When you peel away the curriculum your church uses to communicate the message you want kids to take home, what’s left?
Whether you use a rotation model, video curriculum, Large group/Small group formats, puppets, or another method, the curriculum you use is just the shell around the heart of what you’re trying to communicate to children and their families.
At the end of the day, I think those of us leading children and students need to realize the truth behind the following ideas…
- All scripture is equally inspired
- All scripture is not equally important
- All scripture is not equally applicable to every stage of life
If you can wrap your mind around those concepts, you have a much better chance of refining your message. If you want to argue against that, skip on down to the comment section!
Now, what does that look like at Glenkirk Church? For starters, we’ve taken time over the last year to specifically gear what we teach at each of our programs to meet specific ends. Let me give you a quick rundown of what that looks like:
Good News Clubs
A little over a year ago, our church began running after school programs in three of our local public Elementary schools. Our clubs now serve over 300 kids on a weekly basis. Our team decided early on that, if we wanted to communicate a relevant message to large groups of children who did not already attend church, we didn’t need to teach every story in the Bible at our clubs. Instead, we try to focus on big picture ideas (What is the Bible? What is Prayer? Who is God? Who is Jesus? etc.) and we use the Biblical narrative and texts to give answers. At the end of the day, many of these kids could never compete in a Bible trivia competition… and we’re okay with that. Instead, we’re giving them tools to discover who God is and that Jesus loves them.
Kids need a place to ask questions about who God is. Adventureland, our Sunday morning environment for kids at our church, is that place… it’s a place where foundations are built and where kids are equipped to live out their faith. We structure our mornings to intentionally teach and model what we feel a Christian community should look like (a place where we gather for large group teaching, we spend time in relational small groups, and we look for ways to communicate God’s love to those outside the circle), and we are more concerned with ways to live out our faith during the week than we are with covering the Bible from cover to cover. I’m not ashamed to say that. There are sections of the text that we’ll never cover on a Sunday morning… and I’m cool with that.
You may have a church in your area (maybe even your own!) that runs an AWANA program. It probably looks a little different than ours.
Because we’re already actively involved in evangelistic endeavors off-campus, we are able to take our mid-week program and really focus on growing our kids in their faith. We’ve refined our message in a way that helps our kids become the people that God created them to be. We give our kids hard challenges. We ask them to memorize key sections of Scripture (not ALL of it… but the pieces that we feel are applicable to the life stages and situations that our students face). We ask them, above all else, to consider who God has created them to be… and we try to give them tools to live into that reality. I like to consider our AWANA program a launching pad rather than a discipleship program – discipleship sounds stagnant to me… and our faith should be anything BUT that.
Refining your message starts with having an end in mind. Can you define why you run the programs you run? If you’re a parent, can you tell me what end your church has in mind for your child? If your church has refined its message, you should be able to answer those questions.
Want to see what others are saying about Refining the Message? Head on over to ChildrensMinistryOnline.com to see what others in the kidmin community are saying during Orange Week!