I love to read the Jesus Storybook Bible with the kids in my church and see their imaginations soar, and to sing the song “Be Bold, Be Strong” as we flex our muscles and point up to heaven and to each other. We know that the Lord our God is with us. But faith in Jesus Christ is much more than just knowledge. It’s about joining God’s redemptive work in the world, expressing and embodying God’s self-sacrificial love, and seeing people’s lives transformed! That’s why sharing Bible stories and singing songs isn’t all there is to nurturing the faith of kids.
Don’t get me wrong—kids, teens, and adults need to soak up the stories of Scripture to experience God’s love and see how Jesus is at work in our lives and the world. Kids need to hear about how Jesus called his disciples and how he healed, taught, died, and rose again. They need to imagine Paul’s missionary journeys. . . . But they also need to know what it means to be called on a mission of their own! They need to jump into God’s work to discover what it’s all about and to see the Spirit at work within them and their community. Kids (and all of us) need to know that what happened in Scripture is still happening today—God is transforming lives! God is making all things new! God is using kids and teens and adults in his plan!
Pick up any Christian magazine today and you’re bound to find articles on justice. The surge of Christian interest in God’s justice couldn’t come at a better time—God’s world is full of suffering from tragedies like hunger, disease, war, and oppression. And we (God’s kingdom people) are called to do something about it! Here are two ideas to help make that happen this season in your children’s ministry.
The Micah 6:8 Journey
Take your kids on an imaginary trip around the world with the Micah 6:8 Journey. At each stop they’ll learn to love justice, show kindness, and walk with God in different situations. The CRC is part of a global Christian movement called the Micah Challenge that is working together with leaders from many countries to achieve eight goals called the Millennium Development Goals that will drastically reduce poverty by 2015. On the Micah 6:8 Journey, kids meet children from around the world and learn their stories as they hear about each Millennium Development Goal and discover what they can do to help achieve them.
Make Hunger History and Food For All
Make Hunger History (designed for the USA) is a curriculum of short experiential activities that help kids understand the causes and urgency of the problem of poverty. This free material, developed by Bread for the World for 4th-6th graders and 7th-9th graders helps them discover what they can do to help end global poverty.
The Canadian Foodgrains Bank also has a curriculum for children called Food For All: A Buffet of Ideas on Hunger (designed for Canada). This material works well with children ages 6 through adults, which means that it could make a great intergenerational curriculum for special all-church events! Six sessions cover God’s care and provision, the causes of poverty and hunger, and the role that adults, children, and teens have in making sure that everyone has enough to eat.
Interested in other justice issues? Visit CRWRC’s Children’s Resources Page for tools and information about the Water of Life clean water project and the AIDS initiative I Am Loved: Living in Hope with AIDS. Or check out Hand in Hand, the five week K-6th grade curriculum from Faith Alive that focuses on the value of diversity, the sin of racism, the importance of racial reconciliation, and God’s love for people of every tribe and every nation.