Through the Eyes of a Child
'Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.'
Faith is a lifelong journey to follow the teachings of Jesus, to apply them to our daily life and strive to become more like Jesus in our thoughts, words actions and deeds. But before we can do any of this we must be introduced to the 'Gospel' - the Good News - of God. God has given this responsibility to all christians - to share the Good News and the message of God's love for us all. This is a great responsibility, but no more so than when it comes to teaching our children because if we 'start children off on the way they should go, even when they are old they will not turn from it.'
How do we explain our faith to children in ways that are simple enough for children to understand?
How do we help children to develop a deep faith that is able to stand up to the questions they will ask and others may ask of them?
Dr. Keeley* suggest that we must help children to develop a three-dimensional faith, a faith that affects their heads, their hearts, and their spirits.
The “head” dimension is knowledge of the stories of the Bible that reveal who God is and how He works in people’s lives.
The “heart” dimension emphasizes that children must learn to love God and to love each other with “an emotion that runs deep and shows a commitment to others that does not fade”
The “spirit” dimension is that children’s faith be part of the “very fabric of their lives . . . part of their DNA”. Faith must be rooted deep inside so that “even when our head doubts or our heart falters, our faith remains strong”.
Different interventions and activities will help us to nurture the spiritual development of our children to grow in faith. This can be done by the whole community of faith, not just their parents. The entire community takes the shared responsibility for raising the children.
It is important to make children feel that they are a valued part of the family of the church and faith community. It can be too easy to belittle them because they are children but Jesus showed the great value he placed on children by specifically doing things with them, healing children, and using the humility of children as an example to the disciples.
Our schools take the responsibly for creating a “house of learning” but the church is where educating and raising up children to know who God is becomes a primary emphasis. It takes extra thought and effort to include all members of the community, secular as well as religious. We can all mirror the teachings of God through the intentional and unintentional. Part of our role is to help children recognise those valuable examples. To help them look for the sacred in the ordinary, offering developmentally appropriate activities.
Children’s ministry is one of my passions and part of the role of a vicar and the church is to engage with children through church, school and community activities. This can be done in various ways:
in school through Collective Worship assemblies, involvement in Religious Education and other aspects of school life.
in church through family and child centred activities and services
in the community by linking in to children’s groups such as Scouts and Toddler groups.
by supporting families in faith at home.
Faith at School
Faith at Home
Faith in the Community
Through this website I will try to share my views and experiences of Meeting God in the Everyday.
I am a wife, sister, friend and in the past I have been a nurse in the NHS, an Acupuncturist and since 2014 I've been an ordained minister in the Church of England. At the moment I am the vicar of four rural parishes in South Warwickshire.
Meeting with God Every Day
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*‘Helping our children grow in faith: how the church can nurture the spiritual development of kids.’ By Robert Keeley.