By Kristi McElheney, Elementary Ministry Leader at Stonebriar Community Church
It never ceases to amaze me how deep children can be spiritually when given the opportunity.
Last summer we took 120 children, ages seven to nine, to overnight summer camp for four days. There were moments of crazy, moments of homesick, moments of crying over losing a relay, and moments of disobedience. But there were also moments of these same children responding to God in unexpected ways. I’m not just talking about singing worship together . . . albeit that was precious. I’m talking true, deep, spiritual response to God.
One night the campers participated in a “prayer experience.” We set up stations all around the worship center, both inside and out. We instructed the kids they were to go from station to station independently and complete the activity at each station. Each station was designed to keep their hearts focused on God. Each station was designed to be an independent activity. It was incredible to watch. Not a single child was goofing off, not a single child was talking with friends, not a single child was being disruptive. Instead we saw children writing their praises to God in their journals, taking prayers requests and leaving them at the cross, choosing a name for themselves based on how they believed God saw them (ie. “blessed,” “forgiven,” “loved”).
Think about it, 120 seven to nine year-olds responding to God independently, in silence. Wow!
Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me.” He meant it. He knew they were capable of understanding who He is!
Expect more from your children; recognize them as deep spiritual thinkers. Offer opportunities for your children to respond to God. It’s pretty amazing to watch, and we, as parents, often learn more from them than they do from us!