Prepackaged Goodness!

(picture taken from NakedPastor.com)

I don’t know about you, but I’m really not into Hamburger Helper. It’s just plain nasty! I’m sure there are many out there who can’t think of anything better then digging into all that prepackaged goodness… more power to ya! (and a good cardiologist)

Anyway, I came across this cartoon and it got me thinking… How many times do we do this in children’s ministry? I see so many tweets and blogs and Facebook statuses talking about being Biblical. It’s almost as if there’s a competition out there to be the most Biblical. “Our curriculum is more Biblical than yours!” OK, maybe that isn’t explicitly what is said, but it’s pretty easy to read between the lines of all the not-so-subtle digs at other curriculums. Who’s to say that what you use or create for children is more Biblical than what someone else is doing or creating? C’mon!

We can become so arrogant about our understanding of the Bible that we forget that God is WAY bigger than the boxes we try and package him in. I’m not saying that being Biblical isn’t important. What I am saying is that our idea of “Biblical” isn’t the end all.

I can already hear it, “Well, it’s easy. You just teach from the Bible! What’s more Biblical than that?” If it were that simple then I would challenge you that your idea of God and understanding of Biblical is too small. God is infinite. To think that we can corner the market on Biblical interpretation is arrogant at the least and dangerously unorthodox at it’s worst.

If we are honest with ourselves, we would admit that we pick and choose what we focus on in the Bible. Some of us put more emphasis on free will while others of us focus more on God’s sovereignty. Some of us thrive on more contemporary forms of worship while others of us connect more fully to God in the midst of creeds and ritual. The list can go on.

I’m not saying we throw out the Bible. What I am saying is that we give our kids space to encounter the Bible with the Holy Spirit guiding them. We shouldn’t be so quick to interpret everything for them and systematize how they are “supposed” to understand the Bible in order to fit within your denominational distinctives. We need to help children see the Bible as a comprehensive story of who God is, how much he loves us, how we can follow him to have the most amazing life ever and how we can be a part of the redemptive and transformative work God is doing in the world around us.

If you haven’t already read it, I suggest that you pick up Scot McKnight’s book the Blue Parakeet. It’s a great resource on how to read the Bible in light of it being a comprehensive story of God’s desire to restore creation to what he intended for it.

  • What are some ways that you are prepackaging God for kids? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
  • What are some ways you help children discover God?
  • How can we become more like facilitators and cultivators of spiritual formation rather than simply being conduits of information?


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3 thoughts on “Prepackaged Goodness!

  1. Wayne Stocks says:

    I was just going back through the articles I had tagged for the blog post, and I was surprised to see that no one had commented on this one. I think this is critical in children's ministry. Frankly I think we must walk a fine line between showing kids how to interpret the Bible by modeling it for them and not forcing our own preconceived notions on them. I think part of our role is opening their eyes to their role in God's Story. The only way this can effectively be accomplished is by building relationships with kids. I am not a person who believes that we should not draw out relevant applications from the Bible for kids, but I do think we have to be careful not to just force feed them those application but to help them learn how to take God's Word and get to applications on their own. Thanks for writing this. I hope it will spark additional conversation. I'll have to check out the book you mentioned. I haven't heard of it before. Good luck with the move!

    • henryjz says:

      Hey, thanks for the comment. I agree that relationship is key! As we build relationships with the kids and families and whomever, we can learn from each other. As we learn from each other, we discover that echo of the image of God in people. Our understanding of God grows and in turn we help others' understanding of God grow as well.

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