I recently read an article called, “Are Your Cute Lessons Turning Kids Into Atheists?” As you can imagine, when I read the title I had to see what it was all about. It shares Barna’s latest statistics on the Gen Z generation (those born from 1999-2015). Sadly, they found that Gen Z does not associate with any religious identity more than any previous generation. This is very disheartening! But, I dare not limit God. He can do anything including take a deprived nation and turn it around. Let us be the hands, feet and mouthpieces of God allowing Him to work through us to reach our children turning the church around.
Let’s take a look at some of the survey results for the cause of this depravity:
- 29% – I have a hard time believing that a good God would allow so much evil and suffering in the world.
- 23% – Christians are hypocrites.
- 20% – I believe science refutes the Bible.
- 19% – I don’t believe in fairy tales.
- 15% – There are too many injustices in the history of Christianity.
- 12% – I used to go to church, but it’s just not that important anymore.
- 6% – I had a bad experience at church or with a Christian.
- 37% believe it is not possible to know for sure if God is real.
- 58% believe many religions can lead to eternal life.
- 46% say they need factual evidence to support their beliefs.
- 49% says the church seems to reject much of what science tells us about the world.
- 27% say the church is not a safe place to express doubts.
- 24% say the teaching they are exposed to is shallow.
This is an eye opener for sure. As we minister to children, we need to stay focused on the truth. There is no need to sugar coat God’s word. Life isn’t all sweet and pretty. People are in it so it is quite messy. Let’s teach our kids how messy people are and how much God steps in to help us. As our kids get a little older, let’s remember to teach them Christian apologetics. Let’s show them how we can know that the bible is truly the inspired word of God and how it doesn’t contradict science, but constantly proves it is in line with it.
Are you wondering now if your curriculum fits the bill? Is it too”cute” to raise kids rooted in truth? I venture to guess that your curriculum is probably good. We want kids to hear God’s word come to life and most of the time the curriculum does a good job of this. I would bet that all that is needed is a tweak or two. The easiest and perhaps the most relevant, you just need a brief time to ask kids to wonder, making them walk in the bible person’s shoes for a moment. What do I mean by this? This week I am teaching our kids the story of the bronze serpent. As the Israelite’s are traveling through the desert, being forced to go the long way to their destination on account of the King of Edom, I wonder what they thought. There’s not any water, they don’t get a bunch of food choices, it’s probably hot and definitely dirty. I wonder what they were thinking and feeling. This makes it more understandable when they complain. But now let’s look at it from God’s perspective. He’s rescued His people from slavery, taken care of them and they are complaining again. I wonder what God was thinking? Now they understand the snakes. The Israelite’s are told to simply look to the bronze snake if they are bit and they’ll live. I wonder what they were thinking. This brings bible history to a level we can relate and not some shallow faith where we just can’t believe the Israelite’s kept turning their backs on God.
If you are looking for a change in your curriculum, I highly recommend a chronological study helping our kids see God’s word as one big giant story with a purpose. As the “plot” develops, it takes us to the cross. Let our kids see this. In the story of the bronze snake, did you know Jesus referred to this very story in the New Testament? Yep! He sure did. He compared himself to the snake when talking to Nicodemus. See for yourself in John 3. (Or watch here.) Help kids see how the Old and New Testaments work together, that the Old Testament isn’t a gigantic boring history book, but full of thrills and meaning. There are a number of curriculum you can turn to for this. I’ve heard good things about The Gospel Project. I personally write my own and even create 3-5 minute videos. Kids use hands-on items every week to keep them focused, having fun and remembering the lessons. Feel free to use them in your classes (all free and on this website).