I do not work in the preschool ministry at my church. My time and efforts are geared towards kids kindergarten and above. That said, we do have a great team who does handle the nursery and preschool ages. I know that because my kids have been through the program and I have seen the fruits of these efforts.
Last night, my wife and I were laying in bed with our three year old son Nathan. Nathan turned three in July and will start preschool next week. I am little bit biased, but I’m comfortable enough to say that he is one smart kid. :) Anyhow, last night, Nathan, my wife and I were watching The Great Food Truck Race. That’s not important to this story, but I sort of felt like I should confess that Food Channel shows happen to be a guilty pleasure in my house. As far as I know, I have the only 7 and 9 years old in my neighborhood with discerning palates and a desire to challenge their mother to come up with a dinner from 3 random ingredient ala the show “Chopped.”
Anyhow, we were The Great Food Truck Race, which is part Cannonball Run and part Iron Chef, when Nathan (half-asleep) pointed to the T.V. and asked:
Did God make those people too?
At first, I thought I heard him wrong, so I asked him to repeat himself. No, I was right, my three year old toddler was asking (quite out of the blue) about God’s creation. My natural reaction was to dig a little bit:
Why do you ask?
I asked him. He explained that he knew that God made him, and God made Mommy and Daddy, and he wanted to understand if God made the people on the TV as well. I assured him that God made all of us, and he was happy with the reply. I half-expected him to follow that with some discussion of the trinity, but that never happened. His older brother was five before the trinity came up, so maybe I’ve got another couple of years to hone my answer!
Part of me wants to applaud myself and my wife for what a great job we are doing raising our kids. After all, we read to him. We talk about God. Jesus is an important part of our household. That said, I know it was not all us. I know that over the past year, the preschool ministry at our church has been working through the very basics of God. Ideas like “God made me” and “God made everything” that a preschooler can wrap his head around. Far more than rote memorization though, they have taught it in such a way that my 3 year old can process it and turn it into a question about very specific people. For that they are to be commended.
There are so many out there who are convinced that children that age cannot learn and retain information. There are so many churches, good God fearing churches, where three year olds are merely babysat so that their parents can go to church. I am grateful that my church is not like that. I am grateful that I go to a church where they care about kids and strive to teach even the youngest of kids about God.
In the end, the eternal fate of all of my kids rests with God. I, however, am doing all I can to raise them in the teaching and admonition of the Lord. I am blessed to go a church where our preschool ministry does the same thing!
What kind of preschool ministry do you have? Are you content to babysit? How are you intentionally trying to reach 3 and 4 year olds with the gospel of Christ?