Previously I have reviewed Parenting in the Pew and explained why our children sit with us during the Church service on a Sunday Morning, as opposed to going to Sunday School.
But how do I know they are listening and not just sitting still for the only hour in a week that they have too. So here are se7en questions I ask in the car on the way home:
- Who preached this morning? Often we have visiting preachers, preaching about special things – someone who is visiting Cape Town who has an interesting job sharing the gospel maybe in a distant country maybe with street kids right at home. It maybe even be a special guest topic, a current issue or whatever.
- Who can remember a hymn we sang? Hymns are a beautiful way to worship God and often, because we know them we sing them without giving them too much thought. Sometimes they will surprise me and someone will know who wrote the hymn (it is in the small print at the bottom) and a tiny snippet – they lived 200 years ago, or whatever. For example if the author was John Newton they may be able to tell me something about him – We have a book about him on the Bible bibliography shelf.
- What was the hymn about? Many an important truth is sung in a hymn. “Immortal, Invisible God only Wise” – Do they know what it means? Can they tell you what it means? It is amazing what they know – don’t underestimate them because hymns use big words, in the right context kids get big words. Your kids can probably tell you the whole Nativity story just using Christmas Carols.
- Who can remember where the Bible reading was taken from? For one of the Hoods this is all he remembers! The book, the chapter, the verses and the page number in his Bible! I want to know if it was from the Old or New Testament – what type of book was it: historical or prophetical and so on. Obviously if a little guy says it was from Daniel – then they are scoring! but I need to know a bit more from the older guys.
- What was the Bible reading about? It isn’t enough to know the address of the reading. You need to know a bit about the reading too! This may surprise you but often there is a stunned silence. “About? What was the reading about?” But then if they know where it is from then they can usually figure it out together.
- Who can remember anything about the sermon? I do this question shortest to tallest – it gives the little guys a chance to relate a fact before a bigger kids steals it away! And it gets harder and harder for the older kids to come up with something unique!
- How can you apply the sermon to your life? It is all very well to remember a fact – to tell me something about the sluggard for instance, but what does that mean for them in their lives?
Sometimes we don’t have time – we are dashing out for lunch or whatever after Church and I forget to do the quiz. It doesn’t matter – you can save it a week and rattle their brains a bit.
But why am I going on about this – because it is just as useful, maybe even more useful, for us to play this game too. How often do we sit through Church, sing the hymns, pray the prayers, listen to the sermon, head off to tea and chat… and by the time you get home you can remember all that you chatted about at tea-time (well maybe!) but less than noting about the whole Church Service.
So while you are asking your kids these question ask them of yourself! Can you remember what yesterdays sermon was about? Last weeks sermon? The week before? Can you remember three hymns you sang yesterday – you know you sang them!
Apart from all that It is now February and all our good intentions are falling away… and yes we have got behind, but I not so far behind that we can’t just pick it up and carry on… Don’t think: I was planning to do reading everyday I haven’t done it for a week, so I will stop all together. And don’t try to catch up it is too overwhelming. Just pick up and carry on where you left off. Really a little off the pace is a whole lot better than nothing at all.
And I introduced our Bible Verse of the Week Project and here is the fifth verse:
Bible verse of the week: from the Bible Gateway
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.