After the UMC Vote: What do with our Kids

Many of you have contacted me wondering what, if anything, Christian

Educators of children should do in response to the decisions made at

the 2019 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Young children are in no way part of the decision making and for most

of them, choices about their sexuality will not emerge until much later

in their lives. However, let’s not forgot that these children do have

uncles, aunts and parents who are LGBTQIA. Their parents will be those

who most concerned about the decision. And many adults of the

LGBTQIA Community have told us that they knew their sexual

orientation at very early ages. So, some children are affected directly,

and all of our children will be affected by the choices made by the

adults of the UMC.

Here is what I believe we must do right now for the children of our

church!

• Continue what you are already doing, but be humble enough to

make sure that what we offer leads to spiritual transformation

and mastery over scripture and prayer. Let us humbly recognize

that the majority of adults who sit in the pews and are making

decisions are products of what they learned in Sunday School. My

question is simple: Did the UMC empower people to use Wesley’s

Quadrilateral (Viewing scripture through the four lenses of

scripture, tradition, experience and reason) well? I believe that for

most adults, without any malice intended, the Church taught

them Bible facts and indirectly reinforced the notion that they

would need a teacher for the rest of their lives to “teach” the

Bible to them. We must be humble as we explore and adjust our

methods so that people become masters of their own faith

journey.

• Teach children solid Biblical study skills. As many of you already

know, I have been speaking out for my entire career about the

need to empower children as early as possible to read and

interpret the Bible for themselves. To do this, we need to stick

closely to scripture. Read the Bible Stories, present them in fun

and interactive ways, and then allow kids to ponder and reflect.

Rather than the adult telling children what “it means,” the child is

invited into the story and listens for Gods truth spoken through

the scripture. The more they ponder and receive positive

affirmation to “keep thinking,” the more confidence they will have

in their ability to read and study the Bible. This sets the ground for

them to study the Bible for a lifetime. This is what I call scriptural

mastery (the confidence to pick up the Bible and confidently look

for answers using Scripture, tradition, experience and reason).

• Help them into prayerful times. Introduce many different prayer

tools so that each child can discover a prayer style that helps

them connect with God. Energized kids will have a difficult time

sitting still… find a tool such as the labyrinth or clay to help them

focus. Artistic kids will most likely want to color a picture as their

prayer. Some kids will simply find breathing a great way to pray.

• Pray and study with them. Children have great instincts. They

need their instincts to survive and they use them all the time. If

you are sincerely praying and studying with them, they will be

more willing to trust that what you are saying and praying with

them about can be trusted.

• Learn from them. Jesus clearly told us that the Kingdom of

Heaven belongs to children. They have insights and

understandings that are often deeper and more profound than

the adults around them. We must humble ourselves, listen to

them and if we do, we will grow!

• Bless them every time! There are no exceptions to this! Every

child, every time, needs to be looked in the eyes and told

sincerely, that they are a blessing because they are and so are

you!

For more information about Leanne’s work and A Time for Children

please visit her website at: www.Leanne-hadley.com

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