Posts Tagged "Questions"
Welcome to a continuing series of tips on working with large groups of children. I hope that you will find these tips useful and be able to implement them in your dealings with large groups of kids. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know. For a complete list of posts in this series, please see the index page. So, without further introduction, here is today’s installment.
Many times our lessons focus on what we want the kids to learn and don’t leave a lot of time for any questions they may have. One surefire solution to this problem is to have a time of Q&A each week. Don’t limit this time to just questions about the lesson.
Use your Q&A time to find out what is really on the kids’ minds. Invite them to ask you anything, but make sure you’re prepared to answer. Have them ask you questions about aspects of the lesson that they don’t really understand. In addition to clarifying the lesson for them, it’s a great way to get feedback on what is and isn’t working in your teaching style. If all the questions relate to a part of the lesson where you tried to use a game show to convey a point, then perhaps that game show wasn’t as effective and you should ditch it, or tweak it, for next time.
Don’t limit their questions to just the lesson at hand though. Invite any sort of question that a child may have about God, the Bible, relationships, school, or anything else that is on their minds. You’ll probably be surprised at what they come up with. In addition to giving kids a chance to ask you what’s on their mind, you’ll soon discover that this process keeps you on your toes as well. You’ll find that you have to be constantly learning in order to be in a position to answer their questions. After all, you’ll definitely want to be prepared the first time one of them asks you, “Is my Mommy going to hell?” You never do know what might come out of their mouths.Read More
I recently read a statistic about the overwhelming number of kids that grow up in church then leave as soon as they graduate high school. It got me thinking. Why are kids leaving the church in droves? Should we just blame it on the evil influences of culture? Are those of us who work in Children’s Ministry failing to give them enough information? Are we not praying for them enough? Is it just inevitable? What are we doing wrong? Most importantly, what if anything can we do to fix it?
One problem I have observed with many kids in our society is that they are taught WHAT to think and not HOW to think. We live in a time and a culture where many people just do not possess the mental skills to critically think through an issue and come to a conclusion on it. This failure to teach our kids how to think is a serious issue in the secular world where indecisiveness seems to be a virtue. But, it is critical in the spiritual realm where we must teach our kids that faith in Christ is not a blind faith but a considered faith. Faith is not a leap so much as it is a choice. In order to teach them these truths, it is critical that we teach them more than just who Jesus is or how to accept him – we must teach them how to question their faith and determine for themselves what they truly believe.
Both in Children’s Ministries and with our own kids as parents, we often focus on filling our kids’ minds up with information. We tell them the stories of the Bible, we encourage them to memorize scripture and we try to lay a foundation of facts. Sometimes we try to fill their hearts up with emotions. We teach them about the love of God and how to love other people. And, while all of this is necessary in the spiritual growth of our kids, I wonder sometimes whether we are missing the forest for the trees. Are we teaching our kids in a “just the facts” dragnet style? Are we emphasizing moral lessons to the determinant of the gospel? Are we teaching our kids what to believe without encouraging them to question their beliefs and figure out why they believe what they do? In my spiritual walk, I have found that two things solidify God’s truths in my mind and heart more than anything else. The first is teaching God’s truth to others. The second is critically working through challenges to my faith. Those challenges come both from other people and from me. A faith that is untested tends to wither and die. A faith that weathers the storm of critical analysis grows stronger and more enduring.
So, how do we encourage our kids to think about God and analyze their faith even at a young age? How do we teach them the critical skill of questioning their faith and working through the answers? How do we teach the essential skills of critical analysis? Here are twenty-two ideas for elementary age kids:
- Encourage questions. Every week in our Children’s Ministry we have some time for small group discussion or a craft for the kids to complete related to the lesson. Over the last year or so, there have been a number of times when we have asked the kids to draw or write something about their own lives related to the topic we discussed that weekend. And, every week, there are a number of kids who can’t think of anything to write or draw. By way of example, last weekend we learned about having faith in God when we are afraid. I had at least two kids explain to me that they have never been afraid of anything. By far the easiest week we ever had was when we asked kids to write down their questions about heaven. Rather than struggling to come up with questions, most of the kids were struggling to decide which question to ask. The point is clear – kids have plenty of questions! That is true in everyday life, and it is definitely true when it comes to matters of God and spiritual things. We should always encourage kids to voice their question. You never know when the answer may be the one the forever deepens the faith of a child.
When I started the “Questions Kids Ask” series a couple of weeks ago with the question, Who made God?, I didn’t realize how popular that post would become. Indeed, in less than two weeks, it has become the most popular post ever on my blog. It has also sparked some interesting discussion including one commenter who asked, “So what made him up and decide to create the planets and life?” I don’t know how old this person is, but the question seems like a logical follow-up question in the “Questions Kids Ask” series, so I thought I would deal with it in a separate post. In short, I suppose the question is:
Why Did God Make Us?
This question has been asked over and over throughout history. In fact, King David asked essentially the same question in Psalm 8:
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” [Psalms 8:3-4]
The fact of the matter is that the Bible does not give us explicit details about why God chose to make us as opposed to not making us. Genesis 1:1 clearly tells us that God created the world, and Genesis 1:27 tells us that he created man (and woman) in his own image. Beyond that, it does not talk much about the why of creation. Accordingly, this question rightly falls under the umbrella of the “secret things” discussed in Deuteronomy 29:29:
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” [Deuteronomy 29:29]
Fortunately, the Bible does give some insight even if it doesn’t come right out and directly answer the question. Let’s start with some of the mistaken theories that are often offered for why God created us. Let’s look at some of those notions and see why they are not true.Read More
One thing I have learned, both as a Dad and as a volunteer in Children’s Ministry, is that kids ask some of the deepest and most profound theological questions. In the answers, they are not looking for a demonstration of your profound knowledge but a clear, concise and satisfying response to their inquiry. The purpose of this series of blog posts titled “Questions Kids Ask” is to answer some of the questions I have received both from my own kids and from the kids I work with at church. Although I always try to answer every question in as scripturally grounded a manner as possible, I do not always have the appropriate verse ready at my fingertips. One of the things I hope to accomplish with these posts is to ensure that the answer I did give is scripturally sound by inserting verse references where appropriate.
I decided to start this series with a question kids, and most adults, usually ask at some point either in investigating Christianity or in their walk with God. I know it was one of the questions I had when I was investigating Christianity. That question is:
Who Made God?
This question was posed to me recently by a fifteen year old boy struggling with his faith. He lives in a Christian home and has been exposed to Christian thinking for years. This is the one thing that he is really still struggling with. The way he posed the question was, “if everything is created, who created God?”Read More