There’s one quick way to destroy kids’ faith in the Bible–and if you’re doing it, you may be doing more damage than you realize. It seems benign, but I always think about the warning in Galatians that says “you will reap what you sow.” Are you sure you’re sowing the right things in kids’ hearts when it comes to the Word of God that’ll bear fruit for a lifetime?
I’m always struck by how modern culture refers to things in the Bible. They often call them “Sunday school stories.” STORIES! Are stories to be believed? A case in point: My son and I went to the Avengers movie this weekend. One of the super-heroes asked another, “Have you ever heard of the tale of Jonah?” THE TALE!? Is a tale to be believed?
No! Stories, fables, tales, myths–all ficton.
So what do we do at church? We have Bible story books. We have Bible story time. We refer to the truths in Scripture as Bible stories! How are we to expect children to believe for a lifetime that these things actually happened?
Even worse–I’ve heard many referring to the entire Bible as the “Big God Story.” Some in this camp even refer to God as the “main character” in the “Big God Story.”
Yikes! We will reap what we sow! If we are guilty of fictionalizing God’s Word, how will our children ever believe in its truth?
Here are a few things to change.
- Cut out Bible story lingo. Instead of saying, “In our Bible story today,” we write into our lessons, “In the Bible today.”
- Never refer to anyone in the Bible as a character–especially God! The people we read about in the Bible were actual people who interacted with a living person–God. The Bible is a historical account. Would we refer to Winston Churchill as a character from history? No!
- Change your lingo. In my 2-year-old class, we have “Bible time” instead of “Bible storytime.”
- Affirm the truth of Scripture. When you open up the Bible with kids, tell them that “this is God’s special book that he has written to us.” Treat the Bible with great honor and respect because it is more than a book.
If I ruled the world–or at least the church (and I don’t)–I’d cleanse these things from our vocabulary in hopes that we’d turn the tide that the truths in the Bible are just a collection of “stories and tales.” Rather, it is truth from God to stake our lives on!
For more insights, check out this article from Children’s Ministry Magazine: “Once Upon the Bible.”