I had the opportunity to teach the large group in our preschool worship service this weekend at Cross Pointe Church. It reminded me of one of my first memories of church when I was 5 or 6 years old. I have to admit (though it may seem a little sacrilegious for a pastor), I was not a big fan of church as a kid.
One Sunday morning, I was watching an episode of “Super Friends” when my dad told me it was time to go to church. I reluctantly got dressed and off we went.
Instead of letting me sit with them in BIG church, my parent dropped me off in Sunday School. I remember the teacher had us gather around her on the floor for “circle time”. She then told us a story from the Bible about a guy that was thrown into a lion’s den and lived to tell about it. The other kids in class seemed to know the story really well because they could recall all the details from memory.
I have to admit; I thought the story was cool. But I thought to myself, “so what”? Sure, the lions didn’t eat the guy but I never really understood the point of the story. For me, I would have rather watched the Super Friends defeat their enemies in the Legion of Doom. At least then, I could have stayed in my PJ’s.
I believe many kids leave our ministries each week asking the same question, “so what”? They may be able to recite the Bible story verbatim, but they are missing the point of the story. We may be teaching them the story of Daniel, but they fail to notice the point of Daniel’s obedience to God and his trust in Him no matter what happened in his life. Our children may love the story of David fighting a giant but never grasp that it was God’s power working in and through David that killed Goliath, not his accuracy with a slingshot.
If we want God to change the lives of the kids in our ministries, we have to teach them to apply His Word by answering the question…“so what?”.
Our goal is not that kids in our ministries can regurgitate a Bible story but that we reproduce the principles of the Bible story in their lives. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word…Do what it says”. Our children’s ministries need to help kids develop heart attitudes, motivations, and actions that are in line with God and His Word. We have to help them move beyond having a Biblical “knowledge” to living a Biblical “lifestyle”.
In other words, our purpose is to help children learn God’s story from the Bible and how to live out God’s story in their daily lives. If we can accomplish this each and every Sunday our kids will gladly turn off their cartoons and come to church to learn how God wants to change them from the inside out.
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3 thoughts on “The Question Every Children’s Ministry Must Answer”
That is definitely the key Eric and you hit it on the head. So what if they can recit the story back to their parents? What did they learn from the message? Did they learn the fact that Daniel’s obedience to God and honoring God fully is the underlying story. Thank you for doing that and pointing it out. Every bible story we as parents try to find the underlying meaning of it for our daughter. That is what’s important so that she can apply that lesson to her everyday life.
Okay, next to my family and my kids, this is my Passion topic! It’s what gets my jiuecs flowing.First and foremost, I believe that those statistics are proof that the church has fallen asleep. The church has narrowed itself into a corner and unless willing to adapt to some change, this statistic I fear will grow. Churches have been doing what they do because that’s the way it’s always been done. Some churches hold tight to Tradition. The church can never compete with culture. They will never win. Its just the way it is. But the church can certainly change from “doing” to having a strategy.If You read my “About” section on my blog, you’ll see a line where I wrote, “I bleed Orange.” I encourage you to check out http://www.whatisorange.com to learn more about that and to see where my firm stance on what the church should be doing.We (as in Us, Moms, Parents, etc) put So much responsibility on the Church for those poor statistics. I see it as a 50/50 deal. Parents need to wake up and realize that they are the primary spiritual leaders in their kids lives. The church is a “Partner” to you as a Parent. Or at least it should be. There in lies the problem. Churches are failing to see that they need to come along side of us as parents and support us and understand that what happens at home is far more important than what happens at church. I am a product of Christian parents, christian private schools and church all my life. I saw friends come and go within the church. From my experience, The leadership within the church are all on different pages. Nursery, elementary, youth and “big” church are all doing their own thing. There is no strategy. They are silo’d. I beg of the church to align themselves together with parents and have a strategy for how to get a child from birth through college not ever wanting to leave the church! It is possible. It just means people are going to have to adapt to change and let some things go. Sorry for the rant. I warned you that it was a Passion area for me. I could say so much more…. : )