Like most homeschool families, my siblings and I were very active in the church. On top of that, my parents always did a good job teaching us the Word and ensuring we knew the realities of a fallen world. From a young age, they taught us how to hide God’s Word in our hearts through memorization and recitation. One verse I learned was Proverbs 22:6. It says:
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old, he will not depart from it (KJV).
Granted, at age 10, I wasn’t thinking about what it looked like to raise a child. But on the flip side of things, this verse rings so true. Not only do I now understand why my parents pushed a biblical worldview, but I see the fruit it produced in my own walk with the Lord.
Since the beginning of time, it seems that children have been one of Satan’s primary targets. I mean, don’t you remember Cain and Abel? The enemy knows that one of the best ways to destroy families is by tempting and leading young ones astray. And if he can make it happen for generations to come … what will the future look like?
Since coming on board as an AFA staffer, I have been constantly impressed by our team’s diligent work in encouraging the beautiful gift of family. One of our missions is to “equip parents to raise godly children.” And over the next few months, AFA is offering some awesome opportunities to equip parents and children with the power found in God’s Word.
Marriage, Family, Life, Conference
At AFA’s annual Marriage, Family, Life, Conference (MFL), the ministry focuses on the beauty of marriage, the gift of family, and the right to life. This year, the MFL’s theme is “For His Glory Alone” and stems from the verse found in Colossians 3:23,
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
For the adult attendees, this year’s MFL speakers will include Stephen Black, Israel Wayne, Dr. George Barna, Jenna Ellis, Abraham Hamilton III, and many more. But what makes this conference so unique is how it aims to encourage and equip children to understand their faith and have a defense when that faith comes under attack.
After all, as Abraham Hamilton III says, “there is no junior Holy Spirit.”
For children ages 4-17, MFL offers the Youth Apologetics Track (YAT) for children ages 4-17. And through age-appropriate material, YAT leaders and teachers teach kids the power of the Gospel. Under the leadership of Maria Hamilton (ages 4-12), as well as Mark and Amy Warren (ages 13-17), each teacher and classroom helper desires to see children’s lives impacted by and through the power of the Most High. Hopefully, the words spoken and shared will relay the message of God’s Word in such a way that young participants will remember it for their entire life.
For more information and to register for this event, click here.
Ten Commandment speech contest
Another fantastic discipleship opportunity AFA has for families is the annual Ten Commandment speech contest. This contest was designed by AFA’s director of outreach and intercession, Pastor Joseph Parker. In 2016, Parker and his wife Birdie developed and created the Ten Commandments Project. The Parkers helped local children memorize, understand, and apply the commandments for six weeks. Three years ago, they added the speech contest.
How does it work? It’s simple.
This year’s topic is the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and mother.” So, with that information, children ages 18 and under are asked to write a speech three to five minutes in length, explaining why this commandment is important. Then, in video recording format, the child’s parent emails the speech to Pastor Joseph at email@example.com with “Ten Commandments Speech” in the subject line.
But this is more than just some required speech. Rather, it is a tool that AFA has seen open the eyes, ears, and hearts of children. Last year’s topic was “Thou shall not kill.” Video after video showed young children explaining the reasons abortion is wrong. Here is a small excerpt from 10-year-old Allieray Duckett:
[God] loves the parents of these babies being aborted. He loves the babies. He loves everyone. But it doesn’t make [abortion] right. The act of abortion will always be wrong. … Though that sin is wrong, and God hates it when we commit sin, they can still be saved. God is always ready to forgive. And if they put their trust in Him, He will forgive them.
Truly, this is a discipleship opportunity that you don’t want to miss! Its impact is long-lasting. Of the project, Parker said:
As children and youth take time to read and research their topic for the speech, they will learn things that they previously did not know. It seems that this project can definitely, by the power and working of the Holy Spirit, help produce great fruit in those who participate.
The deadline for submission is April 24. For help with speech writing or more information about this project, contact Pastor Joseph Parker at 662.844.5036 x381 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on this, check out the January/February edition of the print version of The Stand.