God's Fame

Making God Famous for Kids! - Pt. 2

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

In my previous post, I wrote about the central role God’s fame must play in the formation of our children.  In this post I want to show you how we seek to apply this truth both in our children’s ministry and in our homes.

In our children’s ministry:

Lesson Summaries: We train our teachers to summarize each Bible lesson in three or four sentences. We keep God at the center of these lessons by making him the main character in these story summaries (e.g., Goliath hated God’s people.  God chose David to fight Goliath.  David trusted God.  God saved His people by killing Goliath.). Our preschool teachers are encouraged to review these sentences at every point in their class schedule—welcome, story, snack, craft, etc.

Singing to God: We sing to God every week, and we choose music that praises God for his attributes—his goodness and greatness. Kids need to praise the mighty Creator for all of His dazzling greatness!

Excellence in Everything: We strive for excellence in everything we do — to the glory of God.  We want our teaching, singing, and administration to be done with excellence because it is a reflection of God’s excellence.This means listening to one another and providing regular, godly critique. We communicate a lot not just in what we teach, but in how we teach, lead and organize.

In our homes:

God Moments: Teaching moments happen all the time. They can happen while driving down the road, walking through the zoo, or sitting around the kitchen table. As parents, it is a part of our nature to capitalize on opportunities to tell our children what they should do or how they should grow in character. But we often overlook opportunities to teach kids about God’s fame. “God Moments” are those opportunities in the course of everyday life that we can redeem by turning our kids’ attention toward the beauty of God and his work in our world and lives. These “God moments” aren’t something to be scheduled, but instead must be discovered while going through life with your children. Therefore, we must always be on the lookout for these moments and be willing to take time and redeem them when they arise.

Family Worship: Scripture is clear that parents should be their children’s primary source for biblical teaching (Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78). We encourage family worship (or family devotions) as a practical means for fulfilling this God-given role. By family worship, I don’t mean a rote one-hour worship service in your living room every night. I just mean setting designated weekly time for the family to gather to pray and study the Bible together. In our family, that means being intentional about having excellent children’s music in our minivan, reading a Bible story around the dinner table once each week, and praying blessings over our kids before they go to bed at night. I’m encouraging weekly family worship, because most families have a regular weekly routine based around their work and school schedules. So, designating a weekly time and putting it in your weekly calendar is the easiest way to make teaching your kids about God regular and consistent.

Making God Famous for Kids!

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

One of my responsibilities is to oversee our weekly children’s ministry volunteers as they serve during our Sunday classes. One week, I was observing a classroom that was learning about the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea. After the lesson I sat down with the kids over a bag of goldfish and asked, “Who was your story about today?” One child answered immediately, “We learned about God!” I dismissed that as a ‘typical Sunday School answer,’ so I followed up, “Yes, but didn’t you also learn about Moses? What did Moses do?” The child answered back, “Moses didn’t do much. He just prayed and lifted up his stick! But God dried up the Sea so the people could cross. Then, he drowned all of the Egyptians! God was awesome!”

That kid got the point of that week’s lesson better than I did.

This forced me to ask myself a question: Where is God in the way that we typically teach our kids?

In children’s ministry, you’ll find that Bible lessons are typically designed to teach children what to do—“Be joyful!  Be courageous!”  But this is not the main point of the Bible story!  The Bible was written to show us God—both who He is and what He does.

Take, for example, the story of David and Goliath. The story is commonly taught in such a way that David’s courage and bravery stand as the center of our teaching. Children will remember all of the little details about David (he was too little for Saul’s armor, the five smooth stones and sling, David cutting off Goliath’s head, etc.), and they will remember to be brave!  But what will they remember about God?

We shouldn’t overlook or forget about David, but focusing on David shouldn’t keep us from spreading God’s fame to the next generation. Just listen to David:

The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine… David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty… This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head… and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s and he will give all of you into our hands.

1 Samuel 17:37, 45-47

What does David teach us?  God rescues his chosen servant from wild animals and enemies!  David’s weapons may be weak, but God is strong.  God saves.  The battle belongs to Him.  This story is not so much about David.  It is about God’s fame—who God is and what God has done!

Children weren’t created to know David (although I hope they do).  They were created to know God and love Him.  If we want to faithfully teach our children the Bible, we must begin with the main character—the God who made them, loves them, and rescues them.

HT: Sojourn Network