Q & R: Children’s Ministry

Here’s the Q:

Thank you for your clarity about “the way we were” and where we can go. I have been working in Children’s Ministry for the past two years, trying to find a new approach to teaching them about becoming people of Christlike love. My charges are 2-6th grade. Year 1 we used the Way of the Child curriculum to introduce spiritual disciplines. Year 2 we used Michael Novelli’s approach to Bible storying to present, through storytelling, pantomime and art, God’s story from Genesis through the New Creation. We alternated this with one-a-month mission projects. The biggest feedback I’ve received is from my teachers who have pointed out how both the method and message are different from when they grew up. This is good; it’s also, I think, quite intimidating for them.
Do you have or know of resources for children’s ministry which are aligned with your vision for the new church?

Here’s the R:
This is a big passion – maybe obsession – of mine: the need for curricula that introduce kids and youth to life in the way of Christ – and does so in the new emerging paradigm. It brings to mind something I once heard Walter Brueggemann say about theology: teaching theology is like teaching kids about sex. You don’t tell people more than they can handle, but you don’t teach them things you’ll have to unteach them later. So much of what we teach kids now will need to be untaught or at least modified in a major way later …
So I’m glad to hear about these two options you recommend … You’re also familiar, I imagine, with Godly Play, which provides truly helpful approaches. I also think that the Network of Biblical Storytellers has a lot to offer in this regard, although they don’t produce curricula.
This will be an important theme of a gathering I will be part of next May in Washington, DC – Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity. You can get information here … I hope you can come … My hope is that from this conference, initiatives to develop the needed curricula will emerge. I know we need this immediately, yet I also know these things take time.