There is power in conversation around God’s Word. I know this because the Word of God is not some random book of words; it is God’s Word! We need to live this out in front of our children in real life ways. They have questions and amazing depth at younger ages than we often believe.
I had ongoing conversations with my nephew about the Bible and his understanding of it while in Wisconsin. He does not go to church very often, but it is obvious that someone is reading the Bible to him somewhere.
One day we were watching Star Wars and there was a discussion about Yoda that came up. There was serious discussion about how old Yoda would be and this led to a discussion about how long people live. My son was talking it through with his cousin, which I loved!
S: You know if people didn’t sin we would never die
C: Wait, Uncle Derek is that right?
S: If there was no sin we would live forever.
C: Why do we have sin?
S: Because there was this fruit that these people were not supposed to touch but they did and now we die.
C: Well, that’s not fair
S: They should have listened
This conversation continued this way without my involvement. Then without warning it went right back to Yoda.
A few days later I was outside with the two boys when my nephew asked me a question about Moses. He said that if the first-born was killed today he would be dead and he wondered why the first born had to die. That lead us to a discussion about the Passover and Jesus Christ. Did I mention he is 8 years old? We also talked about the Israelites and their enemies, since he was curious about that.
The next night around the camp fire he asked me what sin was. This was completely random. I talked about sin a bit and he said, “I do that.”
My point is not a profound one as much as it is a passionate one. Kids have the capacity to have real discussion. They need to be listened to and respected as people. The church has traditionally put kids in some room to get them out of the adult service. The more I think about this today, the more I think this is short-sighted. I know there are things that kids need that are geared at them. However, it would seem to me that we adults could do a better job integrating them into the whole of the church. We do them no favors when we teach them the story of Noah 15 times and fail to link that to Jesus Christ in real life.
The last thing is simply having an environment where that can take place. I took the two boys to get custard one night. Of course, they got chocolate custard with nerds candy mixed in. We had a great time building a relationship. The discussion was not deep, but it was a foundation for more of that to take place. Make the environment happen and it will!