By Patrick Showers, Elementary Associate Pastor
Woodland Hills Church
Easter is a holiday that many Americans value enough to celebrate in some way. Most people tie the Easter bunny, colorful eggs, and baskets full of goodies to this holiday more than Jesus’ resurrection. Woodland Hills Church just completed a series encouraging followers of Christ to go beyond our comfort zones and share our faith and the love of God with people connected to our lives. So, how does this work with kids?
The Children’s Ministry staff has wrestled with this question for years, and I’d love to tell you we figured out a perfect answer, but that just wasn’t the case. The truth is, it will look different for kids depending on their age, spiritual maturity, and personality. However, we did notice a few things in our observations of children.
- Kids are fully capable of following Jesus but at an age-appropriate level. This means kids can be on fire for Jesus one second and erupt in a fit of screaming tears the next. This is normal for kids. They are a work in progress, as are we all. Their brains and bodies are still growing and developing, and this can sometimes interfere with their intention to follow Jesus.
- Kids can share about Jesus and the good news, but they will do it in a way that makes sense to them. Some kids are more direct, sometimes because of their age or because of their personality, and may even be unafraid to tell an adult their choices are sinful and they need to ask Jesus for forgiveness while others may talk more about God’s love for them and everyone.
- Equipping and empowering kids does not have a simple formulaic answer, but the best thing we can pass onto our children to help them learn how to share the love and good news of Jesus are foundational truths about Him:
- God loves us no matter what we do or who we are
- God will never give up on us
- God has shown His love and provided a way to fix our relationship with Him
- God wants us to be close to Him
- Jesus shows us what God is like and models how to live
As parents, we can model all these truths while sharing the good news with people, as well
- Children are motivated by love, and I believe they are also prompted by the Holy Spirit even though they may not realize it or even be able to put words to the reason why they shared the good news with someone.
Easter provides a great environment for children to grow in their faith and understanding of the good news. The story of Jesus is a great place to start equipping our kids. Retell the story of Jesus and how His life and sacrifice impacted you. Use a set of Resurrection eggs to help kids retell the story. Several area churches provide experiential retellings of the Easter story with the audience being a part of the story as they watch it play out live. (Our family particularly enjoys St. Andrew’s church in Mahtomedi’s Good Friday Easter Experience). Finding ways to tie the baskets, the eggs, and even the Easter bunny back to God’s story is also a great way to empower kids. Their conversations with their peers could get interesting if they start making connections to the good news while chatting about the goodies found in their Easter baskets.
We can do our part to equip kids by passing on the truth, sharing God’s story as well as our own faith stories, and by modeling a faith that follows God and shares the good news with others. The Holy Spirit can take it from there and empower our children to continue the legacy of discipleship that Jesus handed over to His disciples thousands of years ago.