Talk to Me Like I’m a Kindergartner
I spend a lot of time thinking about how we can best share the Good News with children. Just like everything in the educational and theological realm, each situation probably requires a different approach. We all come to Christ from a different path and perspective. Yet, among all the different testimonies we could share, there are likely common themes. Generally, however, we seem to over-analyze and over-think our walk with Christ, especially when we are asked to talk about it. We risk using religion to explain our faith at the risk of devaluing the relationship.
Our religion begins in childhood when the people around us talk about a theological system of rules. “Do this and God will be angry. Do that and God will be happy.” Of course, we do need to explain right and wrong to kids, to help them make sense of a world where good and evil coexist and are often confused, one with the other. But if our explanation of religion to children, or anyone for that matter, presents a simple how-to manual, we shortchange future disciples of the most important element of following Christ.
I heard a quote this week by Albert Einstein that has crystalized my thinking about evangelism and, more practically, leading the children of our church. Einstein said, “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” We know it is much easier for children to understand and accept faith (research supports this premise, by the way.) But we don’t take advantage of their limitless acceptance of BIG ideas; their unlimited curiosity about the world.
I am going to try and focus on a simpler approach. What if we all explained Christianity as a relationship with Christ instead of rules? What if we spoke about following Christ as simple as accepting His grace and unconditional love and then the changed life that results from surrendering your heart and soul to God’s will? I think it can be as easy as a kindergarten-level conversation using two well-known scripture truths. They both explain the relationship and the rule. The first tells us what God does: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16) The second idea, which is mentioned many times in scripture, (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 12:20, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27) explains what we do: love the lord God with all our heart, mind, strength and soul. There it is: faith explained in two lines.
If we were to be honest with ourselves, we would all admit that we crave a simpler, easier approach to life. Similarly, I think most of us avoid talking about God because we don’t think we can handle the sophisticated explanation of our religion. Perhaps if we focus on the relationship, and describe following Christ like we might to kindergartner, our lives would impact others substantially more.