Getting Families in the Word

Originally Posted on August 13, 2021

Webinar Transcript

– I’d like to welcome you all to the Families in the Word and Getting Families in the Word webinar. My name is Belinda Stroud and I have the privilege and opportunity to serve you as a state missionary at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. I work in the Office of Sunday School and Discipleship, and I primarily work in the children’s ministry area, and one of my big priorities is a program called Bible Drill, which helps children learn and get into God’s word, and we also want their families to do that as well, so we’re going to share with you a couple of things tonight to hopefully help families and children learn more about God’s word, and through that become closer to Him and become a true disciple for Him. Also on our call tonight is Greg Gosselin, and he is the children preschool minster at Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Montgomery, and he has helped us with a resource that we hope will be beneficial to you, and he’s going to share a little bit about that when we get toward the end of our webinar tonight. So let me open us up with prayer and then we’ll get started. Dear gracious, heavenly Father, we just thank you so much for the opportunity that we have to share how we can hopefully help families, children, and parents just dive into your word. Lord, we just pray and thank you for the technology that you’ve provided, and we just pray that it will run smoothly tonight and that those that are on the call or watching the recorded version, that they will find some resources and just ideas that will help them as they serve in their charge or they minister to the preschoolers and children in their families in their churches. It’s in your name that I pray. Amen. There we go, getting families into God’s word. As you can see, my name and email address is on there and so is Greg’s, so if you want to jot those down, please feel free after this. If you need to have a conversation with us or would like to email us about something we talked about, we would love to do that, so if you want to write those emails down, you can do so. Over this past year, I think when churches shut down we realized something very quickly about families. Parents became the primary spiritual disciplers and teachers and encouragers of their children, and they really were not prepared to do that. I think some were, but the majority of them were not, so we want to talk tonight about how we can better equip the families and the parents and our churches to have better spiritual conversations and intentional spiritual conversations with their children. There’s a picture of a suitcase, and I think when we reflect back as parents, my husband and I are empty-nesters and both of our boys have left our home and are in college and working jobs, and we pack a suitcase of our children with things as they are in our homes of things that are important, and I think sometimes we tend to pack those suitcases with things that aren’t very important, maybe sports, or academics, music, all kinds of things where we can spend our time, and those things, they are important, but I think the most important thing that we need to pack into their suitcase is to share with them how to know the Lord is their personal Lord and savior, and then how to be a disciple of the Lord. So as you’re packing your children’s suitcase, think about that. A book a couple of years ago came out with a study from Lifeway called “Nothing Less,” and it told us in that book it surveyed many different young adults and it asked them what was the primary thing that helped them stay connected to the Lord and to the church after they graduated from high school and college. We know that that age group is leaving our church very quickly and they are not coming back as quickly as we would like for them to do, and the survey was very interesting. It surprised me in a way, but the single greatest influence over our children’s spiritual health is regular Bible reading while growing up. So having a time of daily Bible reading and being into God’s word was the most important thing that helped them know that they needed to have a relationship with the Lord. 19% of Protestant churchgoers say they read their Bible daily, only 19%, which means 81% don’t, so I think when you reflected about the people you’re ministering to and in your churches in your community, think about that only around 20% of them are actually reading their Bibles daily, so we want to provide some ways to help parents to get themselves into God’s word, and then also their children into God’s word. And we know the verse from Deuteronomy 6, the verses from Deuteronomy 6:5-9. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commands that I gave you today are to be on your hearts. 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes on your houses and on your gates.” I think there’s some real specific things in here that help us know how we can get into God’s word with our kids. It says to talk about them when you sit at home, so when you’re sitting at the dinner table or you’re sitting around your den or you’re sitting outside, God wants us and is instructing us to have conversations, spiritual conversations with our children during those times, not just maybe a set concrete time but for us to be always talking to them about Him. When you walk along the road, sometimes we do take walks. I think in the pandemic, we all took a lot more walks than we normally did, but now we’re probably back in our cars and we’re driving around, so while you’re driving around, talk about those, talk about the Lord, to have spiritual conversations, and when you lie down and when you get up. One of my favorite things to do with our children was to read with them at night and to pray with them before they went to bed, and I think that’s a super important time to have a spiritual conversation and a set time where you can read God’s word with them and pray with them about things that are going on in their lives, what might’ve happened that day, what might be a struggle and what they’re dealing with, or what they’re anxious about for the next day, and then also tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads, write them on the doorframes of your house and on your gates. I like to have Bible verses all over our house. We have a chalkboard that was in our kitchen for years where we would put Bible verses. We have a family verse, and that verse is taped on the mirror of everyone’s bathroom. It’s all over our house, to remind our children of God’s word and that verse that’s very important to our family. We do know what we should do, but I really think we struggle with how to do it. