Are Our Methods Too Silly?

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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4 thoughts on “Are Our Methods Too Silly?

  1. The decision to be “silly” or not can be a tough one. The same goes for “stretching the truth” as a storyteller. It’s hard for storytellers and actors. We try hard to make a distinction. Our actors and Comic Hosts are supposed to be funny, over the top actors. They are supposed to be different characters who have various “life” experiences. Sometimes, an actor has a hard time being a “meanie” on stage to another actor. They don’t want to look bad in front of the kids. It can be tough to be an actor and not let the role define you in that way.

    We try real hard to not allow these same “over the top” actors or storytellers also be the ones telling the Bible stories. We don’t want them one minute saying they are an astronaut and the next minute telling how Jesus heals people. One is made up and one is real. Our crazy characters and actors may reveal what they learned from a Bible story, but the actual Bible stories are told by the host or storyteller who doesn’t make things up. It’s a distinction that we try to hold to and has helped our crazy actors be crazy.

    • Thanks, Dave. That’s a great point and a great way to provide that separation. That’s why I like curriculum that include the “silly” part in video form. That way one of us can tell the Bible event.

  2. While I agree with you that it’s never wise to criticize someone else to build up your own program, I do find that a few of the curriculum choices out there are over the top with their silliness. I find some of the introduction material to be very distracting and actually kids all hyped up and it’s harder for them to focus or settle down when it’s time for the story. I’m a fan of sprinkling in some silliness throughout the Bible story, in an authentic way. When you think about the accounts in the Bible, some of them are crazy! The plagues in Egypt? Can you imagine finding frogs everywhere? In your bed? In your oven? That’s ridiculous and something kids will really get into. We don’t need a whole separate “get silly, get engaged” section. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lindsey, thanks for your input. As always I like to hear your thoughts on things. It can be a tough balance. At the end of the day I have to trust the Holy Spirit to guide me in reaching that balance and to speak to the kids when I step to far in one direction or the other.

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