My big kid (7 years old) has a lot of questions about his faith and God. And that’s good. We strongly encourage questions at home, even if we don’t always have the answers. He often complains that God doesn’t talk to him. I think, like many of us, he’s waiting on a booming voice to tell him what to do. I am guilty of that at times. But God is not a magic genie.
The other day while we were driving to the grocery store (because it’s always in the most unexpected places) he told me God has spoken to him several times. I won’t share the content, but the image my son described was so beautiful. You could tell he was looking for the right words for a long time, until he said, “It was like my heart moved into my ear and then I heard him. Not a voice, I just heard God. Now, Mom, I know that’s crazy and impossible for my heart to move in my body. But it felt like it. I could actually feel it.” His description was powerful and emotional and it has really stuck with me.
When we think about our kids growing in faith, we often focus on formalities. In our church there are a few of these:
- We baptize infants. (Many of you come from a different tradition where baptism comes later in life, but the Methodist tradition is baptism followed by confirmation. If you ever have questions about this, please ask.)
- Our 3rd graders are given a Bible and prayed over.
- Our 6th graders go through a Confirmation class where they explore and dive deeper into the faith and then are publicly commissioned in front of the congregation.
But like all things in life, the formalities are really signposts to signal a transformation that happens gradually – day by day. (You can find Andrew’s sermon series about habits here.) All along their journey, our children will have hundreds of questions about their faith. God has put many people in their lives to help answer these questions, like Sunday School Teachers, Children’s and Youth ministry staff, pastors and small groups. And, most importantly, parents, grandparents and other primary caregivers, like you.
You are so important to the development of the faith of the children who are in your care. Don’t be afraid to explore their questions along side them. (We say it all the time, but please don’t ever hesitate to ask for help – that’s what we’re here for!) And don’t worry, God is in control and is also walking along side them. He is with them and speaking to them, even if it’s not always clear how to move their hearts into their ears so they can hear him.
This Sunday more than 40 of our sixth graders will be commissioned to take their faith and trust in Jesus into the world. We’d love for you to be there to celebrate them, cheer them on, and encourage them. It took a lot of questions for them to get here.