Connecting the Generations

The notion of a “generation gap” is not new. It was well established in the 1960’s when I was in my youth. Back then it seemed the younger generation was intent on separating itself from all that had gone before. Youth were determined to be free from constraints and expectations put on them by their parents.

Wearing jeans, having long hair and listening to rock music were signs of rebellion by youth, who did so against the wishes of their parents, to prove that the youth could make their own way and not be subverted by parental expectations.

We had the sense back then that prior to our time things had continued with greater continuity from one generation to the next. It seemed to us that a revolution was underway and that children were cutting themselves off from their parents more seriously than ever before.

I don’t know that the perception was completely accurate. But it is easy to believe that a process of increasing separation from previous generations was underway.

Today’s Disconnect

Today, however, that sense of disconnect from the previous generation is more acute than ever. We now speak not of the young versus the old, but of there being multiple different cultures in increasingly narrow age bands.

The “baby-boomers”, which accounts for my generation, were different to the “veterans” who went before them, and are quite apart from the Gen X’ers who followed. But while both boomers and X’ers are on the scene Gen Y is already upon us. Supposedly the gap between Gen X and Gen Y is as great as between the Gen X and the boomers.  To top it off today’s youngsters are now dubbed Generation Z, or digital natives, who are expected to have yet a different set of values to Generation Y.

It seems that a process of cultural disconnect is accelerating and what may once have been a generation gap is now becoming a gap of multiple generations.

An Anointing Is Needed

With that background take a moment to reflect on the last verses of the Old Testament, in Malachi 4:5,6.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he will turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5,6

A prophetic anointing has been promised by God to do what might today seem impossible: to turn the hearts of parents and children toward each other.

So there is an anointing which God provides that is able to do just that, despite how much more difficult it might seem in today’s situation.

Don’t Be Fooled by Labels

While it may seem intriguing to think of today’s kids as different from youth a hundred years ago don’t be too hasty to swallow the idea.

Remember that God created man thousands of years ago and the heart of man has remained the same ever since.  Man’s heart is evil and deceptive, sold under sin.  Man is readily seduced by worldly values, especially those that appeal to self gratification, appease our sense of value and feed our pride (the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life – 1John 2:16).

Men, women and youth were categorised by King Solomon, in the height of his benchmark wisdom, into a few basic distinctions, including fools, wise, evil, angry, and so on.

All the labels in the world, created by worldly observers, may trick you into thinking that there is a real and tangible gulf that should exist between you and those of different generations.  Yet mankind has not changed.  Evil people are still evil people.  Fools are still fools.  Godly are still godly.  And so on.

And people of vast age differences have always been able to relate, despite man’s tendency to be selfish, rebellious and foolish.

Heart Connection

Notice that the intergenerational connection promised in Malachi is not one of mind, interests, fashion, joint ventures, playing on the same team, or the like.  It is all about the heart.  The heart is the heart of the matter.

God, by His Spirit, is ready to create a heart connection between the generations.  It is about the heart and a heart bond.  It is about compassion, respect, care, bonding, love and relationship.

People of different professions, different ages, different political persuasions, with different tastes, abilities and interests, can love one another and care for one another.  That is readily obvious when we see parents care for children who have chosen a vastly different life direction to that which the parent wishes for them.

So God has an anointing which will turn the hearts of the parents toward those children who now seem so hard to understand and so difficult to relate to.  And God has an anointing which will turn the heart of those children toward those parents who seem to them to be so out of touch, irrelevant, overbearing, or otherwise disconnected to them.

Don’t Lose Heart

If generational barriers have invaded your home or put a gulf between you and others, don’t lose heart.  All is not lost.  This is not something that has to be.  God has an anointing that will bridge the supposed gaps and turn the hearts toward one another.

If you are struggling with generational gaps let me suggest a prayer for you to offer to the Lord.

“Lord God, You know that my heart is not perfect before You.  I am susceptible to the same things that distract others.  So I don’t come to You because I deserve anything, but I come to You asking for grace and mercy on me and my family.  I ask You to turn my heart toward my children and those around me who I am distanced from.  And I ask You to turn their hearts toward me.  Give us Your grace so we can love, accept and forgive one another.  Turn each of us toward You, so we each come closer to each other.  Give me such a heart of compassion that I overlook and even hide a multitude of sins, rather than reacting to them and letting them pollute my heart.

