Every time we set the stage for children to give testimony and to hear the testimonies of others, the God-moment is impressed and chiseled on the hearts of the hearers and tellers, especially little people.
This blog post is the third in a six-part series of setting the stage for nurturing each child’s call into ministry. The first foundational pillar is to offer intentional opportunities to GROW. The second is to give kids a way to process out loud or on paper what they heard, saw, and experienced. As well as get their thoughts around how they will move forward.
Think Family Reunion. As a kid I loved to hear the stories of my parents and their siblings, especially the ones that incite laughter from even the grumpiest uncle. These are the stories of family history and the ones that get shared from generation to generation. The same dynamic works for students sharing their experiences with God. We want to offer kids opportunities to build a personal vocabulary to share the Good News of Jesus Christ by sharing their own personal stories.
Anytime I can get my kids to write, I’m thrilled. The first Sunday of the New Year students write about themselves: favorite book, favorite sport, favorite tv show, greatest thing they did last year, and set some goals for the next year. Saving them, I’ll mail them years later. Several years ago, I had a girls Sunday School class write a letter to themselves of what they will “purpose” in their hearts. The students were in 4th-6th grade. When most were seniors in high school, I mailed them after Christmas in their self-addressed envelopes. Oh. My. Goodness. Many had forgotten, but thankfully Facebook let me see how many of the girls were meeting for lunch to reflect and discuss their letters with one another.
One of my girls wrote a fantastic story of “What a 5th grader Will Do For A 6 Pound Bag of Gummies” after a SCREAM Retreat. I knew we had a writer on our hands. Inviting her to write of her God Adventures for the church newsletter gives her a chance to tell her God Story to her whole church and a chance to hone her writing skills. We took our CLUB345 students to a local homeless shelter a few weeks back. The students were invited to write about what they heard, saw, and felt while there.
- “On March 8, 2015 I went to Elizabeth Inn, which is a homeless shelter run by MUST Ministries. When I went inside, it was not what I expected. It made me feel sad because seeing and knowing what they live through everyday makes me realize how thankful I am to live in a real house with food and afford things.”
- “I saw that their beds were nice, but small.”
- “I saw people that need help and they got it by going to the Elizabeth Inn. It was sad, but they are being cared for. And I can help by giving toys and can foods and I can make cards.”
- “Kids get to go to a room to do their homework. That kind-of looked like fun.”
- “The Loaves & Fishes kitchen provided food for the homeless. There was also clothes provided for them. I’m going to donate a lot to them.”
Moms and Dads and even I can say a whole host of things, but when someone young comes to share testimonies of God’s faithfulness and of how God is working in their lives, impressions are made. Giving past students the chance to ‘call back’ also encourages previous students to continue to tell their God Story. I want my kids to hear testimonies of the fruitfulness of their holy habits…tithing…serving…mission trips…reading the bible all the way through…being respectful of their parents…choosing their future schools…answering God’s call on their own lives as nurses, police officers, tutors, scouts, etc.
What are other ways you offer for kids to tell their God stories?
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever.” Deuteronomy 29:29