Though there is evidence to
prove these factors do contribute to poor behavior, I believe there
is a fundamental weakness that plays a much greater roll.
Letís consider this: the lack of respect for Godís House
that stems from the lack of relationship with God. Follow me
on this thought for a moment. In order to truly love,
appreciate, and respect Godís House and all that takes place
there, a child must first have a love relationship with God.
This has to be more than the usual going through the motions of
bowing a head during prayer, or singing action and praise songs, or
even achieving a perfect score in the Bible quiz competitions.
Letís consider Jacob for a
moment. Do you remember when Jacob had the dream of the
stairway reaching into Heaven? Okay, so you may not be that
old, but surely you remember reading or hearing the account.
When it was over, Jacob named the place Bethel. Bethel means
ĎHouse of God.í Something changed in Jacobís life.
He was beginning his deep relationship with God. But letís
skip a few years and focus on the record of Genesis 35. God
spoke to Jacob and told him to return to Bethel. That was
where God had appeared to him. Youíll notice in verse 7 that
Jacob returned, built an altar, and then called the place El Bethel.
El Bethel means ĎGod of the House of God.í Do you see the
difference? Jacob wasnít just returning to the House of God,
he was returning to the God of the House of God.
So, what does this have to do
with discipline? We run our attendance campaigns. We
offer the best in Sunday School and Childrenís Church programs.
We hand out prizes and gifts. We use state of the art
equipment. We do this and more to get kids to come to the
House of God. But many times, thatís as far as they get.
They only come to the house! Week after week they enjoy the
fun, the games, the fellowship of friends, but do they ever really
meet with the God of the House of God while they are there? If
you want to see a change in their hearts, lives, and behavior, then
lead them into His presence! As they begin and then develop
this wonderful relationship with God Himself, it will not be so
difficult to keep their attention focused on spiritual truths.
Why? Because that will be what their hearts are longing for.
They will have a desire to learn more about God and draw closer to
Him--a desire that is birthed out of the love relationship they have
with Him. Subsequently, you will see the results of this
relationship show through their actions and attitudes in Godís
© by Rev. Gary R. Linn
Childrenís Ministry Today