Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 5, 1968
NUMBER 31, PAGE 3b,5

What About The Kids?

Lowell D. Williams

For the past several weeks we have been setting forth, in the Guardian, some teaching principles and ideas that should improve our Bible classes. Each time I speak on this subject the question invariably arises: "What about the kids? you have no place in this system for them." If you have carefully followed this series of articles, you will already have observed that this is true. We have eliminated the children's classes on Wednesday night, leaving only the Sunday morning Bible classes for them. Hence, this concluding article will be an explanation of what we are doing with the children.

First, let me hurriedly explain that the system we have recommended does not necessarily exclude a class for children one night during the week. If a congregation has a sufficient number of teachers, such classes would be very beneficial. Whether a mid-week class is offered for the children or not, we would like to recommend a teaching procedure that has proven very practical and extremely satisfying to all who have used it.

Every preacher and elder in the Lord's church has at some time had a parent to request that he talk to "Johnny" and try to straighten him out. The parent cannot figure out when, where, or how the boy went wrong. Such parents never fail to point out that Johnny always went to Bible class and the teacher surely failed to instruct him properly. The blame is always laid at the feet of the church and the Bible classes. Some parents are considerate enough to accept "part" of the blame, but the church always receives the remaining part. Brethren, these things ought not to be!

First, let me say that I am not opposed to the church teaching children. Secondly, let me cry from the housetop that I am opposed to the church doing all the teaching of the children. This, in fact, is what is happening in the kingdom today, whether we will admit it or not. There is not one parent in a hundred who engages in an orderly teaching program with their children. Since the only orderly and scheduled Bible teaching our children receive is from the church, it naturally follows that the church will receive the blame when Johnny goes bad at the age of 17. We now raise the question: How can the church continue to teach the children and at the same time encourage the parents to accept their responsibility?

Eph. 6:4 places the entire training and responsibility of the child on the shoulders of the father. This is easily learned when one looks at the definition of "nurture" and "chastening'' in this verse. Since God placed the entire responsibility on the shoulder of the parents, then it behooves us to let it remain there. It further behooves the church, if it preaches the whole council of God, to do all within its power to make the parents accept this responsibility. Any congregation which realizes that the parents are using its Bible classes as a scapegoat for their teaching and a salve for their conscience must do something to stop the situation, or share the guilt. What can the local congregation do to place the responsibility on the shoulders of the parents and at the same time continue its own Bible classes?

A Recommended Procedure: The church can determine what material it intends to teach in the Sunday morning Bible classes on a quarterly or yearly basis. This material can then be prepared in a special way to be handed out to the parents as well as the teachers. It can be explained to the parents that they are expected to study the material each week with their children. Each week's material should be broken into five sections so that one section can be studied each day of the week. The material should be of such nature that it can be covered in a minimum of 10 minutes each day. This means that the parents must study 50 minutes per week with their children to prepare them for the following Sunday morning Bible class. In the Bible class, the teacher will then cover the same material in her own manner. The students will be together and studying a subject familiar to them. In this manner the Bible class is used very effectively to review the material, and mold it together. The fact that the student is already familiar with the material enhances the class. Being with children his own age group increases, his interest. Having the opportunity to hear the same material presented in a different fashion by a teacher other than his parent increases his knowledge. The procedure is workable and wonderful. Every public school in the land would love to have it so! This is an opportunity that God, in his providence, has provided for the parents and the church, therefore we should not pass it by.

Some Benefits

I. This procedure places the responsibility of teaching the child on the parents. Even if the Bible class teacher failed to impart one single particle of information, still the child would be learning the word of God from the parent. If the Bible classes were a total failure, still the upbringing of the child is in the hands of the parents and they alone are responsible for the success or failure of the child. This is the way God always intended for it to be.

2. If error is ever taught in the Bible classes (and it is) the parents will be able to detect it and correct the child immediately.

3. The child's knowledge is greatly increased when he studies the subject on a daily basis. This is far superior to cramming it all into 45 minute weekly class.

4. The parents participation in the Bible study will increase greatly. Here is why!!! If a student does not study during the week it is very evident to both the child and the teacher in the Sunday morning class. The parent has three forces urging him to engage in the weekly study, in addition to the normal desire to bring up the child in the way he should go... First, the parent wants his child to act normal in the Bible class and not just sit as an unprepared student. Secondly, the teacher should remind the parents that their child is not receiving the full benefit of the class because they are unprepared. Thirdly, the child itself will urge the parent to study with him, because he wants to be a normal student. (This third reason is worth the price of the program itself.)

I know of no better way to conclude this series of articles than by quoting two statements from the pen of Solomon. "Much study is a weariness of the flesh." "Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Eccl. 12:12: Prov. 22:6).

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