The Question I Wish Every Parent Would Ask

October 24, 2017 — 1 Comment

On Sunday mornings, the hallways of our kids ministry are bustling. There are parents picking up kids, parents dropping off kids, and just a lot of conversations and connections happening each week.

I’ve found that it’s a great place for me to slow down and be present with families and kids. As families pass in the halls, I’ve heard one question over and over again. The question is:

Did you have fun?

I’m all for fun. I think fun is such an important ingredient to reaching kids, but there is so much pressure wrapped up in that question. ‘Did you have fun?’ implies that our primary focus should be spending 90 minutes entertaining kids. I wonder how I can compete the all the entertainment that kids have at their fingertips, and even more so I wrestle with the conviction that this should not be the measuring stick of Sunday morning. There is so much unnecessary pressure in this question.

This is also no knock against parents. Admittedly, I’ve asked my kids the same question. Every parent wants their kids to enjoy coming to church so that there’s not a battle every Sunday morning. I want to be more focused on how the Gospel connected with the heart and less on how the teacher did or did not entertain for the full 90 minutes. As a pastor, I can’t expect a parent to change the question they are asking until I’ve cast a vision for something greater. The more I heard this question, the more it caused me to think about the question I wish every parent would ask instead.

When a child comes running to the classroom door to head home with a waiting parent, I wish every parent would be excited to ask:

What did you learn about Jesus today?  

This question anticipates that children are learning who Jesus is and all that He has done to seek and save the lost. The immediate inquiry about Jesus means parents are excited to hear how their child is learning the riches of the Gospel. And this question provides our ministries with accountability to keep the message of the Gospel as the central theme to everything we do.

Think about this for a moment: If every parent asked that question, would your kids ministry provide kids with an answer? 

This is still not the predominant question being asked in our hallways, but I’m praying that it would be heard more and more each week. We have tried to explicitly emphasize the Gospel in every aspect of our kids ministry. There are other steps we need to take to get parents thinking and listening for how their child is growing in the Gospel. We will keep working on reaching kids with the Gospel and equipping parents to engage in Gospel-centered conversations with their kids. As we do what is humanly possible, I’m trusting in God and begging Him to fill our hallways with the question I wish every parent would ask.

One response to The Question I Wish Every Parent Would Ask

  1. Great article, Matt. I’ve been hearing the same question (“Did you have fun?”) too many times in the halls of our KidMin wing and it always makes me cringe inside. Because just like you, I firmly believe that children can take home so much more than fleeting fun from their time in church. I wonder if part of the problem lies in the way we view children. We are convinced that they’re primarily fun-loving, fun-seeking creatures and that’s what we expect everyone to feed them. We treat “fun” as if it were a form of oxygen for the children. At the same time we fail to acknowledge and therefore nurture their hunger for God, their keen spiritual sensitivity and awareness of God. Great job on introducing a new vocabulary to the parents in your congregation. BTW, today was amazing. I witnessed a father picking up his 4-year old daughter, and the very first question after his mouth after she threw herself into his arms, What did you learn today? What Bible story did you explore? I was so happy and proud at that moment and made sure to tel him he was a hero in my eyes.

    P.S. I come from Ukraine and in our language there is simply no word equivalent to “fun.” Perhaps that’s why you’d never hear a parent asking a child if they had fun at the birthday party, at the zoo or in the church. 🙂 It’s always: How was it? Who did you see? What did you do? What did you learn? Did you like it?

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