Our family has recently experienced a major cultural shift as we moved from a ministry position in one state to work with a writing curriculum company in another. In the course of that process, we encountered a circumstance that my wife and I haven’t wrestled with in thirteen years:
We had to look for a church to call home.
Week after week, we attended multiple congregations, praying that God would show us where He would have us take root. Then, in the midst of our search, I felt drawn to a church not more than seven minutes from our house. That Sunday, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the congregation had a memory verse that they all did together in the middle of the service! We now attend there regularly and, while a congregational verse was not the sole reason we decided to stay (I credit divine intervention and a much more nuanced tale), I was struck with how uncommon this idea was among the churches we’d visited. Consider what such a course of action is likely to produce in your congregation:
Congregational Scripture memorization acculturates the children in your church to learn the Bible. It will show them that learning the Bible is not difficult, but does require intentional action – and it will model how to make that happen!
By bringing families into the equation, you gain the additional advantage of coaching parents on how easy it is to teach the Bible in their homes! Once they see how it can be accomplished in the corporate context, they can be challenged to take the tools that they’ve learned and apply them in their own families.
Even parents that are new believers or who have very little grounding in Scripture can implement a plan in their homes to teach God’s Word. Suddenly, your family ministry begins to become more of an equipping clearing house for helping your people do what you always wished your families would do – lead their own children toward Jesus!
Whether or not your congregation uses Bible Quest to teach Scripture memorization is immaterial. If churches took time to teach their congregations the habit of Scripture memorization as a large, multigenerational group, churches would instruct children to be intentional about learning the Bible and encourage parents by showing them how simple discipling their kids can be. The end result would be more families that are fully engaged in the life and ministry of the church, and that would be a huge cultural shift in our churches in the right direction!