Our personal experience of faith grows and changes as we grow older; an adult’s experience of faith will look very different to a child’s. We can learn how we can more effectively help children to take hold of faith in an exciting and age-appropriate way.
We need to change the conversation. We cannot apply the same conversations we apply to ourselves, or adults that we do to children. There were lots of things that Jesus taught and asked of his followers but the motivation for every single one stemmed back to a basic trust in Jesus. So what do we do with everything that he taught…
We are all aware to an extent that children grow and develop in phases. This is why some of us will much prefer hanging out with 4-year-olds and some of us feel way more relaxed in a group of year 6’s. The different phases require different things from us. To give a brief summary of how Reggie and Kristen identify these phases they break it down year by year to understand the way they think and what question a child is asking at various ages. Then understanding that they look at our primary actions should be as their positive influence.
Without going over all of these things I will simply skip to their general development structure and the actions that children are looking for based on their development:
Our aim and actions will differ because the needs change as they grow up. When it comes to how and when we teach children.
For ministry leaders, we must make sure our programs, training and curriculum are geared to help our volunteers win with maximum effect. For volunteers and parents, we would do well to learn and understand the phase our child is in and capitalise on it while it is today rather than waiting for them to ‘grow out of it’
In order to grow up and know God at every phase, kids need adults to help them rediscover how to relate to God in every phase. – just a phase
Much like a diamond that has many sides. It’s the same diamond but we look at different sides of it as we grow through different stages in life. Seeing the diamond from different sides is how you appreciate the beauty of a diamond.
Breaking the Cycle (Making ministry more intentional)
‘Your job is not to redefine God at every phase, but your job is to help kids rediscover God in a new way at each phase.’ – just a phase
Notes for the breakout ‘Journeying Through the Steps of Faith for a Child’ lead by Joshua Verity at Elements Conference 2018