Knowing God a process through action and words
The Rev. Tom Brady, senior pastor, First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt. and 867 Highway 40:
I can’t remember a time when I sat down with any of my three children and said, “Today, I’m going to teach you about God.” It was more of a process that happened over time. The first part of that process was to take them to worship and church school every Sunday. This exposure taught them that the church is the place you go to worship God and learn about God. I’m thankful for the many church school teachers that helped teach my children about God.
Part of their worship experience was to come forward for the children’s sermon. This was my opportunity to teach them, and many other children, about God and Jesus, to tell Bible stories, and to use a variety of objects to make their understanding of God real and tangible. Oftentimes I would pull my children off to the side on Saturday afternoons and evenings and test my children’s sermon out on them. These were teaching and learning moments for all of us.
My wife and I taught our children to pray by praying with them at meals and before bedtime. This was a way of teaching them that God both hears and responds to our prayers. We also modeled a life of service to others in the church, teaching them that we are God’s servants and disciples of Jesus Christ. It’s true that actions speak louder than words.
Finally, we tried to model God’s unconditional love and forgiveness by loving our children unconditionally and verbalizing our forgiveness. Although there was some punishment and discipline in their upbringing, when it was all said and done, they knew that we loved them no matter what. God is love. The best way to teach love is to demonstrate it.
— Send e-mail to Tom Brady at email@example.com.
Reading and prayer time teach about Jesus
Jesse Brinson, youth director, Midwest Student Ministries, 998 N. 1771 Road:
Zeb is now 2 years old and speaks with curiosity. I credit his ability to speak as well as he does to his bedtime Bible story readings. Each night, while Zeb drinks his milk, my wife or I push the stuffed animals aside, lie in bed with him and read him bedtime stories from his children’s Bible, equipped with stories of heroes from the Bible.
When we are done reading, we pray for Zeb, family members and friends. Zeb has yet to ask us about God, or how tall Goliath was, or why Jesus walked everywhere he went. However, there will come a time when he will inquire. So, our “first address” of the subject of God is more like an ongoing address, a continual process. And how we are addressing the subject of God does take a family effort.
When we visit my family, Zeb sees how they appreciate church activities. The bedtime Bible that I mentioned was given to Zeb by my wife’s parents. They believe in reading to a child at a young age, and they believe in the power of the stories of the Bible. Obviously, Torrie and I believe in the importance of reading to young minds, so we read to him every night. Also, some of Zeb’s best friends’ parents are friends of ours who also work in the ministry with us. We are creating an environment that allows Zeb to see our everyday life, and emphasizes an openness that will help him to inquire about our decision making. Hopefully, we are doing a good job of addressing the “subject of God” so Zeb can know who created him and come to accept God’s son Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
— Send e-mail to Jesse Brinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.