Mandy Fleener lives in Rolleston, Christchurch where her husband Joe serves as the pastor of the Rolleston Baptist Church. They have been richly blessed with three children. Mandy has spoken at previous Stand Conferences and shares her musical gifts as a pianist and singer during congregational worship.
At this year’s North Island STAND conference, Mandy will be leading a women’s seminar titled “Teaching children spiritual truths”. We asked her to share more herself, and what she’ll be speaking on.
1. Briefly share with us how you became a Christian.
I realised I was a sinner, in desperate need of a Saviour, and that Saviour was Jesus Christ! I was 3 years old. Throughout my life I have seen evidences of God’s grace in my life: His changing me to be more like Him every year in spite of my ever growing consciousness of sin that still remains, and the goodness of God in putting people in my life to rebuke and encourage me according to His Word.
2. Why do you think what you’re teaching on is an important topic?
Teaching Truth at an early age to children is not just the responsibility of the parents (though it is a monumental responsibility all parents have). So often we have such limited perspectives on what teaching is as well as why teach them and who is to teach the children – which, I believe, is some of the reason why young people that become adults reject Christ. We tend to take a very short-term view of what we teach children as well as who is to teach them. Thankfully, we’re not limited to only planning “What will I do with them on Sunday?”
3. What do you hope will be filling people’s minds and hearts as they walk away from your message(s)?
If people walk away seeing the goodness of God towards them in such a way as to pass that on to multiple generations, then I will be praising the LORD for His goodness in using me to pass on what I’ve learned!
4. Can you expand on what you’ll be talking about in your seminar?
What, who, when, where, why, and how should we be teaching children spiritual truths.
5. Is there any passage of Scripture that sums up what you’ll be sharing?
Deuteronomy 6: but don’t assume “I know what that passage says”!
6. How has what you’re going to speak on affected your own life?
Teaching children is not my natural inclination. I’ve never been the one to want to hold someone else’s baby, teach in Sunday School, work in the crèche. However, I’m convinced from Scripture that teaching children spiritual Truths is of paramount importance. So I now have three children of my own and I’m serving cheerfully as the sole Sunday School teacher at our church.
7. Can you recommend any books, articles, websites, or materials on this topic?
There’s heaps of good stuff, as well as bad! Music is a fabulous tool for learning Truth and memorising Scriptures–I highly recommend “Songs for Saplings” by Dana Dirksen.
Just as Jesus taught much through stories, reading great books with children great books helps to address real issues in an enjoyable way:
- Little Threads and Little Susie Stories by Elizabeth Prentiss are great books to read with children
- Wise Words: Family Stories That Bring the Proverbs to Life by Peter Leithart
There are many other resources that can be used as helpful tools in teaching our children. The best tool, however, is the Bible: don’t underestimate it’s power! Taking our little ones directly to the Word is vital (children’s versions are helpful tools but should never become the substitute).
8. What would you say to someone who is trying to decide whether or not to come to STAND conference?
Why wouldn’t you come? STAND provides not only a great opportunity to hear great preaching, it is an unbeatable way to meet others who are striving to serve the LORD! The fellowship can provide a mutual encouragement that can be a “re-fueling” necessary as each returns back to their own areas of service: in church, home, or work. The seminar can provide practical ideas and tools for being more effective, whether at home or in their church. It is a weekend that is worth sacrificing time and (possibly) finances to come for the building up of others and the refocusing and refuelling yourself.