Please send Your anointing into me and my family, and bring about a healing.  Remove all the offences, injuries, resentments, distrust, shame, pride, selfishness and other rubbish that has polluted our home and our relationships.  And please glorify Yourself in my family.  Cause Your name to be exalted by what others see that You have done in me and for me, and in my family.  Be glorified by acting gloriously in my situation.  I ask this in the lovely and powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Creating a Lifestyle for Your Child

Parenting is a great joy. It brings many wonderful blessings to both mum and dad.  So let me help those who are not so confident, with some Biblical insights.

A command given to parents is to train your child.  The Bible also gives advice about what we train into the child.  We train the child in the “way he should go”.  That means we create in our child a lifestyle they will follow.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Way to Go

We might better understand the phrase “way he should go” by thinking of it as the “lifestyle” the child will follow.  The way is not just a couple of key things we want the child to value, such as good manners or going to church.  The idea here is of a whole life orientation, not just a select few things.

In past generations Christian parents insisted on certain behaviours from their child, but let the world sow its lifestyle values as well.  The child then followed the lifestyle of the world, and may or may not have kept the particular few things the parents taught.

So give some thought to the “lifestyle” you want to create in your child, not just the few token behaviours that are important to you.

Course of Life

The Hebrew word translated as “way” in Proverbs 22:6 is ‘derek’, which refers to a road we tread (a ‘walk’ rather than a highway we drive along), and has the figurative meanings of a course of life or a mode of action.  The word is at times translated in the King James Bible as “conversation”, which does not mean talking, but “lifestyle”.

You, as the parent, train your child in the course of life and mode of action.  You determine the path they tread and cultivate the lifestyle they will live.  You are commanded to do so.

Do Not Abandon Your Child

If you are not training your child you are leaving him to himself.  You are warned in the Bible not to do that, because a child left to himself will bring his mother to shame.

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15

Children need training.  You are to correct their wrong behaviour and direct their actions into the way you want them to live.  If you do not do that, maybe because you think their naughty actions are cute, or that you are supposed to let them discover their own way, you have failed the child and failed God.

A key aspect in training a child is to discipline them for their wrong choices, wrong actions and foolishness.  This basic Biblical training method is so essential it led to the saying, “If you Spare the Rod you Spoil the Child”.  To ‘spoil’ means to ruin, like food that has gone rotten. It is spoiled.  Do not abandon and spoil your child.

Core Lifestyle Values

To train a child in the right lifestyle you need to know what that lifestyle is.  Simply stated it is a ‘godly’ lifestyle.  It is a lifestyle centred on desire to glorify God and to live as God wants us to.  We know this from the prophet Malachi who explained that the reason God created marriage is to produce “godly seed”.

“And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.” Malachi 2:15

Note that being godly is not something we add on to our lifestyle, but is the core lifestyle value.  Some people who live for self, money, success, fame or other things are able to go to church, do good deeds and look quite godly.

But someone who is godly at heart has the desire to glorify God and to be blessed by God as their primary goal, not self, money, success, pleasure or those many other things.  While on the outside the behaviours may seem similar, at heart they are very different.

Training the Heart

God looks at the heart of your child.  God knows when your child loves self, the world, pleasure or other things.  It is vitally important for you to train the heart of your child.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7

Since God sees the heart of your child and will reward your child accordingly, you also must look into the heart of your child and train their tender heart to love and respect God.

One way to do this is to have a close, heart to heart bond with your child, so they open their heart to you and you can speak into their life at the deepest level.

King Solomon expressed the father’s desire to have his son open his heart to his dad.

My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26

Both Parents Training the Child

Another key point is that training the child is done by both parents.  It is not the mother’s job or the father’s job.  Both mum and dad have a part to play and they work together to create the best outcome.

The Bible calls children to obey both mother and father, so obviously both parents are training them in the right lifestyle.

