Children’s Everyday Faith

“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them
to little children…” Luke 10:21

A walk with a toddler, if you are prepared to let them meander as they wish, can be the adventure of a lifetime. It’s about the journey, not the destination.

My daughter once stopped and stared at snails ‘sleeping’ in the holes of a wall. I’d never imagined how many snails could live there. The ability to look and notice where and how God is present is one of the most important tools we need for a lifelong journey of faith.

Likewise, if we are working with children in church, it’s worth considering whether we are using a deadline and destination model to teach them about faith. It’s easy to see the destination and the deadline as the point at which they will stop attending church, and so feel we must fill them up with as much Bible knowledge as possible first.

We desperately hope that this knowledge will magically transform into a living faith that will ‘bring them back to church’. That model is too broken to fix. Faith is a life-long journey. How can we find ways to journey together with children and young people in their spiritual life and faith?

We must be guided by them even as we guide them. This is all about spiritual practices that allow us to slow down, notice God and God’s activity in us, those around us, and the world at large. Our challenge is to rediscover the value of journeying together. Here are four ideas to get you started.

Go Slow
The most brilliant thing about walking with toddlers is that they make you go slow. Their legs are little. They meander here and there and back again with no concern or worry about ‘going the wrong way’. Our culture is frenetic, but to nurture faith and spirituality we must slow down.

Fall over
Falling over, getting up and sometimes being carried are parts of the journey. As toddlers bound around, fall over and bounce back up they sometimes need a hand over a big obstacle. Just like the rest of us. We all need to be open to a literal and metaphorical hand on our spiritual journeys.

Go deeper
“…as we are all born with an inherent creativity, I believe that all human beings enter the world as spiritual creatures…” says Dave Csinos, author and researcher into children’s spirituality. He argues we are educating children out of spirituality.

Connect better
Many churches have a heart to better connect with children and young people but aren’t sure how. Our Youth and Child Friendly Awards help churches take a fresh look at the welcome and community they are offering, while challenging them on what may need to be changed, tweaked, or added.

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