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