Last Sunday, I had the privilege of being with our 4th and 5th grade small groups during the first FaithWorks! hour. Our leaders were all off doing important things: one was with the other preteens at Spring Hill, one was out east with the Red Cross, and one was having an emergency appendectomy. Not that I like that there was a catastrophic storm or that someone was very ill, but I do enjoy when I get a chance to hang with the kids. I like getting to know them better.
Here’s what our small group conversation was like: we talked about the one thing that they are most thankful for that God created; I heard anything from life and family and clean water to giraffes. We talked about the one thing that is unique or special about you that God created in you; I learned that one is great at math, one has beautiful eyes, and one has very flexible arms and legs! We pondered whether or not we should be thankful to God for these things which led to, “If you are truly thankful, then our actions should show that.”
This was all pointing toward, “How do I show respect to God?”
I learned a few things last Sunday morning. I learned that our children can say what “respect” means, but are still learning how to live that out loud. I learned that there are a few things that FaithWorks! needs to do better in order to make Sunday mornings a great opportunity to experience God and learn how to live in faith every day. But in order for us to be successful in that, we need your help.
Here are three things you can do to help your child get the most out of a FaithWorks! experience:
1) Talk with them about how music is one of many ways to talk to God. Singing along with the songs on Sundays is one way to communicate with God (without having to come up with the words on their own). And if they don’t like to sing, let them know that it’s okay! They can read along with the lyrics and still reach out to Him. We sing two or three songs every Sunday that say things like, “We love you, Lord – You are amazing!”, “You are my strength and my shield” and with You “I’ll never be shaken!”, “take me as You find me”, “God made me and He loves me!” and “You lead us by still waters into mercy and nothing can keep us apart.” These are powerful words to say to or ask of God! Even from the mouths and hearts of children. They aren’t too young to know that singing, following the words, or even just quietly listening shows respect to our God.
2) Talk to them about the power of praying with their leaders and their friends. Every Sunday, as a large group, we say “Good morning, God!” and ask Him to be a part of our morning. We ask Him to help us feel His his presence in our day-to-day lives, and especially in whatever we share on our prayer cards. We ask Him to go with us into our week. They pray with their small groups too. Your child should know they don’t have to be the one saying the words out loud. That may be uncomfortable for them right now. And that’s okay! We can show respect for our God when we let someone else do the speaking. Remind them that Jesus promises in Matthew 18:20 that He will be present when two or more come together to pray! That’s pretty cool.
3) Let your first question be something like this: “What did you learn about God today?” or “What did you learn from the Bible today?” Many times it’s easy to ask, “Did you have fun today?!” FaithWorks! tries to make things exciting and energetic and kid-friendly, but our goal is not to have fun. We make Sunday’s have some fun stuff in it so the children will want to engage in the activities and discussions. Our goal really is to allow them to worship, talk to God, learn something awesome about God, see where God’s working in our lives, and invite Him to be our Forever Friend. When you ask, “What did you learn about God today?” you are letting them know that you respect their time with God and see it as a priority.
FaithWorks! is committed to walking with you as you nurture your child’s journey to know Jesus Christ as God’s Son, and their own Savior. I hope these are helpful to you. I think these three things can help the children have a great Sunday morning experience with God. And that’s a win for all of us!