There is no doubt that education in American is in trouble. There are more criticisms then there are answers and even fewer answers worth considering. We need only look to the reading, writing and spelling skills of the average teen (and college student for that matter) in order to prove this point.

But illiteracy within general public education is not the only problem. In fact, there is an equally severe, if not worse, condition of illiteracy within the evangelical church today – biblical illiteracy.

There are a number of contributing factors to the contemporary churches problem of biblical illiteracy. In Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett suggest that the change from a pastor centered model of Sunday School (now called Adult Bible Fellowship) to a more lay lead model is perhaps the most notable factor – and I agree. There are other factors that would need to be dealt with separately but the fact remains that there is a general lack of biblical literacy within the church today.

So how does the church and its leaders combat this biblical illiteracy problem? In today’s issue of, Mark Steiner provides 7 Bricks for a Solid Foundation. While these are not the only 7 things we can do to fight biblical illiteracy within the church they are a good start.

Here are #3 and #4:

3.  Embrace children’s discipleship with confidence and conviction.

Some pastors soft-pedal children’s ministry. They assume that “Kids are too young to be discipled.” Not so! Please don’t rob them of a fulfilling future! Children are the best candidates for discipleship. They represent our most fertile fields for reaping a bountiful harvest.

Christian kids are the key for turning the tide on biblical illiteracy. They have fewer distractions, greater faith, and 100% of the Holy Spirit. I’ve dedicated the last 20 years to developing children’s curriculum designed to lay a solid foundation of biblical literacy. I invite you to visit our resource site and give it a careful look. If it meets your standards, use it. If you are aware of a better Bible curriculum for kids, please tell me about it!

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown. —Mark 4:20 (NIV)

4. Equip your parents to build their children in the faith.

God has given parents primary responsibility for the spiritual training of their children, but many parents don’t know where to begin. They feel overwhelmed with this responsibility. So parents often entrust this task to the Church, or to chance. That is why disciplemaking is the most pivotal ministry that churches can provide. It is time for churches to encourage and equip parents to carry out their responsibility. The vitality of the next generation of Christians pivots on its willingness to do so. Churches must plan purposeful ministries to disciple parents and children.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. —Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)

You can read the rest here.

For further reading on Christian education in the church I recommend three books to get started:

  1. Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old Fashioned Way by Packer & Parrett
  2. Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful: A Biblical Vision for Education in the Church by Parrett
  3. A Theology for Christian Education by Estep, Anthony & Allison