I recently met with a frustrated father of teenagers. Most Sundays, it was like pulling teeth to get their kids to go to church. So, I asked him if he’d ever sat down and taught his children how to worship?
“Oh sure! I’ve told them how important it is that we worship God, that’s why we go to church,” he answered. “That’s not exactly what I meant,” I said. “Have you taught them how to worship, when they go to church?” Two things were obvious to me; he hadn’t taught his children and he himself was unsure what it meant to truly worship when in church.
So, here are some practical ideas you can pass on to children, grandchildren or those you spiritually mentor.
When you have an important decision to make, to whom do you go for wise, godly counsel?
Years ago, a pastor I knew called me to ask my advice about what kind of car he should drive. I was immediately curious about why he would call me, because although I drive very nice cars, I’m not a “car guy.” I know nothing about engine sizes, suspensions and performance – nothing!
So here was his question; “I’m thinking about buying a Volvo. But I’m concerned about how that might look to the people in my church that their pastor is driving a relatively expensive car. What do you think?
Well, here’s what I was thinking: This guy knows full well I drive a much better car than a Volvo, so of course I’m not going to lecture him about driving pricey cars. He called me because I was safe.
That’s one of the dangers of getting advice from others. We tend to seek out the people who are likely to give us the answers we want.
For years, I’ve made a study of some of the most effective ways to teach the Bible and a biblical worldview. I’m still a student myself but I’ve come to this conclusion: My job isn’t really to teach. It’s to help others understand. So these “teaching tips” are really practical ideas for making what you teach, understood and memorable.
To begin with, I have these criteria for my teaching:
• Be true to the Bible
Teach the Bible. Don’t try to make it say something it doesn’t clearly teach, or soften it’s teaching when God seems hard or uncompromising. Let the Bible speak for itself.
• Be intellectually honest
Be honest about when the Bible or God “appears” to make no sense to you. Don’t try to put the best spin on hard truths and admit it when you don’t know the answer to every Bible question.
• Be gracious
Admit that there are Christians who love God deeply and have a high view of scripture who disagree with you. But, be kind in your critique of them and their ideas. Also, be gracious with non-Christians. They simply don’t know better.
1. Give those you teach a simple, memorable framework for remembering the most important ideas.
Remember the three-point sermon? Do the same with your teaching. Recently, I taught on “Why bad things happen to good people” I gave the group, in writing, the five reasons I’ve found, then challenged the group to think of a sixth. When they couldn’t, we went back over all five in detail with illustrations for each. My list and the illustrations became a visual template for remembering and framing the discussion.
I was recently asked by a small group I was teaching, if the Bible had anything to say that would be helpful to understand how Christians should respond to the mass immigration of illegal children along our southern border.
Just in case you’ve been out of the loop, or are not a U.S. citizen here’s the issue; Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children (under 18 and as young as 6) are making their way to the U.S. from a number of Central American countries, specifically Honduras and Guatemala. These are violent countries where parents fear for their children’s lives. San Pedro Sula, Honduras has the highest murder rate of any city in the world. So, parents are sending their children north, all alone, with the hope of living safely in the U.S. with relatives already here. The trip is so dangerous, it’s estimated that only 60% ever arrive at the U.S. border, the rest give up, die, are kidnapped, sold into slavery into or the sex trade.
Technically, the majority of children entering the U.S. are not orphans – they have parents. But, from the time they leave their parents, they are some of the most vulnerable children on the planet. It also needs to be said that both the parents and their children know what they are doing is illegal. But parents are so desperate for the safety of their children; they’re willing to risk everything! Still, without their parent’s protection, I believe the Bible requires us to treat these children as both orphans and aliens.
So, how should Christians respond and are there practical, biblical ways to address this issue?