2020 Vision Recommended Resources

2020Vision RECOMMENDED RESOURCES for Parents, Leadership and Children in your church:

Gospel-powered parentingGospel Powered Parenting
By William P. Farley

This book is being used in many of our churches as a tool for training parents in a small group setting. It does exactly what the subtitle describes – practically tells us ‘how the Gospel shapes and transforms parenting.’ Farley is deeply concerned that children raised in the church have grown up and left the faith. There have been thousands of books written on parenting but this one surely takes us to the heart of the problem.

Drawing upon his two life experiences of reading the Word and raising his own children in the church, Farley has this observation. The results of parenting has nothing to do with wherethe child was educated or how regular was their church attendance. The common denominator between success and failure seems to be the spiritual depth and sincerity of the parents, especially the spiritual depth and sincerity of the father.

“In my experience”, writes Farley, “the most effective parents have a clear grasp of the cross and its implications for daily life.” So, this writer begins his book with the Gospel and its power in your life. This is the perfect beginning to his fleshing out of Godly fear, holiness, love and grace as it affects every area of parenting.

Church leaders and parents should read and study this book. The one conclusion from this book that can not be overlooked is this: We must teach our children. Delegating that task to others will not work unless we are first doing it at home. This seems to be the clarion call ringing across the evangelical church today. Gospel-Powered Parenting gives clear and practical teaching to the need of the hour.

This is a twelve chapter book and would be perfect for a twelve-week study in your church’s adult education program. There are several excellent Study questions at the end of each chapter. If you are a parent, read it. The Gospel is rich and will bring power to what you are doing in your home every day.

the faithful parentThe Faithful Parent: A Biblical Guide to Raising a Family
By Martha Peace & Stuart W. Scott

After clarifying the goal for parenting and the basic Biblical responsibilities of the parent and child, Peace and Scott dissect the lives of our children and give practical instruction as it applies to the infant, toddler, preschooler, school-age and teenage child in the home. For a parent crying out, “Just tell me what to do!” this book is a wonderful answer to the cry for help.

My favorite chapter, however, is entitled Parents Who Provoke. I’ve heard sermons preached from the Colossians 3:21 passage. “Father, do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged.” But these authors bring understanding to all of the ways that we might provoke our children by defining sinful attitudes that teach our children more than we would like to think. Take a look at this list: The Despairing Parent, The Controlling/Angry Parent, The “Guess What the Rules are Today” Parent, The Exaggerating Parent, The “Must be Perfect” Parent, The “Fear of What Others Might Think” Parent. And the list goes on and on. This section of the book truly helps to identify sinful behaviors in parenting that so easily entangle us all.

These authors do an exceptional job at responding to all of the most-asked questions of parents with sound Biblical answers. The book closes with a wonderful instructional prayer and a directive on presenting the gospel with detailed scripture references.

If you are parenting or giving counsel to parents, this is a valuable tool for your ongoing study. Its eleven chapters full of questions to ponder and discuss would also be effective as a small group study on parenting.

Covenant DiscipleshipCovenant Discipleship Parents’ Handbook
By Richard L. Burguet and J. Ed Eubanks, Jr.

This parent/student handbook is an alternative to the traditional age-based Communicant’s Class, offering Reformed and Presbyterian churches of any size a way to bring students into the church as communing members when they are ready. Covenant Discipleship gives the oversight of teaching the essence of church membership back to parents, providing them with the tools and resources to guide their children through the process of learning about the essentials of the faith, importance of church membership, and the core values and theology of a Reformed and Presbyterian church.

Jesus Storybook BibleJesus Storybook Bible
By Sally Lloyd-Jones

If you do not yet own this children’s Bible, you have missed out on the top-seller in children’s books in the last two years. Why is everyone in children’s ministry so energized by this book? There are hundreds of children’s story Bibles. What makes this one special?

“Every story whispers his name.” That is the subtitle and it is what sets this storybook apart from the rest. In the key stories from both the Old and New Testament, Lloyd Jones communicates to us and our children that Jesus is the Word. It is all about him. Most of us would say “of course, he is!” But as you begin to read these stories to your children, you will be convicted of the fact that many times you have taught these great Bible stories and have missed the point.

Here’s just one example of what Lloyd-Jones accomplishes throughout this wonderfully illustrated volume:

Many years later, God was going to send another Messenger with the same wonderful message. Like Jonah, he would spend three days in utter darkness. But this Messenger would be God’s own Son. He would be called “The Word” because he himself would be God’s message. Everything God wanted to say to the whole world – in a Person.

As I read these stories to my grandson, every one of them reminds me that he must see Jesus. He must know that the Word was written that we might come to know and love Jesus, the one true God.

Give this book to your children’s teachers. Give this book to your children’s parents and grandparents. While they are reading to the children, they will also be learning that “every story whispers his name.”

Sue Jakes is mother of four, grandmother of six, and lives in Atlanta, GA where she serves as Education Specialist for the Christian Education Committee of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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