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right,” so I hope that we can help you do what’s right. What family discipleship is. I’m referencing a book called “Family discipleship,” by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin, and it was a wonderful book that goes into deep family discipleship. It has a lot of scheduling questions that you can ask yourself and your family to see how you’re spending your time. It’s an awesome resource, so if you would like to purchase that, I did that at, I was able to get that at Amazon and it was at my doorstep in two days, but what family discipleship is is helping your family become friends and followers of Jesus Christ. It’s both what we heard Jesus command and what we saw him do. When children ask questions, invite them to come and see. You know, children are gonna ask you questions. Your children and children in your ministry are going to ask some hard questions, and sometimes, to be perfectly frank, when my kids ask questions, especially my 20 year old, he seems to have some pretty deep theological questions these days that I can’t answer, and so I’ll say to him, you know, let’s look that up. Let’s see what God’s word says about that, and we both find the answer together. I don’t think our parents need to feel the pressure to always know the right answer. I think it’s good to show our children we don’t always know everything, but that we’re willing to help search it out and find the answer. Whether we know it or not they are listening and they are watching. During one period of time in our home, we were doing some family devotions on Proverbs, and my husband would get out the book, the devotion book, at our dinner table every night, and he would sit in his chair and he would read one of them. We would discuss the proverb, and we all know there’s a lot of wise words in Proverbs, and he went on a trip out of town, and I was wondering, “Hmm, wonder how this is going to go.” Well, my older son at that time was in high school. He decided he would sit in his dad’s chair, and he sat in his dad’s chair at the dinner table and he pulled out the devotion book on Proverbs, and he loves to imitate my husband, so in his best imitation of my husband’s voice, he opened up that book and shared the devotion for that day, and that was a real big lesson to me. Sometimes I think we do things and we think is it mattering? Are they catching onto it? Are they watching us? Are they just rolling their eyes in the background? But our kids, our boys were watching, and he was kinda trying to make a joke of trying to talk just like his dad did, but I knew that we had hit a home run with him and knowing that that was a priority, and I think it’s important to be intentional and consistent with our devotions and our family discipleship times. We wanna make sure that we show that it is a priority in our schedule and in our time slots. What family discipleship is not. Another great reference is, “The Whole Story for the Whole Family.” You see that on the left side of the screen, by Michael Kelly, and I’ll talk a little bit more about that resource in just a minute, but what family discipleship is not, it’s not easy. It’s not a way to raise popular kids. It’s not a rigid program. I don’t think you need to get the ruler out and say, okay, it’s time to come and sit down and have family devotion time, and be real strict about that. It needs to be something that we try to make fun and inviting and applicable to all the family members in our family, and it’s also not led by a Bible scholar. I don’t feel like I’m a Bible scholar, and I know most parents probably don’t feel like they are, and I think when we are willing to be used by the Lord, he will use us, and so we don’t have to have a theological degree to lead our kids and share with them how God can be involved in their lives. But to tell you a little bit about this other resource, “The Whole Story for the Whole Family,” it’s written by Michael Kelly, and he is on staff at Lifeway, and he wrote a great, great devotional book. It’s really for ages five through 12, but it goes through the entire Bible chronologically. It starts with Genesis and it ends with Revelation. One of the things that I thought was really interesting about this is he only did four devotions for each week. I think sometimes as Christians we think we’ve got to do our devotions seven days a week. If we miss a day, we’re on the big, bad list, but in listening to a podcast that he was on with Lifeway Kids, he said that, you know, really, it’s not very realistic to say that we’re going to be able to be available seven days a week. So in his family, he has devotions Monday through Thursday, and then on Friday they have a prayer time and they talk about things that are going well, things that aren’t going well, and they share those and they pray together. So I thought that was very encouraging to me, that we do our best. We shoot for the mark, we shoot for the target, but sometimes we don’t always reach it, and if we get four or five days out of a week, that is great. And in his book, each of the devotions have these components. They have an activity, and it’s something really easy. It’s not like something you need to go out and buy a bunch of supplies for. It’s something you have at your home. It’s a show and tell type thing. Then they read God’s word, explain what God’s word meant in that, they reflect on it, and then they pray together as a family. So that resources is available at Lifeway. You can access it on their website, but it was a wonderful, I think it’s a wonderful devotion book for families if you’re interested in that. If you’re on staff at a church or you’re a church leader, it would be a great gift to give families to try to encourage them to have family devotions together. And then there’s the big question of when you’re going to have a family devotion, and I think it’s important to try to do things, like I said, consistently, maybe not seven days a week, but take a look at your weekly schedule and see where you can fit things in. A lot of people can do it at the breakfast table or at the dinner table, or right before everybody goes to bed, or it may be that you need to do it while you’re driving carpool, and you have one of your children read what’s in the devotion book or talk about different topics or questions or verses that you might be wanting to learn as a family. At family meals, family prayer time, bedtime, commuting in the car. It’s also good to try to do weekly things with your family that might have a spiritual element to them. Maybe the mom could take one child out and the dad could take another child out and you might have one specific spiritual question or thing that you would discuss with that child. It’s also important in family discipleship and getting families involved in that, to make sure that you are worshiping together every week. And I think it would be awesome if you could have a mission project in serving your community some way, a family mission project, to put the hands and feet of Jesus to it, and just in general, conversations. When you sit at home, when you walk or drive along the road and when you lie down and when you get up, just making sure that you have general conversations and always putting the Lord and spiritual things into that. Here’s some resources that we have. First and foremost, we want to use God’s word, the Bible. And then the family discipleship book that I mentioned before. “Family and Worship” is another good resource by Donald S. Whitley, and then “The Whole Story for the Whole Family,” by Michael Kelly. And then we have over the past couple of years provided a resource called Families in the Word at our kidzlinkal.org website. It’s also on the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions website under Bible Drill, but this year, the author of our Families in the Word is Greg Goslin, and he is going to explain a little bit of what we’ve done with that resource this year, so I’m going to turn it over to Greg.

