[Editors note: This week’s guest post comes to us from Ben Giselbach. You can learn more about Ben at the conclusion of today’s article.]
The oldest and most important institution is the home, and the biggest responsibility of parents is to raise their children right (Deuteronomy 6:20-25). Ever since God charged parents to instill in them a love for God and His Word (cf. Ephesians 6:4), parents have asked, “What is the best way to do this?”
Well, do you know the best way to teach your children to love God and His Word? I suppose we could spend hours combing the web for advice on how to teach our children. And we would find as much a diversity of opinions as we would blog posts on the subject. I’m not offering a ‘magic pill’ on how to raise Godly children, but I do want to share with you how Lads to Leaders can be an effective tool in helping parents in their responsibility to raise children in the Lord. There are no gimmicks to the program – it simply provides a structured way of teaching God’s Word to our young people.
What Is Lads to Leaders?
Lads to Leaders is the oldest and largest training program used by churches of Christ. Just as publications like the Gospel Advocate provide books and articles, and evangelism tools like House to House provide sound materials for teaching, Lads to Leaders provides curriculum and a teaching framework that elderships can adapt for their respective congregations.
With a modest beginning in 1968, Lads to Leaders has grown into a program that offers up to 38 events in which churches can participate. From teaching boys how to lead songs and prepare sermons, to teaching girls how to teach Bible classes and to be loving keepers at home, L2L has a wide range of activities in which parents and churches can elect to participate.
Here are some ways L2L can specifically benefit your own home:
Material For Family Bible Time
We know it is our primary responsibility as parents, not the church, to teach our children God’s Word. Yet parents often feel challenged by their own knowledge of the Bible to regularly teach every day in their homes. L2L offers a wide range of curriculum that can offer plenty of material to help keep your family Bible studies fresh. Most importantly, L2L goes out its way to ensure only sound, doctrinally pure resources are offered.
Training Boys And Girls How To Be Better Providers And Keepers
It is important that boys and girls learn basic practical skills that will help them be better mothers and fathers in the future. Proverbs 31, for example, lists several qualities of the godly keeper of the home; she knows how to cook (v. 15), sew (v. 13), set the table (v. 27), manage money (v. 16), and be hospitable (v. 20). These skills, along with many others, are developed by girls participating in the Keepers event. Boys, in the Providers event, are taught important skills like child discipline, car maintenance, home security, and how to be spiritual leaders in their [future] families.
The Keepers and Providers events in Lads to Leaders are unique. Not only do other leadership programs lack something similar, but Keepers and Providers build relationships among members at church. Your child is taught by older members at your congregation how to develop these skills, creating a mentoring environment with older Christians.
Further, the Keepers and Providers events offer both young men and young ladies the ability to choose one category each year from the complimentary event. For instance, a young man can choose to learn cooking and a young lady can learn car maintenance.
Spiritual Extra-Curricular Activities
Parents are often willing to spend hundreds of dollars every year for their children to participate in athletics and other extra-curricular activities. While these are often beneficial to your children, the most important thing you can offer your children is the ability to grow spiritually. With soccer and football, the best that can happen is that your child becomes a professional sports player later in life. But with Lads to Leaders, the best that can happen is that you prepare your children to be leaders in the home, leaders in the church, and ultimately faithful Christians. In view of eternity, which scenario matters the most to you?
Bridging The Gap Between The Physical Family And The Spiritual Family
Christians make the best fathers, mothers, husbands, and wives. Why? Because they are seeking first the Kingdom (Matthew 6:33). Therefore, raising our children to be leaders in the church strengthens their faith, and in turn makes them better leaders in the home.
Young people need to understand that they are not the church of tomorrow – they are the church of today. Show me a church without young people, and I will show you a dead church. Just as young Timothy played an important role in the 1st century church (cf. 1 Timothy 4:11-13), your children play an important role in the 21st century church. Lads to Leaders teaches young people how to be leaders in the church now, so they will be leaders in the church tomorrow. When your boy is actively learning how to publicly lead a song, give a devotional – and when your girl is actively learning how to speak at ladies’ Bible studies and teach children – the Lord’s church becomes part of their identity at an early age.
After studying congregations that use L2L, we discovered that there is a retention rate of at least 85% among those who participated in the program for ten years. That means nearly nine out of ten kids, by the time they become independent of their parents, remain faithful to the Lord. Lads to Leaders strengthens churches, which in turn strengthens families.
Time did not allow us to talk about all of the events Lads to Leaders has to offer, such as Bible Bowl, Debate, GIFTS, GUARD, Centurion of Scripture, Art Says It, and Good Samaritan (to name only a few). If you want to know more about L2L, contact me, Ben, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Giselbach began working for Lads to Leaders in 2014 and is doing a tremendous job helping to grow this already-great program. He is married to the former Hannah Colley, and they are the proud parents of a newborn son, Ezra. Ben also maintains a blog, Plain Simple Faith.