K-2: Knowing God
At this age belief is based on what they are told (“I am who you tell me to be”.) In terms of their development of moral reasoning children mostly show unquestioned obedience (“I should do what I am told”) around the age of 5, with a “What’s-in-it-for-me” sense of fairness ...
Kindergarten- A Walk Through the Bible
Knowing our Wonderful God
God loves me and cares for me, and I should care for others just like God
At this stage of development children’s concept of love is tied to family connections and self identity. Children understand love through their experiences of bonding with family and friends. To understand that God is a God of love they need to be able to identify love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) and develop a vocabulary that explains and expresses love. They need to understand that love demonstrates the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22). God demonstrates all these things to us.
Creation, Fall, Reconciliation, Response, Renewal
At this stage children believe what they are told by their parents and teachers. They love stories and find it hard to differentiate reality from fantasy. They may relate to the characters in Bible as figures from fairytales and movies. They need to experience the Bible stories in a simple and memorable way, helping them make connections to God’s whole plan of Creation, Fall, Reconciliation and Response and final Renewal. Although children learn the stories they often don’t understand the connections between them and they lack concepts of time to be able to sequence events. We still need every generation to be intentional about telling the next generation about God’s plan (Deuteronomy 6: 5-7)
The Ten Commandments, the two Greatest Commandments and the Golden Rule
God has given us his Law, his rules or commands, so that we might know how to live in relationship with him and with each other. These rules, the Law, cannot save us but it can direct us to how life should be lived. It stands against our own desires to do the wrong thing and also false ideas that from others which can lead us astray. Children at this stage of moral development are bound largely by rules which are external to themselves. Their moral code is shaped by the standards of adults and the consequences of following or breaking their rules. Authority is outside the individual and reasoning is based on the immediate consequences of actions. Physical consequences especially apply at this age but are not the only kind of consequence. We teach children to be like ourselves. We make them witnesses to our own behaviour. Stories from real life, movies and literature likewise are examples by which they learn, and can stir and provoke the moral imagination. ‘Moral intelligence’ isn’t acquired only by memorisation of a list of rules and regulations. It is acquired by experiencing God’s love and the love of others and seeing how the ‘rules’ are played out in real life.
Knowing God's Special People
God lets people be part of His plan.
In the beginning God created us to be like him and to have dominion over his creation (Genesis 1:26-28). Again, in Genesis 2:15, the man is put in the garden to work it and keep it. In doing these things God made it clear that we would stand in a special relationship to him, to be like him and have a relationship with him, and that we in turn would stand in God’s place as his representative to the rest of creation. Sin has come into the world, with all its trouble, but God’s plan has not changed. We are made to have a relationship with him and to represent him to the rest of creation. By looking at examples of people who had a strong relationship with God and who were used by God to accomplish God’s plans, students are able to see in action what it means to trust God and to walk with him, and to see what kind of things God might want to do through their lives as they grow.
God in his love has made us in his image and made each of us unique.
In the beginning God created us in His image, (Genesis 1:26,27) and thus made us special, different from the rest of creation, even the angels. Further, for each of us individually His thoughts about us cannot be numbered. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. God knows everything about us and we cannot hide from Him (Psalm 8, 139; Matthew 6, esp. v 25-34). As individuals he invites us to join Him in His work of restoration, gives us His Spirit, (Romans 8), he gives us unique abilities, gifts and talents to help others (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12;1 Peter 4:10). In our age people are enamoured with themselves and seek to find their confidence in themselves. They ‘believe in themselves’. This is not a Christian position. We are each special, but not because we are so in ourselves, but because God in his greatness has set his love on us. So I am special because of him. My self-image, my confidence, are all grounded in Jesus and because he does not change or fail, so I can always live in confidence, Romans 8:31-39.
Christianity is Jesus, Colossians 1:13-20. Students focus on the centrality of Jesus, who he is, what he did, how he saved us and what is he going to do.
God speaks to us in many ways so that each of us can hear him in a language that suits us. Children respond especially to stories and through participation. The Church has a very rich storehouse here in its celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas and the celebration of his death and resurrection at Easter, not to mention the Lord’s Supper and baptism. In addition, the Gospels have very many stories which in their own unique way speak with great power as to who Jesus is and what he came to accomplish.
In the beginning God created us to be like him and so to represent him to each other and to the rest of creation. In every part of our lives at all times we are to show how great God is by the way we live, the way we speak and by the way we love other people, especially when they are in trouble. We should do this at home, at school and when we are playing. We should do this everywhere and with everyone. This is the most important part of doing something special for God. To help us, God has also given us special things to do. In prayer we talk to God, and by reading the Bible we hear from God. By singing songs we can tell God we love him and think about his greatness. By going to church we can join with other Christians to do these things together. It is also a good chance to give to other people. A really special way God has given us to help others is by telling them about Jesus.
Knowing God's Wonderful World
God made the world and asked us to take good care of it.
In Genesis 1:26-28, God gave humanity dominion over his creation. This dominion is in the form of a stewardship. On the one hand the creation is created to meet our needs and we have the right to exploit as needed and humanity stands apart from and people are more important than the rest of creation. On the other hand, God cares for his creation, as Jesus noted in Matthew 6, and God remains the Lord over all creation. We are thus commanded to also care for his creation and not despoil it. Sin has caused us to be very greedy and so only think about ourselves. This is not God’s way. He has given everyone and everything more than enough for their needs to be met if will learn to give rather than take.
Our love for God is grounded in the trustworthiness of God, for we cannot truly love those we cannot trust. There are so many passages that have this as their theme. Psalm 23 and Matthew 6 are two favourite passages, but most of all is Jesus. He was promised in the Old Testament and Jesus came as promised, and when Jesus was raised from the dead it guaranteed that God would keep all his other promises. As it says in Romans 8:32, if he gave us his Son, then how much more will he give us what we need?
In the beginning God created us to be like him and so to represent him to each other and to the rest of creation. In every part of our lives at all times we are to show how great God is by the way we live, the way we speak and by the way we love other people, especially when they are in trouble. The implications of this are summed up by Jesus when he says we are to love God with all our heart, and we are to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. This last command is intensified by Jesus when he says we are to love each other in the same way that he has loved us. Through the centuries Christians have lived this out in things like education, hospitals, the abolition of slavery and so on, and in so doing have transformed the world. Students should be introduced to some of the ways in which Christians today live this out around the world, but for this age group their world is very much their immediate relationships.We should do this at home, at school and when we are playing. We should do this everywhere and with everyone. This is the most important part of doing something special for God. To help us, God has also given us special things to do. In prayer we talk to God, and by reading the Bible we hear from God. By singing songs we can tell God we love him and think about his greatness. By going to church we can join with other Christians to do these things together. It is also a good chance to give to other people. A really special way God has given us to help others is by telling them about Jesus. However, the focus in this unit is more on practical works of love. Evangelism is covered in the Tell the World the Good News unit.