When we teach children, we tend to simplify things. When we teach children about God, we want them to understand the truths we are communicating on their level in a way that is comforting, helpful, and life-giving for them. Today, I would like to propose that we use the “big words” of our faith when we teach our kids, preteens, and teenagers, whether that be in the home, in the church, or in a school setting. When it comes to terms like justification, sanctification, absolution, incarnation, Law, Gospel, atonement, resurrection, ascension, and so on, which ones have you taken the time to use and define with the young people in your life?
When I was growing up, my parents gave me an allowance so they could teach me how to manage money. They taught me how to use a bank account, save for big purchases, and tithe. It was not an extravagant amount of money. I remember when my allowance was a single dollar. On Saturday night, I would set out a dime by my church dress before going to bed. Then I’d put the dime in the offering plate at church the next morning. Now, parenting my own children, I feel at times that I am much less organized than my parents were. I have only recently started talking to my children about finances, and the fact that everything is digital and automated today makes it harder for me to model money management to them in ways they can visualize.
More than just a text to memorize, the Small Catechism is a faithful tool for forming children and families in the faith. Hear more about how Christa Petzold, uses the catechism in her household.
“Mommy, how do you get a baby in your tummy?” If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance you’ve been asked many sweet, innocent questions like this one that are hard to answer. The questions aren’t hard to answer because the answers are complicated, but they can feel hard to answer because of the importance of the topic. When explaining topics related to sex and marriage to our children, it is always a balancing act.
If you were to ask me what is most important to me, I would tell you things like my family, faith, and friends. You know. All the things that are supposed to be the most important. There are countless mugs, T-shirts, memes, and so on that jest about coffee being on that list. I always kind of roll my eyes at such things. And yet, if you were to observe my daily routines, you would see that I pretty consistently make an effort to ingest that caffeinated beverage nearly every day.
As you say goodbye to your students and watch them walk down the hall, hand in hand with their parents, do you ever wonder: Are they discussing the Bible with their kids? Are the lessons I am teaching being reinforced at home? Am I engaging my students’ parents enough?
Children’s ministries are often the first places little ones learn about the love Christ has for them. These programs give opportunities to share Gospel truths through games, crafts, snacks, and songs. To support children’s learning about Jesus, you can provide take-home sheets to help parents bring the Bible lessons into their homes. Here are some things to include on take-home sheets to help parents reinforce what their children learn from your ministry.
Children memorize many things word for word without realizing it. They know the words of hundreds of songs on the radio, many which are not worth memorizing. Children memorize jingles from commercials on television and radio, hours of exact dialogue from their favorite Disney movies, and the biographies and statistics of players from their favorite sports teams. How do they do it? Repetition! It works.