I was nine when Pearl Harbor was attacked, so I have a lot of memories from World War II. Everyday life was very different back then. Someone had just invented margarine. It came in a plastic bag looking like lard and not tasting much better. A man came to our back door each morning with a fifteen inch square cube of frozen water for the top of our ice box. Gas for our cars was rationed and cheap. Everyone planted a Victory Garden. Meat was expensive so our traditional Sunday dinner usually depended on meat loaf. No matter how we might have experimented with different seasonings, the main, irreplaceable item was a couple pounds of hamburger to which we added eggs, carbs and spices. None of this seemed like sacrifice because our nation had one focus – to win the war.
All this to ask, does our ministry to children, especially in North America, have core essentials? …a single focus? What are the absolutely can’t-get-along-without ingredients, the core to which we add activities and materials that vary from church to church and from leader to leader? And what is the “meat” in the “meatloaf” that we serve up week by week? Or day by day if we’re a Christian parent?
The FUNdamental ingredients are often –you guessed it. Fast-paced presentations to help kids Understand Who Jesus is and how He meets their Needs.
We pay attention to three things, primarily:
How we teach, what we teach, results we hope to accomplish. Most everyone agrees children respond well to a lively, interactive, grab-their-attention approach. Life for most North American kids comes in very short info-bytes and boredom is the monster in the closet. Of course, we want our children to understand who Jesus is and to know Him well enough to trust Him for their eternal destinies. And, hopefully, they will cope with their ordinary, yet absolutely urgent challenges through spiritual resources we provide.
Is anything missing here?
Is this a fair description of your ministry with children? Whether you answer yes, no, or partially, feel free to post a comment. You’ll read our answers to the question in our next entries.
Nancy Tichy, KidZ At Heart International Author