– Good evening. First of all, I want to tell you that these devotions do not need to coincide with Bible drill, so if your family is not doing Bible drill, that’s perfectly fine to do these devotions. The way I wrote the devotions is they start off with a key passage, and each key passage has three verses that would go along to support the key passage. And so what we’ve done is we’re working through the blue cycle Bible drill. The blue cycle is just 25 verses of the 75 Bible verses, and the 30 key passages that Lifeway suggests that kids know. I’ve had a good time writing them and I prayed real hard over each and every one of them, so I just want to tell you how they’re formulated. So the first thing I do is we have the key passage, so I’m just gonna take the example of a shepherd psalm in Psalm 23. My title of that was “A Shepherd Protects.” And then each, after we have the title and after we have our key passage, I’ll explain a little bit about what the key passage means. We ask the children, if they can, to memorize the key passage title and location. They don’t have to memorize the whole passage of the key passage. And then I give a little activity. So for the shepherd psalm, it was how the shepherd protects, and so the activity was to write their pastor, because their pastor is their shepherd, and made them write a little note to him, or to some of your support staff, and just hanging on her office, maybe each day of the month, each day during that month, do something special for your staff, just to let them know that they’re shepherding you and how much you appreciate it. So one of my verses was when I’m afraid I will trust in you. That is found in Psalm 56:3. That’s very important for kids to know, and that verse is just one of our verses that we’re memorizing, and so for that verse, I have like three or four questions that the parents could ask. The next verse that they are going to go over that week, and we’re asking them to memorize them if possible, but again, the important thing is just getting the word of God into their heart, so if they’re Bible drillers, this might be good for them to memorize, but if not, it’s just good to go over them, but the Bible says that the word of God never comes back void. So our second verse for that one was Psalm 119:11. “I have stored up your word in my heart so that I might not sin against you.” And then the third one is Proverbs 22:1. It says “A good name is to be chosen rather than silver and gold,” so God protects us in so many ways. Another one that we’re doing is the Trinity, and so in the Trinity, we’re learning the work of the holy spirit. And so the verses with that was Genesis 1:31, where we learn about creation. The second one was 1 Corinthians 3:16. “Know you not that you are the temple of God and the spirit of God dwelleth in you.” So that’s pretty neat knowing that the holy spirit dwells within us, and then the third one was, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and favor with God and with men.” And so we’ve hit all three parts of the Trinity. And so we had some of the activities that we’ve done, which I kind of enjoyed, was cooking, making stuff, very quick, where you can make something for your neighbor, cookies or something like that. At Easter time we’re making resurrection eggs, which is a single egg which has different parts of the Easter story in it, and so recovering that during the Easter story, and that is based on the resurrection of Jesus. And let’s see, what else that I want to tell you about these verses. I wanted to tell you a quick story about the importance of memorizing scripture and why to me it was important for my children to memorize scripture and why I feel it’s important for the children of my church. I had a professor in college who was in the Navy, and his bunkmate that was in the bunk above him had a filthy mouth, and just cussing all the time. Well, he asked Jesus to be his savior, and so he stopped cussing until he fell asleep, and in his sleep, he just cussed and cussed and cussed, so Dr. Osbot suggested that this sailor should start memorizing scriptures. They started memorizing scripture together, and so instead of, this is a true story now, so instead of the sailor cussing during his sleep, he started quoting scripture during his sleep, and the guy that was in the bunk next to them asked Jesus to be his savior because of the scripture that this sailor was quoting at night. And so that’s why I feel it’s very important that we put the word of God into the families. These devotions are written to be a discussion time for the parents, so some of the questions that I have is, let’s see if we can find one here. It says, this is going along with the parable of the good Samaritan. It says what happened to the man who was going from Jerusalem to Jericho? And it says why do you this Samaritan stopped to help? And so some of them have questions about the story itself. Sometimes it says how can we be a good Samaritan to the people who are around us? I think that’s all I have. I did tell Belinda that there’s two books that I’d really like to go along with the books she was talking about. They’re called the Foundations series and they’re by Robby Gallaty, and they are 249, I think devotions for families that are really for the kids to do, but it’s very important that the parents to do it with them. The very first few pages the parents were talking about, I mean, the author is talking about how we can do that together as parents and be successful in doing so, and then they go into the devotions. The devotions are not complicated, they’re easy, easy for the kids to do, but it opens up some good, good conversations. The first one he wrote with The New Testament, The second one is the life of Jesus, and Belinda, do you have any questions for me?

