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Forming Faith in Children

“This is Mrs. Keeley. She . . . knows me.”

Those are the words Katie chose to use when introducing her boyfriend to the woman who had been her Sunday school director when she was a child; a woman who had maintained the relationship formed in children’s ministry throughout Katie’s youth, including Katie in her carpool, connecting with her at church, and being together when Katie suffered deep loss: “She knows me.”

“In Real Kids, Real Faith, author Karen-Marie Yust points out that God doesn’t wait until we are fully developed to initiate a relationship with us; through grace God gifts us with faith when we are born. . . . Faith starts to grow as it is activated through loving relationships with a parent(s) and significant others and through opportunities to experience God in prayer, in Bible stories, in music, at church, and in the world” (Home Grown by Karen DeBoer [Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2010], p. 40).

Children’s ministry leaders are faith activators. They form faith-nurturing relationships while providing space for children to experience God as they hear and respond to God’s story in ways that are specifically geared to their ages and developmental stages.

To nurture a resilient faith in kids, we need to pay close attention to how we tell God’s story, and that’s why you’ll find a whole section in this toolkit on the topic of Choosing Your Curriculum.

We also need to pay attention to how kids learn and develop. Below you’ll find information on the intellectual, social, and spiritual characteristics of children at different age levels, along with tips for leaders on how to tap into those characteristics in faith-nurturing ways. Share this information with the children’s ministry leaders in your congregation.

The Building Blocks of Faith

These Building Blocks are based on four common themes of faith development, and they apply to people of all ages and life stages. They can be used for strategizing and implementing a comprehensive children’s ministry overview and for shepherding a stronger faith formation culture. By addressing these four building blocks, your congregation can develop a framework to consider how you are meeting the ministry needs of your members of all ages. Learn more in Faith Formation Ministries’ Building Blocks of Faith toolkit.

Recommended Reading

There are some great books available on forming faith in children. These two are as readable as they are informative (for more books, check out the “Resources for Development” list in the Calling,
Encouraging, and Equipping Leaders section of this toolkit).