I came across a cute, inspirational video online the other day. The basic message was that we all have something worth sharing–that the ideas that seem so obvious to our own minds may be nothing short of amazing to someone else. I would like to consider this thought in view of sharing our faith with others, particularly the children we are reaching out to.
It is all too easy for a person to think that if they know something, everybody in this world should, too–especially everybody that lives anywhere near them. I recall as a child hearing my friend tell me that her younger sister must be stupid or something because she did not know how to make macaroni and cheese from a box.
I pointed out that, at some point, we had to learn how to do that, too; or to put it another way, at some point we did not know how to do it either. Sure, once you have a foundation in a few basic cooking skills, making macaroni and cheese from a box is not too difficult–but that foundation is necessary.
It is no different in our Christian experience. If you, like me, were born and raised in a more-or-less Christian environment, it is easy to feel like “everybody” knows who Jesus is, like praying is simply instinct, and like certain songs are known to Christian and non-Christian alike.
My own bias on reality hit me one day as I was talking with my new husband. Somehow the song that has become a children’s classic, “Jesus Loves Me“, came up. My husband asked about the song, as he had never heard it before. At first, I wasn’t sure he was serious, but shortly I realized he was; and it became my privilege to introduce him to a beautiful song that I had taken for granted.
In our Vacation Bible Schools and other children’s outreach programs, we will encounter children from all sorts of backgrounds. We should never be afraid to share our faith with them. Joyfully share the reasons for your love of Christ. Enthusiastically share songs of Him. Energetically teach His Word. Patiently, humbly respond to questions that arise. Make it clear that honest questions are welcome–we won’t know unless we ask!
In children’s eyes, it can seem like teachers (and parents) just know everything. My children have this sort of ongoing game to try to find something that Mom does not know. Of course, there is a whole lot more that I don’t know than there is that I do know, but they have decided (the little ones more certainly and the older ones more jokingly now) that Mom just knows everything.
Nevertheless, I encourage them to keep bringing me their new discoveries because I still joy in their joy of finding them. Similarly, I enjoy sharing my new discoveries with them. I also like to ask if they might have answers to things that I am puzzling over.
It would be good for us to challenge our Vacation Bible School students in this way, as well. Some of the children will be happy to share their views of things. Those from a Christian background may have an explanation of a subject that will be helpful to others; those who have less (or no) experience with Christianity may have questions that you never would have thought of.
Ask questions that make the children think. Also ask questions that you are pretty sure most of your students know the answer to–this helps break the shyness barrier. (For the little ones, any question that can be correctly answered with “Jesus” is usually a good one!)
“Pray without ceasing.
“In every thing give thanks…
“Quench not the Spirit.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-19)
You, fellow Christian, have something to share! May God bless your efforts.