Teaching Through play in childrens ministry
*An excerpt written based on Kaitlin Mattox’s Zambia Children’s Ministry Workshop Video | Here
Welcome to a world of endless curiosity, boundless energy, and hearts eager to embrace the divine. In this blog post, we’ll explore the extraordinary role of children in the realm of faith and uncover creative strategies for teaching them about God. We’ll journey through the power of play, the significance of biblical truths, and the art of weaving God’s message into their everyday lives.
The Value of Children in God’s Eyes
Children, often seen as an interruption or an afterthought in many societies, hold a special place in the heart of God. This truth is vividly evident in biblical stories. Remember the disciples who tried to shoo away the children in Matthew, Mark, and Luke? They deemed Jesus too busy for little ones, but His response was different. He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” The divine pause, the attention given to children, emphasizes their importance in God’s eyes. They’re far from an intrusion; they’re precious souls.
The Call to Teach Children
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 gives us a clear mandate: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children…” Here, God not only values teaching children but also provides life as the curriculum for these truths. Life experiences, in all their forms, become opportunities to impart God’s wisdom and love.
Teaching Through Play
One thing we’ve learned about children is that their heart language is play. Observing children at play reveals their unique perspective and opens the door to teaching. We can take everyday activities and turn them into opportunities to convey truths about God. A simple hand-clapping game can be transformed into a lesson about the resurrection of Jesus. By incorporating biblical concepts into their play, we’re planting seeds of faith that will grow as they hide God’s word in their hearts.
Creating Playful Lessons
For instance, take the scripture 1 Peter 4:10, which encourages using our God-given gifts to serve others. We translated it into a hand-clapping game, involving the children in the message of the verse. Each action became a tangible reminder of biblical truths, fostering a deeper understanding of God’s word and His love. We are on a mission to hide God’s word in the hearts of children. Through play, we make biblical truths accessible and relatable. When children play and learn simultaneously, these truths become an inseparable part of their lives. This approach makes learning about God exciting, memorable, and fun.
Teaching children about God is an opportunity and a privilege. We’re called to take our skills, gifts, and love for the Lord to engage and empower the next generation. Through creative play, we’re nurturing fully devoted followers of Jesus, leaving an indelible mark of faith in their hearts. Children are not just the future of our faith; they are a vital part of it today. So, let’s embark on this journey of teaching and playing with them, knowing that God’s truth will guide their path and inspire their hearts.
Get a deeper look into this idea by watching Kaitlin Mattox’s workshop.
Kaitlin currently serves as the Children’s Worship Arts Coordinator at Olive Baptist Church. Her passion for children and their families to worship together joyfully and with sincerity fuels her work and life calling. She and her team teach what is true about God while developing skills that allow kids to worship with excellence. She currently resides in Pensacola with her husband Ryan and their four incredible kiddos.