Sam (not his real name) is a sixth grader who attends our Wednesday night AWANA club. He is a bit of a jokester, always coming up with witty remarks under his breath or pulling a prank on one of the other kids. But one night he surprised me by asking a serious question. He wanted to know why God allowed guns to be invented, since people use them to hurt other people. I sensed from a certain, sober look on his face that he was asking something important about God.
I’ve since realized that Sam had been harboring some real fears behind his cherubic grin and mischieveous pranks. There are gunshots fired in his neighborhood at night. Still, Sam was asking about more than guns, and his question presented a great opportunity to look at what the Bible says about God’s sovereign rule, and about us, and life. Though there was little time for an in-depth conversation that night, we did start one, and came back to it on subsequent nights. Sam has grown and changed in the months after that.
This is why I love the privilege and responsibility of children’s ministry. What a joy to share the truth and greatness of the God who made the universe, the God who who made us, with children; to share what the Bible says about His never-failing love and faithfulness, and watch a child begin to long to know such a great Savior. What an awesome and sobering charge has been given to the adults in a child’s life to faithfully point him to his need for a Savior, and to spotlight Jesus as the One sent by God to rescue him from his sins.
Children ask a lot of questions. They often ask silly questions! But every now and then one will ask a zinger. Here are a few closing thoughts on being prepared to answer serious questions from kids… you never know when they’ll come!
1. We teachers must be prepared for serious questions through our own joyous study of God’s life-giving word (2 Timothy 2:15). We cannot give away what we don’t have.
2. Keep a concordance handy. The ones at the back of most Bibles aren’t exhaustive; invest in a complete concordance and/or learn to use internet searches like Blue Letter Bible.
3. No need to pretend to know the answer to a difficult question if you really don’t. Children are instructed when we say, “I don’t know the answer right now, but let’s go to God’s word and find it out.” The sufficiency of Scripture means that we can depend on the Bible to teach everything pertaining to life and godliness. No shame in asking for help, either, if you get stumped.
4. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment in hearing questions behind the questions. Many wonderful teaching moments come through going together to the Bible for God’s thoughts on a particular subject.
And above all, enjoy those inquisitive kids!