Thursday, September 18, 2008

How to help a kid know God (looking for help here!)

Last night we started a new program at New Life called Kingdom Kids Club.
Our goal is to help kids fall in love with their Lord through His Word. I believe that if they can get to know God by reading about Him, hiding His Word in their hearts, and exploring the amazing stories in that great Book, it will help them to understand how much He loves them.

I was inspired by a lady I heard at a conference back in March who has "Lamplighters", a program where kids memorize scripture. Because of a need for my own kids to have some positive input on Wednesday nights (the eternal LifeGroup dilemma), I have felt like God was leading me to do something. As usual, I asked God to please find someone else to meet that need, and He wouldn't let me out of it. As I began to talk about it, it grew into a program for all our elementary kids and childcare for all our Wed. night LifeGroups. I've struggled with direction--is just memorizing scripture going to inspire our "unchurched" kids? How do I make them want to keep doing it, etc. I bought a curriculum to use (trying to simplify) and didn't like it at all. It's like Christian Boy Scouts--plenty of creative craft and woodworking ideas, but short on Biblical content. I emailed the lady from the conference, didn't hear back from her. I begged God to give me something, and finally found a Mission Arlington curriculum that is well done and sort of fits with my goal, although it still is going to require a great deal of tweaking.

Right before I walked out the door last night to head to the church building an email dinged on my computer. It was her--the lady from the conference. I just cried. Her email was so encouraging and helpful (although a little to late to help with last night's structure). She told me she had helped plant a church so she understood. She was affirming and gave me all her material for Lamplighters. She's the author of several books (unfortunately none of them about Lamplighters), travels the country speaking about children's ministry, and she took the time to send me all her files. I SO long for mentors, especially in children's ministry & church planting, and she showed up at just the right moment. She will never know how she blessed me.

Anyway, 30 kids showed up last night. 30 precious kids who got really excited about their "swords of the Spirit, which is the Word of God," who sang praises, acted out scripture, and seemed to love being drenched in scripture. So, here are my questions: What are some childhood memories of learning about God's Word--positive ones? How did you come to love God and believe He loves you? I'm looking for any help I can get.

5 comments:

Jana said...

I'm just so proud of you. I would love to hear more about this author and her particular curriculum--and to know how you have tweaked it to meet the needs of your kids.

I had great Bible class teachers as a child--especially my own parents, who were/are very creative in their methods of Bible story-telling and memory work.

But to be completely frank, although I did learn to love God as a child, I didn't learn to trust Him and feel His love for me until I was an adult, and I'm still working on this part of my "growing up" in Him (of course, you already know that about me.)

Because of that, the thing I would want your kids (my kids, etc.) to be taught is to trust God. I think they will love Him, just by natural instinct. But if you could teach them to trust Him--to believe that what He says is true, and that what He says about them is true--that would be priceless.

Trust your own instincts, friend. You are a natural teacher and have a beautiful way of explaining BIG ideas to little people. I would completely trust my children to you, on every level and in every way.

What a blessing you are to the littlest Odessa hearts. I am so thankful for your example of obedience. You are always teaching me.

I love you!
Jana

Trisha said...

You are such an encouragement to me, Jana! I love when you comment!

I have thought about your parents several times as I've thought about this new program. I wish I had them here to just do what they do so well!

I agree that trusting is more important than feeling love toward God. Yesterday a friend asked me who in the book "The Shack" I most related to (God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit). I read it just a few months after Connor's death and I was still really mad at God. I didn't really like Him much at all actually--but I trusted Him. I think in times like that, trust is more important than affection for God.

All that to say, I agree with you. Now, just how to get kids there...

The author is named Tina Houser. She just sent me her notes for her class and gave me some "how to" help--no formal curriculum. I have the documents if you ever need them!

Mike and Phyllis said...

Ok, ladies, we are going through the "Case for Kids" series in our small group, and I am convicted that we have to teach our children that it doesn't matter what others think, only whar pleases God. In all we do we have to ask ourselves, "would this make God pleased with me?" We have to be immersed in His word to know where to point our kids - very convicting!! Ok, I know you know this, but putting into our daily lives is a different thing....

Mama Brown said...

Amen to filling their hearts with His Word! The more the better! They also need to know, however, that God speaks specific, individual words to them. This might make some uncomfortable at first, but Jamey and Kim are always talking about how the primary thing they taught (and still teach) their kids was to "listen to Jesus and do what He says." At CF, in a group setting, that might look like kids listening to worship music while drawing or closing eyes, etc. about what they think God is saying to them. Obviously, this WITHOUT the written Word can become "flaky". I'm just saying that lots of memorized Scripture without ever taking time to listen to God can make kids feel like He is far away and impersonal. One good way to do this is to pray expectantly. This whole thing is "risky" (it makes me nervous when we do it even with our own kids), but SO worth it! We've seen McKenna hear things that we know are from Him and have blessed, not only her, but our whole family. And, I should add, that many times, the specific word comes through the written word - you know what I'm saying? My LONG point is that we need BOTH! And AMEN to what Jana said about BELIEVING God! I SO understand what she's saying and am still on that journey myself!
You are doing a wonderful job, Trisha, and I know that those kids will be RICHLY blessed because you are such a phenomenal teacher and because you are seeking God for them! (By the way, have you heard God saying "COMO" today?)

Trisha said...

Anda--
Thanks for your comment! I'd love to sit and visit with you more about teaching kids to listen to God. I don't even trust my own ability to do that yet!

Haven't heard Como today, but we're really trying to listen.