By Carole Ellis

Let’s face it, bringing up children today is a challenging task. We know God is sovereign over our child’s salvation, but we also know parents are the means God wants to use to reach our children.

Your Christian Education Ministries wishes to offer helps in parenting your children at such a time as this. There are many helps available for you through this office. I’m mentioning a few in this article and wish to encourage you to call on us at any time to suggest resources we believe to be helpful.

In Starr Meade’s book, Training Hearts-Teaching Minds, she asks the question, “When our children replace

us as supporters of the truth, will they have a clear grasp of the faith they must defend? When they re- place us as sup- porters of the truth, will they know the truth well enough to

articulate it clearly and to recognize counterfeits?”

We can’t rely on a hit or miss educational process and hope our children will somehow distill it into a Christian life. The church and the home need to work together to see that children have a grid through which they can sift everything the world throws at them.

A Way of Life

The early Hebrew method of education took place in the community. Religious instruction was not confined to any one time of day or any day of the week. It was constant. Its purpose was to know a way of life. The Torah contained the key to right living and it was studied arduously. It was a way of remembering God at every moment and a way to enable the children to be intensely aware of God’s plan for them. This plan of education also resulted in the children’s feeling very secure and accepted in the community. The family and home were a very important set- ting for education.

Faith is transmitted through a community of believers. It is transmitted through the church and the home working together to cultivate the child’s understanding of what it means to be Christian. Meade’s book, which can be ordered through the ARP Bookstore, also says the apostle Paul called Timothy his “true child in the faith.”

He instructed Timothy thoroughly and faithfully, then set him loose to carry on the ministry that Paul himself had begun. This is what we as parents and as the church must do for our children. Meade’s book, with daily devotions and Bible reading, teaches the shorter catechism in a very easy way. It’s an imaginative example of how to teach our children the Christian faith.

Nurture Children in the Faith

Another book, Grace Based Parenting, which we will soon be stocking in our bookstore, by Dr. Tim Kimmel, is another excellent help for parents to nurture their children in the faith. As the family begins to embrace the grace God offers, they begin to give it. Thus it creates a foundation for growing morally strong and spiritually motivated children.

CEM offers workshops to provide help to churches and presbyteries. The following is a description of one these opportunities by Dr. Phillip Reavis, an elder in the Greenville (SC) Church:

The parenting workshop presented by Christian Education Ministries and led by Walt and Valerie Shepard provided relevant information for Christian parents. In the sessions, the Shepards avoided the typical “how to” format and “advice giving” so many workshops offer. Instead, focusing attention on the foundational work of Christian parenting that comes from a rich family Bible study and a prayer life together.

Through their own stories of success and failure, they illustrated the struggles of parenting and the joys found when trust in our sovereign God is sought. They shared book titles for family devotions as well as other print resources. Also, they highlighted the importance of engaging children and teenagers in conversations about who they are in Christ.

After 18 years of service as a school principal in both Christian and public schools, I have seen fads come and go on the topic of parenting. The Shepards remind us that God’s Word is consistent, reliable, and of course central for Christian parenting!

*Dr. Reavis is principal at Oakview Elementary School, Simpsonville, SC.