Well, that's a loaded word. But that was what I recently read about about a "Sunday school" environment. While we at CPC do not have a "Sunday school," our kid's ministry is set up, structurally, much like a traditional Sunday school. A study showed that the traditional Sunday school" approach to kids ministry is actually detrimental to a child's spiritual health. "They are actually more likely to have a secular worldview than those who didn't attend Sunday school."
Wait... WHAT??? But why?
Because the way children's classes are set up is to tell a Bible story, do a craft, and play a couple of games. And when a child is only introduced to the Word of God and the hope and truth we find in the Bible in these "Sunday school" settings, they grow up thinking these are just stories. There is not much connection from these stories to our present day lives.
Am I advocating for getting rid of children's ministries? OF COURSE NOT! But it HAS caused me to rethink them, to reevaluate and make sure we are being intentional in CPC Kids for that hour we have your sweet children. While it is great to tell the story of Noah's ark and color a picture of the rainbow, if we are not discussing how this truth applies to our lives, it becomes just that- a story. So we talked about how God keeps His promises. Always. And we discussed promises found in Scripture that we can cling to when life is tough.
But more than that, we have to be doing more at home. As parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and family friends, we have to continue the conversations at home about how these truths apply to our lives. When we reserve Jesus for Sunday mornings, I am afraid we are feeding into this "detrimental" outcome. We are inadvertently teaching our kids that your faith is something you compartmentalize, something that only applies to certain settings and situations.
Does that mean we do an in-depth Bible exegesis with our five year old every night? Of course not. Maybe we try reading a story from the Children's Bible at bedtime and discussing how it applies to us today. Maybe we listen to a worship song on the way to soccer practice and simply ask, "What do you think these words mean?" Maybe we model for them what it looks like to need grace by asking for their forgiveness the next time we lose our patience with them.
We can't forget that part- the grace. It is easy to rely on the Church and the CPC Kids teachers to be the primary source of your child's (or even your own) spiritual development. We all do that from time to time. So if you find yourself in that situation right now, don't beat yourself up. Just start with something small today. Speak truth to the kids in your life today. Do your next right thing today.
Ashlee, thank you for directing our CPC kids and adults to God’s truth! You are doing an amazing job!
My Grandmother frequently told me that Jesus loved me. I don't remember being told that ithat Jesus loved me in Sunday school although they probably said it.
I am grateful for my Grandmother sharing her love for Jesus in my early years.