EULESS, Texas – 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
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
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
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Keith Collier is director of news and
information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth,