Kennemur helps children Read the Bible for Life
EULESS, Texas (SWBTS) -- Karen Kennemur knows the value of planting God’s Word deep into the life of the child and watching it grow to fruition. As a mom, a pre-K teacher, children’s minister, and now as assistant professor of children's ministry at Southwestern Seminary, Kennemur has seen the Bible’s impact on children’s foundational years as well as its influence throughout their lives.
So, when asked to help write a supplemental resource for the Read the Bible for Life Conference put on by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), Kennemur jumped at the opportunity. The conference, held Sept. 9 at First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas, helped pastors and educational ministers understand how they could implement in their churches the principles found in Union University professor George Guthrie’s new book, Read the Bible for Life. Kennemur wrote the section in the resource manual for children’s ministers and lead a breakout session during the conference.
Citing recent research indicating the epidemic of biblical illiteracy in U.S. churches, Kennemur asked conference participants, “Have we not done a good job of helping kids fall in love with reading the Bible?”
Foundational to Guthrie’s plea to see individuals, families and churches return to an anchoring in God’s Word is the biblical mandate for parents to instill the value of Scripture into their children by both instruction and example. Kennemur believes churches stand poised to aid parents in bringing up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. In the breakout session, Kennemur shared strategies and resources with children’s ministers to equip them for the task.
“Why read the Bible?” Kennemur asked. This central question should guide ministers and parents as they point children to treasure Scripture.
Kennemur noted that most children today experience the busyness of life even at very early ages. School, sports and other extra-curricular activities vie for their attention, and they must be shown the benefits of the Bible, such as knowing God, understanding His eternal plan, and experiencing the freedom, grace, peace and hope His Word offers. If children build a strong framework on a solid foundation at an early age, they will be more likely to weather the future storms of life with a strong faith.
“We’re preparing kids before the train wreck happens,” Kennemur said. It is not enough for children simply to read the Bible, but they must understand what it says and how it applies to their life in order for it to take root and bear lasting fruit.
“Kids need help interpreting the Scriptures just like we do,” Kennemur said.
For this reason, Kennemur said, churches must teach parents how to have a quiet time and study the Bible so they can, in turn, teach their children.
During a main conference session, Guthrie described the cultural landscape, which sadly shows a profound lack of even elementary knowledge about the Bible, even by regular church attenders. While studies show that the number one predictor of spiritual maturity among regular church attenders is reading the Bible on a daily basis, Guthrie said, 52 percent of them read the Bible less than three times a month, and half of those do not read the Bible at all.
LifeWay Christian Resources has partnered with Guthrie to create workbooks, DVD curriculum, Bible reading plans, and other resources for individuals and local churches. To find out more information, visit ReadtheBibleForLife.com.