I was rushing out of the building. As I approached the double glass doors, two women stood on the other side. There was a pause as we all wondered who was going to open it first. Finally, the young woman did and I rushed through with a smile and quick “Thank you.” I saw the two women hesitate as I passed by. The sound of my name caught my attention and I turned around. The two women from the door followed behind me. I stopped and smiled, unsure of how they knew my name.
“Hi,” the younger woman said shyly, “We were both in your ‘Lies Children Believe’ workshop this morning. I just wanted to tell you that it was by far the best workshop I attended all weekend. It changed my life.”
No sooner did I leave that conversation and turn the corner than I ran into Ann, another workshop attendee. “Thank you for doing both your workshops,” she commented. “I learned so much. Before I came here, I was working on some materials for my class…now I’m rethinking them completely.”
My pace slowed as I walked away. My mind instantly went back to a shy and awkward 7th grade girl with sweating palms and knocking knees, barely able to muster enough courage to make her voice audible as she stood in front of her English class attempting to give an oral report on Louis Armstrong. And now here I was, teaching two workshops at CMTA (one of Southern California’s largest children’s ministry conferences) to a combined audience of 100 people.
Throughout the course of the weekend, I had many conversations like the ones with Ann and the shy girl standing at the glass door. God was stirring hearts. Many were challenged; others were affirmed or encouraged. My own heart was energized by the dozens of teachers and parents who said to me, “Yes! We need your ministry…we need help!”
During my second workshop, we talked a lot about balanced biblical truth. Teachers teach a lot about God’s individual love in children’s ministry. Curriculums are best known for themes such as “God loves me,” “God helps me,” or “God takes care of me.” These lessons are all true and needed. But there is a second side to scripture that we often fail to communicate- that God is a great God, the center of our universe, and that we exist for Him and His purposes among the nations. Without this balanced second half, our children are being discipled in a very egocentric faith…one that I firmly believe is the cause for so many falling away as they get older.
Here are the lies we discussed:
1. I’m such a little darling….it’s all about me!
-It’s true – God does bless His children, but He wants them to find their joy by focusing on His glory, not on themselves…learning to put God at the center of their lives and live for His purposes. (Psalm 67:1-2, Gen 12:1-3)
2. Haven’t you heard?….God loves me best!
-It’s true – God does show His love to each individual child, but He wants them to be sharing His love with others, not keeping it selfishly for themselves. The great story of God’s individual love for the Samaritan woman ended with an entire village proclaiming that Jesus is the Savior of the world! (John 4)
3. I’m too small to count in God’s kingdom…I’ll wait until I’m all grown up!
- It’s true– God doesn’t expect children to do grown-up work, but He does enable them to serve Him while still children (Lk 18: 16-17)….like Craig Kielburger, who started an organization at age 11 that to this day is run entirely by people under the age of 18 and now frees children from labor in 120 countries.
These are the lies children believe because we support these ideas. Although it may not be our intention to do so, the Enemy can easily distort the message of God’s love and blessings. As these teachers and parents from the conference take this information and begin to refocus their attention on teaching the whole message of scripture and moving their children to a more Christ-centered faith, statistics will change. Kids will begin to love Jesus for a life time, following after Him all the days of their life as they seek to live for His glory and renown…to the ends of the earth.