3 Steps to Go From Religion to Relationship


Blog 6.15I was
knocked for a loop when I heard the statistic. According to a
survey conducted by the U.K.’s Penguin Books, 59 percent of kids
said religion has a negative impact on the world. It makes me
wonder how the connotation of the word has changed over time, and
how kids define the word “religion.”

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I am also reminded of a bigger problem. Too often we place
religion over a relationship with Jesus. Rules, theological
differences and disputes, and all other forms of religious red tape
can be distractions and hurdles for young minds who are looking for

What we need to do is guide our children into a real
relationship with Jesus. One where they are know what Jesus would
do, not because of a WWJD bracelet, but because they have studied
his word, realized its significance, and applied it to their

So, how can you change how your kids view God? Here are a few
ways to change your ministry’s focus from religion to a growing
relationship with Jesus.

Children's Ministry Local Training

1. Say goodbye to busywork – I recently read an
article by Christian writer Mike Matthews that really stuck with
me. In the article, he said that kids were spending less time doing
activities in church, and when they were doing activities, far too
often they had nothing to do with a lesson or Bible truth. The
article went on to say that because of this, we have a younger
generation of kids who say they believe in a god but not
necessarily God.

Heart Matters: Living on Life's Fringes

Kids learn by doing. Start adding games, dramas, crafts, and
more to make your lessons come alive. Make sure to debrief after
your activities with questions that will relate fun to the lesson
then the lesson to real life.

2. Say hello to questions – Don’t be afraid of
taking questions or even asking for them. In today’s world, kids
are bombarded by different views and opinions that can challenge
what they hear on Sunday. You will not have all the answers, but
that’s ok. It shows the kids that you are human and it helps them
relate to you. Just make sure to research and get back with them

3. Say amen to prayer – Try building a
relationship with someone without any conversation. You can’t. So
why would you expect kids to grow in their relationship with Jesus
if they don’t pray? Guide them through prayer rather than have them
listen to yours. Help them use their own words to thank God. And
remember that you can pray anytime, not just at the end of your

In the end, teaching kids to build a relationship with Jesus is
much like helping them build relationships with friends. They have
to take time, be interested, and make it part of their daily lives.
That means getting your kids’ parents equipped to help continue the
relationship-building throughout the week. Start
helping entire families connect with Jesus
, and you will see a
change in how people view religion.

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About Author

David Jennings

David has served kids around the world for the majority of his life. From Texas to Romania, he has followed where God has led him. Most recently, he served for six years as a children's director in the great state of Alabama before moving to Colorado to work for Group as an associate editor.

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