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A woman volunteer kneeling down to a kids' level. She's listening to what he is saying.
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Listen In: 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.

So we decided to do just that — we picked kids’ brains about the very things many children’s ministers wonder about. 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, and I wear my cross necklace every day.” —Paige, 12

“I try to make wise choices about movies, music, and clothes. Plus, 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. But I don’t like hearing about stuff that’s completely useless, like learning the same Bible story over and over. Like, 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. But 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, and I love the singing because it’s modern Christian music that I know. Plus, I love that it’s more laid back than strict. It makes me 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.” —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. And 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, taekwondo, 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?

5. Do you have friends who have other faiths? How do you feel about friends who don’t believe in Jesus?

“Once I met a girl who was Hindu. We played together. Even though she didn’t believe in God like I did, she was still nice. People who don’t believe in Jesus can still be nice. But Jesus is the only true God and even though she was nice, it still seemed a little different than being with my friends who know Jesus.” —Meredith, 9

“I think it’s sad that some people don’t believe in God even though he’s the one who created us. But that doesn’t mean that they’re bad or mean. They can still be nice and they can still be your friends.” —Rachel, 10

“I have some friends who don’t go to church. I can see the difference between the friends who do go to church and who don’t.” —Paige, 12

“Just because people are of a different religion or even denomination doesn’t mean they can’t be friends. I don’t want to get into a huge bad argument over whose faiths are real or right, either. Of course I feel bad for those who don’t know Jesus because he’s so wonderful. So I pray for them.” —Emily, 12

“My best friend doesn’t believe in Jesus. It really bugs me that I can’t tell her about God because her parents won’t let me.” —Daisy, 10

The Question for You: How do you help kids think critically about their faith?

6. Explain whether you’ve ever shared your faith with a friend.

“I haven’t really. I’m afraid they’ll laugh at me. I only talk about God to my friends who are Christians.” —Derek, 11

“Once I invited a friend to come to church with me. She didn’t come, but that made me want to do more. Another time, I got into a conversation with a friend who only knew a little about Jesus and God. I think I would do it again because it’s exciting to try to make a difference in their lives. You never know what’ll happen.” —Meredith, 9

“I’ve taken my friends to vacation Bible school. It was lots of fun. They really enjoyed it. I’d definitely do it again. Nothing really stops me, except maybe talking about it in school because I don’t know who does and doesn’t believe in God. And then maybe they’ll get mad or something.” —Rachel, 10

“I’ve shared my faith with a bunch of friends. Although it can be scary because you don’t want to get teased or hurt, I felt that I shouldn’t hide the most important thing in my world from a friend. I would definitely share my faith again.” —Emily, 12

“Yes, I’ve shared my faith with a friend. I was very worried that I would offend her, or that her mom would get mad at my mom for letting me. What I was worried about didn’t happen.” —Graham, 11

The Question for You: How can you equip kids to be a Jesus magnet to their friends?

7. What do you think is the biggest problem in our world today, and how can God make a difference?

“The biggest problem is war. I don’t know if God could do anything about this without hurting anyone. If one side wins the other loses. Is there a good side and a bad side? I don’t know what would fix this.” —Derek, 11

“One of the problems is that America used to be a mostly Christian country, but now other countries like in South America have more Christians than America. I think God can help by finding more people to be missionaries in America.” —Meredith, 9

“The biggest problem in our world today is global warming…I think that God can put the thought into our mind that if we want to live and stay healthy and have this wonderful world, then it’s up to us and we have to use less energy.” —Rachel, 10

“People need to be nicer to each other. God can help us because we can try to be like him. We can also pray for help.” —Hunter, 9

“The biggest problem in our world is bad people. If everyone prayed about it, it would make a difference.” —Paige, 12

“I think world peace is our biggest problem today. I think that God could help us come to love one another more, but the problem will never go away because no one is perfect.” —Graham, 11

The Question for You: How does your ministry address problems weighing on kids’ minds?

8. If you had to create an advertisement for being a Christian, what would you put in the ad?

“Christianity is cool! If you’re a Christian, God will help you with your everyday needs.” —Meredith, 9

“God will never stop loving you.” —Deanna, 12

“I’d put a big cross, and all of the things that God is inside the cross. Things like Almighty, Proud, Big, Loving, Caring—all sorts of things.” —Paige, 12

“Savior-ade! Is he in you? There’s someone wonderful out there who loves you! When are you gonna love him back?” —Emily, 12

“I would put in how to become a Christian, Scripture, and interesting facts about the Bible and God to get others interested in Christ.” —Graham, 11

“God is here for everyone. Let him in.”  —Hunter, 9

The Question for You: How are your kids a walking advertisement for God?

Want more articles for children’s ministry leaders? Check these out.

2 thoughts on “Listen In: The Secret Life of Kids

  1. I subscribed to your magazine with the choice to Bill me. It does not seem to have gone through.

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Listen In: The Secret Life of Kids

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