People who are looking for a church that will minister to their kids are not necessarily looking for professional staff people, multimedia and exotic play centers. Those things are nice, but kids already have McDonald’s, Wonderland, Cineplex and bright, colorful, shallow moral stories. Why compete with what they already have?
Instead, where are the great storytellers? Where are the original people who can tell a great story about God in their life? Where are the teachers who get to know their students outside the classroom? Where are the teachers who pray for the students and track their lives?
It’s often easier to follow a lesson plan and put on a teacher hat for 40 minutes than to have a meaningful relationship with students. Psychiatrist Gordon Livingston has this to say about what older people have to offer the younger.
Attempts I have read to obtain oral histories from elderly people facing the silence of the grave make interesting reading as long as people stick to the stories of their lives. The fatal moment for these conversations comes when the interviewer asks, “What would you like to say to those who follow you?” or “What have you learned in your long sojourn on the planet?” or, worse yet, “What is the secret of your success (as defined by accumulation of wealth, longevity, length of marriage, etc.)?” The old person is irresistibly drawn to tell us the moral of his or her story, which usually consists of a collection of lamentable clichés that drain whatever meaning we might have otherwise derived from the events they have described: “Do the work you love,” “Never go to bed angry,” “Embrace uncertainty,” “Always look on the bright side,” and on and on.[i]
I wonder how many times we replace clichés and predictable banter for a real testimony? Lifelong relationships with children and youth go much further if people will become great storytellers and befriend the next generation. Instead, we often relegate this responsibility to children and youth workers.
What exactly is Christian Education?
The history of Christian education begins not with the birth of Jesus Christ but with the mind of Christ. All truth is God's truth and thus Christian education begins with God. For this reason the scope of the history of Christian education spans the whole breadth of civilization beginning with God.[ii]
Listen to a couple examples of what the ancient Psalmists knew.
Everyone who walks with God has a great story to tell. What’s your story? Who are you going to tell? There is still an oral tradition to maintain.