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” Colossians 3:20

King Solomon reveals that the mother and father have complimentary roles.  He refers to the father’s actions and the mother’s contribution as different, yet obviously working together.

“My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of your mother” Proverbs 6:20

A Godly Lifestyle

To train your child to a godly lifestyle you need to know what that lifestyle looks like.  It looks quite different to the values and actions of typical children and youth.  Western culture has moved far away from godliness and is based mostly on selfishness and worldliness.

If you allow your child to learn the values of their peers and what is found in everyday music, movies, advertising and role models then they have no hope of being godly.  You will not have trained them in the correct way.

Remember that you are training their heart to be tender toward God.  You want to develop in them a love for God and confidence that serving God and keeping God’s requirements brings them the greatest blessings, because it does.

Your Own Lifestyle

If your own lifestyle is full of addictions to this world, selfish interest, keeping up with the trends, gobbling down the latest and greatest that the world has to offer, and so on, then you will not really know the godly way to create in your child’s heart.  And you will also automatically train your child to be like you.

An important starting point is to humble yourself before God and ask Him to create a clean heart in you and to lead you to love and worship Him fully.  As you learn to do that you can then bring your child along in the same experience.

It is not wrong to have things that are in the world, but the extreme danger is when we love those things.  We know we love them when we refuse to give them up.  Rather than giving up or shutting down those things that could contaminate your child, you will be tempted to find reasons to keep them in your life.

I challenge you to love your child enough to seek God until you love Him enough to clean out your lifestyle of all things that tempt your child to love something other than God.

Parenting is Joy

It is a joyful thing to have godly children you have trained who fill your life with good things.

“Correct your son and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.” Proverbs 29:17

You do not need to be ashamed, pained, disturbed or anxious about your children.  The benefits of good parenting are not only enjoyed in your child, but they come back to you as lovely and delightful rewards as well.

The Lord bless you as you give Him your heart and lead your children to love Him too.

Blaming Others

A problem that emerges in most relationships involves upsets between two or more people.  Having wisdom about those upsets and what is really going on thus becomes very powerful in making those relationships work better.

A tell-tale sign of wrong attitudes in relationships is that process of blaming others.  Accusing and blame shifting are common practices when people are in tension about something.

We are all familiar with the example of a mother calling out in an angry tone, “Who brought this mud into the house?”

And we are all familiar with the chorus of voices saying, “It wasn’t me!”

Getting upset, and doing what we can to avoid trouble are two automatic processes that often get built into our interpersonal communications.

Properly Interpret What is Going On

When we have an idea about something we can be very reluctant to change our mind.  This is especially so if the new perspective suggests we are wrong or have a problem.

The whole “blame shifting” routine kicks in if someone tries to suggest that we are a cause of trouble.  We don’t like to be wrong and we don’t like to be accused, or exposed for our weaknesses.

In highly competitive contexts we may be very strong in asserting our innocence or trying to cover up our failures.

These human tendencies, based on our pride, become deeply ingrained and some people become famous for their readiness to accuse others or to make up excuses.  For example, alcoholics are famously recognised for their ability to cover for their addiction and failures.

It is important for our own health and the health of our relationships that we properly interpret what is going on in our relationships.

Different Perspectives

Consider the difference in perspective that could be applied in the following statements.

“You often upset me and it takes me days to get over it.”

Or alternatively it might be more accurate to say: “I get into moods about things and take days to get over it.”

“You upset me so you must be wrong.”

This might be better stated as: “I get upset by you, so there is something about my reactions that is not right.”

The Real Issues

Since our true “issues” are not what others do or say but how we react, then it is wrong for us to blame others for the mood we are in, or for our responses.  It is what comes out of us that defines the “issues” we have to deal with.

In an earlier article titled Issues of Life, posted on 1/10/11, I discussed a powerful Bible text that exposes what the real issues are in our lives.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

This verse tells us that the real “issues” of our life are not what people say or do to us, but what comes out of our heart.  Our responses and reactions define the issues, and in fact ARE the true issues.

Natural Impulse

When a parent gets upset with his or her child, when a husband or wife gets upset with their spouse, or a child is upset by their sibling, the automatic assumption is that the other person is wrong because it seems to the one who is upset that the other person caused it.

