I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began teaching Godly Play…my kids hadn’t attended regularly in the past, and I wasn’t very familiar with the way the UCC teaches children about the Bible. But I love working with kids, so I signed up. Once I taught a couple of times, I learned the format of the lessons and got more comfortable teaching the material. I found that as I read over the familiar lessons of the Bible I was examining them again for the first time since I was a child, but in a new way, since I was raised in a much different kind of Christian church. Teaching Godly Play was an opportunity for me to delve a little deeper into my own beliefs.
At the end of each lesson, there is a “wondering” time, a time for the kids to reflect on the lesson and share if they choose to. Listening to their insights, which at times were so innocently profound, about God, faith, love, as well as death, uncertainty, etc., really was the heart of our time together. This “wondering” was a chance for anyone in the group to say anything, and though sometimes it took a turn for the silly, usually the kids seemed to really want to think about the lesson, and each thoughtful comment lead to another. Kids love the chance to be heard and taken seriously, and they were really listening and processing some deep ideas in a more mature way than I had expected.
Through teaching Godly Play I formed relationships with the kids in my group, and talked with a lot of their parents. It’s been great to develop that sense of community that is such a big part of Land of the Sky. With my own children attending more regularly they also grew closer to the kids their age at church, got to know their teachers, and learned a lot about faith and Christianity in a supportive and positive environment. The way Godly Play is taught lets kids be curious and uncertain without judgement; ideas don’t have to be black and white, there’s room for gray. This lets them think about God and all the complex concepts of Christianity, morality and faith and give voice to their perceptions of each lesson. What a gift, to feel free to think outside the box and question without being somehow bad or wrong. I think for me this is one of the things that resonates most. I love that this church allows such an openness for us all, and especially the youngest members of our community, to develop our faith in our own way while providing a core of strong Biblical guidance. The roots of our children’s faith are growing deep now, and hopefully that will allow them to grow stronger in time, eventually blossoming, maybe even providing shade and shelter for others.
To learn more about our Children’s Ministry click here.