Recently I was watching an instructional video offered by a curriculum publisher telling about the advantages of their curriculum and how to use it. As he spoke he often compared their curriculum with that of other publishers. His attitude was such that I quickly became turned off and will probably not use their curriculum, in spite of its value. Of all the things that he said, there was one comment that stuck with me. He talked about how “SILLY” some of the materials being offered by other publishers was. He went on to criticize these other publishers rather harshly for their silliness.
First let me say that while I disagree with much of what this man said in his video, I will not name the curriculum, the publisher or the speaker. That is not the point of this post. I believe in preserving the unity of the Church, and that such public bashing of other Christians only serves to hurt our mission.
Now, with that out of the way. Are our methods too silly? This is a question that has many dimensions. My simple answer would be NO, at least most of the time. Let’s look at this a little closer.
All things to all children. In 1 Corinthians 9:20 – 23 Paul says, “To the Jews I become like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I become like one under the law…, so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law…so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” Paul is saying that he was willing to do whatever it took, short of sin, to reach people with the gospel. Paul became like the people he was reaching out to in order to connect with them in hopes or saving them. So, if we are reaching out to children should we do so in the same way we do to youth or adults?
Children are silly. It’s a fact, kids like to have fun. Often this shows itself in silliness. If we are to follow Paul’s example, and we want to reach children, then we must all embrace fun and maybe even silliness.
Fun is a tool. Fun should seldom be the goal of what we do. Certainly we want the kids to have fun, but we should do so with the realization that this is a means to reach them. You see, if kids are having fun, then we will be given opportunities to speak truth into their lives. If they are not having fun, then it is unlikely that we will get that chance.
The Bible is serious stuff. I believe that the heart of the man from the video I talked about earlier was to ensure that kids understood that the Bible is serious stuff. There is the danger when working with kids that we become so focused on the fun that we forget the seriousness of the Bible. If we fail to communicate this, then kids may outgrow the Bible. If they get an image of the Bible as something silly or juvenile, then their will come a point when they decide that it is only for kids. David and Goliath is a Biblical event that is often shared with kids. But, how often do we really talk about how serious this situation was. The Philistine army was getting ready to stomp the Israelites. They were going to be taken over. Not to mention that Goliath really was a giant, like NINE FEET TALL. I think even Dwayne, The Rock, Johnson would be afraid of a man that sized. This was a serious situation. Not to mention how the story ends… DAVID CUT OFF GOLIATH’S HEAD. If that’s not serious I don’t know what is.
A time for silly and a time for serious. Getting the kids attention, even introducing the Bible event are good times to be silly. But, there must come a point as you’re teaching this event that the tone must change. We must be intentional to do what we can to make the tone serious when we get to that point. Consider this as you are planning, rehearsing and telling Bible events.
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