The church is instrumental in coming alongside kids and families to help them begin rightly thinking about God early in their lives.
By Alex Early
Theology’s not just for grown-ups. It’s for kids, too, you know! How we think determines what we say and do throughout life. Why not start sooner than later with Who and what matters most, namely, God?
During the pandemic, I wrote a resource aimed at helping elementary school children begin “Thinking About God.” For many believers, if they’ve begun the journey of thinking deeply about God, they were adults before someone invited them into this conversation.
Lacking a theological foundation
I began following Jesus at the age of 15. Within the first 90 days of my walk with Christ, I could sense He was calling me into vocational ministry. Yet I, like so many others in ministry, had no clue what that would look like nor what the journey I was about to embark on would hold.
It took years of serving in the church, going to school, and praying through the ever-so-important decisions surrounding the “what,” “when,” and “where” of serving the King and His people. Even though the word “theology” was entirely foreign to me at the time, one thing I knew for sure was I needed a theological education.
You see, I was born and raised in a Christian family. We went to church every week. But we didn’t necessarily hear or use words like “theology” or “doctrine.” Even fewer words like “propitiation” surfaced. The more obscure words like “aseity,” “noetic,” and “anthropomorphic” were entirely out of the question.
So, when I walked into my first systematic theology course, I suddenly found my mind racing, heart pounding, and wonder soaring as the worlds of Scripture, faith, Jesus, theology, and church all began to collide.“Theology is more than subjects to be studied; Theos, God, is a Person to be encountered.” — @alex_early Click To Tweet
The fireworks of the Word of God were lighting up the dark sky of my mind, and I was enthralled. I couldn’t get enough. Suddenly, the library became my favorite place, and my books became my “friends,” as my mom jokes. Something was happening, or better, Someone was getting through to me in ways I never dreamt possible.
There were words, ideas, and methods of going about thinking about God that spoke to every aspect of my life for every day of my life. Theology is more than subjects to be studied; Theos, God, is a Person to be encountered.
But my story could have been different. I could have started thinking about God earlier. It’s never too early to start thinking about God. And the church plays an instrumental role in coming alongside kids and families to help them begin studying God. “Thinking About God” extends a warm welcome to kids as they enter the wonderful world of theological thought and reflection.
Theology can often be intimidating because the ideas are enormous, and sometimes, the words are complex. Sometimes, this causes people to “keep their distance” and “leave the theology and heady stuff to the pastors and professors.” Such should never be the case. “Thinking About God” doesn’t shy away from the big words and ideas. Instead, I define and explain them so kids can quickly grasp the main concepts.
As you know, kids ask the most significant questions, the most meaningful questions, and the most heartfelt questions. They don’t mind asking, “Who made God?” or “Does Jesus like kids?” or “What will we do in heaven?” The Bible addresses these questions, and good theologians through the ages have sought to help answer these questions to the best of anyone’s ability.
This resource not only equips kids for the road ahead, but it can also teach and encourage parents, grandparents, teachers, and friends who may be reading alongside the kids they love. After all, thinking about God isn’t just for kids, you know. It’s for grown-ups too!
Perhaps grabbing a copy for the kids in your church would be a great investment in the church that is and is to come.
For permission to republish this article, please email Marissa Postell Sullivan.