I came across this link from fellow blogger David Wakerley. He was referring to John Piper’s body of work. I have read a few of his books and never realized his passion for reaching the next generation. He has some powerful points that convicted me to the core. What am I doing with the time and talent God has loaned to me? Am I doing things that are eternal? These apply to children’s pastors and youth pastors alike, I would urge you to substitute youth when John says children, if you are a youth pastor. They are principles that apply to both.We have an amazing responsibility to live and preach in such a way that young people will set their hope in God. Life change nothing less. I pulled out 3 points I thought were fantastic; please click on the following link because the article is well worth the read. Educating for Hope by John Piper.
1. That They Might Have the
Knowledge of God
First, that they should have knowledge of
God. Verse 6: “That the next generation might know.” I think it is
right to prize love for God above knowledge of God. The devils have knowledge
of God, and tremble! But what a tragedy when we see the demonic pride that
knowledge can bring, and then draw the wrong conclusion that the best way to
inspire love to God is to somehow take a detour around knowledge.
It can’t be done. We love God because of
what we KNOW of him, or our love is artificial emotionalism. The first task in
the education of our children is to impart genuine knowledge of the testimony
and law of God. It need not lead to pride, especially if we do it the way Asaph
did it. So the first aim of education is knowledge.
2. That They Might Put Their Hope in
Second, the aim of education should be that
children come to put their hope in God. Verse 6 goes on to say, “that the
next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell
them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God.”
Knowledge should lead to hope. What goes
into the head should make a new heart. If one person errs in education by
saying knowledge is not the main thing, but the heart is the main thing,
another person errs on the other side by saying that imparting knowledge is our
only goal, not the changing of the heart.
The Word of God is very clear on this:
the aim of education is to teach the truth in such a way that young people will
come to love it and put their hope in God. Changed hearts are the goal of
education, not just more knowledge. The aim is that they might set their hope in God.
3. That They Might Obey
Third, the aim of education is obedience.
Verse 7 goes on: “so that they should set their hope in God, and not
forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” Education has to do
with how our young people act as well as what they know and what they feel. We
have not succeeded in our God-given responsibility if our children’s heads are
full of true thoughts, but their behavior is contrary to the law of God. That’s
why hope is essential, because you always bring your life into sync with
whatever you hope in. “Everyone who thus hopes in Christ purifies himself
even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).
So the motto of our children’s ministries at
Bethlehem goes right to the heart of the educational task—”that the next generation might hope in God.”