Kids live in a world of more.
The world of a child is one of constant information bombardment. From the time he wakes each morning until he is back in bed that night, he continually hears messages from various sources. School work, homework, family conversations, television, video games, computers, cell phones and social media all provide an ongoing stream of more words, more pictures, more music, more questions, more messages that pour into his brain. Studies say that the average child spends approximately seven hours a day in front of some type of screen. That’s almost 50 hours a week. Every minute he is awake, there is more to hear, to read, to see. To say that he is on information overload is an understatement.
Churches have less time.
This same child, whose mind is spinning with information from his week will spend approximately one hour a weekend in your church’s children’s ministry. And, that child probably won’t even be there every weekend of any given month. Statistics show the average family only attends church 50 percent of the weekends each month. Since we have fewer opportunities to speak into his faith development in a year, it’s critical that we be strategic in what we teach. While we believe that the entire Bible is the inspired Word of God, we simply do not have the time to teach him every single thing that is in the Bible! We need to decide what are the lessons that are the very most important for him to learn at his age. What will be the most effective lessons to help him know God and love Him? These lessons become our scope and cycle for each age group.
Saying less, again and again.
Now that we know what lessons we want to teach him, how can we keep these words and lessons of faith from getting lost in the constant swirl of music videos, spelling words and history facts? How do we make our one hour of faith messaging stand out amid the 50 hours of random messaging each week? While the logical answer might be to try to shout our message louder, or print our words larger, the true answer is: We say less, but we say it more often. We make the message easy to understand. We make it a simple sentence. We call it a “Bottom Line.” It’s the one thing we want a kid to learn each week; and take with him when he leaves our class. And while we say it a lot, it’s not simply repeated a lot. Each week, we point out how the Bottom Line was demonstrated in the Bible lesson of the day. In our small group time, we will play games, work puzzles, perform skits or role-play situations that will let our child see exactly how the day’s Bottom Line looks in day-to-day life. We tie the Bottom Line to our worship songs and to prayer time. Every segment of our hour has a direct tie to the Bottom Line. As our child leaves the class, the Bottom Line goes with him.
When less becomes more.
Teaching a child one simple line may not seem like much. But the goal is to help him see how God is weaving his story into God’s own greater story. When a child sees a situation like one they talked about in small groups, he has the opportunity to remember, and respond, according to that Bottom Line. Now he doesn’t just know a Bible story, he is living it. That’s when less becomes so much more.