Grounding Our Children in the Gospel, Part 2

See Part 1 here.

Here are two more suggestions for raising children who believe and love the gospel:

3. Put your local church at the center of your family life. Communal practices shape our hearts. Children of Christian parents should be shaped, from the earliest age, by communal practices of worship, discipleship, fellowship, and service in a local church. Even before they become church members (I’m writing as a Baptist), our children can still be shaped and developed by the communal practices of a local church community. While primary responsibility for the education of my children falls on me, I would be a fool to neglect the means of grace that God has given through faithful Sunday School teachers, pastors, and others who can have such a tremendous influence on my children in their formative years. Continue reading

Grounding Our Children in the Gospel, Part 1

Theological training begins in the home. Our first (and often most formative) teachers are our parents. Now that I am a parent, as well as a pastor of many parents who want to see their children grounded in the gospel, I hope to begin a conversation here that can help parents and future parents strengthen one another in the immeasurably weighty task of passing on our faith to the next generation. I am by no means writing as an expert here, but as an ever-learning, ever-growing disciple of Jesus and parent who still has a long way to go. I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section about your ideas and experiences in the wonderful adventure of parenting. Continue reading

The Goals of Theological Education, Part 4

I have argued that two goals of a good seminary education are the development of a reservoir of knowledge to be drawn from in the various situations in ministry and the shaping of character that can endure the tests that ministry will impose. One more goal of theological training is the development of skills, or competencies, that are needed to succeed in faithful ministry. Continue reading

The Goals of Theological Education, Part 3

In those difficult moments when a seminary student begins to wonder, “Why am I putting myself through this?” he must draw strength to persevere by keeping the end in view. In the last post I argued that one overarching goal of his educational experience is the development of a reservoir of knowledge from which he will be able to draw at a moment’s notice as needed in ministry. A second goal, even more important than the first, is the development of character. Continue reading

The Goals of Theological Education, Part 2

When a seminary student ponders why he is making such a large investment of time, energy, and money in the pursuit of theological education, he must work diligently to keep the big picture in view. In the previous post I argued that there are three main goals for the pursuit of theological education: knowledge, character, and skills. All of the particular endeavors of a seminary education are designed to contribute to the big picture, namely, the development of a person who is knowledgeable, holy, and equipped to lead. Continue reading

The Goals of Theological Education, Part 1

“How are we ever going to use this?” That was a regular complaint in my algebra and geometry classes in middle and high school. It was an instinctive response to challenging concepts that require mental energy but seem to yield little in terms of practical results (at least to a short-sighted, adolescent imagination). Lying behind this instinctive response (other than normal teenage laziness and suspicion of demands from authority figures) is the urge to find meaning in one’s activities. Above all, as human beings we want to know¬†why we do the things we do. Inability to see the purpose of any task leads to loss of motivation for it. Continue reading