In the Old Testament law God asks His rescued community (Israel) to love Him with heart, soul and strength. For millennia this command has been know as the shema, which can be translated to hear or obey.
Listen to what God says in Deuteronomy 6:
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
The thing that stands out the most here is the fact that there is significant instruction for parents to lead their children in the ways of God. The shema was prayed by the Jewish community continually throughout the rhythm of their day. They would pray this when they woke up, when they left their homes, as they walked the path, as they ate a meal and when laid their head at night. It was something that formed them and the hope is that a love and passion for God would be passed from one generation to the next.
On Sunday we took time in our gathering to continue to cultivate our vision and hope for next generation ministry at City View. Over the last couple of years there are three statements that have come together to articulate our philosophy.
First, as a parent you are the greatest influence in your child’s life. The fact is that over the course of the year your child will be influenced by the church for anywhere from 40 to 50 hours. Compare this to unscripted time as a family over the course of the year—which is approximately 3000 hours (after sleep, school, etc)—it is easy to see that parents are, hands down, the greatest influence in a child’s life.
Second, a parent is not the only influence a child needs. Yes, a parent’s role is the most significant, but we firmly believe that followers of Jesus need the church. Our mission is more than to get together in a building once and a while to put on religious activities. It is much bigger than this because God is not just saving individual souls for heaven someday; He is calling out and saving a community for Himself that will reflect His love and light to the world. We need each other because God’s mission is bigger than our individuality. Our kids desperately need the church.
Third, we believe two combined influences have a greater impact than just two influences. When the church community and the family/home join together we believe it cultivates the best ground for makes disciples of Jesus.
As we look ahead we are excited to offer three experiences on Sunday mornings for children and youth:
Babies – Age 3 meet for songs, stories and playtime in the classroom just outside the ballroom.
Jk – Grade 4 meet in the ballroom for interactive lessons on the Konect Station and small groups.
Grades 5 – 8 will begin meeting September 11 in the foyer of the ballroom for interactive teaching and discussion.