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Crazy Straws Are Way Better Than Chocolate Syrup!
Posted 03/23/2019 by Laura

Can children‘s ministry be relevant without compromising the truth of the gospel? It seems like people have debated this for years, especially since many curriculum, tools, and methods of communicating have been created specifically for the purpose of making Christianity applicable to children‘s everyday lives. Some churches have members within its ministry that disagree so vehemently with any changes to Sunday School or Children‘s Church that they start using one of the most abused phrases to attack relevant curriculum and methods: “watered-down”.

The assumption is, of course, that taking the gospel and making it easier to understand or more life applicable alters the material being taught. They assume that the Bible must be taught the way that they were taught, and any other way is less theologically sound. So, let‘s look at it this way: let‘s assume the truth in the Bible is milk (that white stuff that comes out of cows, safe for human consumption, and really good with cookies).

There are some of these churches that add strawberry syrup to it to make it more attractive for kids. They say, “but it‘s still milk; this is the only way kids will want to drink it!” So they have fun contests for how many kids will come, they spend all of church playing games earning tokens, and they mention Jesus once in a while. It‘s milk, but it has fundamentally changed. How do you ever convince the child to ever drink plain milk/really experience the Jesus of the Bible? The statistic for these kids remaining in church after their teenage years probably won‘t be very high.

So traditional churches are off the hook, right? Not exactly. The basic approach of many traditional churches is to force kids to pay attention to the Bible stories through bribery. Enticing a kid to sit still and listen to a Bible story by offering game time afterwards is basically telling them to stare at the milk, even if they don‘t drink it, and then offering them the bottle of strawberry syrup straight from the container. The problem is they never have to drink the milk; all they have to do is remain still and staring at it, or take fake gulps of it, to get the strawberry syrup. That‘s why so many kids taught in traditional settings may never get to truly comprehend the spiritual depth and relevance of Bible stories.

But you may also be asking: “But some churches are getting kids to get excited about church again- with new methods, tools and video curriculum!” And here is the big deal: these kids do not look like they are on strawberry milk or a watered-down gospel. These kids are passionate about living for Christ, doing what‘s right, and worshipping God. You can walk into these churches, see over-the-top decorations and video curriculum which may cause alarm for the traditionalist, but the results of kids coming to Christ, memorizing scripture, and living out their faith are undeniable and astonishing. So what‘s the deal? Are they using chocolate syrup? No, but it is simple - there is no flavoring added. Even though there are things that defy traditional Sunday School, the children‘s ministry is still giving kids “milk”. They only ever added one thing: a crazy straw!

Think about it. As a kid, would you want to drink milk out of a cup, or one of those crazy, spirally, sparkly straws? Straw. Why? It didn‘t change the flavor of the milk; it is still plain, white milk. But you were more eager to drink it. It did look cool from the offset; but it was also just fun. It made an ordinary thing a fun experience! You got to swirl the milk, blow some bubbles, and just appreciate your interaction with something so simple yet awesome. It might mean some exciting new things; actually some things that might look very non-traditional. But the message is always pure.

Don‘t alter the truth. Make learning time 40 minutes; just add video teaching and skits that are Bible based and founded on living out a life of righteousness. Take prayer requests. Open up the Bible. Have high expectations for living out faith and memorizing scripture. Just create effective and fun ways to tell the Bible story. Make church an experience, not just an event!

So add a crazy straw. Make it worth it for kids to get excited about drinking their milk without watering it down, adding flavoring, or offering them sugar to sit still! And as the experience of drinking milk goes on, they realize something. Life is better with milk. The milk will start to change their lives. So when you take the straw away one day, it won‘t matter. They‘ll be hooked- and devoted to God!

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