Summer’s coming. You can tell by the Facebook posts from parents requesting info on summer camps, Vacation Bible Schools and other various options to keep their kids busy.
Our church is offering two sports camps June 4-8, with soccer 9 a.m.-noon and basketball 1-4 p.m. The camps cost $75, or $125 for both.
Our Vacation Bible School, June 11-15, features a sports theme, “Game On!” Children come in the morning, 9-12:30, and grades 7-12 enjoy the evening session, 6-8 p.m. Vacation Bible School is free.
Then following VBS are two Camp Praises this year. Camp Praise Children is June 18-22 and Camp Praise Youth is June 26-29. Sign up online at www.mcdonoughroad.org.
Along with plugging into events, let’s keep our children busy with another critical activity: intentionally learning their Bible.
“Kids in the Word” gives families the framework to keep kids in the Bible this summer.
Maria Brannen, state missionary with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, and her team developed four initiatives that comprise the “Kids in the Word” emphasis:
*Every kid has a Bible that contains both the Old and New Testaments.
*Every kid learns the books of the Bible.
*Every kid reads a book of the Bible during the year.
*Every kid memorizes at least ten Bible verses.
This summer, children are challenged to read through Luke (24 chapters).
Why is this emphasis so critical?
Lifeway Research released the results of a study last Fall that showed that the biggest predictor of spiritual health as young adults is whether they read the Bible regularly as a kid,” said Brannen.
Knowing the importance of Bible reading and leading children to spend time in their Bibles are two different things.
“The big key is being intentional,” she said, “but our families lead very busy lives and unless you make it a priority on a daily basis, the busyness overtakes us.
“It’s crucial for our kids to do this and for families to get back to Bible reading. If they don’t, we’ll realize one day our kids won’t have the spiritual discipline of regularly reading the Bible and looking up passages,” Brannen said.
Unfortunately, we live in a time in which the Bible is rarely opened between Sundays, assuming folks are even attending worship, and assuming, when they do attend, biblical messages are proclaimed.
On the average, American adults own seven Bibles, but only 25% of church-going adults read their Bible on a regular, disciplined basis.
Another study published in Transitional Discipleship found that the top indicator of spiritual growth in a believer’s life is Bible reading. (https://www.lifeway.com/kidsministry/2017/07/19/nothing-less-than-the-whole-bible/). How can we be sure we are growing spiritually if we aren’t regularly, systematically reading God’s Word?
And if parents aren’t reading God’s Word, then isn’t it safe to say that parents aren’t leading their children to read God’s Word?
Let’s change that trend this summer with “Kids in the Word.” Parents, be intentional and set a new direction. Take seriously the admonition to raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord by letting them see you in the Word and getting them into the Word every day.
How can you include this emphasis in your summer plans?
First, make it a priority. Literally put “KIW” on your calendar every day, right beside your vacation trip, the baseball games, the swim lessons, the trip to the dentist, and anything else that’s written in.
Second, download the free tool that will guide you and help you lead your children. Here’s the link to the blog about the summer challenge. At the end of this article you’ll find the link to download the free printable guide (https://gabaptistgroups.org/kids-in-the-word-2018-summer-challenge/).
Third, read the Gospel of Luke together and talk about what you read that day. Memorize the suggested verses together.
Fourth, at the end of the summer, after reading Luke and memorizing the ten verses found in the printable download, have a family celebration, or a special family outing. Do something that affirms your children’s efforts and gives yourself a well-deserved pat-on-the-back for leading the way and getting into the Word yourself.
Your influence will go a long way toward setting a spiritual direction that will benefit your children for life.
(Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. The church family meets at 352 McDonough Road, near McCurry Park, and invites you to join them for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. this Sunday. Visit them online at www.mcdonoughroad.org and like them on Facebook).