Children's Curriculum Fair
By Erin van Santen
In its vision process, Grace has focused on what has become a familiar term to most of us by now, the "dechurched," the people once belonging to a church, but who have become estranged, disillusioned, or just out of the habit of connecting to their spiritual roots and community.
And if you asked the average dechurched person, chances are high that you would hear that the beginning of that disillusionment or spiritual apathy began when they were children.
To most of us, children's church isn't the most obvious place to look for the beginnings of the breakdown of a person's faith, yet the seeming innocuous mornings of crafting and singing and snack eating is probably where their path to becoming dechurched began.
The earliest years of a person's life is where seeds of faith (or mistrust) are sewn, and this makes it crucial that the seeds are sewn consistently, reliably, without trying to change kids' behaviors or focus on faith as the way to "make good choices." Kids need to know that despite their behaviors and choices they are seen, they are loved, and they will reliably receive the truth about God, themselves, and the world.
That's why the curriculum we use in children's church matters. Who we choose help us convey these messages matters.
There is curriculum that gives kids the message: be better by doing better. There is also curriculum that gives kids this message: God is a good God who can be trusted, who draws near, who cares, even when we're ornery messes.
After all, those of us who have called Grace home for a while know by now that the saints who have gone before and the Bible is filled with moral failures and people with checkered pasts. We know that we're in good company. And that knowledge fills us with joy and peace that we are spiritual beings, created by a God who wants us to belong.
Let's sew those good seeds in our kids, shall we?