Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Many, many thanks to Matt Glover for giving me permission to use this cartoon to close the recent series of posts (rants!) on the need for children to experience the things of God rather than just be told them.

I'm trying to make sure my own children and those under my pastoral care have these experiences (which in itself is easy to do, children love to experience the presence of God; they generally find it easy) but the challenge for me post-theology degree is to set these experiences in solid biblical foundations, using my understanding of doctrine and allowing kids to apply truth to a wide variety of contexts. We adults sometimes have narrow and subjective opinions on children's experiences.

I have been facing some situations recently that highlight again and again that there are scores of adults around (attending churches near you and me!) who can hardly believe that God would ever communicate with them personally, much less do anything kind for them.

I have appended a quote from Ivy Beckwith below and then I will be quiet!

“Generation Y is experience-oriented. These kids find meaning and value in immediacy and in living in the moment. Their mantra for life and learning is “I want to try it”. Only then will they decide if they like the experience or not. They’ve grown up with theme parks stimulating every imaginable experience and event and with virtual reality computer games that transport them into fantasies and scenarios they could never access in real life.

They want to use all their senses as they learn, and they want their learning environments to provide experiences, not just facts and formulas. They want to DO in order to learn. And when it comes to experiencing a spiritual life – and they are spiritual people – they want to experience God, not just learn about God. They don’t just want to be entertained".

Ivy Beckwith (2004)
Postmodern Children’s Ministry

1 comment:

  1. This will always remind me of when I was asked to help with an all-age service in Renfrewshire at the end of a week of Holiday Club. That particular Jesus story set the theme, and we had a quiz after telling the story with a drama sketch from the perspective of the boy who had the bread and fish.

    I can't remember what I asked (I'm pretty sure that I was encouraging them to realise about the miracle Jesus did etc!) but the only little hand that went up came with a voice that said

    "I think the boy was annoyed that Jesus stole his picnic!!"

    Oh, and did I mention this was being FILMED to show the organisation's mission opportunities.

    Plus frowning elderly members of the congregation clearly wondering what blasphemous teaching I'd been passing on to the children.

    I'm just going to quietly slip off back to secondary schools!!


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