Children are special, as is their faith. So much so that Jesus used them as His example of how we all should believe.
The wonder of God can be seen in and through kids, as they have wonder within them! As leaders and parents, we can help our kids explore His wonder as they develop relationship with the One who created us all.
As children grow, the way they interact with God’s wonder will also grow and change. At each stage, we can meet kids exactly where they are. We can love them, encourage them, and model for them what it means to follow Jesus. We can walk alongside them as they discover they are known, loved, and led by God.
God’s Word is full of wonder and we can share this very wonder with kids as they discover who He is, begin to seek Him on their own, and learn to declare His wonder to others.
Wonder in Early Childhood
Preschoolers exude wonder. Their world is one full of imagine, stories, and questions. They were uniquely designed with minds and hearts that absorb the wonders of God’s world and His Word.
For this age group, leaders can tell Bible stories in fun, creative ways that engage a preschooler’s natural sense of wonder. We get to tell the most amazing stories in the world to our little ones who will eat them up.
And on top of it, we get to communicate that God’s stories are even better than fairy tails because they are true. Because they are true stories, kids are more wonder-filled because of just how big and amazing our God is. And our God loves them so much.
Another beautiful thing about preschoolers is that they naturally like to help when given the opportunity! By creating regular opportunities to serve, they can share the wonder of God with others.
Imagine ways we can walk alongside families in looking for the wonder of God. How can we help them look for opportunities in the little moments of their everyday life to guide kids toward the wonder of God? How can we co-labor with parents to share with children who God is and what He has done?
For example, families can take a walk together and call out the unique things God has made. They can read books together or watch movies and talk about God. They can dive into the Bible together and kids can know from an early age that God created them on purpose for a purpose!
Wonder in Early Elementary
Kindergarteners through second graders still love a good story, along with being really active, so they need a lot of movement! Friendships start to form during this age as they begin thinking more concretely. This helps them as they develop a deeper foundation of their faith as they begin to understand how much Jesus loves them!
While teaching this age group, it’s a great time to act out the stories and sharing about emotions and feelings of the people in the Bible stories.
At this age, kids can even begin to understand salvation through Jesus when the gospel is presented clearly and simply.
One amazing thing to do is to begin sharing God moments with one another. Encourage children to think about their day and express how they saw God. It may be in things He created, they way He worked or even in questions they may have! Doing this helps children begin looking for God and expressing how they’ve seen Him move.
Encourage the families in your ministry to read Bible stories together at home. Like with Wonder Ink, it’s especially great when the stories families share match what is being shared at church. Creating this familiarity with God’s Word, gives kid a strong foundation for where to turn. It is through this practice and others, that they can hear from God.
Wonder in Upper Elementary
In this age group, friends become even more important. Third through fifth (and sixth) graders can think more deeply, dive into facts, and begin to develop and use their abilities. And, they love competition and fun.
By upper elementary, kids’ curiosity and desire for knowledge are at a high, so Bible stories can include more detail and kids can understand how the stories connect together. It’s important to share God’s Big Story with this group of kids so they can see the full picture of how God was and is working.
As you do this, you can also combine the knowledge kids are gaining with the wonder of God. Include science experiments and discussions about how God has designed the world! This will reinforce just how wonderful our God is.
Remember, as kids get older, they will encounter more conflicting worldviews, especially with the invasiveness of the internet and social media. Equip them to not only defend the basics of their faith but to be able to find biblical answers for themselves. Encouraging kids to ask their questions creates a safe space for wondering together.
Diving in to God’s Word
This is the perfect age to give this age group tools for spending independent time in God’s Word. Encourage kids to keep a journal of their God moments each day or week, so that they can look back and see His faithfulness.
Can you imagine what a child’s faith could look like as a teen or adult if throughout all stages of their early development we’ve cultivated a sense of wonder in God? In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul said to Timothy, “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.”
Timothy was one of the leaders Paul trusted most. And one of the contributing factors to his salvation was Timothy’s spiritual upbringing throughout his childhood.
Your commitment to helping kids know and follow Jesus has an eternal impact. Keep up the good work.
You can find more insights and ideas for family engagement in our free guide: What If We’re Failing Kids at Faith Formation? (And How Not To).