The "Blog"...

The “Blog”…

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September 10, 2020

Children’s Ministry Begins The Journey

Children’s Ministry has been in the process of transformation. After years of planning and implementing new changes, the transformation is nearly complete. These final changes will allow for children to complete The Journey.

Children in our ministry will progress on their journey as they grow and develop. This year will be a special focus on teaching children to journey with God.

The Meadow (birth-preschool) is where our youngest explorers begin their journey. They will be introduced to the Bible through engaging and creative methods, including songs and biblical storytelling, which appeal to their learning ability.

As children progress on their journey, they will travel to Base Camp (Kindergarten- Grade 2). This is where they begin to solidify their understanding and belief in God. Here the foundational pillars of Children’s Ministry are instilled, whereby children will learn to Know God, Think Biblically, and Live Wisely.

While at Base Camp children will learn the entire storyline of Scripture from the Answers Bible Curriculum (9:30 am) and The Gospel Project (11 am). These help to solidify a biblical worldview while tracing the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ through the entire Bible.

As children continue on their journey, they leave Base Camp and climb to the Pinnacle (Grades 3-5). Once at the top of the mountain, they will encounter our newly renovated 2nd Floor of the Children’s Center and be welcomed to The Lodge, which replaces Colonial Corners. We’re so excited to unveil this new meeting place for our kids.

The Lodge experience will be the capstone to a child’s journey in Children’s Ministry where they will reach the Pinnacle and become prepared for Student Ministry. Here children will be challenged on their travels to The Lodge (9:30 am) where they will journey on the Romans Road and learn all they can from a one-year study through the book of Romans. In addition, Pinnacle travelers at 11 am will have the opportunity to engage with The Gospel Project.

Our ministry feels blessed to offer this learning experience that is saturated with biblical teaching from a variety of God-centered, gospel-focused teachers who are passionate about making disciples. We hope this is just the beginning of The Journey.

Sunday Morning Schedule – Time Grade Curriculum
9:30 am Age 2-2nd grade Grade Answers in Genesis
9:30 am 3rd-5th Grade The Lodge
11:00 am Age 2-5th Grade The Gospel Project

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July 21, 2020

Family Worship Matters
Keith and Vanessa Bence

As Christians, worship is supposed to permeate our entire being (Rom 12:1). That’s why it is so important to us, and so very important to our family. As parents of young kids (ages, 7, 6, 4 and 2), we have embraced the unique opportunity to pattern worship to young, impressionable, and open hearts. Our family worship may begin in our home, but it extends into all of life (Deut 6:4-9). Everywhere we go, in everything we do, we are called to worship. This is a conviction we hold to dearly.

Early on in our parenting, we both listened to many sermons by John MacArthur (still do). One sermon series was about the role of the family and addressed the importance of worshipping together as a family. MacArthur emphatically declared that the most important thing we do here on earth is worship our Lord and Savior. And he challenged those listening to incorporate their entire family in that discipline at church. He stressed that worship at church should be modeled to our children; and we should be participating in worship with our children. We couldn’t agree more, and knew that this is exactly what we wanted—no, needed–-for our family.

We’ve learned that in order to make this happen, it requires work. You’ll experience plenty of distractions and other challenges along the way, but we firmly believe they are worth fighting through. We also discovered examples and commands in Scripture that pointed us to the blessing that is family worship. Jesus, himself, serves as an example as He often encouraged children to participate in his ministry. He wanted them to hear the messages he preached and see the miracles he performed, knowing that their hearts were impressionable and soft. Jesus even commands us to exercise faith like a child. In children we see purity in trust and dependence that we all can learn from; and as we learn from them, they learn from us. Kids learn by the example we set. The book of Proverbs is full of exhortation on this. We pattern behavior, we pattern attitudes, and we pattern practices—and what better practice to pattern than the importance and privilege of worship in the local church.

Just like children who sat at the feet of Jesus to watch and listen to all that He did, we will see our kids blessed by sitting under our local shepherds in the church. They will become familiar with their pastor, the exposition of Scripture, the richness of congregational singing, the theology of Christian music, the ordinances of communion and baptism, and the blessing of Christian fellowship, to name just a few. Often, these operate as a springboard and allow us to extend the practice of worship into our home. They lead to fruitful conversations and discussions. They lead to our kids asking deep questions. This all leads to the glory of God, and prayerfully to their salvation and shaping of their Christian convictions. John Piper once said “a deep moving of the magnificence of God can come to the young, tender heart through certain moments of great hymns or ‘loud silence’ or authoritative preaching. These are of immeasurable value in the cultivation of a heart that fears and loves God.” We pray that becomes a reality for our kids and yours.

