St. John’s Baptist Church

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Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About?

The St. John’s Pulpit

St. John’s Baptist Church    300 Hawthorne Lane    Charlotte, NC 28204



Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About?

Deuteronomy 6:1-15                             

Second Sunday after Pentecost, June 11, 2023

A Pastoral Sermon Encouraging St. John’s to Nurture Our Children in Faith

Dennis W. Foust, PhD, Senior Minister



Everyone is talking about something.

Some are talking about Wake Forest baseball team reaching the College World Series.

Many are talking about the dust covering our east coast. More than 400 wildfires have ignited across Canada so far this year burning over 9 million acres.

Golfers are talking about the shocking partnership between the PGA, European Golf, and the Saudi Arabian-financed LIV Golf. Players are angry. Congress is unhappy. Fans are confused. This story is not over.

People are talking about the collapse of the dam in Ukraine causing even more human suffering in a war-torn nation.

Before today ends, more Breaking News will give us something to talk about.

But, friends, there are more important things to talk about than changing headlines.


This past week I asked a few friends to talk about how their parents nurtured their faith when they were young. One friend said the parents largely outsourced her nurture to their church. One described the parents’ religion was based more on fear than on faith. Another talked about how a parent always discussed the worship service and sermon on the way home in the car and explained in child or teenager language what they had just heard. Another talked about praying together as a family and how the mother gave books of poetry to help thoughts find expression. One spoke of how their mother gathered the children in a circle of prayer before they left for school.

What did your parents do to nurture your faith?

And what other adults in the life of your church helped to nurture your faith?


My parents were examples of faith. They served and cared and sacrificed.

When I was young, they read to me and taught me stories of the Bible.

They had us discuss the ethics of God’s heart and guided us to be involved in service.

At the church, people like Lesta, a retired school teacher who never had children of her own, taught children in Sunday School as long as her health allowed. Juanita, Tom, Don and Mary, Gene and Iva, Scottie, and many others nurtured my faith. Each of them gave me something to talk about.


What are you giving the children of St. John’s today for them to talk about years from now?

Prepare yourselves; I will return to this question with a challenge.


Today’s scripture from Deuteronomy 6, includes the Sh-ma (Shema). Here is the core of Hebrew theology, pedagogy, and devotion. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.  Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead,  and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

The verb translated ‘recite’ emphasizes repeatedly sharing your experience. The concept is to talk about these truths wherever and whenever. Use creative ways to make the children ask questions. Phylacteries were strips of sheep or goat skin with four scriptures written on it – two from Exodus and two from Deuteronomy. A mezuzah was a small box holding the four passages at the entrance to the house. These truths should be written on your heart.



  1. Pursue your own relationship with God through worship and discipleship.
  2. Exemplify a personal devotion with God.
  3. Remember that you have influence on the generations behind you.
  4. Teach to younger generations what you have learned in relationship with God.


You may be familiar with this song:  Find Us Faithful

We’re pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road – And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary – Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses – Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who’ve gone before us – Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives


After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone – And our children sift through all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful = May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe – And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful

Now, I come back to the question I asked earlier:

What are you giving the children of St. John’s today for them to talk about years from now?


Beloved, we committed to God that we will do everything in our capacity to serve our children and youth and their families. I am grateful for all you have done to help raise $30,000 for youth missions. These monies will help our youth serve others and learn to be servant faith missional followers of Jesus. Ryan Crowder has stepped forward to go with the youth and Haley to Washington, DC on this summer’s mission trip. Thank you, Ryan.

Others of you have volunteered to help with our children and youth this summer.


That said, Kheresa is asking for volunteers to help teach children in Sunday School this summer. You can help her for one hour or two. I have asked her to stand at the communion table following worship for you to form a line to volunteer for one Sunday this summer.



Beloved, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years from now, our children and youth will be talking.

They will talk about the Breaking News headlines of the week in their day.


But let’s show them that in this church, they are valued – not merely in word – but in deed.

Let’s fill leadership slots for children and youth ministries quicker than resource teams or deacon positions. Then our children and youth will talk about your investments in them.

Let’s give them something worth talking about!    Amen and AMEN