Friday, October 12, 2007

Equipping Our Kids to Change a Nation

While the show Kid Nation on CBS has received mixed criticisms, my husband and I are really enjoying it. It’s fascinating to watch kids of various ages problem solve and analyze their issues in the ghost town of Bonanza City. While I expected to find a variety of ideas from the show regarding cool VBS games and methods for grouping kids, little did I know there’d be a powerful lesson for Children’s Ministries.

In this week’s episode, the issue of religion was brought up. While I’m sure quite a few conversations hit the editing floor, I was sad to see how Christianity was represented by some of the children. Some said they were Christians and used that as license to mock the Jews. Other said they were Christians yet struggled when asked to explain it. And some claimed Christianity yet were eager to participate in ceremonies worshipping other gods.

If we are properly equipping our Children to be life-long followers of Christ, we need to be giving them the tools to not only understand their faith, but defend their faith at a young age. 1 Peter 3:15, 16 says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

We need to be helping our children discover the answers about their faith so that when asked to defend it, their answer is personal. They know what they believe because they’ve discovered it (with help and guidance) for themselves. And not only do we need to be giving them the tools to answer, but the instruction to do so with respect. A respectful defense of your faith doesn’t mean not allowing the other to speak. It doesn’t mean cruel words. It doesn’t mean maliciousness. It’s gentle.

I would hope that if a kid from my program went on Kid Nation, they’d be a strong witness. And that hope serves as a challenge for me and the parents in my church. Our kids could change a nation.

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