What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children;
We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
His power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel,
Which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children.
So the next generation would know them,
Even the children yet to be born,
And they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds
But would keep his commands.
“Tell the Next Generation”—these words jump out at us from the passage above. However, the more important question to ask is, how will they know, if we do not tell?
If we do not tell, the next generation will not know.
A survey of 100 Next Generation Ministries conducted by The Bible Society of Singapore (BSS) in partnership with One Hope in 2014 showed that the Church in Singapore was only reaching out to 12% of Singaporean children and youth with the gospel of Jesus. In particular, Wholistic Ministry to children was weak, as most churches were not actively reaching out to children in the community through lifeskills and wholistic education.
In light of this, much work needs to be done to tell the next generation about a God who loves them and has a plan for their future. Hence, on 18 May, for the first time in the history of the Church in Singapore, a rally specially catered to children and their families was held at the National Stadium. The event saw over 40,000 children and their families coming together to hear the gospel told through the Colours of the Wordless Book.
To have the next generation hear and respond to the Word of God is extremely significant for the Church in Singapore, not just today, but for many generations to come.
And they in turn will tell their children.
God has clearly given instructions on how faith is to be passed on from one generation to another. In Psalm 78:5, we read that God established laws in Israel, where He commanded the forefathers to teach their children. We find this instruction echoed in Deuteronomy 6:4–6, where God tells the Israelites to love Him, to have His commandments on their hearts, and to impress them on their children. The blueprint on how generational discipleship is to take place is given—we are to talk about God’s commands with our children when we sit at home, when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up.
If we do not teach, they will not be trained.
God has given parents and grandparents the immense privilege and responsibility to tell and teach their children about God’s ways and to pass on the faith to them. As children tend to spend most of their time with their parents and grandparents, the bulk of the teaching has to take place at home, where both parents and grandparents talk about and live out their faith in their children.
Then the next generation would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands.
by Dr Foo Fung Fong
Director of Family and Children Ministries
The Bible Society of Singapore