A Church’s Testimony about Kids4Truth
“I love hearing my 4-year-old son tell me that Jesus and God are the same person, but God did not die on the cross because He is the Father and not the Son. I know my son doesn’t fully understand the great truth he just told me, but it is in his mind and vocabulary so we can build on that foundation,” says Jennifer Linscott, wife of Pastor Greg Linscott at First Baptist Church, Marshall, Minnesota. The Linscotts’ son learned that doctrine in his Wednesday night Bible club.
Eight years ago, the Linscotts introduced their church to Kids4Truth. Pastor Linscott wanted a program that would expose children to the gospel and establish a doctrinal foundation. Kids4Truth fit the bill.
The goal of Kids4Truth is to help kids fall in love with doctrine about God so they will learn to love Him above all else. But to love doctrine, kids first need to know doctrine. Kids4Truth teaches the fundamentals of authentic Christian faith in such a way that kids remember it for a lifetime.
Kids4Truth is also more flexible than the church’s previous Bible club program. Mike Hulsizer, who with his wife, Sharon, directs the Kids4Truth club at First Baptist, appreciates this flexible structure because it allows them to do what will best meet the needs of their group. They get to choose what, when, and how to reward the students. They decide how big a deal awards will be and how much work should be necessary to earn awards. They decide how frequently to meet and at what pace they will proceed through the materials. They select what occurs in their meetings, and they have the prerogative to remove components that are not well suited to their students.
This flexibility has been key as the club has grown. Mike explains, “The dynamics of our kids have changed. We’ve had to adjust to that. When we first started Kids4Truth, we had probably 15 kids coming, and they were all church kids, whereas now we’re running between 35 and 40 kids. I’d say that to 25 of them, English is a second language, which is new to us. So we’re learning a lot and adjusting.” Leaders have to spend more time with these students, explaining how to pronounce an English word and what it means, and then what the verse means. But the church as a whole thinks that’s a benefit—workers are able to establish relationships with the children.
The kids enjoy those relationships too. They love interacting one-on-one with their leaders. During lesson time, leaders take students aside to discuss where they are in their spiritual lives. The leaders have the opportunity to lovingly point the kids to the Savior and pray for them during the week. This one-on-one time is a tweak the church made in tailoring Kids4Truth to meet students’ needs rather than merely conforming to the program. Another tweak is a team approach that pairs older kids with younger kids to work together, which incorporates yet another tweak: the verse of the quarter. The Hulsizers choose a verse from one of the lessons, then divide the kids into teams who learn the verse and earn points for reciting it every week. Thanks to that repetition, the kids retain those verses.
Repetition is a key component of Kids4Truth at First Baptist. From preschool onward, students learn 12 doctrines. A sixth grader, for example, will have covered the same doctrine in kindergarten, second grade, fourth grade, and sixth grade. “Review and reinforcement of the truths is the key to making the doctrine stick in their heads and hearts,” Jennifer says. She also says that the doctrines aren’t dumbed down for the children but are taught on a basic level and built upon every two years.
Following the program, First Baptist teaches six of the 12 doctrines every year, taking five weeks to cover each doctrine. All the kids meet for music, then the preschoolers and kindergartners do their own activities while the rest of the students meet together for the lesson and, later, for review. After the lesson is taught, the kids go to their own smaller, age-segregated classrooms for reinforcement of the truths they just heard.
As both a leader and a mom, Jennifer attests to the benefit of having all the kids learn the same doctrine and verse. She appreciates that the Kids4Truth program is “not set up for learning a quantity of verses, but for learning quality verses and truly understanding the meaning of them.”
While church kids may have already heard these truths in Sunday School and at home, Kids4Truth has a way of keeping them engaged, says Mike. The presentations are not stale, and Pastor Linscott says the appealing presentations, along with the doctrinal affinity to First Baptist, is what he appreciates about the program. As a dad, he points out that his own kids love the original music, even listening to some of the recordings when they go to bed. He also says the review games are a segment of Kids4Truth that students seem to look forward to.
All this repetition, building truth upon truth, has had its rewards. Three of the Linscott children understood their need
of a Savior while studying their Kids4Truth verses at home. Sharon has seen at least one of her third- and fourth-grade students accept Christ as Savior, and other students in the club program have been saved as well. The lessons have reached the goal of creating a thirst to know God and learn more, which has resulted in kids who did not attend church now coming on Sundays—many times on their own without their parents. Sharon says the church has taken in these youngsters really well.
The repetition hasn’t hurt the adult leaders either. The church pairs new believers with older ones as adult helpers. As they hear the doctrines and help the kids review these truths, they are learning them too.
What others are saying about Kids4Truth
“We have used the Kids4Truth program for seven years and believed it has helped ground our young people in the Word of God.”
—First Baptist Church, Adrian, Minn.
“I love the systematic way that important Biblical truths are taught. Children are learning to digest the true meat of the Word and to handle the Word of God. If taken to heart, these truths will sustain them their whole life long.”
—Sunrise Bible Church, North Branch, Minn.
“The Word of God is not ‘dumbed-down’ as the 12 doctrines are presented to the children. It is given in weekly bite-sized chunks so both the kids and the adults can take the truth home and meditate on it throughout the week.”
—First Baptist Church, Marshall, Minn.
“Kids4Truth is intense truth for young minds. My kids are learning the foundational doctrines straight from the Bible in a fun and engaging way. They should be great apologists for the faith after their years in Kids4Truth!”
—Saving Grace Bible Church, Osprey, Fla.
“I love the program because it’s great for churches like mine—a church with a very small group of children.”
—Filipino Independent Baptist Church, Norfolk, Va.
“Kids4Truth is uniquely suited to communicate systematic Christian doctrine to children.”
—First Baptist Church, Sterling Heights, Mich.
“We like the fact that our kids are not just learning verses but are learning the connections for why we believe what we believe.”
—Grace Bible Church, Casey, Ill.
Jonita Barram is assistant editor of the Baptist Bulletin.