Over a year ago, my dear friend Edie told me about Disciplers. I loved the studies from the start. Solid. Free. Youth lessons. Adult lessons. Just about perfect.
When we started a family integrated group (FIG) Bible study in our home with some other families from church, I believed Disciplers would be a great fit. There would be eighteen children, ranging in age from one to seventeen, with eight adults, but you don’t need to know our ages. Ahem.
We chose James since it was only five lessons and FIG was a new endeavor. As a part of the opportunity for families, I offered to write studies for the kids younger than fourth grade so that every member of our group could participate in a way that met them where they were.
So, I wrote two sets: a set for first to third grade (readers) and a set for preschoolers.
I loved writing the lessons, but loved even more doing them with my kiddos.
I will always cherish the time spent on my bed with my six and eight year olds. Listening to James be read aloud. Answering our questions. Discussing topics. Seriously precious time.
Both studies are meant to be done alongside a parent, but the first to third grade allows some independence. The preK-kindergarten studies are meant to be one on one studies with a parent. Conversation and teaching are combined in the studies so that true discipleship can take place. A perfect match for Disciplers.
Allowing parents to study James themselves AND disciple their children, all of their children, through the study was fantastic. All of our families thoroughly enjoyed the time spent in God’s Word with their children.
Our FIG was set up to meet weekly, spending about forty minutes discussing the study as a group. Everyone participated. The preschoolers had answers, the early readers shared what they learned, the middle schoolers added to the conversation, and the adults contributed in many ways. It was definitely a group effort. And it was beautiful.
The seeds sown in the children were and are invaluable. Not only was the time spent daily doing the Bible reading and study a joy and the group sharing and reinforcement amazing, but the family study allowed and encouraged conversations throughout the day. Bedtime prayers brought James to mind and lessons we had talked about that day. It tied us all together, with God’s word.
It just doesn’t get any better than that.
When Suzie asked if Disciplers could make the studies officially a part of the Bible study offerings, I was thrilled. Thrilled that more children could study God’s word with their parents… alongside their parents.
The first to third grade studies are now called Studies for Kids and the preschool to kindergarten ones are called Studies for Littles.
I pray you use these studies to not only see how the Lord wants to grow you, as an adult, in grace and truth, but that you allow Him the opportunity for you to feast on God’s word together, every single member of the family meeting God in the same verses, and taking away what He has for each person.
I just know it will be a beautiful experience.
To Him be the glory for the new aspect of Disciplers: Kids and Littles!
It is my great pleasure to announce the availability of more youth studies at our website, DiciplersOnline.org. There, you will find not only Judges and Ruth, but also The Acts of the Apostles, and I am also so excited to announce a NEW additional question format for James. First through 3rd grade lessons are now available in James. It brings such joy to my soul to know that these are now available for others to study. I can’t think of a more important habit to instill in our children than to study His word diligently.
As I sat and reminisced about the beginnings of these youth studies, one person came to my mind that I had not expected. He has been absent now for ten years, and the anniversary of his death hit me very hard this year compounded by my eldest graduating high school two days later. Suffice to say, that was an emotional week! It perplexed me a bit, that he should come into my mind while I was thinking of Disciplers for youth. After all, he hasn’t been here for any of its production. He wasn’t here when it started in my living room in 2011. What was the common thread that led him to my thoughts as a major contributor to the success of Diciplers, even today, ten years after his unexpected and sudden whisk up to Heaven.
Suddenly, the answer to my question was made clear. “Let the little children come unto me.” I had been thinking those words and how they shape each youth study. Pop Pop was another man who would call out loudly, without words, and the children would flock to him. In fact, when it came time to make his memorial program, a child had to be cropped from his arms to use as the close up photo, because photos of him without children in his arms did not exist.
But Pop Pop was not just about children. He had two other loves on this earth. One was his wife, Suzie, and the other, Disciplers. For many years, he taught the men’s study at Rolling Hills Covenant Church in Rolling Hills, California, alongside his wife who led the women. They were God’s dynamic duo armed with Bibles instead of capes. Pop Pop loved Disciplers and wanted to see it grow. In fact, when Suzie and I were discussing a new, shorter name for the website, she knew immediately which suggestion was right. “Pop Pop always said, ‘We need to get Disciplers online.’” Hence our new website name, Disciplersonline.org.
When I think of how a thousand years is but a day to the Lord, I can understand that a little better now. These ten years have passed in somewhat of a flash. And, just as Pop Pop has continued to be a constant thread throughout Disciplers, Jesus is also a constant thread throughout time. Time is very difficult for children to grasp. They spend a lifetime waiting to be 18 and then, as we all know, the years begin to fly by. Perhaps it’s the perpetual lie that the earth is “millions of years old” which makes time feel that much more elusive.
I long to make clear to students and children of all ages, ‘ that time is not afforded to us. As James teaches, we don’t know what tomorrowwill hold, we need to be right with our Lord God today. We need to seek to serve Him today. And, Jesus himself, called out, “Let the little children come unto me, of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” I can imagine the chubby, little, toddler feet that scrambled past the disciples to crawl up on His lap. I can imagine the comfort and the peace they felt being near Him. I can imagine because I watched it over and over again with Pop Pop.
Who is there in your life that reflects Christ to you? Have you told these people what a blessing they are to your understanding of salvation? Take time today to thank them for their efforts to walk in an upright manner and give glory to God. We are to imitate Christ, and it’s not easy. So, when you see others doing it, encourage them in their faith, as they have done for you.
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.