Helping the next generation fall in love with God’s Word should be as easy as sharing a love for ice cream according Keith Ferrin. He runs a ministry that focuses on helping people fall in LOVE with God’s Word. Not just read it because they have or believe it because it’s true, but really love it in a relational way. You can tell from listening to Ferrin that he has a passion for God’s Word. Through his roles as a youth pastor and now as a parent, he has wrestled with how to help the next generation be just as passionate about God’s Word.
I was recently at a conference where I got to hear Ferrin speak on the subject of this book. I was so fired up about God’s Word and helping the next generation fall in love with it when I left. When someone truly cares about a cause you can feel them channeling the energy right into you and that is exactly what Ferrin did. I left that session thinking, “I wish everyone could have heard this.” The awesome thing is Like Ice Cream captures everything I learned in that session and more. I would say it’s a must read for children’s or youth pastors, but more importantly for parents. Really anyone with influence into the next generation (grandparents, teachers, congregation members, etc.) needs to read this book!
Kids are at church for a couple hours a week… maybe three hours on a Sunday and hour and a half midweek (most spend less than that). We can’t assume that sending a child off to Sunday school is going to develop this passion inside of them. As a parent, you have the biggest opportunity to influence your children for Jesus.
Ferrin goes through nine principles that will help you be more intentional about helping the next generation develop a taste for God’s Word. In children’s ministry, I can tell that they way I read the Bible and teach the Bible will show kids how exciting it really is. If I’m reading in a mono-tone voice then they aren’t going to sense passion. They are probably going to be bored and tune me out. I have to be creative with how I present God’s Word and show kids that is really alive and active!
One of the best examples that came out of the book is that of a cucumber. A cucumber can became a certain kind of pickle depending on what’s it is soaked in. You can’t make a sweet pickle by using dill. What you soak the cucumber in will decide what it becomes. We can’t just hope that kids turn out a certain way when they are not exposed to what they need. As a parent, you have the choice of what your children will be exposed to, you will have a say in the environments they spend time in and the people that influence them. Don’t expect your child to turn into a sweet pickle if their hanging out with dill pickles.
The truth of the matter is we can talk about God’s Word all the time, we can get creative with how we weave it into everyday life, we can be excited about it and show kid’s what a relational view of the Bible looks like, but only God can call a child to himself. This is where prayer is a key part of helping the next generation fall in love with God’s Word. We can only do so much and then we have trust God to grow the seeds that we have planted in these young hearts. Prayer is one of the most powerful tools we have in helping the next generation fall in love with God’s Word.
Another book I would like to suggest on a similar topic is Spiritual Parenting by Dr. Michelle Anthony. I read it as research for a possible parenting class at the church. I learned so much from it as a children’s minister. It’s important for me as a children’s minister to empower and equip parents to be the best spiritual influences in their child’s life. Together we have an exciting opportunity to help children build their spiritual foundation that will carry them through for a lifetime with Jesus. I’m excited – are you?