It is counter-intuitive to think that we are upset because of our own choices and the weaknesses of our own personality.

Yet the Biblical truth is that it is what comes out of us that is the problem, not what was said or done to us.

What happens to us could well be injustice and wrong.  I am not saying that if we are abused it is our fault.  People hurt and offend others and we all suffer at the hands of others in some way.

This discussion is about the tendency we have to get into a mood, or some other form or “reaction” toward another, that is really our own responsibility.

Touchy People

Some people have a “hair-trigger” and readily react toward others. They are so ‘touchy’ that others have to walk on egg-shells in order to avoid being at the receiving end of a tirade from that upset person.

This is the substance of manipulation, oppression, abuse of others, control, emotional abuse, imposing self-will onto others, belittling, etc.

People who indulge in such activity are out of order.  They have “issues” in their own heart and mind.  However they may be able to justify their outbursts, accusations, anger, sharp tongue or other attacks on others without realising they are the oppressor, not the one they are blaming.

Loving Others

This self-delusion, while intuitive, is destructive and a failure to “love others” and to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, which is the Golden Rule given to us by Jesus Christ.

“As you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31

In fact, it may be that a central purpose of the two great commandments, to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbour as ourself, is to force us to realisations that we would be blind to if we thought the world revolved around us.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30,31

Maybe God’s intention in giving us His laws is not to enslave us to His will, but to lead us into revelation truth about ourselves that will set us free from folly and shame.

So, next time you hear yourself expressing your exasperation, disapproval, anger, frustration, resentment, jealousy, contempt, prejudice, unforgiveness, intolerance, demands, despisement and similar rubbish toward someone else, even if only in your thoughts, stop and realise that YOU HAVE “ISSUES”.

By reflecting on what you are thinking and why you are doing it you can be led into health and release you don’t presently have.

Example

In my family seminars I share the account of my early married life when I found myself readily annoyed and frustrated with my first-born son, Stephen.  Susan and I were parents shortly before our fist wedding anniversary and had three children born in short order.

One day I realised that I was particularly hard toward my oldest son, and much more lenient toward the two other boys.  It struck me that I was being unfair on him.  For some reason I caught myself out being biased against him when it came to rebuke and discipline.

I could justify my reactions by saying, “He’s the oldest so he should know better”, but I sensed there was a deeper issue at work.

I prayed about the matter, confessing my evident bias and asking God to show me what was wrong and what to do.

As I reflected on the situation it struck me that I resented my son.  He was the first baby and therefore the first child to take my wife away from me.  Susan had to care for the baby, and she had various health challenges along the way.  A baby completely changed our married life and reduced our time together and or intimacy.  Unconsciously I held Stephen responsible for how that impact on me.

Having realised the impact of a baby I was far less reactive to the impact of my next two sons.  So my “issue” was only with Stephen.

Once I realised that situation I was able to pray about it, confessing my selfish responses and attitudes, asking God to forgive me and to heal my heart attitude toward my son.

Some time later I realised to my delight that I had a fresh relationship with my son.  I did not feel any of the hardness of heart that had been there before and I enjoyed him as I had not been able to before.

Set Free by Truth

My experience is a testimony to the veracity of God’s Word, which tells us that when we know truth that truth liberates us.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32

So I share these insights with you, in the trust that you will refer back to God’s Word and allow God’s Truth to settle in your heart and set you free.

Your problem, as is common to all humanity, is that we will prefer to believe a lie, if it gives hides our pride, lust, self-will and shame.  You will tend to justify your actions, including your selfish and angry responses to others.  You will like the idea that THEY are to blame, not you.

I can only pray that the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you, to change your heart and cause you to step into the wonderful freedom that is available to you.

Issues of Life

I spoke with a mum recently about how tough her hubby is on the kids. The dad sets a high standard that tests the hearts of the children.

I pointed out to her that this is a very good thing for her son and daughter, even if it is not pleasant. I drew her attention to some wisdom from Solomon.

