Here’s my third post in “calling out” the terminology Children’s Pastors sometimes use when communicating to kids. Just so you know, I’m really not some self-righteous jerk making people feel bad. Every example I’ve written and plan to write, I’ve been guilty of saying at one time or another. Even writing these posts have caused me to even more carefully examine the words I use. We hold a valuable responsibility. We should steward it well.
Here’s another one that bothers me, probably more so because I’ve fumbled this one up with so many kids. It involves explaining how God speaks to us. Now, I don’t want to get into a spiritual debate due to differences in theological viewpoints, that’s not what this is really about. Feel free to disagree, but if we have a discussion, lets keep it to the point about not confusing kids pertaining to how we hear God’s voice.
Too many times when teaching kids how to hear God’s voice (outside what is written in the Bible), we tell kids that God probably won’t speak out loud, so we typically won’t hear what he has to say to us through our ears. Instead, we have to listen with our heart becasue that’s one of the ways he speaks to us, to our heart. You’ll know when he’s talking to you. Maybe I’m just the minority. These words have come out of my mouth before and I’ve heard them come from others. How confusing is this? As a Christian, fully indoctrinated in Christianeese, this makes sense to me or I can get the gist of it. But to a new believer or a child who sees the world through a literal viewpoint, this sounds kinda stupid.
I think we have we have to be very clear about what it looks like to hear God’s voice. Here’s just a sampling.
- God does want to talk to us and he does have something to say. It’s not usually a matter of whether he’s talking, but more a matter of if we’re listening.
- The Bible, God’s word, is his primary message to us. Those who seek his voice should probably spend more time with their nose in this book. God can and will speak to us outside the scripture, but it always comes back to the scripture. Does what God is saying to you line up with his word? If not, it was probably the pizza you ate last night. God will never contradict the scriptures.
- God will speak to us through others. This is why it’s so important to surround yourselves with godly company. It’s funny when people say, “I felt like the pastor had been reading my mail.” No, God’s been reading your mail! When I have difficult decisions to make, I listen to what Godly people are saying to me. When someone calls me out on crap I’ve been doing, I listen. Too many times someone has shared something with me either directly or indirectly and over several days or weeks, God’s used those words to create change in my heart.
- God will speak to us through the Holy Spirit. However, he’s not going to speak to your heart, your heart can’t hear anything silly. What this is going to look like is a thought is going to pop into your head. It could be something the Holy Spirit is saying to you. It could be your own thought. It might just be a good idea. However, it’s up to you to discern what is from God/Holy Spirit or what is from you. (1 Cor. 2:10-16)
I think that when teaching kids who to hear God’s voice, we should probably spend more time teaching kids how to be discerning as opposed to creative ways to hear the voice of God and the best way to be better at discerning is to spend time in God’s word and hiding it in our hearts.
Teaching kids how to heard God’s voice doesn’t have to be weird or mysterious. We can be honest and clear and as kids grow in their faith, knowledge and wisdom, they to will be able to discern what God is speaking to them!
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