"Doctrinal Devotions for Littles" by Joyce Holstege
Reformed Free Publishing Association
Joyce Holstege, kindergarten teacher at Heritage Christian School in Hudsonville, Michigan, and author of I Belong: Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer 1 for Children recently addressed the RFPA's Association members on the why, when, and how of bringing doctrine into the devotions we do with our young children.
Here is an overview of part 1 of the speech, the reason for doctrinal devotions.
Why do we teach children doctrine in our devotions?
- By the grace of God, little children know and love God, just as we do. They can see God in creation, but only when they are shown how to look for him there. They can learn about God, but they need to be taught from God's word to truly know him.
- But it isn't enough to teach our children about God. We need to teach them about their relationship to God. Whether our times of devotions are spent telling our children Bible stories like the story of Cain and Abel, or whether they center around Scripture verses that we teach our children to memorize (such as Ephesians 4:32, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another..."), our goal must be that we explain to them how these stories and verses fit into the whole message of the gospel of Christ.
- We need to arm our children with the truth. If we aren't teaching them, there are many, many people, organizations, and social groups who will indoctrinate them with the lie.
- We need to teach our children doctrinal truth so that when tough times come, our children will have a real comfort to hang onto. If they face the death of a loved one or other serious conflicts, they know that even then, God has a sovereign, good plan for their lives.
Be sure to watch the complete speech to hear some of Joyce's great tips about how to teach doctrine to children when they're still young.