So practically, how do we make this something we do when we gather at church? Well, a whole lot of prayer, a whole lot of grace, and a whole lot of patience. But here are a few things we’ve put into practice:

  • Start small. If this isn’t something you’ve tried before, maybe don’t try it for an entire worship service. It is okay to slip outside for parts of the service and practice with your young ones in the foyer. If needed, gradually build up to an entire service, especially with the younger ones.
  • Bring an activity. Books, coloring pages, a children’s Bible, a quiet toy, or a small snack; bring something to keep their attention and keep them from squirming too much. For older kids, give them a journal so that they can take notes or write down words/phrases they hear repeated in the sermon.
  • Set expectations. Prepare your kids for what they are about to do, but always be realistic and reasonable. Pray with them for grace and self-control. Encourage your older kids to listen for key words and ideas during the service, and afterward always ask some follow-up questions to stimulate their thinking. And pray for the understanding of those around you as you train up your little ones in service!
  • Encourage obedience. Obedience to parents is foundational training for children. Remind them of what the Lord has called them to do. 

We are still a young family and by no means have mastered anything mentioned here. But we are encouraged by the growth we have seen over the years in our own children, and we pray that our children will continue to grow and learn as they worship. Likewise,, we are driven by deep convictions on the place worship is called to hold in our family. We know we will look back with grateful hearts on those foundational years spent in church worshipping together as a family. We pray that with each passing year that what they take away from the message, the worship, and everything in between will bear fruit; and that one day they too will fully participate in all of it as a fellow heir to Christ alongside mom and dad. Let’s lean in and train up our kids in the way they should go, and pattern what worship in the local church looks like.

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July 14, 2020

Teach Them To Pray
Joseph Scarfone, Pastor of Children and Family Ministry

When you think about the great men and women of faith, you probably visualize their strength of character, their personal holiness and their exercise of the disciplines of the Christian faith. These faith heroes are noted for reading the Word of God, serving in a ministry capacity, or preaching to a multitude. However, something that really distinguishes them, is that they are all men and women of prayer.

Prayer is a critical part of the Christian life. We are told to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17) and to “Devote yourselves to prayer” (Col 4:2). We must exercise our privilege to pray individually, but we must also teach this great discipline to our children. Just like the disciples petitioned, “Lord teach us to pray” (Luke 13:1), our children need us to teach them to pray. Parents, we must teach our children what we have learned about prayer.

When teaching children to pray, the most powerful method is modeling. Kids learn through example, and you get to demonstrate how important prayer is in your own life. .You can show your children how to pray by the way you pray. Invite your children to be part of your prayer life. When you allow them the privilege of praying with you as you spend time with God,  they will begin to replicate what you do.

Essentially, children will mirror what they see or what is happening around them. When parents model a consistent prayer life, children will reflect that discipline. Your attitude about prayer is important in building a foundation of prayer for your children. One pastor remarked that , “Nothing is more vital than prayer in Christian existence, and few things are more vulnerable to neglect.”

To say prayer is important is a great understatement. Prayer is essential! To help guide and empower you as a parent in this critically important discipline, here are some practical ways to pray with your children.

Practical Ways To Pray With Your Children

1. Popcorn Prayer
One person opens in prayer and another closes the prayer, then everyone else pops in when they are ready.

2. Prayer Circle
Hold hands and pray until everyone has had the opportunity to pray.

3. Prayer Journal
Write your family prayers down together. You can revisit later and see how God has answered specific prayers.

4. Prayer Walk
Walk through your neighborhood or park and take turns praying out loud.

5. Prayer Cards
Each family member writes one prayer request on a card and puts it in a pile. Mix them up and take turns praying for one another’s request.

6. Prayer Map
Pick places on the map where people that you know live.. Pray for family, missionaries, friends, events happening there, etc.

7. Fruit of the Spirit
Each person chooses a fruit of the Spirit to pray for the family.

8. Confession
Each person confesses his or her sins.

9. Thanksgiving
Each person gives a prayer of thanksgiving.

10.  Pray a verse
Each person chooses a verse to pray.

By implementing just one or more of these practical and creative ideas, you will be teaching your children to pray. Continue modeling this behavior, and your children will develop a habit of praying even when parents aren’t present. As you continue to pray your faith as a family will also grow. Remember to model for them, but also give them opportunities to pray alongside you. James Dobson aptly sums it up best:, “There is nothing more important than parents passing on a generational legacy of faith and values to their children.” When you teach your children to pray you are giving them a greater opportunity for a close relationship with God.

