Over the last few decades I've noticed a disturbing trend as parents drop their children off for children's ministry. I used to hear moms and dads say, "Listen to your teacher. Be Kind. Learn lots." Today I more regularly hear, "Have fun." While I hope that children are having fun in children's ministry classes around the world, more than that I hope that they are being impacted by the truth of the gospel, the truth of the Bible, and the truth of Jesus. It's our job to make sure that children are hearing the truth and hopefully having some fun doing it. Our job is to put truth in the center and build on it with fun, friendships, etc.
When we build our children's ministries on fun, children walk away knowing that they had a good time but knowing little of Jesus. But when we build our children's ministry on truth, children are built up in the truth of the gospel and have a foundation for learning of Christ the rest of their lives. Here is a quick example to explain what I mean here and how truth and fun work together when the correct one is in the center. You could decide to have a water games day and spend weeks and weeks thinking of games, buying the supplies and then at the last minute think of a devotional about water or a Bible story about water. Or, you could be teaching through the book of John, get to the story of Jesus and the woman at the well, and Jesus as the living water and think, it would be fun to play some water games to reinforce this lesson and drive home the point. You could play a couple of games and teach the Bible lesson, keeping the focus on Christ. In both scenarios, kids heard a Bible story, had fun and got wet, but hopefully you'll all agree with me that the second scenario had the fun and games as an overflow of the teaching of the truth, instead of the Bible lesson tacked on to fun as an afterthought.
My prayer is that all of you are truth first children's ministry leaders!
With the name "Big Truth Bible Lessons for Kids," I hope it's clear to you that I am passionate about truth. In fact, my all time favorite Bible verse focusses on truth. In John 14:6 we read, "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" In this one verse we are reminded that there is truth, that Jesus is truth and therefore everything else He said is true, that He is the only way to the Father, and that there is life in Him. Out of these truths, we can extrapolate other Biblical truths such as, Jesus is the Son of God, all people need a way to the Father, other 'ways' do not get to the Father, and more.
If you look up truth, the definition says... that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality. This definition alone makes it clear that there are some things that are fact/ reality and some things that are not. While everyone would agree that there are things that are true and false, many question the notion of absolute truth. Absolute truth is something that is always valid, regardless of parameters or context.
In today's world, however we often hear people saying things like "You have your truth and I have mine.” This idea is often referred to as relative truth, which is a contradiction in terms. Either something is factual and absolutely true or it is not. Different people cannot have different truths. Relative truth is a rejection of absolute truth. And, the more our world is defined by a lack of truth, the greater the need is to teach truth to children.
Just today I saw data released based on a study of adults in America. This study was conducted by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research and is called the State of Theology. You can read the full report here.
These results were a slap in the face reminder of the importance of teaching truth. Here are some of the results that stood out to me:
- 60% of American adults believe that religious belief is about personal opinion and not objective truth.
- 67% of American adults believe that God accepts worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
- 40% of American adults believe that science disproves the Bible.
- 40% of American adults do not believe that trusting Jesus alone is the only way to be saved.
- 66% of American adults believe that everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.
- 42% of American adults believe that gender identity is a matter of choice.
What was even sadder to me was that the study also reveled the results of the same questions by those who profess to be evangelical Christians and in many of the questions there wasn't a huge difference between the results. For example, 37% of evangelicals surveyed said they agree that gender identity is a matter of choice. The influence of the world is everywhere and our children's ministries and churches need to fight for truth, or future survey results will be even more devastating to read.
So, what are you doing to ensure that children are learning the truth every time they walk through the doors of your children's ministry?
What guideline do you have in place to help your volunteer team keep their focus on truth?
How does your curriculum serve you as you focus on teaching truth to children?
Please let me know how I can assist you in choosing materials that will aid you in the proclamation of truth to the children in your church every week.