How to explain what faith means to children
Explaining complicated theological concepts to children can be a challenge. When I prepared talks for the fantastic Youthworks Square 1 camp, I had these questions on my mind:
- How do you define faith?
- How do you explain faith to children?
- What does it mean to have faith in Jesus?
- If we are saved by grace, why do we need faith?
Faith is all encompassing
So often when I ask children what faith is, they respond with ‘believing in God’, which is true. But, I am beginning to wonder if this definition is too finite.
Faith is more than just knowledge about God. It is more than just saying you love Jesus. It is more than just doing the right thing. Faith is all encompassing. A friend shared with me that she describes faith as ‘knowing Jesus, loving Jesus, and following Jesus’.
It is all encompassing of mind, body, spirit, thought, word, deed and act. I remember when I was in youth group being told that being a Christian is a whole body affair. It affects your head, heart, hands, feet and voice. I continue to find this helpful.
Being an example of faith
One practical example of faith in Jesus is the woman who has been bleeding for 12 years in Mark 5:21-34. She hears that Jesus is in town. She believes and trusts that he has the power to heal her. However, she doesn’t just spend time dwelling on this knowledge. She acts on it. She reaches out and touches his cloak, and she is healed. Jesus then goes on to commend this woman’s faith. In fact, he says to her in verse 34, ‘your faith has healed you’.
My experience in children’s ministry is that we are quite strong on teaching about the character of Jesus. However, when it comes to application and response to Jesus, we are a little weak. It is hard to take the abstract concepts of the Gospel and make them concrete.
My prayer is that firstly, we will be people who have this God-given faith in Jesus. And secondly, that God will enable us to communicate this kind of all-encompassing faith in Jesus with the children we minister to.
May we help children through our lives and words to see that faith is more than just ‘believing in God’, it affects our whole life.
If you’re interested in talking further about how Youthworks Square 1 camp can help children to see that faith is more than just believing, contact our Ministry Support Team.