Children not only say the funniest things, but they can ask them too! Answering kids tough questions can challenge anyone. That includes a seasoned children’s pastor. We’ve all heard questions like these. “Why did my Grandpa die?” “Where do babies come from?” “Who married Cain?” Before tackling these questions and more use the ABC’s of Children’s Ministry.
A is for Appropriate
When confronted with deep, puzzling questions from your kids consider this first. Is this question appropriate for me to answer? Here’s an example of appropriateness. A friend in the ministry told me recently about a major faux pas one of his volunteers made. Each Sunday the volunteers rotated to take on separate parts of the children’s church program. This gives the volunteers some teaching experience and way to contribute to the lesson. During an impromptu question and answer session, the volunteer spilled the beans to a group of about twenty children that there was indeed no Santa Claus. By the time my friend made it to the front of the sanctuary, kids were crying and confused. The volunteer sheepishly stepped down from his duties. My friend was left to field angry phone calls from parents and grandparents. This question should have been deemed inappropriate and not answered. Questions about Santa Claus, the origins of babies and yes, sex are best left answered by parents or care givers. Privately without making kids aware you are doing it, talk to parents. Let them know their child has questions. In some cases, answering kids’ tough questions is a no-no.
B is for the Bible
Balance your answers with an example from God’s word. Using Biblical references help children understand that God’s word is the source for the answers for life’s tough questions. Open the Bible and show the child where to look. It is a good idea to have an easy to read, large print translation handy during your ministry times. Place it on a special podium or table this will teach children to respect the Bible and look to it for answers. If you know where to look, take the child to the scripture that best solves his problem. Ask him to read it aloud. Tell him how to find the scripture in his own Bible.
C is for Confess
It’s good for kids to understand that leaders don’t have all the answers. That they don’t know everything. Don’t try to bluff your way through the interrogation or give a ‘blanket’ statement. Tough questions asked are an expression of trust on behalf of the child. Instead of protecting your image, as is in our nature, be transparent. Confess your lack of knowledge on the subject and offer to help the child find the answers. Take him to the Bible. Show him how to use a concordance. Lead him in prayer. You might even take him to another leader and ask them the question. If they have the answer sit and listen while your child does. This will make the child feel as if he’s on an equal playing field with his mentor – you! And that’s a good thing.
Answering children’s hard Bible questions is just part of what we do. But here’s something we should always remember. Kids don’t care how much you know. They just want to know you care. Love kids. Be free from the burden of being all knowing and perfect.