Doing, Knowing or Relationship – What Do You Emphasize?


How it thrills our hearts to see children reading their Bibles – especially when they are excited to read the Bible.

What is our real desire for the children as they gain Biblical knowledge?


Recently two books have been given to me that have taken me back to my earliest memories: lying in bed – recapping my day with my best friend, Jesus. As a child I was so aware of the love of the Triune God. I was also aware that I could grieve God – not because someone told me, but because I just knew in my inner spirit. I can take no credit for this – it was a gift from God.

As a child I couldn’t have told you what Grace was, nor could I tell you what ultimate Truth was (well I could but I wouldn’t know that was what I was telling you). What I did KNOW was that I had an amazing relationship with the Triune God who was with me every moment of every day – He never left me. I KNEW that God loved me more than any other person loved me. I KNEW that though I was teased at school because I couldn’t speak right and because I was fat that Jesus would always love me. He was my best friend with whom I could talk continuously.

Throughout my life I’ve been blessed to have an amazing relationship with the Triune God.

Shouldn’t this be the ultimate goal for leaders in Children’s Ministry? Children developing a dynamic relationship with the Triune God.

What gets confusing and difficult is that:

  1. We must KNOW who God is and what He has done for us before we can truly love God.
  2. The result of loving God is the desire to obey.

Why do these two statements cause confusion as we disciple children to walk with Almighty God?

It is easier to quantify and test knowledge than it is to see concrete growth of a relationship. It is gratifying to see results which lead us to unconsciously put more emphasis on knowledge than on relationship.

This is true of obedience also – it is easier to grade obedience than relationship. (Click here for Legalism Begins in Children’s Ministry  )

Children’s Pastors/Directors do not sit in their offices and think, “How can I raise up legalistic, pride-filled children? We just do it.

(Pride fills them up because of all the knowledge they have without the relationship).

When my youngest child was born (43 years ago) I was so panicked that my three children wouldn’t walk with God into eternity I began crying out to Him to show me how to raise children so they would walk with Him. I continue to cry out to God – how do we raise up children to walk with You into eternity?

I am going to continue to ponder this – in my next post I will share what I believe the Lord is showing me on how to CONCIOUSLY get around the trap of raising up legalistic, pride-filled individuals.

Ponder this for yourself and share what you believe the Lord shows you.

If you want to read one of the most important things I believe the Lord taught me which shaped not only my parenting but also how I led Children’s Ministries click here My Heart’s Cry




About Wanda

I have worked with children and families for over 40 years in both secular and Christian settings. • Following college I joined VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) and served in a migrant labor camp in Texas. • After VISTA I married Joe Parker. Joe was a Boy’s Club Director and we served in several inner city and barrio areas in So. California. • I served as Children’s Director and Family Pastor in three Orange County Churches. During this time I was a co—founder of CCMA • Right after the Los Angeles riots, and while serving as Family Pastor at Mariners Church in Newport Beach, Campus Crusade approached me to develop a reproducible ministry to reach children in inner city areas of America, known today as S.A.Y. Yes! Centers of America. • In 1998 I was invited along with 25 others, representing every continent of the world, to be part of a symposium in England. This was the initial gathering for the creation of a curriculum to equip people working with children living in difficult circumstances. Celebrating Children is taught today in Christian universities around the world. • In 2001 KidTrek was begun, a unique ministry to equip the Church to disciple children. Married for 47 years, I have three married children and eight grandchildren who walk with the Lord. The greatest gift a mother could ever have.
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