Last week, we began a new curriculum which uses the Children’s Catechism to teach kids the basics of the Christian faith. Of course, there has been some concern surrounding the word “catechism”. Here’s what I wrote in our Children’s Ministry newsletter last week:
As you might have heard at last week’s annual meeting, this year we’ll be digging deep into God’s word and really learning what it means to be a Christian. What do we actually believe? We’ll be learning all about it this year through a series of questions and answers called the Children’s Catechism. Now, don’t get all nervous about the word “Catechism”. It simply means a series of questions and answers (check the dictionary). And they are pretty simple questions at that. Check the left hand column to see what we’ll be learning this month.
The catechism we will be using is called the Children’s Catechism and is based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It is totally grounded in Scripture and is written in a way that is easy for kids (and parents) to understand.
Here’s a couple of helpful articles to check out on the subject:
Tonight, we’ll be learning about how God made EVERYTHING, including me (and you!). And He made it out of nothing. It’s amazing when you really stop to think about it. When your kids get home tonight, be sure to ask them the night’s questions as review (see left) and be prepared to talk about some of your favorite things that God has made.
I also heard about this book called Catechizing Our Children: The Whys and Hows of Teaching the Shorter Catechism Today. The title sounds totally scary, but is actually a terrific resource for both the history of “Catechisms” and the benefits of using them with children. The first shorter catechism (and there have been many!) actually stems all the way back to John Calvin (yeah-hoo!) and most catechism have their roots in Reformed Protestant theology. Turns out, the Roman Catholic church actually stole the idea from us. Imagine!
Week Two: Questions #3 and #4
Anyway, we’re continuing on with week two which covers:
- Question #3: Why did God make all things?
- Answer #3: For His own glory
- Question #4: How can you glorify God?
- Answer #4: By loving Him and doing what He commands
I will be interested to see how well the kids remember the questions and answers from week to week. I know my own children remember stories much better than concepts, so I hope this new format will stick with them.
If you’re looking for some activities to go along with these two questions, check out some of the suggestions below.
Question #3: Why did God make all things?
The answer to the third question in the Children’s Catechism is: For His Own Glory. We were made to glorify God. So often, I feel we really miss this point as Christians. We think this life is about us and that God is here to bless us and help us along the way. Our thinking is completely reversed. Life is about God. We were created for HIS glory, meaning everything we do should be helping build His kingdom and not our own. It’s a tough concept for kids to understand since they are pretty self-centered by nature (but then again, aren’t we all). Here’s a few ideas to get you headed in the right direction.
Nature Glorifies God
Scripture clearly tells us that all of creation glorifies God (Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20, Job 12:7-10, Psalm 148:7-10). Talk with the kids about HOW nature can glorify God. Glorifying God means to acknowledge His greatness and give Him honor by praising and worshiping Him (Read more here). How do the creatures or marvels of nature point to the greatness of God? Look through magazines or animals books and point out the cool or unusual things about the animals and plants and spend time thanking God for all the things He has made.
Dig Deep into Glory
If you’ve got an older group of kids, dig deep into the word “Glory” with them. Grab some cool Bible tools such as Bible dictionaries or concordances and take a closer look at how God’s glory was displayed throughout Scripture. Here’s 54 verses to get you started. Can God’s glory be displayed in the same ways today? Share a personal story at how you saw God working in your life this week.
Question #4: How can you glorify God?
We can glorify God by loving Him and doing what He commands. For very young children, obeying God often starts by obeying their parents. Even before children can read and understand Scripture, they can begin to develop a heart for obedience by respecting and listening to their parents.
What Should I Do?
Play a simple charade game with kids to illustrate the right and wrong way to react to their parents. Make a list of 5-10 common parental instructions such as: do your homework, clean your room, help your sister with her shoes, or sweep the kitchen floor. Pick one kid to be the parent and another to act as a child. After the parent gives the command and the child reacts, have the rest of the kids vote on whether their actions would be glorifying to God or not.
This lesson is the perfect opportunity to remind kids about our need for a Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We are to glorify God in everything we do, but with a sinful heart (and sinful nature), it’s impossible to do the right thing all the time. We need God’s help. We need the power of the Holy Spirit and that starts by asking God to be a part of our lives. Check out lesson from Ministry to Children for more inspiration.
Create in Me a Clean Heart
Along the same lines, this might be a great time for kids to confess their sins and repent to both God and one another. Perhaps they have not been glorifying God with their lives up until this point. Using this cool foam heart activity from Stuff We Do blog, kids can write their sins on their heart and then wash them away, illustrating the power of God in our lives.
Photo Credit: Stuff We Do
Shine a Light
When we glorify God with our lives, we shine a light for him for the rest of the world to see. Matthew 5:16 tells us, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” One of the reasons we want to glorify God with our life is so that others will glorify Him as well. There are LOTS of “shine your light” activities to try with kids, but I’ve listed four of my favorite below.
Here in Erie, we have a few lighthouses, so this would be a great craft to do with our kids. Hopefully as they are out and about this summer, the lighthouse would remind them to be a light for God! Couldn’t find the original link for the picture about, but Spoonful does have instructions on how to make this craft.
If you’ve got older kids in your group, break out the water colors or markers and have the kids make some verse art. Print out a few examples (a few shown below) and bring in some lettering books for inspiration. Have some non-artsy kids in your group? Bring in some coloring pages (like this one from Ministry to Children) so everyone can participate.
Image Source Unknown
Use tissue paper, glue, and glass jars to make candle holders. Read all about this families experience and check out more pictures in this post.
Photo Credit: Monarch Post Blog
This fun candles have a little extra shimmer with the added glitter. You could even write Question #4 or the Matthew verse on the candle stick. Read all about the instructions over at Apples and ABC’s.
Photo Credit: Apples and ABC’s
Music We’ll Be Using
- For Your Glory (Amber Sky Records)
- Shine a Light (Kids on the Move)
- This Little Light
- Glory to God Forever
- My God Can (Amber Sky Records)
Here’s a few coloring pages I spotted that would be great for this lesson!
More Resources to Check Out:
- Created for a Purpose (Lesson on Esther) from Ministry to Children
- Simple (printable) activity sheet about WHY we praise God
- Children’s Catechism: Getting Started
- How Can I Glorify God (Part 1 of 3)
- Sunday School Lesson (PDF): Useless Junk or Stuff with Purpose?
- John Piper on the Joyful Duty of Man (Audio sermon and notes)
- Salvation Army Curriculum: Let you light shine
- My Children’s Ministry Pinterest Board