Missional Children’s Ministry: Knowing God’s Story
It is impossible for families and children to become missional disciples of Christ without learning God’s Story of redemption that is weaved throughout the Bible. This foundation helps each family and child to journey within the bounds of orthodox evangelical Christianity. Elements of this story include:
- The world was meant to be perfect and mankind was meant to reflect the image of God. Mankind was meant to be in perfect relationship with God, each other and the rest of creation. (Genesis 1:29-30, 2:15, 2:25, 3:9)
- The world was broken by the choice of mankind to not follow God’s perfect plan. We are no longer in perfect relationship with God, each other or the rest of creation. Sin was introduced into the world. (Genesis 3:12-19, Ephesians 6:12, Romans 1:18-32)
- Because we are broken images of God, we are unable to fix the brokenness around us so God came down as Jesus to restore our relationships with himself, each other and the rest of creation by dying on the cross and coming back to life. We, through faith, can participate in Jesus’ death and have our relationships with him, each other and creation made right again. (Matthew 6:12, Luke 9:23-24, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, Ephesians 2:11-22, Colossians 1:15-20)
- When we submit ourselves to following Christ, we are called to live a life representative of an image bearer of God, following Jesus’ example and becoming more like him. We are to seek encouragement from as well as encourage others who are following Christ.(Mark 12:30-31, Acts 2:42-47, Romans 6:23, Colossians 3:1-17, 1 John 1:9)
- God calls us to take part in his continuing redemptive work through the Holy Spirit by being a part of bringing healing to the world. We do this by bringing justice and compassion, taking better care of creation, and pointing people to the redemptive work God can complete in each person. (Genesis 2:15, Exodus 23:1-13, Ezekiel 16:49, Matthew 5:16, 28:19-20, Acts 1:8)
Knowing the Story is important and necessary, but simply knowing the Story leaves families and children with information. Becoming a missional disciple of Christ requires more than an informational approach to spirituality. Transformation within the inner core of families and children must take place. Acquiring information does not naturally result in transformation. Transformational spirituality must be intentionally entered into by going beyond mere knowledge of the Story to finding one’s role within the Story and becoming a part of the Story.
To illustrate, take the example of the 1984 movie entitled The NeverEnding Story. The main character, Bastian, a boy who frequently daydreamed, picked up a book called “The NeverEnding Story.” While reading the story, Bastian is thrust into a fantasy world, Fantasia, that is being consumed by a dark force called The Nothing. In order to save this world, a human child must be found to give the empress of Fantasia a new name. As Bastian reads further and further in the story, he feels a pull to be a part of the story. He dismisses these feelings and chalks them up to an overactive imagination. As The Nothing consumes more and more of Fantasia, it becomes unmistakably clear that the only way for Fantasia to be saved is for Bastian to enter into the story. He ends up taking a leap of faith, overcoming his fears and entering into the story and being a part of saving Fantasia.
While this movie may not be a perfect metaphor of the need for families and children to become a part of God’s Story, the point remains there is a difference between knowing a story and entering into a story.
What are your thoughts about “Knowing God’s Story?” What would you add or change?