Monday, May 10, 2021

Change What You Are Doing & What You Are Not Doing

Why do we do things the way we do them, particularly if there is solid evidence what we are doing is not working? For far, far too long our churches have run Children's Ministry in a way where the children have to sit and listen to adults who "teach" them what the Bible says. We know we learn many ways; reading, listening, being shown, etc., but we remember the most when we actually teach others. This applies for children of all ages and all abilities.

We retain approximately 10 percent of what we see, 30 to 40 percent of what we see and hear, and 90 percent of what we see, hear, and do. We have the capability to learn via all three styles, but usually dominate in one.

I’ll add one more – we remember about 95 percent of what we teach others!

These statistics get my attention. It may not truly matter if I remember ten or thirty or forty percent of what I learn when it comes to some things, but when we are talking about learning who God is, why we are able to trust His Word, and how we are able to know and walk with Him, we do not want children to forget up to 90 percent of what we try to teach them.

These statistics are not new news. We have known this for a long time and yet Children's Ministry after Children's Ministry continue to teach using lecture as the primary means they use to teach - and we continue to have children decide church, God, and the Bible are boring. As soon as they are able to do so, they stop going to church.

Why do we continue to do this? Why don't we engage children, so they are actively learning? If we engage them, let them help teach the lesson, they will remember 95 percent of what they learn. 

What we are doing is causing harm and is absolutely counterproductive when it comes to helping children know God and grow in their walk with Him.

What we are not doing is also causing harm - we do not teach children the "whys" - why they are able to believe in God and trust Him with confidence. Barna's studies show Generation Z is leaving the faith at double the rate of any previous generation. 

If we do not change what we are doing and not doing we will find the church here in America in exactly the same place where the church in Europe is - only 22% of people in Europe say church/faith matters to them. We must change, and change now before it is too late. We must engage children so they learn what we believe. We must engage and teach them why they are able to believe what we believe. Please do not continue to do things as we have been - make the change and engage children to learn what we believe and why they are able to believe it. (You will find resources to help you do this at this link and this link.)

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