Why Build Castle? (Part 1)

I began in my current position in May 2010 when our children’s pastor prepared for her third baby in 4 years  (Crazy Carrie! :)). With three pre-schoolers, she felt that she should take time to invest in her children…and so I was asked to step in!  Carrie had accomplished an amazing amount of ground work in building a mid-week children’s ministry.  This, as many of you who are reading will know, has replaced the traditional Sunday School program in many evangelical churches over the past 15 years or so.

After considering a few curriculums for the following September, I had become quite frustrated with the material.  I am sure that there is great curriculum out there but I couldn’t find what I thought we needed!  We have one in particular that we use on Sundays for Children’s church but I wanted the mid-week program to be different…a little “meatier”…more challenging.  It seems that since dissolving the Sunday school program, curriculum has been “softened” to make the program more inclusive to children from the community who might otherwise not attend a church and have limited knowledge of Biblical teachings.  It seemed like a good idea but we may have paid a high price for the switchover.

So…I set out with my best attempt to write the curriculum that I wanted.  We covered units on the Romans Road, Communion, Water Baptism and the Fruit of the Spirit.  I brought back the old fashioned bible drills, began quizzing them on Bible trivia, gave them weekly homework and started regular Worship Services.  I requested that all children, no matter what their age, bring their bibles to Kidztown (our mid-week program).

Through this, I made a shocking discovery.  I learned that many of the children did not have a bible of their own.  If they don’t own one, I could assume that they do not read the Bible…much less know how to navigate through it. Our bible drills began with using just one or two books of the bible and the trivia had to be from the most basic of Bible stories in order to be successful. Where have we gone wrong?  Somewhere along the way, the word of God has lost its significance in the homes of Christian families.  God’s word is meant to guide, instruct and encourage us…it is essential to our faith…but it is no longer a part of the daily lives of many of our children…and I would guess, our families in general.

There have been studies released over the last few years that give a grim picture of the future of the evangelical church.  Some say that 90% of  our young people leave the church by the time they reach 18.  George Barna, the author of Essential Church?: Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts,  says that 70% leave by age 22.  That number will reach 80% by age 29.   Despite the differences in the numbers, all seem to agree that we are losing our kids.

Now, wait just a minute!  I am the mother of 3 boys… one of which is already looking forward to starting a university career.  According to the statistics, at least 2 of the 3 will turn their backs on their faith by the time they reach this part of their lives.  I will NOT accept the statistics! I dedicated my children to God when they were infants and committed to raising them to know God and love serving Him. I refuse to stand by and allow my children to be robbed of an eternity that I believe was promised to me as a parent.

The children of this generation (including mine) do not understand the teachings of the Bible like my generation did. We’ve lost something along the way and we need to get it back.  Is it the lack of a solid discipleship program like Sunday School? Is it our ever-changing culture?  Is it that the family is so much busier than it was 15 or 20 years ago? Whatever the cause, I am committing to fight tooth and nail for the kids of our church, our community and all that I have an opportunity to reach so that NOT ONE will be lost.  I am ready to work…and to put them to work.

As for my children, I don’t want them to stay firm in my faith.  I want them to have their own…unwavering, unshakable, undeviating faith…and I have seen first-hand that that kind of faith can still exist in kids.  I am preparing to try something new…or old….or maybe a little of both ????

Stay tuned!