– No, I don’t think so, Greg. I think Mitchell has put in the chat a link to where you can see “The Families in the Word,” and the document and what it looks like on our website, so if you would like to view that, and the way that that works is at the beginning of August, November, February, and May, we will upload a new one of these that you can print off and distribute to the members of your church, and they will each have different verses. They will have different key passages, and all kinds of things that your families can study together and get into God’s word together. Now, this year, Greg has taken the little step farther, and at the end of next week, these will be available on our website. There are verse cards and key passage cards that you can also print off and give to your families, and each one of these have an activity and a couple of questions for each Bible verse as they read it and just they can discuss it. They’re very quick and easy. They’re like the size of index cards, so families can have them in their car, they can have them at their dinner table or by their child’s bedside table, however they would like to use those, so they can be printed off and families can talk about a Bible story or they can talk about a verse and they can work all week to learn a verse, so those will also be available, so check back on the kidzlinkal.org website, and you can download those every quarter for the families in your church or for your family, if that’s what you would like to do. If you have any questions, I think we’re about to wrap up. If you have any questions that you would like to put in the chat, we’ll be happy to answer those at that time, but if we don’t see any, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or to Greg. If we can help you with any of these resources or if by chance you didn’t catch the name of the book, or you didn’t catch the name of the author, or if you have some other questions about ideas or things that we might can help you in children’s ministry, we would be absolutely happy to do that. Well, Greg, will you close us in prayer as we close down tonight?

– Okay. Thank you. God, we thank you that you have given us your word. We thank you that you have revealed yourself through the Bible. God, we thank you that you say that the word never comes back void and you say that the word of God is a lamp under our feet and a light on our path, and that through that you will guide us. I pray for our families. God, we are so busy. I pray that we will not be too busy to teach our children about the great truths that you have for them. I pray that you will help us to make time with our family a priority and that we will be able to instill truths about them, and God, it’s an awesome responsibility that you have instilled on us as parents, the responsibility to teach our children about you. So God, I pray for wisdom and I pray that you’ll give us time to do this. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

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