Teach Less For More

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A child asked her mother, “How many commandments did God give us?” The mother answered, “Ten.” The child exclaimed, “Wow, you have more commands than Him!”

That’s why Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia encourages us to “Teach Less For More.”
The things you choose to teach should be limited to those things that your people most need to hear… The goal for “teach less for more” is to identify and package a handful of must-know, can’t-be-without, age-appropriate principles for each target group. … The key is taking the time to decide beforehand what the big issues are for each group and then establishing them as your irreducible minimums. Remember, these carefully selected truths are not all that is important, but what are most important for your target audience to know. [1]
 "The things you choose to teach should be limited to those things that your people most need to hear." Andy Stanley. Image credit

Stanley clarified that, though “All Scripture is equally inspired,” “All Scripture are not equally applicable.” We don’t teach young children the story of David and Bathsheba. We teach them what fits their age group. Even the Lord reduced the ten commandments to two. 
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40) [2]
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Our vision in Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship is “Making Families Christ Centered Followers.” In view of our 20th anniversary as a church, we will focus this month on the “Pass It On” theme, the five values that we should teach our children. (It is based on Pastor Chip Ingram’s “Effective Parenting in a Defective World” seminar. Ingram was the president of Walk Thru the Bible Ministries.) We should teach them how to suffer well, how to work “unto the Lord,” how to be good stewards of their time, talents and treasures, how to make wise decisions, and how to live grace-filled lives. (We will resume our “Significance” series next month.) 

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Of course, those five values are not the only lessons we should teach our children. The list is a launching pad. We just need to start somewhere significant and build on it. We are not limited to them. We could add some more values. But we better make sure that that is what our children needed to hear the most. It is better to teach a few lessons for our children to master than to teach them a lot and then they fail to obey them. 

I believe the challenge is not teaching these values to our children but in modeling them in our lives as parents. We can only pass on what we have. But, since God called us to be parents, He will empower us to fulfill our role as parents. 
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

Brothers and sisters, let us pass it on.

[1] Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner and Lane Jones, 7 Practices of Effective Ministry (CO: Multnomah, 2004) 122, 125-126. Italics his. Emphasis added.

[2] All Bible verses are from the English Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.


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