Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Horizons: "Faith and Child Training"

As a follow up to the previous post, this month's edition of New Horizons also has some helpful articles on child training.
Of the different articles on child training, I would call your attention particularly to Mark Sumpter's article on "A Lord's Day Handbook for Practical Parenting." In it he notes the tendency that many parents have in their approach to Christian nurture to focus on training during the week in order to get our children ready for worship. When we do this, we unwittingly separate our child training from worship--but Sumpter argues that we should reverse this. He notes that "maybe we've been overlooking a glorious gift from God that is right under our nose each Lord's Day. Fathers and mothers are sitting on the proverbial gold mine with lessons for nurture and training from public worship."

From worship, Sumpter argues that we can instruct our children in discipleship training in seven basic areas:
  1. Respect for authority
  2. Stewardship
  3. Marriage and Family
  4. Communication and Understanding
  5. Gifts, Callings and Occupations
  6. Peacemaking and Unity
  7. Beauty and Aesthetics
Sumpter does not claim that this list is exhaustive, but it is certainly foundational. The point here is to become more intentional in how we view our children in worship. In Reformed circles, the doctrine of the covenant is very important and there is often a very good focus on including children in worship--but sometimes what is lacking is the understanding that it is formative for them in nurturing that gospel seed implanted in them, just as it is formative in the faith of adults.

Sumpter concludes with a great encouragement to parents: "take our Lord's Day work of worship home! Worship is God's means for covenant nurture." In it, "He provides us with a handbook for discipleship training."

No comments:

Post a Comment