Today, I would like to continue conversation
on the "Four Acts of Love." If you haven't seen it yet, I encourage
you to check out Group founder Thom Schultz's blog. He's doing a series
based on his new book, and he discusses things people today want to
find in a church-what he calls the "four acts of love." Last week
we looked at the act of radical hospitality. Today we'll talk about
another act of love, fearless conversation.
Thom has recently touched on this act of love
on his blog.
"People today, especially younger generations,
want to be part of the conversation. They live in an interactive
world. They view the typical church sermon time as an elongated,
one-way lecture. Though they desire the subject matter, the
delivery mode is passive and non-participatory," writes Thom. "In
the book, we advocate something we call Fearless Conversation. It's
one of the 'four acts of love' that we believe can make a church
irresistible. When it comes to matters of faith, people crave a
real conversation, not just another lecture from a professional
Younger generations want to be part of the
conversation. Your kids in your ministry want to talk. And not just
about games or friends…they want to talk about God. So the question
is, how often do we let them?
ministry leaders or volunteers are afraid to let kids talk. They
feel as if it gives the power to the kids. That they won't be able
to control the conversation's trajectory. Others feel as if their
kids will ask a question about God that they're not sure how to
answer. And still others feel that if they aren't talking, the kids
Let me encourage you to let kids talk. Ask
thought-provoking questions that will cause them to take a
moment to think
about their answers rather than blurting out pieces of
memorized trivia. Let kids share with others about how God works in
their lives. And don't be afraid of getting a question that you
don't know the answer to. This can be a time of humility for you to
show kids that it's okay not to have all the answers.
We've heard a lot of really good questions
asked by kids throughout the years. Here's a sampling of some, as
well as some great ways to respond to them.
"Why does prayer sometimes work and
Prayer isn't like a Christian rabbit's foot:
rub it and get your wish. Prayer is communication with God who sees
the big picture in our lives. Sometimes we don't get the answer we
want because God knows it wouldn't be good for us. Other times,
people who aren't following Jesus do things that affect us. God
won't make them do right things. Everyone has the free will to make
bad choices, even if we pray that they won't. But we know Jesus is
always with us when we walk through difficult, hard, or hurtful
"Bad things have been happening in my
life, and I feel like God is punishing me. Why does God punish
Here are two statements that simply aren't
true: Things are going good for me because I'm good; and Things are
going bad for me because I'm bad. Sometimes we're doing all the
right things and still get slammed by life. Other times, people do
wrong things and seem to get rewarded for it (like that friend who
cheated and aced a test you struggled to pass). But cheaters don't
really win, and God hasn't punished you because you have or haven't
tried hard enough. Life is tough and unfair sometimes, but those
tough times can give you the ability to persevere until things
smooth out once again.
Where is God? Who made
With young ones, ages 4 to 5, give the
shortest, correct answer possible. Then ask if the answer was
helpful or if they want to know more. Avoid the temptation to
explain all the facets of the issue the child has raised. When it's
simply not possible to give a simple answer, point out that God is
so great there is much about him that no one really understands.
Then state one or two essential truths about God that we do know
How can God listen to everyone at the
We can't hear everyone at once, but God can.
God can listen to all of us at the same time. We can't explain how
God hears so much at once, but we know it's true because the Bible
tells us it's true in 1 John 5:14.
"Is it okay to doubt some things in
the Bible? What about doubting God?"
When children have opportunities to bring
their deepest questions to God, their faith will most likely grow
and become more personal. Don't be afraid to encourage children to
explore their faith, because God is strong enough to handle all of
our greatest doubts and fears.
If you want to know more about the The Four
Acts of Love, make sure to check out Thom's blog, and
check out the new book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore by
Thom and his wife, Joani
What are some of the best conversations you've
had with a child? Let us know in the comment section below!