Do you remember him?
Caucasian, usually with brown hair and blue eyes, and that legendary white robe and blue sash.
Felt-board Bible stories were the best. So many kids from my era learned about the Bible by devoted Sunday School teachers or Vacation Bible School volunteers who sacrificed time, energy, and a little bit of sanity in the hopes that the Spirit of God would use felt board Jesus to transform the hearts of kiddos. Now, if you add Sunny-D and goldfish... if you were lucky, there were some ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, and raisins) or a red, white, and blue rocket Popsicle. Ah, yes - our childhood.
Let me pose a question - what if you never graduated from Sunny-D and goldfish? In fact, what if you just kept eating finger foods and sugar water that was sprinkled with some juice and some added vitamins? What if those types of food were your only sustenance? Lucky Charms, Gushers, Lunchables, and Rice Krispy Treats for days on end. You progress from VBS age to Middle School, but you end up keeping that VBS diet. You as an adult know what would happen -as time would go by, your body would start to show the effects of a lack of nutrition. Growth would be stunted. Maturity would be stalled.
What if we only gave kids Sunny-D because we thought that was all that they'd eat?
What if we only give kids felt-board Jesus and Bible stories for the same reason?
Sadly, though it isn't a steady diet of Sunny-D most kids don't graduate from the VBS diet Their diet of the Word of God doesn't progress or mature as they age from elementary to middle school. Though the music may get louder and the spiritual content more programmed and produced, many kids are left with less than a diet of Sunny-D felt board Jesus as they promote from grade to grade.
In keeping with our What if there was a different story theme from my last post, what if there was a little more?
What if there was a different story out there?
No, I'm not talking about upping the snack game to Pamplemousse La Croix and Kale chips, an upgrade of snacks. What if we treated kids like they were created in the image of God, capable of growing in their relationship with Jesus? What if we introduced the big story of the Bible to them when they're younger, but we continued to develop that growth in them as they grew in wisdom and stature? What if we truly believed that when Jesus saved our kiddos that they didn't have a pee-wee or junior varsity version of the Holy Spirit? What if we treated them like they could digest truths about Jesus and His Word.
Kids are capable. You know why? The Spirit of God makes them capable!
Case in point - let me introduce you to a friend of mine. Jen has countless students and their parents in her kid's Precept class in Texas. She loves helping them get into God's Word for themselves and then how to discuss what they've learned with each other. It has been such a joy to blog stalk her. I remember when her daughter was in my Precept class several years ago when she was nine or ten. We were studying the Precept Upon Precept Titus Study. She was burdened for her friends, wanting them to experience God through His Word. So, she and her mom prayed and stepped out. The daughter started a class. Kids came. As kids became excited at what the Lord was teaching them, the parents became interested in what their kids were learning through inductive study! So you know what, the parents started joining them. Kids and parents came together, learning how to dig into God's Word for themselves! Jen is great. Her daughter is great. But, you know what, even though Jen really likes Wonder Woman - I know she would say that there is nothing super-human or special about her. The only thing that has made this possible is the Spirit of God working in and through these kiddos hearts. There is no difference between her and you. Jen has learned to use a tool. As the kids learn the tool, they put the Sunny-D down, they pick up their own fork and knife, and they begin to dig into the fantastic meal of God's Word through the direction of the Spirit of God! Isn't that awesome - a little girl with a burden for her friends. A mom who walked her daughter through it. Countless lives changed by Jesus!
Don't believe me? I dare you to try it.
Does it sound too good to be true? I dare you to let the Spirit use the Word of God in you and your kid's lives. Seriously, I dare you to try going through one inductive study with your 8-12-year-old kiddo, grand-kiddo, brother or sister, niece or nephew. Seriously, I dare you. For the month of May, Precept Ministries International, where I serve as the Director of Leadership Development, is running a special promotion on our inductive studies for kids. They're called the Discover 4 Yourself Series. For a gift of any amount during the month of May, you'll receive one of the most popular titles - Wrong Way Jonah! In addition, you'll receive several audio resources by Kay Arthur and Janna Arndt, the authors of the book. Now, if you're a procrastinator like me, that means you need the gentle nudge to realize that you have a little over a week to take us up on this offer.