Building a Solid Foundation
By Irvina Parker
There is a beautiful snapshot of the early church in Acts 2:42-47. In fact, the words in this passage create several pictures of the believers coming together for the sole purpose of fellowship and learning. They clearly had a desire to learn more about Jesus. Their hearts were sincere and happy. And what were the results? “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47, NIV). These believers were intent on building a solid foundation for their own relationships with Christ (and each other), while also building the foundation of the “church.”
Any building must start with a solid foundation. It will never stand the test of time if the foundation is on the wrong soil or does not meet some very stringent codes. Paul stresses this again in Ephesians 2:19-21 when he writes: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (NIV).
A solid foundation leads to being sound in doctrine. Just as the early church was intentional about gathering for fellowship and learning how to be obedient, we too must gather for the same purpose. The prophet Isaiah had spoken prophetic words in chapter 33 (verses 5-6) declaring that the Lord would deliver justice and righteousness. The next sentence spoke to the coming reign of King Hezekiah. “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” We are told in 2 Kings 18:3 that Hezekiah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” Further down in chapter 18, we see that Hezekiah “held fast to the Lord and did not cease” to follow God. We are told that he kept the commandments which God had given to Moses.
I can’t help but think that the early church was inspired by Hezekiah’s commitment to God. With that same kind of inspiration, women leaders of the IPHC nearly 72 years ago, recognized that the young girls needed fellowship and doctrinal training. We continue to share that belief today. As girls come to know Jesus Christ and accept Him as Lord and Savior, Girls’ Ministries can provide sound doctrinal training through its selection of curriculum and resources. The Mpact and TGM curriculum was chosen in 1999 because of its doctrinal similarities to the IPHC. It is Biblically based. Just as the early church was intentional about gathering together, our local churches must be intentional about providing the kind of training for our girls, boys, and teens that will produce true Christ-followers. We must be intent on being the sure foundation for our times!
If you are not familiar with the Mpact curriculum, let me give you an idea of what you would find in the Stars curriculum. Stars is designed for girls in the third through fifth grades, when subject matter becomes more intense. Out of 27 units written for those three years, 10 are required, and they are stretched out over the course of the girls’ time in Stars. These units fall under a category called “The World of Truth” and reflect our basic Christian doctrines. Each unit provides four lessons to be used in the month of your choice.
If we are not providing this kind of training for our girls and boys, what chance do they have of standing strong against the world in which we live today? Our purpose is clear. We want our girls to be like the house described in Matthew 7:25: “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (NIV). A young girl can begin her time in Girls’ Ministries as an infant and stay in it throughout the high school years, depending on what the local church offers. The training and relationships build on each other. Paul describes the philosophy we have adopted in 1 Corinthians 3:10 when he says “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.” It is an effort of many leaders and teachers, as they work with parents, to prepare the foundation and continue the building process over the years. Each leader offers a unique perspective, as she adds to each girl’s life. We must be careful to make sure everything is sound in doctrine and wrapped up in prayer. May God bless our efforts.