by Olly Goldenberg/ September 23, 2015
The article below is taken from the presentation given by Olly Goldenberg at the 2015 Empowered 21 conference.
God says: “Go and make disciples.” This is something he expects us to do. Discipleship should be the main focus of all of our activity and ministry. What is a disciple? A disciple is a mini-Jesus (that’s why they were called “Christians” in Acts 11:26). Someone who thinks, acts, speaks, and lives like Jesus (Luke 6:40).
What can we do to help disciple children at different ages in their walk with Christ? I want to suggest three separate stages of development that we can provide for our children to help them grow like Christ.
1. Spiritual Exposure
Moses and Samuel both had godly parents. Both were raised by other people once they had been weaned (around the age of 3 or 4). Those who raised them were not godly examples—Pharaoh’s household was against God; and Eli, the priest who could not discern between a drunk woman and a desperate woman, had raised two children who had no respect for the things of God. Even though Moses and Samuel each grew up in an ungodly environment, God preserved them through the prayers and exposure to Him that they had when they were young.
We need to expose our babies and toddlers to God by placing them in an environment where they can experience His presence.
2. Spiritual Experience
All through the Bible, children are present when God is working among His people. They experienced God at work for themselves. When Jesus fed the five thousand, a boy gave his lunch and there were five thousand men—as well as women and children present. When Jairus’ daughter was healed, she was there and part of the miracle! When Naaman contracted leprosy, a slave girl pointed her master to the prophet in Israel.
Our children need a fresh experience and outpouring of the Holy Spirit for themselves. They need their own testimony of God at work in their lives.
3. Spiritual Adventure
As children grow into their teenage years they need an adventure with God. Think of David as he fought Goliath or Gideon as he tore down the altar of Baal. Both of them were taking risks for their faith. Their hearts would have been beating faster as they put their faith into action. Our teenagers need these challenges to live out their faith.
With this kind of nurturing we will see a generation rise up who can stand strong for God in a changing world, equipped and ready for such a time as this. Let’s work in prayer for our children until Christ is formed in them (Galatians 4:19).