I find it interesting to teach children. They come up with some very creative questions about any subject matter. They also get off track easily and chase a “squirrel” at times. If you’re not careful, you will find yourself going down the rabbit hole right along with them.
One thing I have noted of late, is how children are being taught at church. They come in, run wild, make a mess writing on chalkboards, wipe chalk on their hands, clothes, and furniture, dump all the toys out of the bins, then refuse to pick them up, and make a mess with any food you serve, because they are turning sideways in their seats and bumping into everything. They constantly have to go to the bathroom, in the middle of any lesson being taught, then veer off on another path, because they really didn’t have to go to the bathroom in the first place. (It’s called lying!) They take their shoes and socks off, then when it is time to go home demand you put them back on for them.
Any adult teaching children might be experiencing abuse, if this behavior is not “nipped in the bud” as Barney Fife would say. And the worse of it is, the children are not learning the lessons you are teaching—there are too many interruptions for them to learn.
Many adults (especially young parents) feel that letting children do as they please is the way to show them love, when exactly the opposite is true. Children actually feel more secure with boundaries. Setting boundaries and teaching right behavior at church, or anywhere, will help them grow up to be respectful, kind, self-controlled adults.
Children also tend to think adults are pretty stupid if they allow them to get away with wrong behavior. They will actually respect adults who make them obey the rules.
There are three lessons I think should be taught to children, and to ourselves, when it comes to our relationship with God and church.
The first lesson is:
- WE ARE NOT GOD!
Ezekiel 28 shows what happens when we think we are God.
“Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD, Because thine heart is lifted up and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God….Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.” Ezekiel 28: 2, 6-9
The second lesson is:
- WE NEED TO MAKE SURE GOD IS ON THE THRONE IN OUR HEARTS, AND NOT OURSELVES. WE DO NOT RULE HIS TEMPLE.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
The third lesson is:
- WE CAN’T JUST DO ANY OLD THING WE DECIDE TO DO.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
So—The purpose in teaching children is to direct them to who God is (and that they are not God), to show respect to others, to honor Him with their bodies, and to do God’s will in every circumstance. We are to help them grow up into God-fearing adults. It’s hard work! Many times we are slack when it comes to training children, because it’s easier to just let them run wild, put their socks and shoes back on, and send them home for the parents to deal with. But then, we’re not really teachers, because we have taught them nothing at all.
I am working on a plan in my mind now, to prepare myself for the next time I have to work in children’s ministry. My plan is to fill my head with so much scripture that I can quote and apply a scripture for every issue that comes up with the children.
And I’ll start with this one, because it is one of my favorites— we should all have… “a meek (gentle) and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:4b
Do you have any suggestions that you have found helpful when teaching children—that keep them calm and participating in learning a lesson? If so, comment below.