I don’t know

Many times I get parents who have questions from their kids they can’t answer. Kids love to ask hard questions about God, life, death, sickness, injustice, heaven, hell, the Bible etc. I think we get frustrated when we can’t articulate answers. I used to think I had all the answers or I was somehow coming up short. I thought being a good pastor, father, and Christian meant I had to have an answer for everything. Now I have changed the way I think. Here’s how I’ve come to think.

  1. If we had all the answers we wouldn’t need faith. Faith is about the unknown as much as it is the unseen. We can’t know everything there is to know. Some things just take faith. If we knew everything that is in the mind of God we wouldn’t need to trust Him daily. God wants us to lean on Him when we don’t know the answers. If God gave us everything we needed including all the answers, we would be tempted to not rely on Him.
  2. God is bigger than us. I know this one is obvious but it needs repeating. If God was able to be completely comprehended by our finite minds He wouldn’t be a God worth serving. I know that statement might challenge your belief system. Our minds and comprehension is limited. When we are young we think we are all knowing and invincible. Age brings wisdom for most of us. God is so powerful, so vast, so marvelous that we can’t wrap our minds around all He is. Angels in heaven sing His praises for eternity, each moment having a glimpse of His glorious might revealed. Our small minds can’t fathom the depths of His love and therefore can’t entirely know his character.

So as parents what do we do when our kids have questions that challenge our faith?

  1. Don’t freak out. When you freak out kids stop telling you things. Sometimes they are testing you.
  2. Realize it’s perfectly normal to have questions. There’s nothing wrong with your kids if they are asking these questions or having doubts. This is natural. A tested faith is a stronger faith.
  3. Be OK with not having all the answers. I think sometimes we think its bad to not have the answers because we want our kids to put their trust in us. Remember the ultimate goal in life is to train our kids to trust God.
  4. Be open about your own struggles of faith. Sharing your story helps your kids see an end or a least a progression to their story. Don’t think you have to appear invincible to your kids. Think about how much you connect with a pastor when they are vulnerable. Do the same with your kids.
  5. Teach your kids to pray. Here’s a crazy idea. Show your kids how to talk to God and bring their questions. You don’t know everything but He does.
  6. Teach your kids how to read the Bible. Get them some devotional books. Use our placemats and devotional materials from church. Use the SOAP method (read more here or here).
  7. See if you can find the answers. Some questions can be answered if you dig in yourself. Ask a pastor. Google it but be prepared that not all answers are created equal.

Dumb Things I’ve Said in KidMin – Metal Bits

Continuing on with sharing my Kidmin stories, I remember in 2004 when the church I was serving at had a visitor from southern Texas. Now please don’t think I’m picking on people from Texas, I’m just sharing what really happened.

This man and his family were in town visiting a realtive. He dropped off his 8 year old son with little fanfare and the service went about as planned. The eight year old boy seemed to enjoy the service that our team put together. We had a couple of our college kids back in town over the summer and they joined me in putting on an amazing program that day.

Well right after the service this dad found me and I could tell he was worked up. He started off in his southern Texas drawl.

“Are you in charge here?”

“Yes” I answered.

He introduced himself as a visitor from Texas and then asked “Do you really think it’s OK to have people with metal bits in their faces teaching my son?”

I froze in my tracks. I couldn’t figure out what he could mean. Was this some sort of Texas take on the “speck in the eye”? “I’m not sure I follow you.” I remarked.

He pointed over towards whe two of my young adult helpers were standing and mingling amongst a group of boys in our game room.
“Them, look at them!”

Well these two guys did have facial piercings and probably unseen tattoos. No one has ever complained because our pastor always talked about how Jesus embraced all people despite what they looked like or their background. I told him that we had no rules against volunteers having facial piercings, even though I know some churches do. (We even had a young man who painted his nails and was a goth in style, but loved Jesus. I was glad that kid wasn’t working this week, this poor guy might have died.)

Then he asks me “What am I going to do when my 8 year old son gets home and wants to get one of these piercings?”

Here’s where I might have messed up. I quickly reacted. I felt like he was attacking these young men who I considered friends and not just volunteers. He didn’t know them, I thought, so what right does he have to judge them?

“He’s 8 and you’re the dad, tell him ‘no'” I sarcastically remarked and laughed. I wished I could grab those words and put them back in but I couldn’t. He reacted as you could guess, I certainly didn’t win this guy to our way of thinking with my snide remarks.

I never saw him again and never did find out which family in the church he was related too. I can’t imagine that this would have made them happy either.

What have you said to a parent that you wish you could take back? Do you forbid people with facial piercings or tattoos to serve in kids ministry? Why?

Powerful Prayer Thursday – Ephesians 1:15-23

Pray this prayer, taken from Ephesians 1:15-23, over your kids:

Father God, I pray for _____________  to have spiritual wisdom and insight

May they grow in their knowledge of you God.

Their heart is being flooded with light

May they understand the confident hope you have given to them, and I thank You that You have called them.

I pray they would understand the incredible greatness of your  power for them as they believe you.

In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Powerful Prayer Thursday – Philemon 1:4-7

Pray this prayer, taken from Philemon 1:4-7, over your kids:

Father God, I pray for _____________ that they have active faith and love.

They put into action the generosity that comes from that faith.

They understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.

Their love brings other joy and comfort.

Their kindness refreshes the hearts of people.

In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Powerful Prayer Thursday – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Pray this prayer, taken from 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, over your kids:

Father God, I pray for _____________ to be counted worthy of your calling.

Your power is fulfilling the purpose that you have called them to do.

Every act they perform is prompted by faith.

The name of our Lord Jesus is glorified in them, and they in Him.

In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.