We're Transparent!

. Posted in DCE's Blog

We had a relay race several weeks ago in my Grades 3-4 Sunday school class. There were 2 masking tape lines on the floor. At the other end from the lines were 2 chairs each holding a shirt, yarn ankle cuffs, a band aid, can of food, and a water bottle. Each child was to go to the chair, put on the shirt, put on the cuffs, place a band aid on his/her face, pick up the can and water bottle, and walk back across the room. There they were to shake hands with me and then return to the other side, putting everything on the chair.

The relay race was fun, of course. When it was completed, I asked, “Why do you suppose we did this relay race?” 

Immediately, a child answered, “To get all the energy out of us so we’d settle down.” 

I chuckled and gave some more clues. The real reason was to introduce Matthew 25:35-36, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was …..’

 However, it made me think. Children, youth and adults are getting messages all the time. While I really didn’t use this activity to settle the children down before we got into the lesson, I paused to wonder about what it is I teach other than what is in my lesson plan for the day. Do I teach patience or impatience? Do I teach that all people are created by God and valuable or do I teach something else? Well, you get the idea. It’s a caution to us all, whether parent or teacher.

 What do you think?

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Passing Faith to Our Children: Home and Church

. Posted in DCE's Blog

It was Monday morning and I opened my email. There was a message from a mother to me and another Sunday school teacher explaining why her children had been absent the last couple of Sundays. It made my day. I had intended to write a little note to her child in my class, just checking in and now I knew what was going on with the family.

We all know what Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says. Not many of us write passages on our door frames or on our foreheads. So what concrete things can parents do?

  • Have devotions in a child's room at bedtime.
  • Attend Sunday school and worship.
  • Discuss what happened in Sunday school and the sermon on the way home from church.
  • Read your Bible at times and in places where your children can see you.
  • Share stories about your family's life in the church. Did their grandmother teach VBS or Sunday school? What did/do your sisters and brothers do?
  • Make prayer a real priority. Use prayers at meal times; pray for others; pray spontaneously. Just talk together to God.
  • Share a Bible story daily. You can tell the story yourself or read one from a children’s Bible.
  • Teach hymns to children.

Parents don't carry the responsibility alone to nurture their children. The church needs to help, but how. Obviously Sunday school is one way. What about family ministry, parenting classes, a place for borrowing parenting books, suggestions of children’s Bibles, good books for children, or ….?

Share your ideas:

  • How does your family pass on the faith to your children/teens?
  • What can the church do to help families with this important task?
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Children and Worship

. Posted in DCE's Blog

Well, I did it last week – laughed aloud at something a child said when William was  sharing with the  children in worship. Just as soon as I did it, I wanted to take it back, but too late! Yes, it was funny to us adults. But, the child had no idea why his response caused people to laugh.

A friend of mine recently wrote a book entitled The Children’s Sermon: Moments with God. In her book, Janet S. Helme listed 4 reasons for the children’s sermon:

  • We want to welcome children into our worship service.
  • It provides a place where children begin to learn and recognize some of the important stories/concepts in the Bible.
  • The children’s sermon encourages children that scripture can 'speak' to them today.
  • It provides an opportunity to develop the prayer life of children.

Okay, that’s why we have sharing with the children. Although we adults often learn from it, it’s not for us. It is not to entertain us. It is not to provide us with a laugh. It is not to make us feel good about what we are doing for the children. It is simply a time for the children that does the four things above. My laughter did not say “welcome.”

When my small group was studying The Jesus Priorities, one of the chapters was entitled Accept Children as Precious. As we discussed it, I asked, “If we are to welcome children and help them to trust, what might this say to us about what we do at the church with regard to the sharing with the children time in worship?”  How about it CPCG?

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