Childsize Apologetics: A New Approach

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Journeys of Experience

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After my son told me about sharing faith with his friend, I asked,
“Where did you hear all of this?”

No hesitation. “From you and Mom, from going to church, from
reading the Bible and praying.”

“When did we tell you all that stuff?”

“Well,” he said, “I hear it all the time.”

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A new view of apologetics for children understands that spiritual
formation takes time and reinforcement. Children don’t become
grounded in their faith based on an isolated experience or even a
handful of experiences. Transformation is the process of a life
journey of experiences that include home, church, and personal time
with God.

Experiences with God are crucial to grounding a child’s faith. At
LifeChurch.tv in Edmond, Oklahoma, the central content development
team put together a unit surrounding apologetics for their children
that emphasized children experiencing God.

“You can argue points about creation, the legitimacy of the Bible,
and even Christ-but it’s hard to deny what people have encountered
in their own life,” notes Kendra Golden, a member of the content
team. “Kids are facing so much counter-Christian media, if I can
just get them to taste and see for themselves, it won’t matter if
they forget the logical arguments. It’ll be too late. They’ll
already know God.”

Those experiences don’t just happen, however. We’ve got to make
space for children to encounter God. In Children Matter
(Eerdmans), Scottie May recounts how one mother noticed all the
great things her children were learning at May’s church, but
wondered, “When do children meet God?” Scottie May realized that
while her church had come up with engaging ways to teach the Bible,
they hadn’t left space for kids to experience God. In response, May
and her team introduced symbols and practices such as silence, an
altar, and music that helped children focus on God’s presence.
These elements created space for children to encounter God.

As children experience God on a consistent basis throughout their
lives, God becomes real to them, and their faith becomes their own.
Instead of parroting coached answers to questions few are asking,
children are able to share with others out of their experiences
with God. Additionally, children will be able to confidently
navigate doubts and questions about their own faith as well as the
questions and doubts others might have about faith.

     

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