” –Charlotte Mason

Which Bible Stories?

Share the stories that you feel are worthwhile for your child to know according to his or her maturity. Here is a listing of the ‘main’ stories in the Bible in chronological order:

www.biblegateway.com/resources/readingplans/chronological.php

Old or New Testament?

Read the Old Testament as well as the New Testament because creation and the establishment of the Israel nation which was God’s chosen way of providing Salvation through Christ is foundational understanding of our faith that must be learned from the Old Testament. Psalms and Proverbs are good to read on a regular basis. For a sample schedule, you could do OT and NT weekday readings, and Psalms and Proverbs weekend readings.

 Classical Art to Illustrate Bible Stories

Using great art to illustrate Bible stories was an integral part of a Charlotte Mason approach to the Bible. This is another reason many picture Bibles are not the best mind food. Cartoon pictures are “twaddle” for children’s minds. Exposure to art of the great masters will cultivate the type of appetite we want our children to have for art. The more children look at cartoon pictures, the more they will expect and want cartoons rather than real art. Just keep in mind that classical artists often used nudes and that not all art illustrates Biblical stories totally in keeping with the Biblical account – so use discretion in line with your convictions. This is one extensive listing of online art related to the Bible. It is listed by scripture in order of scripture.

www.biblical-art.com

The Bible Comes Alive with Historical Studies

Want to know more about life in the Middle East in biblical times? Want to know what type of wood might have been used in the Ark? Or what mountain range Ararat belongs to? Do you know that manna grew on trees? Studying Bible history is so interesting! Making remarks about geography or customs makes the scriptures come alive as the Bible can not be fully understood apart from this background information. Extensive Bible history information can be found here:

www.bible-history.com

If you want to start with something simpler and already ‘done for you’, this Bible would be a good start. Maps and color photographs of artifacts, plants, biblical places, animals, people, and architecture are all here in this children’s Bible.

A Child’s Geography of the Holy Land would also help make Bible geography come alive for your Bible scholar.

Your children should often find the places (on the map) that they will be ‘visiting’ through their upcoming reading. And they should know where those places are, relative to other places. The young scholar should even learn to give parallels and meridians. (Perhaps learning the skills to do this would be explored outside of the Bible lesson, but such skills can be incorporated into the Bible lesson once the student is able.) Maps can be found online here:

www.ntgateway.com/maps.htm

www.painsley.org.uk/re/Atlas/default.htm

www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/index.html

Vocabulary Preparation Makes Reading Comprehendable

Miss Mason taught that previewing new vocabulary prior to the reading allows the reading to speak for itself and for each reading to enter the child’s mind uninterrupted. If you take time for this, you can simply pre-read and lightly underline words so you will be prepared to informally introduce them prior to the reading (writing them on the board is a plus to consider). Which dictionary is on your shelf? The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary was written with the Bible as its foundation of definitions. It’s Biblical references and insightful definitions contrast significantly at times with today’s dictionary entries. Our modern English language is secularized and therefore the modern dictionary won’t be a fountain of truth. As time permits, looking up words in The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary can prove more than useful.

http://1828.mshaffer.com/

Narration Helps Retention and Assimilation of Ideas

Asking for a narration during or after every reading helps the child’s mind attend more fully. Begin by having your child tell back the story. If this is difficult, read only one sentence at a time, and ask him to tell you about each sentence in turn. Lengthen the amount you read between narrations as his ability to attend and organize his thoughts increases.

Miss Mason on narrations: http://amblesideonline.org/CM/1_5c.html

It is desirable at times to ask questions in order to emphasize certain points. But one must be certain that these are asked after and not before the narration. The process of question and answer must not smother the lesson. After the narration session is completed, the teacher occasionally elucidates, sums up, or enlarges. She discusses new thoughts of God, and new points of behavior more as a matter of reverent implications, than as attempts which man must undertake to achieve God’s standards. On a few occasions, as with introductions to readings, there might even be a bit of a lecture. 

Book of Centuries Place Events In Time

After the lessons, the teacher directs the children in entering Biblical history into their own books of the centuries, i.e. a timeline. Noting approximate dates of events into a Book of the Centuries was not something Miss Mason recommended with children until they were perhaps 9 or 10 years of age, but if it is done without pressure, and there is time, it has proven valuable to quite a few families to begin sooner than that.

Here’s an easy to print book of the centuries online:

www.simplycharlottemason.com/timesavers/book-of-centuries/

Or consider a different format

www.homeschoolinthewoods.com/HTTA/TimelineHelps/

For other directions for making your own timeline try here:

www.donnayoung.org

Goal #6: My Child Will Join in Timeless Worship with Chris Tomlin Hymns

Hyms or Modern Choruses?

Modern worship music is moving and sincere. It certainly has an important place in the lives of our children. However, many of us shun hymns altogether as stodgy, traditional, and too old fashioned. I urge you to consider bringing hymns back into your home for their literary beauty, and you may find that they are the mind food that enhances your worship experience. Many contemporary music artist are returning to the older texts, and sometimes also the tunes (but not necessarily the sounds of traditional hymns), which is great! Even if you prefer to sing modern praise choruses, your faith will be strengthened by studying the words of the hymns. Many of them are rich in theology and Biblical truth. If we have a limited view of who God is and what the gospel is, our experience of it will be limited as well. And hymns remain a part of our Christian heritage. What a shame to lose that history through neglect. Young people are returning to the songs of their grandmothers as they are finding them to be richly satisfying in a different way than modern choruses. One college student said this about hymns:

Coming from a typical praise chorus reliant
high school youth group . . .
I didn’t understand a lot of the poetic
and imagery-driven lyrics, and the
word hymn automatically meant boring
music. But I found myself falling
in love with the old hymns. . . . The
words are so profound and full of
truth one can’t help but be broken. Singing hymns
has seriously changed my life and freed me from
feeling frustrated by surface lyrics that focus on
how I feel about God, which is always changing.
Hymns have allowed me to center my worship on
the Gospel, which in turn compels me to love the
God I am prone to hate and wander from.

I personally love the idea of hymns because they provide solid sustenance for my children to grow upon. Modern worship music is so transient, one day a song is popular, the next its not. You can not count on hearing a song that you loved today in your church’s worship service 5 years from now. For children, this means they have no storehouse of worship to draw upon as they grow. Worship now days changes so much and so fast that my spirit mostly only retains what I remember learning as a child (some are hymns, some were just songs sung repeatedly). Again and again, these songs I learned long ago, are what come up inside me when I need something to hold me through stormy feelings. They are even what I pull up in devotion time or spontaneously throughout the day to teach my own children. They are what stay with me. Give your child hymns, and give him something to hold onto through the years. Let some of the songs you sing now with your 3 year old in family devotions be some of the same ones that are sung at home when he is 18. Worship need not be static, but it should also be about legacy.

FYI, Miss Mason did not necessarily choose hymns in light of Bible readings. However, you might decide you would like to pair an easy match like Let All Things Now Living, for instance, with study of either creation, Thanksgiving, or Israel’s Exodus.

Help for Hymn Study:

www.squidoo.com/hymn-study

www.songsandhymns.org

simplycharlottemason.com/planning/scmguide/hymn

God bless you as you seize this window of time to disciple your child for the glory of God!

If you are not a Christian, or not sure where you stand right now with the Lord, you can choose to start life with God today.


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