The Secret Life of Kids: Take a sneak peek at what Christian kids really think about God, faith, church, and their world.
How often have you wondered about what’s going on in kids’ minds? If only you could snoop into their brains, you’d pick up insights about how they feel about God, how you could adapt your ministry, and what they actually do with their faith.
Children’s Ministry Magazine decided to do just that — pick kids’ brains about the very things many children’s ministers wonder about. So we set up an online forum with a group of kids ages 9 to 12 across the country and asked some probing questions about their faith, their friends, and what they think about the world. Read on to get inside their heads.
1. WHAT ARE THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW?
“Probably #1 of course is God because a lot of the cool things that happen in my life are because of him. And God is someone to talk to when I don’t have anyone else. Number 2 is my family because I could hardly do anything without them. My parents teach me a lot of things and my sister is fun to play with. Number 3 is definitely horses. I love horses. I work for my riding lessons and they’re important to me.”-Meredith, 9
“Family, friends, and school.” —Paige, 12
“My family, my religion, and basketball.” —Daisy, 10
“Jesus, my family, and coming to know Jesus better and to teach others about him.” —Graham, 11
THE QUESTION FOR YOU: How can your ministry recognize and incorporate kids’ top priorities?
2. WHAT CAN PEOPLE SEE ABOUT YOU THAT PROVES YOU’RE A CHRISTIAN?
“I always talk to God. I also try to do good things for others, like if my friends want to play a game, I let them have their way. I’m trying to humble myself, too.” —Derek, 11
“I try to make everyone feel important and make sure no one’s left out. I care about people’s needs. Also, I wear modest clothes that don’t have bad sayings on them.” —Meredith, 9
“I think the only way that people see I’m a Christian is that I pray.” —Deanna, 12
“If people go to my room they see my Bible and Christian books. I pray a lot and go to church. I wear my cross necklace every day.” —Paige, 12
“I try to make wise choices about movies, music, and clothes. I try not to gossip, and even when someone is mean to me I still try to be nice.” —Moriah, 9
THE QUESTION FOR YOU: In what ways does your ministry teach kids to incorporate their faith into the fabric of their lives?
3. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CHURCH?
“I like to learn about important stuff like who God is, what’s going to happen to the world, and how we’re supposed to act. I don’t like hearing about stuff that’s completely useless, like learning the same Bible story over and over. I know God created the earth in seven days, and that Noah built an ark, Moses parted the Red Sea, and Daniel was saved from the lions’ den. I don’t want to learn that stuff again unless there’s something there that I missed.” —Derek, 11
“I dislike sitting and listening for an hour. It could be a little more exciting.” —Deanna, 12
“I like to go to church to learn more about what Jesus teaches us. I don’t like to be there so long.” —Hunter, 9
“I don’t like having to get dressed for church.” —Nate, 10
“I love my church. I love the singing because it’s modern Christian music that I know. I love that it’s more laid back than strict…I feel very safe in my church. I don’t like it when I can’t understand the sermon because then it feels like I’m behind on what I need to know to be a good Christian for God. I don’t like that confused feeling.” —Emily, 12
“I love being on the drama team and worship team at my church and I’m glad that they let kids do that kind of stuff. I love the music and teaching in my class. My teacher is really good at making the lesson easy to understand and shows us how it applies to our everyday lives. She also makes it really fun. In summer they have really fun classes for the kids and they get really good teachers to teach kids things like soccer, drums, skateboarding, tae kwon do, and hip hop dancing.” —Moriah, 9
THE QUESTION FOR YOU: What would your kids name as high points and low points in your ministry?
4. OUTSIDE OF CHURCH, WHAT ROLE DOES GOD HAVE IN YOUR LIFE? WHEN DO YOU THINK OR TALK ABOUT GOD?
“I have these late night talks with my Mom and we talk about why God does stuff, what’s to come, what heaven is like, and what it’s going to be like to live forever. I like to talk late at night because when I go to bed I get a little scared and go talk to my Mom about it.” —Derek, 11
“When I’m mad at my sister and say something mean, I think about how God doesn’t want us to do that and try to stop myself.” —Meredith, 9
“I don’t know what role God plays in my life.” —Deanna, 12
“Outside of church, God is still my only God, my best friend, my father, my shepherd. I try to keep him in front of my mind, even if I fail sometimes. I think about him when I see someone who needs his help or when I see a beautiful sunset… Sometimes I’ll just have a conversation with him at no special time at all, telling him about sports tryouts or math homework, even though he already knows.” —Emily, 12
“In my house God is #1. We read the Bible, we pray, we do devotionals, and we praise God. My parents are always teaching us the principles of the Bible.” —Moriah, 9
THE QUESTION FOR YOU: How do you help kids and families experience God outside of church?