The Free Church’s Youth Committee aims to better train and equip Christian parents to lead their families in the Lord.
Youth Committee convener Rev Dr Colin Dow told commissioners at the General Assembly that parents must take primary responsibility for the Christian growth of their children.
The committee will spend the next year focusing on resources for family worship and covenant parenting.
Dr Dow (pictured above) said: “We want the mission of the Church to be as much about in-reach to our own children, as out-reach to a lost world.
“We want to hold to the Biblical principles of God’s covenant promises; to help our children ‘improve’ their baptisms and to equip and empower parents to disciple their children as young Christians, imparting to them a truly Christian worldview.
“The Youth Committee see this as being first steps in a trajectory of Church growth which will have an impact upon Scotland and the world for generations to come.
“Yes, we might want in future years to think about Christian schools, but the first place to start the training and discipling of our youth is the home.
“Again, I reiterate that this places the responsibility for training and discipling our young people primarily upon parents.
“As the Youth Committee, we want to do everything we can to empower, equip and train parents to engage in their God-given responsibilities.”
The Glasgow City minister continued: “Prior to 1939, the Free Church and the Free Reformed Church of the Netherlands had the same number of members.
“Today, in 2016, the Free Church has roughly the same number of members it did in 1939, but the Free Reformed Church of the Netherlands now has 130,000.
“Why the tremendous growth in the Freigemachte, but not the Free Church? The Dutch kept their children.
“Their growth as a denomination is based upon strong covenantal principles.
“Well-functioning Christian homes provide the fuel for long-term Church growth.”
Last year well over 300 campers attended Free Church Youth Camps, and Dr Dow gave thanks to God “for his gracious provision and for His hand at work” and for those ensuring it runs so well.
The Youth Committee convener added: “Please pray and invest in Youth camps. Some parents, myself included, inwardly wince at the cost of sending their children to camp.
“But rather than asking ‘how much does it cost’, as Christian parents we must ask, ‘how much is it worth’?
“And when you ask that question, the answer, given its long term spiritual impact, is ‘priceless’.”
Other encouraging developments include the youth conference, which was fully booked for a third consecutive year, as well as the ongoing development of the Leadership Bootcamp to prepare future leaders.
The General Assembly also expressed their thankfulness and support for teachers, pupils and parents involved in Scotland’s state education system.
Commissioners noted their concern at the increasing secularisation and removal of Christianity from Scotland’s Christian state education system.
They also noted that this gradual removal of Christianity has been accompanied with a general decline in educational and moral standards.
The Mission Board, in conjunction with other interested parties within the Church, will prepare a report for next year’s General Assembly looking at the question of Christian education.
This report will look at how the Free Church can support Christians involved in state education and the possibility of the denomination setting up Christian schools.
Above: Rev David Robertson (right) shares a joke with Anna MacQueen and Rev Dr Colin Dow
Tonight’s session saw the presentation of the Lyle Orr Awards.
Retiring Moderator Rev David Robertson presented awards to infant grade winner Colin Pearson from London City, junior grade winner Rebecca Ross who goes to Ferintosh, and Bible class winner Anna MacQueen from Greyfriars in Inverness (all pictured very top).
Commissioners also heard from Rev Ruairidh Maclean (below), who was presenting the Psalmody and Praise Committee.
Tomorrow the General Assembly will consider the report of the Mission Board.