One of the flaws of many church’s child-focused ministries is the failure to teach doctrine to children. It is somehow thought that doctrine and theology is important, but that kids just aren’t ready for it. Churches instead opt to teach Bible stories, character traits, and moral lessons. Certainly, these are needed, but without being rooted in doctrine and theology it lacks the foundation to lead to lasting change.
Here are several ways churches can teach doctrine to their kids.
1- Help children understand the doctrine in the songs they sing at church.
If your church utilizes doctrinally rich songs, children are already singing truth, but they might not be thinking through what they are singing. Throughout your weekly programs ask them about a certain song. See if they know what it means. If not, take some time to explain it. The next time they sing that song in church they will know the importance of its message.
2- Talk about the doctrinal truths in the stories that they already know.
If kids have spent any time in church at all they are probably familiar with many Bible stories. Each of these stories contain doctrinal truths or themes that are often not taught. Bring these up and discuss them. For instance, Noah and the ark is not just about the animals, the ark, and the flood. It is about God’s character, his hatred of sin, and his promise of deliverance. Teach truths, not just stories.
3- Encourage Parents to use the Jesus Storybook Bible with their children.
The Jesus Storybook Bible is a Children’s Bible written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The goal of this Bible is to relate all of the stories it presents to the work of Jesus Christ. This helps children understand that all of the Bible fits together to present one main theme that is connected to one main person — Christ.
4- Don’t be afraid of developing or using a catechism.
While catechisms have received some criticism in Baptist circles throughout the years, they can be a great help. No catechism replaces Scripture, but they can help children learn important truths in an organized fashion. Find a good one, and work through it with your kids.
We must be committed to helping our children learn doctrine. While there are many other ways in which to accomplish this, the above four ideas are a good place to start. Consider how your church can point kids to Christ by teaching doctrine.