Saturday, June 11, 2005

1) Encountering God

These 3 E lists aren’t intended to limit the ways we can Encounter God, Embrace people, and Engage culture in the way of Jesus with kids. A list like this just helps us start thinking that way. You're probably already doing these things!

How do we enable our children to encounter God
or equip them to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength” ?

Remembering what God has done

  • Listening to or interacting with a Bible Story or scripture - it’s about God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) interacting with people and people interacting with Him
  • Activities that help little people ponder, remember, or interact with the story/scripture
  • Today stories about God
Singing/Playing/Listening to music
  • worship choruses to God
  • scripture in song to meditate on His words
  • choruses from songs we sing to one another for encouragement
  • choruses we sing to ourselves for encouragement
  • fun songs
  • songs that declare what God has done
Talking to God
  • for kids
  • with kids
  • agree with them while they pray

You are the one who…
thank You for…
praise You for…
I am…
Please do …
Help me…
question . . .

  • sometimes God answers, sometimes he doesn’t answer the way we expect
  • noticing when God answers and how
  • remembering to thank Him when He answers
  • different prayer postures
  • learning traditional practices



Meditating: Thinking about

  • God’s Word
  • things He’s done in scripture
  • in our lives
  • our own actions
  • What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? ( Creation) Who made…
  • Looking at faith filled creative works (art, literature, film, music, invention, etc

  • talking with/listening to children
  • including them in adult conversation
Adult Example
  • how we interact with kids will tell them how God loves them and other things about God
  • how we spend our time
  • who and what we give to
  • how we interact with God, our own personal disciplines
  • how we handle inconvenience
Guided Discovery (not giving kids all the answers. Giving them room to go after God and find Him or be found by Him.)

Parents sharing ideas and resources or using each other as resources

You'll think of more!

(c) 2005 Margie Hillenbrand


  1. I'm sorta all mixed up on this lately.

    On the one hand, I recall my own Sunday School experience with some disdain: it was tacky, goofy, not representative of the whole nature of God, unspecific about context, etc. etc.

    But on the other hand, the fact is that most of the knowledge of biblical narrative that I now have came from those days. And I've been struck by the Deuteronomical idea of binding God's word to your wrists and putting them on your doorposts, etc. (Not sure about the exact biblical language, but it's in there somewhere.)

    How do we balance encountering God in an "emergent" way (i.e., a way that uses the senses, is as honest and holistic as we can make it, and so forth) with the obvious benefit and clear command of scripture regarding some methodology that seems basically boring?

    Rambling...but wanted to put it out there. I'll try to check in more often than I have so far. Thanks for doing this, Margie!

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  4. A re-post of my comment as only one:

    Thanks, Scott! I think you're wrestling with an ongoing dilemma. I think it's a lengthy, ongoing discussion.

    We have confidence that God watches over His Word to perform it, that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word. We know Christ Jesus came as the Word Incarnate - God with us, Emmanuel to walk with us- He left His Holy Spirit to live in us and to remind us. . . but I think the context of discipleship, family and community was different in Hebrew culture. It's a significant factor.

    It's interesting that Jesus instructed His disciples the way fathers were told to instruct in Deut (speaking of these things when you rise up, when you sit down, when you walk along the way.) in the streets, in homes, on the road...all opportunities to interact with Him, with the world, to see Him interacting with others, to interact with His understanding of the Word...

    The scriptures have called generations to tell our children and grandchildren about the things God has done. We think our history books are huge!

    My understanding is that the Hebrews didn't divide a person into parts like the Greeks did. Body, heart, mind, spirit, relationships were all intertwined, interdependent, in Hebrew thinking. The Hebrews were into living life today. They weren't focused on some hereafter (no disrespect intended) Together, you had a whole person engaged in life, hopefully trying to live in a way that would please God. Men, women and children gathered together to celebrate festivals, to worship their God, to hear the scriptures ... Did they separate ages for instruction? Don't know...

    For me, the element that I'd like to think is most important is that while God is still God, and a Holy God, He is Someone who calls us to fellowship with Him - He sent Jesus, His Word alive to reconcile all things to Himself yet not to cancel the law. He left His Spirit to live in us watching over His word to perform it yet He endowed us with free will...

    Lewis said it well when he said Aslan isn't "a tame lion" He doesn't give us pat formulas and how tos. Even if He says "If you do..then I will..." we still have to decide whether we're going to believe what He says because He's faithful even if we don't see results.

    He uses all kinds of church communities in all kinds of places even at diffent times in history and they don't neccessarily fit the research patterns.

    Who are these people? Who are these communities where children and teens and young adults love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength, where new believers spring up too? They probably aren't all doing things the same way but what do they have in common?

    For me, one of the things that's exciting about "emerging" churches is that a group of believers is trying to take a step back and reclaim the past and build bridges for this generation to travel so they can encounter the Living God of the Ages. I'm excited because it has the potential to refocus on Who God is, What's true about Him and What He cares about not as dogma but as life - challenging ways that the church has gotten side-tracked in its thinking. I think there's great potential for healing...

    How we handle instruction will have a profound effect. Sometimes we do what we know is the right thing to do and we don't see the results we hope to see. I think that in any time and culture God is relational, God is instructional, there are things He holds us accountable for, but he didn't seem to use a lesson the context of "playing (and praying) over the changes" I don't know what the answers are (and they may not be the same for everyone - and maybe that's why instruction was supposed to come at home or through relationships . . .) but I think the discussion is important ...

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