SojournKids

What does theology have to do with Hannah Montana?

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

This article originally appeared as "Kids Have Questions. Do You Have Answers" by Jared Kennedy and Sam Luce in the May/June 2011 edition of K! Magazine. I just had a conversation with Jane. She’s in our children’s ministry. She’s excited because she’s going on a date with her dad tonight. They’re going to snack on Sprite and bananas and watch the latest episode of “Hannah Montana Forever.” It sounds like a blast! Right after that conversation, I came back to my office to write this essay on teaching theology to kids using a catechism. As I start to write, I can’t help but feel a little bit out of touch. Are kids today really interested in learning “theology”? If they are, is a centuries old catechism the best tool for teaching them? Can’t I find something more relevant for the generation of Miley Cyrus? After all, wouldn’t I rather watch TV than study an ancient doctrinal statement?

Do kids need to learn theology? We probably all agree that kids need to know Jesus, that they need to be changed by His love, and that they need to be welcomed and accepted by a Christian community. But do they really need to learn doctrine? Can’t the dry and boring stuff wait until they’re a little older? Maybe you’d never voiced that out loud in a staff meeting, but at least some of us have thought it. But have you ever wondered why we think of doctrine as dry and boring? I would suggest that it’s because we’ve failed to really understand the big truths of the faith and how they relate to salvation through Jesus.

The fact is that our kids already have theology. They have lots of thoughts about God. They’re thinking about spiritual things all of the time, and they have questions. When our children’s ministry studied the story of the cross from Matthew 27:32-54 last Sunday, the teacher read about how God turned His back on Jesus, because He could not look at our sin. John, a third grader, piped up and asked, “Isn’t Jesus God? How could God turn His back on Himself? There is only one God, right?” What great questions! But how many teachers or parents would be prepared to answer them? Read More!