Thursday, July 21, 2005

Teaching Worship

Look here for a report on the Teaching Worship seminar that I attended on Tuesday and a summary of their discussion of my manuscript on ministry to children. They read the first part of a book that I have been working on for two years and hope to finish and publish in the near future. I am grateful to John Witvliet and his seminar for taking the time to engage me in a discussion of these issues and also of my text. Here is what Carrie Steenwyk wrote about the discussion:

The last half of our session focused on excerpts of a manuscript by Bob Keeley on helping children develop faith. One of the participants pointed out a great line in Keeley’s manuscript that served as argument for the entire conversation: “Giving children a thin understanding of God can be a recipe for a broken faith later on.” So, in what ways can we help children have a broader understanding of God? One of the primary ways is through storytelling—both our stories and Bible stories. Bob emphasized the importance of having parents, grandparents, and other adult church friends share stories of God’s faithfulness throughout their lives with children. He also argued against using Bible stories as simply moral lessons. In the words of another participant, “Bible stories are always interpretative stories that give formation to the people of God and help them understand what it means to be a community that receives blessing and who are supposed to be a blessing.” In other words, Bible stories should help us know who we are and help us become who we should be. This is true regardless of whether we’re eight or eighty-eight.

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