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May 28, 2020

Renewing Your Mind by Memorizing Scripture
Joseph Scarfone, Pastor of Children and Family Ministry

One of the most important and beneficial endeavors a person can partake in is memorizing Scripture. You would think that everyone would want to have the Word of God ingrained in his or her memory, yet so few people take the time to memorize Scripture.

I’m sure you personally have a couple of verses memorized and can recite John 3:16, but have you ever set out to purposefully memorize His Word? You also likely have your children participating in ministries such as Awana, where they memorize key verses, but are you making an effort to memorize the verses yourself? Yes, it’s great to have ministries where kids can treasure Scripture in their hearts, but as parents we should be memorizing the verses alongside them. Dallas Willard explains by saying, “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our mind with what it needs.”

When we are intentional about memorizing Scripture, we will see the Word of God transform our thinking. We will experience the renewal of the mind that the Apostle Paul speaks of when he says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom 12:2). It is this renewal of our mind that transforms our hearts, our thinking and our lives.

Why You Should Memorize Scripture as a Parent

When you memorize Scripture you are being a great example to your children. Our faith is more caught than taught, and when your children see that you have the Word of God treasured in your heart they will begin to follow your practice. Consequently, when we tell our children they should memorize Bible verses but don’t practice the discipline ourselves, we are being hypocritical. Before long, they realize it’s not important to us and may model the same behavior. Lead by example and you will help develop a discipline that will powerfully impact the whole family.

The Benefits of Memorizing Scripture

1.              Memorizing Scripture will help you fight temptation (Matt 4:4).

2.              Memorizing Scripture will help you to pray more effectively (John 15:7).

3.              Memorizing Scripture will help you to control our thought life (2 Corinthians 10:5).

4.              Memorizing Scripture will help you to protect our heart (Prov 4:23).

5.              Memorizing Scripture will help you to give a defense of your faith (1 Pet 3:15).

6.              Memorizing Scripture can aid in bringing salvation to your children (2 Tim 3:15).

7.              Memorizing Scripture will empower you to have victory over sin (Psalm 119).

8.              Memorizing Scripture gives the Holy Spirit words to guide you (John 14:26).

9.              Memorizing Scripture helps to strengthen you (1 John 2:14).

10.          Memorizing Scripture helps in training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

*List modified from The Disciple-Making Parent by Chap Bettis

Model Scripture Memorization for Your Children

Memorizing the very Word of God empowers you to live the Christian life with greater focus toward glorifying God. When we model for our children this vital discipline they will see us living out our faith with more sincerity. Do not overlook the great importance and power of memorizing God’s Word.

Chuck Swindoll elaborates, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture…No other single exercise pays greater dividends!”

Scripture Memorization for the Whole Family

When we apply this practice to our family, we will see God use it “For His Glory!” Making a small decision now can radically impact your whole family. Commit to memorizing Scripture and renew your mind. Allow for the Word of God to have a more prominent space in the life of your family by memorizing Scripture together.

I encourage every family to begin memorizing Scripture today. Try to start with one verse a week! Colonial Children’s Ministry has been posting a “Verse of the Week” on their Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/cbccolonialkids/) that can help your family get started.

I hope you’ll take advantage of this wonderful resource and begin challenging yourself and your family to store God’s Word in your minds today.

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May 6, 2020

Invest Wisely In Your Children
Joseph Scarfone, Pastor of Children and Family Ministry

If you were to ask the power brokers of the financial world what was the key to their success, there would be a unanimous echo, “Invest wisely!” You only have so much money, so you want to listen to their advice and ensure you get the greatest return on your investment.  You’ve also likely heard the old adage that “Time is money,” which means there are two great currencies of the world with nearly equal value—time and money.

But not everyone has money to invest. However, everyone has time. So it is this currency that I want to urge you to invest wisely. How are you investing your time? Are you investing your time at all, or are you letting each day slip by, with no return on investment? If you have children, you are likely thinking of their future and investing money in a college fund, but are you investing your time in them now, that will have a lifetime impact on them?

