As I am continuing my week at seminary, I must say that this has been a busy week. After working through how to format my dissertation for a few days, we have now been in class talking about the history of our country’s revivals. At night, I change poopy diapers and try to get as much research in Southern’s library as I can for my doctoral work.
One of our tasks is to work through our project proposal this week, and I have worked with my faculty supervisor and we have tweaked the title. The title has to have the task and the church in which you are doing it. So here goes:
EQUIPPING PARENTS TO EVANGELIZE THEIR CHILDREN AT NORTH SIDE BAPTIST CHURCH, GREENWOOD, SOUTH CAROLINA
If you’ve been around North Side lately, you might have noticed we are focusing a lot on families. Let me explain what this project means:
- We are not getting rid of children’s ministry
- We are not getting rid of student ministry
- We are going to improve children’s ministry
- We are going to improve student ministry
- But, we know that the church’s efforts alone are not enough for the evangelism and the discipleship of our precious children
- The best shot that our kids have is if their parents lead the way
My project will be spent studying, researching, planning, and designing something to lead our church through to equip parents to evangelize their children.
In my time with college students, you know what I have found out? Those college students who were raised in the church but are now absent, you know what almost every one of their story is? Their spiritual pilgrimage is that they went to a preacher who led them to Christ. They grew up in a youth group, but when that preacher and that youth group wasn’t around, they didn’t know how to function. But guess who was still around? Their parents. Their family. Those students that are the most solid are the ones who had parents who not only took them to church, but they modeled living for Christ as they grew up.
I can only remember a few things from childhood. But do you know what things I do remember? The events that my family reminds me of over and over. “Do you remember that time when you went sleepwalking out into a Nashville lobby?” “Do you remember when you fell asleep and passed gas in church?” “Do you remember that time when you fell asleep in the bathtub and our neighbors had to kick down the door to get you out?” How come all my events do with something about sleeping?! I must have been boring when I was awake.
What if one of the memories parents always reminded their children over was their conversion? They would remember it. It would stick!
Imagine a parent with a sixteen year old who was floundering in his faith. Can you imagine a dad saying, “Son, I know its hard to live for Christ. I know some of your friends are falling away. But I remember that moment when you became a Christian. Do you remember it? You had been learning about the gospel in Epic and you got in the car that day at asked a lot of questions about Jesus. After lunch that day, you and I sat on the back porch and talked about Jesus. We got together that afternoon, May 4, 2008, and you and I prayed and I heard you give your life to Christ. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. I know you have doubts, and you will have hard times, but son, I’ve watched you all along the way. I remember when you gave your life to Christ. And I’ve watched him do so much through you over the years…”
You see the difference? You see the incredible potential there? Now, we’ve just got to figure out how to make it happen. I have to figure out what to teach kids, what to teach parents, how to do it, what children can comprehend, etc.
Pray for me if you don’t mind. I don’t want this project to get me a degree. I want this project to expand the Kingdom of God, bring families together, and give children the best possible shot at living for Jesus.
“Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city…”
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.