“Well, like one time I forgot to study for a test. So on my way to school, I prayed to God to help me do good on the test . . . and I did!”
Out of the mouths of second graders, right? Has one of your few ever made a statement in group about faith that you knew you should probably address, but you weren’t quite sure how? Like when one of your few talked about how God answered her prayer and helped her to pass a test that she didn’t study for?
Yes, God wants to help us.
No, God doesn’t always bail us out of our bad choices.
And unfortunately, He doesn’t magically put information in our head during the tests we didn’t study for. But something I’ve found to be really helpful with this age group is asking more questions than I answer. Elementary kids love to imagine, and we can help them own their faith even more when we help them imagine even further, rather than shut down the conversation with a black and white answer.
Although some weeks, your group will be more apt to talk about it than others, the topic of faith is going to be an ongoing conversation in your group. And that’s okay! Every week, you are creating a safe place where your few know they can ask questions when they have them.
And here’s the thing! When you’ve created that environment, your kids WILL ask questions. So we need to be prepared to answer and ask and guide the faith conversation as it happens. Here’s a few phrases that might be helpful to you as you facilitate a faith conversation:
- “Why do you think God asks us to be honest/kind/patient, etc.?”
- “God wants us to make the wise choice. What do you think the wise choice would be in that situation?”
- “I’m so glad you asked that! Why do you think God [chose Noah’s family/raised Lazarus to life/made so many different kinds of animals, etc.]?
- “We might not be able to see God, but we can know he’s there by looking all around us! What are some other things we can’t see but we know are there?” (examples might be the wind, the sun at night time, gravity, etc.)
- “I don’t know the answer to that either. Let’s find out together! (Hey SGL- it’s OKAY that you don’t know the answer to everything! Show your kids you find out new things about God every day.)
Avoiding the “just have faith” statement with kids is really huge. I’m so passionate about seeing a new generation of kids growing up in environments where faith questions are encouraged and discussed, and where questions are surrounded by confidence instead of guilt.
And YOU, small group leader, are a part of raising up the next generation of kids. You get to encourage kids as they begin a life long journey of faith, and that is the best job in the world.
What are some more tips or phrases you’ve learned as you’ve had conversations about faith with your few?