The word comes into play in all kinds of conversations, from race to gender to sports to politics and everything in between. And children aren't exempt from these conversations or ideas. It's everywhere; in books, TV shows, games, clothing, music and more. And it would seem that the world's message is only going to get louder. Sadly there is no escape from the world's focus on identity and the siren call of "just be you." It is no longer possible to pretend that it's going away. As Christians we need to act now and the message our children hear from us needs to be louder than the message they are hearing from the world.
So what do we do?
How do we respond to the world’s message?
Here are a couple of options:
Give In - We can tell ourselves that we can't change the world, and accept what's happening; without calling it sin and without putting up a fight. This option will teach our children that there isn't a real right and wrong, that there is no truth and lies, and will never teach children to stand boldly for Christ. In John 17:14-18, while Jesus is praying for the disciples, He says that His followers are not of the world, and goes on to talk about how the disciples are sent into the world. As Christian parents and teachers, we need to make sure that our children see that we are not of the world. It should be clear and obvious to them.
And, 1 John 2:15-17 reminds us, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (ESV)
Run and Hide - We can move to a smaller town, unplug from all outside influences and pretend that it isn't happening. This may protect our children for a little while, but at some point they will see the lies that the world is promoting. Instead of hiding from the world, we need to be equipping children with the truth. Plus by hiding from the world we are doing the opposite of what Jesus commanded the disciples in Matthew 28. How are we proclaiming Christ if we’re not around those who need to hear?
- Teach, Prepare and Proclaim Truth - This is why we’re here in Children’s ministry. The world is telling children to be whatever and whomever they want, with no boundaries or guidelines. So, as the Church, we need to be speaking louder and more clearly into the lives of children so they know who they are, who they are created to be, and how God defines their identities. Romans 12:2a reminds us, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind...." (ESV) We must stand out as different than the world.
There really is no choice. We must teach children what it means to be made in the image of God!
In light of all that we see going on in the world, I'm pleased to announce...a 4-week series focussing on various aspects of being made in the Image of God.
The goals of this series are:
- for children to see the inherent value in all people.
- for children to know what it means to be an image bearer of God.
- for children to understand that God never makes mistakes and it is good that God made us male and female.
- for children to be reminded that everything in the world was destroyed by the fall.
- for children to see the hope of the gospel.
- for children to learn that our true identity is found in Christ and not in trying to figure out who we are.
Along with 4 full weeks of lessons designed help you start conversations on identity, gender, sin and being made in the image of God, this series has helpful parents connection (take home) pages to continue the conversations at home, and a page of talking points. These talking points are designed to keep conversations going and give parents big ideas about God and the way that God created people as well as Scripture and truths to regularly remind kids of.
While I would love for everyone to teach this full series in their churches, I want more that anything for kids in churches and Christian homes to be having these conversations. So, below you'll find these talking points and you can also download them here.
Everything God does is Right and Good.
- Read – 2 Samuel 22:31, Deuteronomy 32:4, 1 Timothy 4:4, Psalm 139:13-14
- God doesn't make mistakes.
- Everyone is perfectly made by God.
- God made BOYS and GIRLS to Reflect Him.
- Read - Genesis 1:26- 28, Psalm 139:13-14
- Explain that God created men and women (boys & girls) to reflect His image to the world; to show people what God is like.
- Use a mirror to discuss image/ reflection.
- BOYS and GIRLS are different and God designed them that way.
- Read – Genesis 2:4-25
- God created men and women differently and to be different from each another.
- Have kids share the differences they have noticed.
- God created men and women to need each other.
- Read - Genesis 2:18, Genesis 1:26-28
- God knew that Adam would be lonely by himself, so He created Eve.
- God made two genders to complement each other and to fulfill His mandate to fill the earth. Men and women are needed for families.
- God has a plan for boys and girls.
- Read – Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:1-8
- God has a good plan in creating us to be boys or girls. When God created people, He was very careful to make us male and female. God has a special plan for men and women, boys and girls.
Both with these talking points and with the full curriculum, my hope is that children are being built up in the truth of the gospel and clearly see God's design for each of them!