I want to encourage you to invest your time in your children wisely. At this moment, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, most people have more time than before. How have you been investing it? If not already, here are 6 ways to make that wise investment:

Invest in Their Character
No matter their age, you can invest in their character. This is who they are versus who they will become. Ultimately, we want them to live in the character of Christ. However, our children often lack Christlike character. After all, they weren’t born saints. On the contrary, they were born little sinners. Therefore, it is likely their character is far from exemplary.

Remember that, like you, they are a work in progress. Thank God He is not finished with us yet! So, we always have time to invest in their character. Their character is something they will take with them long after they graduate high school. When we spend time to teach virtues like love, peace, mercy, discipline and encouragement, we are setting a foundation with our children that they can truly build upon.

Invest in the Gospel
Whether your children are 3, 13, or 30 they need the gospel, just like you need the gospel. You never outgrow the gospel. You never reach a point in your Christian walk where the gospel is a “been there, done that” aspect of faith. The gospel is a message. It is the only message. Yes, we may teach doctrinal truths to our children, but they must be built upon the good news of Jesus Christ.

When you make the gospel a critical part of your parenting, you are investing in the gospel message for future generations. You accomplish this by teaching the need for the Savior because of sin. When your children sin, correct them and train them in righteousness by always coming back to the gospel. When you sin against your children, and you will, confess your sin to them and your desperate need for the gospel. When we model the need for the gospel to our children we are investing in the message, which the Apostle Paul tells us is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:16).

Invest in Prayer
Prayer is a discipline of the Christian faith that expresses a humble dependence upon God. When we pray, we are telling God we need Him and can’t do it on our own. When we pray for our children, we appeal to God to save them, shape them and use them for His purposes. Investing in prayer is critical. When you think you’ve prayed enough for your children, pray some more.

When you feel like you are all prayed out, pray some more. When you have prayed all day and night, pray some more.

You cannot pray enough. Adopt the attitude expressed to the Thessalonian church “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Pray for your children, for your spouse, for yourself. Pray the salvation of your children, for their spiritual growth, for repentance, for confession. Pray, pray and pray some more. Invest in prayer.

Invest in Biblical Literacy
People just don’t know the Bible. Whether they are overwhelmed by the deep theological complexities, the difficult passages, or the inability to pronounce names in the Old Testament, people are biblically illiterate. According to Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, biblical illiteracy is the great scandal of the modern church. Mohler affirms, “The larger scandal is biblical ignorance

among Christians…America’s Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.”

Much of America’s moral decline is attributed to biblical illiteracy. This idea alone is enough to push one toward learning the Bible, yet there are so many other reasons. God has revealed Himself to us through His Word and when we teach the Bible to our children with a passion, our faith is caught more than taught. When we make reading the Bible and studying His Word part of our lifestyle, our children will become more biblically literate. If you invest even five minutes every day to reading the Scripture, your family will see an increase in Bible knowledge.

Invest in Discipleship
Jesus’s final words in the Gospel of Matthew are widely known as “The Great Commission.” While many people focus on the “Go” of “Go therefore and make disciples…” (Matt 28:19), the imperative command is to make disciples. This means that while you are going, wherever it may be, make disciples.

If God has blessed you with children, you have a beautiful discipleship opportunity to make disciples of your own children. When you go to the store, make disciples, when you are cleaning up after dinner, make disciples, when you’re returning home from the game, you guessed it, make disciples. Everywhere you go, all the time…make disciples! This falls in line with the Deuteronomy 6 (D6) family discipleship mandate.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Essentially, this means teach your children, all the time and everywhere. Teach them your all-consuming love for God, which is described as “with all your heart.” As you are going throughout your day with your children, be intentional about investing in discipleship.

Invest in Worship
Worship is often considered the music portion of Sunday service, but it is so much more. True worship is a condition of the heart. This is where you surrender all you are to all of Him in absolute adoration. When we worship God with a zeal that is built upon doctrine and truth, we will teach our children authentic worship.

Just as discipleship is to be done all the time everywhere, so is worship. Paul reminds us that even the mundane tasks should be viewed as worship. He says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). Every act can be an act of worship if it is done with the right condition of the heart. It is simply this, living for His glory.

When we parent, we parent for His glory, we correct our children for His glory, and we teach them for His glory. All of these, when invested properly, are acts of worship. Invest in worship!

Invest Wisely
We have so many ways we can invest in our children. Make the most of the time that God has given you to impact your children and train them to love the Lord. Invest in your children daily and they will produce an amazing return on your investment that God will use “For His Glory!”