Is our faith intended to be a subject we study? Or do you believe faith is a relationship that can happen through experiences?
Why do you suppose we teach kids to approach faith the same way they approach school? We coach them to learn. To study the Bible, attend Sunday school, memorize Scripture, and recite what they’ve learned. Is our faith intended to be a subject we study? Or do you believe faith is a relationship that can happen through experiences?
There can be an unintended consequence of approaching faith like an academic pursuit. One is that it can lead kids to believe that God gives out “grades” for good behavior and that they need to earn his love. This belief can follow them their entire life. Often this causes them to blame themselves when bad things happen and assume God is disappointed with them.
As a leader in children’s ministry, you know God’s love isn’t something your kids need to earn. He designed us to have a relationship with him. Not to be turned into a classroom subject. After all, isn’t a lifelong relationship with God what you want for the kids in your ministry?
The Good News
The good news is that teaching kids that faith is a relationship, instead of a subject to be studied, doesn’t have to be difficult. The overall process just might look different than what you’re used to. This mother explains how she has allowed her child the right to choose her religion. “We believe that faith is a relationship. Relationships are built organically. To get deeper into it, faith is also a love story and falling in love is not falling in love if there is no free will. This is how God and spirituality became a big part of who I am.” Here are more stories on how to give kids a lifetime faith.
For example, Group Publishing’s mission is “We create experiences that help people grow in relationship with Jesus and each other.” In fact, they have spent decades creating all sorts of deep Bible-learning experiences that align with the development of children and focus on building a relationship with God. Through this type of learning and experiencing, children get to know the heart of God and realize how much they’re loved. This realization comes hand-in-hand with learning Scripture and remembering the stories we want our children to know, but it goes so much deeper into the true meaning behind this knowledge.
It’s an exciting time as the kids in your ministry are gearing up to go back to school! It also means you’re about to welcome more kids into your Sunday school. Even though these events happen simultaneously, make sure you aren’t associating the academic part of “Back to School” with inviting kids “Back to Sunday School.” In your ministry, focus on getting to know God, and let school teachers focus on learning about an academic subject.
Want to see an example of a Sunday school experience that helps children get to know God? Then try a demo of Group’s DIG IN Sunday school and download free Sunday school lessons.