For a while now the churches I’ve worked with have been working with parents in helping them be the ‘primary spiritual influence on their children’. We’ve got study upon study that tells us that statistically, parents (or primary care-givers) are the number 1 influence on a child’s faith, and to that end we’ve worked hard to provide parents with resources and support to help teach their kids about God and His Big Story.
But I’m wondering how many other parents are feeling like a ‘deer in the headlights’ about teaching their kids the Bible right now. All of a sudden we’re at home, a lot, potentially also ‘home-schooling’, as well as working from home, and still trying to maintain a sense of stability for everyone. Added to this situation is the fact that kids-church or ‘kidzone’ or kids club or Sunday School isn’t happening as usual anymore. It’s kind of like the rug has been ripped out from underneath us. Of course there’s always been a genuine desire to teach our kids the truths of God’s Word – but perhaps up until now, we’ve relied heavily on the experts to lead the way: our kids ministry team. They’re just so good at it!
They’re fun, full of energy, great at crafts, patient, funny and engaging. It’s their gift! Maybe it’s actually a little intimidating how great they are. While of course we want to help our kids know, love and follow Jesus at home as much as during their kids ministry times, it’s also kind of new, and tricky. They ask some really big questions! And there are a lot of tough, adult-themed concepts in the stories of the Bible. Still, we’re all aware of how much extra time we have together right now, and we’re determined to come out of this season stronger. So how can we as parents help our kids know God’s love and His truths for them in this season? And better yet, how can we use this season to form new habits and ways of handing on our faith in our home that we’ll hold on to, even after this season has passed? Well, as Sally Lloyd-Jones so beautifully puts it,
“What I love is just to read a story together, and then, wonder out loud.”
Sally Lloyd-Jones is the author of the (very famous) Jesus Storybook Bible, as well as other Christian children’s books & devotionals. I was listening to a podcast interview with her on She Reads Truth (which I highly recommend you listen to during your daily walk/run/shower/late-night-snack-attack.)
On the podcast, they openly discuss how we as grown-ups often get ‘tripped up on accuracy’ while explaining big things to our kids – and while accuracy is important, it can also be great to give ourselves permission to simply imagine and wonder together with our kids. I loved it. Sally Lloyd-Jones talks about us as parents adopting the posture of a child: dropping the expectations on ourselves and instead expecting to learn when we come to scripture with our children. She says,”when you’re reaching children with complex truths, literally get on the ground with them. Be on the same level as them. And don’t necessarily think that you’re the big teacher and that they’re going to learn, because you might well find that it’s the other way around.” What a breath of fresh air!
One of my favourite pastors and good friends, Matt Moran, has a really beautiful way of explaining our attempts to please God. He says when we picture our God as our loving Heavenly Father, it makes all our offerings, all our attempts to please him, seem like ‘finger paintings on His fridge.’ Our God is delighted with our attempts to worship Him, as we are pleased with our kids’ best attempts to do something beautiful. I like to keep this in my mind now as I think about my attitude and posture when I come to teaching kids. That before anything else – before I’m a teacher, or a steward of my gifts, or a parent, I am a beloved child of our Heavenly Father- and my job is simply to lead other children to the feet of Jesus, where we can all stand in awe and wonder of Him together.
For a whole lot more encouragement, wisdom and practical tips on teaching your kids the truths of God’s Word – listen to the She Reads Truth podcast with Sally Lloyd Jones here.