Heart Issues

Proverbs 4:23 warns us to carefully guard our heart because the “issues of life” come from it.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

There is a powerful truth packed into that short verse. I didn’t discover it, but someone pointed it out to me years ago. Simply put, what comes out of our heart determines what is a real “issue” in our life. It doesn’t just reveal the issue, it IS the issue. Our issues are not our external circumstances or what we go through, but what comes out of us in response.

Issues are internal not external.

She Has Issues

We recognise that people have “issues” in their life and we even say so. We say: “He has real issues with his job!” “Does anyone have issues with that?”

And that’s Biblical. The issue is not the challenge, but the reaction from within. All of our issues are actually “heart issues”. To repeat myself, “issues are internal not external”.

So, for example, consider a family where the father is a drunk. Each of the three kids has a drunken dad, but maybe only one of them will have an “issue” with that.

Two of the kids may live normal lives, unaffected by the dad’s drinking. But the other child ends up with a chip on his shoulder, angry at the world because he had a lousy dad.

Do you see then, that it is the REACTION that creates the issue? The drunken dad is not an issue or all three kids would have had the same issue. The drunken dad is a problem and a challenge, but doesn’t have to become an “issue”.

Uncovering Issues

If we blame others for our wrong attitudes we do not uncover the real “issues” of our life. Most people shift the blame onto the circumstances, like blaming a drunken father for their problems.

But pressure and challenges bring our own junk to the surface, so we can get rid of our own issues. Challenges uncover our issues so we can resolve them.

If we have fear we can deal with fear. If we have anger, resentment, unforgiveness, guilt or other issues inside us, then pressure brings them to the surface so we can recognise them and then find God’s grace to resolve them.

Mum and Kids

Using the wisdom of Solomon, I was able to encourage the mum that her son and daughter will be much stronger and more reliable people in years to come, because their dad puts challenges on them that will make them strong.

If she is a wise mum she will guide each child to deal with the “issues” that come up in their heart, so they work through things in readiness for the bigger challenges of the years ahead.

Oh, and note that many adults today have missed out on that kind of constructive parenting. The idea of leaving a child to himself, to make his own choices and work through things his own way was the popular idea of parenting for the parents of Baby Boomers. So, many of today’s adults and youth are weakened by not having worked through their “issues” with the help of wise parenting skills.

Fraud and Treason

As I take my stand against Fraud and Treason it is interesting to see the “issues” people have with that. While most people are overwhelmingly supportive there are people who have responded irrationally and with venom. They are aroused and offended.

Whatever it is that agitates them it is not what I am doing. Others applaud and support my stand against evil. So those who mutter, criticise or similarly react are revealing that they have “issues”. As they recognise and deal with those issues they will be better people for it.

And, of course, as I do something I’ve never done before and face challenges I have never faced before that surfaces my issues as well. I have been able to pray through and resolve things that have come to the surface under the pressure of taking on evil.

Someone said “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”, but it is meant to get better and better, if only we will find God’s grace for the “issues” in our life – which are in reality the issues of our own hearts.

Ministry to Children

In the late 1970’s I was at Bible College and was unimpressed to learn that a whole week would be devoted to kids ministry. As an educated adult, keen to engage the grown-up minds of my audiences, I thought the week would be a low point in the course.

I was so impacted by that week that the short study on Kids Ministry probably had the most lasting impact of anything I learned that year.

Hidden Congregation

It was pointed out to us that most ministers ignore the children in their congregation. Children are easily discounted, taken for granted and overlooked for various reasons. They are less mature than their parents. They don’t have any money to put in the offering. They can’t run programs or plan next year’s budget.

Children are also given to shuffling and wriggling, mumbling and giggling.

Yet these overlooked members of the church community are truly a hidden congregation. They are listening and being impacted by their experiences in the congregation and the life of the church.

Life Long Decisions

The youngsters who run down the corridor or footpaths around the church are complete individuals, despite their youthfulness. They are quite capable of making lasting decisions, while you dismiss them or speak to them in your condescending (“You aren’t really a very important person”) tone.

I was told back in the 1970’s that some 60% or so of people on the mission field had decided to be missionaries while they were young children, sitting in church, hearing the Bible readings, listening to the sermon and so on.

