Eric Garrett, Greenville, MS – Pentecost in North America has prevailed through time to the extent that a large percentage of our saints now are receiving truth, by virtue of inheritance, from saved parents, as opposed to direct revelation a sinner receives through seeking God for salvation. Establishing children in Biblical doctrine, so they see it for themselves, is essential.
Pastoring for 25 years, I have seen the sad results of parents assuming their children understood and received a love for what we believe. Unless we instill a solid scriptural foundation in them, our children have the Pentecostal experience but no foundation.
Doctrinal teaching should begin in the home, but there should be a coordinated effort between church departments to educate our children at every age level in the basic and fundamental doctrines of the church. Our church uses 10 Doctrines for Kids, written by Nan Pamer of Barberton, Ohio. It is available through Pentecostal Publishing House. Youth departments should also dedicate a portion of each year to doctrinal teaching/preaching.
Kevin L. Borders, Norman, OK – Doctrinal teaching for today’s youth is an absolute. Youth must know their salvation is rooted in scripture and not in a human structure. For them to value the experience of salvation and to protect the work of God in their lives, they must be taught biblical doctrine.
I believe training must begin from the earliest age in Sunday school. Lessons in Sunday school, as well as in youth services, must be intentional. Simply relating a Bible story is not sufficient. The truths of the Word of God must be brought out at every age level. Children and youth must hear a clear voice, not only from their Sunday school teachers and youth pastors but from the senior pastor as well.
On an annual basis, in our church, we bring the youth into a Wednesday night Bible study where I teach specific topics, so the youth hear these truths taught from the senior pastor. We use Word Aflame Literature as a curriculum.
Paul Brown, Flint, MI – Doctrinal teaching plays a key factor in training our youth. It gives them a foundation and teaches them not only the Word of God but also why they are special and what their identity is, as they become teenagers. They are struggling to figure out who they are, and their friends are also wondering who they are. If guys have orange hair and tattoos all over them, then why not the other end of the spectrum as well? The world embraces diversity, and their friends at school won’t have a problem if we provide our Apostolic youth with good answers for why they do what they do.
We disciple our adult new converts, so they get a good foundation. I would love to see doctrinal teaching integrated into children’s classes from an early Sunday school age, as young as 2 to 3 years old. We just have to break it into pieces for them, like a loaf of bread, so they understand. Our church uses Kids’ Doctrinal Training, available through PPH, to teach doctrine to children during one quarter of the year. In the end, though, it is my responsibility to teach my children doctrine.
Jeremy Price, Polkville, MS – It is vital to teach doctrine to retain youth in the church. It should begin in the nursery class. Barna Research shows the “probability of accepting Christ” decreases dramatically after age 13. This research shows that 43 percent of Americans who “accept Jesus Christ” do so before the age of 13, 64 percent of “born again Christians” accepted Christ before 18, and 13 percent made their “profession of faith” while 18-21 years of age.
There must be teaching/training in addition to Sunday school. By the time students reach the age of 12, we work to involve them in ministry and training younger children. Our youth serve in children’s church, SS Department, and VBS (being paired with experienced children’s ministry staff.) They have Wednesday night services in the Youth Center and conduct service in the main sanctuary once each month, including music, worship, media and preaching. The youth make up two thirds of our choir, conduct Saturday outreach, fellowship regularly and attend Monday night corporate prayer.
I can’t narrow a curriculum choice to one but recommend that leaders train their youth to serve. God-Family-Community is our church motto in training the generation to follow.
Dallas Brock, Beaverton, OR – Imparting Apostolic doctrine is an integral part of equipping our youth for the challenges they will face, so they will not be vulnerable to philosophies and humanistic mindsets. False doctrine is so prevalent that without a foundation of doctrinal understanding, it is only a matter of time before they start to adopt the subtle deceits of a misled culture. A person can be born of the water and of the Spirit (Acts 2:38) and still be ignorant of Biblical understanding. We must continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and the revelation of who He is.
Middle school is the time most youth are developing their identity and discovering their gifts and callings. I would recommend using something similar to the Fitly Framed series by Bro. Carlton L. Coon. To effectively communicate doctrine, we have to be secure enough as leaders to allow people to voice their struggles, questions and doubts, or they will find someone outside the church or just walk away. This generation must know the “why” behind the doctrine to be strong in their belief. Additional training in the home is critical. By leaders equipping parents to disciple their children and pairing youth with adult mentors, youth will experience the fulfillment of serving in the body of Christ.
Shad McIntosh, Junction, TX – Our youth are leaving our homes and getting a taste for a world we have worked so hard to shelter them from. Only a young person grounded in the faith will survive in a world that wants to tear them up. I have seen this with my own two children. Their environment may change, but the Word is planted in their hearts forever.
One must first love the basic tenants of faith to love the truth. Today’s youth fall in love with the lights and music before loving the foundation. Salvation is only the beginning. A home that does not model righteousness and submission to leadership will not produce grounded Apostolic youth.
The church should instill Oneness, Jesus’ name baptism and speaking in tongues as the evidence of the Holy Ghost from the first Sunday school class. This teaching should be mixed with scripture memorization and life application. No amount of Sunday school can substitute for doctrinal teaching at home.
We minister to children of denominal churches, teaching righteousness first. When these children come to Sunday school, we gently teach doctrine to them, so as not to have issues at home with unsaved parents. In my opinion, especially for the youth, there is no better foundational teaching than the Search for Truth Bible Study.