By Ashleigh Bryan, Adventure Avenue Assistant Director, NewSpring Church
Kids are some of the coolest people on the planet. They believe in possibility. They are not limited by reality or logic or any of the other things that we at some point possess as adults. Their minds are open to anything.
For instance, when we tell a Bible story, it is so much more than a story. For them, the stories didn’t happen a long time ago, but just the other day, and they were there to witness it. They were there when Daniel triumphantly came out of the lions’ den unharmed, giving glory to God. They were there, watching, when David slung a rock and hit Goliath in the head, defeating a giant and winning a battle. They sneaked along with the spies as they went into the city of Jericho and hid with Rahab, believing that God would take care of them, even in the face of their enemies. They don’t just hear stories about biblical heroes, but they live the stories, right along with those heroes, and then they implement those stories in their everyday lives.
Just the other day, during the weekend, we had a superhero who was having trouble being brave. As the actor was saying her lines, I heard the kids begin to shout out, and I almost reminded them to be quiet, but then I heard what they were saying. They were saying, “Be brave! God is with you!” “You don’t have to be afraid because God will help you!” “God can help you be brave!” They were boldly and fearlessly proclaiming the truth of who God is, and they weren’t scared that it would make the conversation awkward. They weren’t worried if the person believed the same things they did or not. They weren’t concerned about losing a friend. To them, it wasn’t about that. It wasn’t about whether they were telling their friend, a grown-up, a stranger, or even a superhero, who wasn’t supposed to be scared of anything. To them, it was about seeing someone who needed help, and calling on the One who is the everlasting source of help and hope. It was no longer about what we told them in the Bible story, or about repeating a phrase over and over again. It had become something they could hold on to, something that could help them, something they believed in. And they knew that if they believed in it and if it could help them, then it could help someone else, too. And these were preschoolers.
This is what is so exciting about watching them grow up. Today they are learning how to be brave during a thunderstorm so that later they can be brave when God calls them to the tremendous purpose He has for their lives. Today they are learning how to stand up for what they believe in so that in college, when someone challenges their faith, they will be able to stand firm. Today they are learning that everyone is made by God and loved by God so that tomorrow they can fight for what matters.
Working with kids is always an adventure. I am inspired by their imaginations, encouraged by their faith, and amazed by their potential. And it might be cliché, but they really do teach me more than I could ever teach them:
They are helping me believe for the impossible.
They are reminding me how awesome our God is.
They are teaching me how to have a childlike faith.
There’s this quote by Rabindranath Tagore that I love: “Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.”
When I hear a kid recite their memory verse, or watch some of them go out of their way to include another child, or comfort a child who misses their parents, I am reminded of this. Kids are our everyday reminder that God is love, He hasn’t given up, and He is still doing great things.