That doesn’t mean that every child who decided to be a missionary actually followed through. But it does mean that a life of Christian service can often be traced back to decisions made when others around that child probably didn’t take them seriously.

Sadly, some children decide when they are young that the church is irrelevant to them, or that they don’t want to identify with the values and attitudes they encounter in the local church. Many people are still living out those early decisions, a lifetime later.

Reaching the Children

We were all encouraged to take a second look at the children in our meetings. We were challenged to stop seeing them as the irrelevant ones, who can’t drive or help fund the meetings, but to see them as the vital lives which need to be reached and directed toward a life of Christian commitment.

That challenge presented some problems for me. Firstly, I could not remember their names. It was going to be a discipline to actually remember which of the nippers was which. I had to remember which one had the cat and which had the dog, and which was in this grade and which was in that.

I then had to take the time to connect with the children, shaking their hand, asking them a question, taking interest in the bandage on their arm, and so on.

On Their Level

I found I could connect best when I put myself on the child’s level. That meant crouching down or kneeling while I talked with them. By taking the effort to get on their level I dissolved some of my own internal sense of being in a different world, at a different level.

In the decades since I often crouched to talk with a child, sat beside them to listen to them, asked them for their version of an event even though the parents had already told me the details, and so on.

My intention is to give honour to the child, rather than dishonouring them by being dismissive about who they are and what they think.

Learning to Listen

The next huge lesson for me was learning to listen. That same year, while on a ministry practicum, I heard a presentation about “listening”. Once again I did not think I needed to hear the lesson, but it challenged me deeply.

I was far more ready to talk than listen. My listening was often simply measuring the right time to jump back in and say my piece. I had much to learn about listening.

So now, when I talk to children and adults, I seek to give them the honour of my full attention as they tell me something. While I am often distracted by people who want to catch my eye or interrupt, I try to always get back to where we left off so the child knows I was not only listening, but interested in what they had to say.

Be Real

Another lesson I value when dealing with children is to be real with them. They are little adults, taking stock of the world as they see it and making life long decisions as a consequence. With that in mind, children want to know what is really going on. They need a clear picture of the reality they encounter.

I think of the mother whose child complained that a sibling had a larger share of something. The mother simply turned to the child and advised, “That’s life! Get used to it!”

Now that response doesn’t excuse neglect or abuse, rejection or other offences, but it is a dose of reality. People lie. Others are bullies. Some cheat and steal. Some want to spoil your fun. Knowing that gives you better hope of navigating life than ignoring those realities.

Spiritual Truth

Along with the idea of being real, using Spiritual Truth releases power into a child’s life. Jesus Christ told us that when we know Truth the truth will liberate us from the inside out.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32

So don’t be afraid to tell children about spiritual realities, such as how sin enslaves, how the enemy seeks to deceive and trap them, and how suffering creates positive qualities in our life. Those ugly truths happen to be Truths. If you tell children something else then you are lying to them, or keeping them in ignorance about the very things they have to face in life.

Look at how Jesus did this Himself. He told His followers an ugly truth, that they would suffer persecution. But He immediately followed that by a wonderful, truthful reassurance, that Jesus has power over all things.

“These things I told you so you will have peace in me. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Sowing Seeds

Another aspect of ministering to children that I see as very important is to sow godly seeds into their lives. The Bible is living seed (1Peter 1:23) so helping them listen to, memorise, think about and apply Bible truth helps wonderful seed take root in their life.

Other great seeds are seeds of faith and encouragement. Seeds of hope, peace, joy and love can bring beautiful harvests in children’s lives.

You can tell a child things like: “I am confident God has a great plan for your life”; “I know that when you work through this challenge you are going to be very strong”; “The fact that God has allowed you to face such challenges now means He has some important things for you to be prepared for in the future”; “God has made you unique, and even though others won’t always appreciate that you are special, God is very pleased with what He created. So make sure you stay close to God and fulfil the unique purpose He has for your life.”

Multiply Your Impact

If you will learn to reach children in an effective way you will multiply your impact, not just on them, but on the families they raise in the future and the people they impact along the way.

If you stick to just ministering to adults you will miss a powerful means of multiplying your effectiveness and impact for God’s Kingdom.