A former Lutheran pastor sharing thoughts on faith and life. Please join the conversation! I love your comments!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Teaching Children Faith: lend me your wisdom

I am supply preaching this week and am trying to come up with something for the Children's Time.  Sometimes this is more difficult than writing the sermon.  It seems like most material written for children boils down to either "Jesus loves you" or "Be good!".  Is that all our faith amounts to?  If not how can we communicate more depth to our children?

Perhaps "Jesus loves you" and "Be good" are the main elements of our faith, in a way.  But, when hard times come these ideas may seem simplistic and unhelpful.  Just a little less than a year ago, a wonderful women in our community died of cancer leaving three young sons without their mother.  The traumas and terrors of life are not kept away from our children.  It seems, then, that we should be teaching them a faith that has something to say to such awful realities.  How can we communicate such things to young minds unaccustomed to abstract thinking?  I don't expect to be able to explain the mysteries of the universe  (as if I knew such things myself) but is there a seed of deep faith that can be planted in young minds and hearts in preparation for whatever they face in the future?

I am probably over thinking all this.  I should just give them a piece of candy and send them on their way.

Do any of you remember things you learned about faith when you were a child?  Did some lesson stick with you over all these years?  Is there something you have tried with your own children?  Please lend me your wisdom and comment here or on facebook.

Right now I am leaning toward letting them shout alleluia's.  It's simple, speaks to the joy of Easter, and it's fun.  There are worse things I could do then allowing children to think church can be fun.  Besides, then I get to shout too.  Aside from sporting events, we don't often get chances, as adults, to shout in joy rather than anger.

There's a challenge for you:  Stop what you are doing right now and shout just for the joy of it.  I hope most of you are at work right now.  It is fun to imagine the faces of your coworkers.  Not much fun for me here.  I just took my own challenge and the only other person in the house went right on watching T.V. without so much as a blink.  Sigh.


Laurie said...

I tried to remember my childhood Sunday school experiences. First I remember thinking it unfair that the little kids got cookies, but the big kids didn't. Then I remembered that Brad Massey got a Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders poster for memorizing his bible verses. I don't remember what I got. I don't think I'm going to be much help with your question.

On the other hand, I did want to point out that everyone at our church is encouraged to yell, jump, dance, clap and otherwise worship with exuberance and joy. After all, Christ defeated death. As the pastor said today, "we are on the winning team".

Hope the kids enjoyed yelling. Maybe next time you can convince the adults to yell with them.

Sheri Ellwood said...

That is a really interesting choice as a reward for bible reading! That is hilarious.
The adults joined in yelling too. Usually you have to do it a couple of times to get any good yells but they all were impressively loud on the very first try. It is a fun congregation.