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Are We Blurring The Lines Between Fact and Fiction When We Teach Children?

Leadership / Teaching Techniques //

A recent study says that children who attend church have a harder time distinguishing between what is fact and fiction in life.

The study by Cognitive Science was based on research with 5 & 6 year olds who do and do not attend church.  An example – kids who attend church would be more likely to believe a talking animal they see on television is real. 

As Children’s Ministry leaders, I believe at times, we have blurred the lines between fact and fiction.  How?

Not clarifying that the stories in the Bible are not fictional stories, but actual events that happened.  It’s important to teach kids that the pages of the Bible contain real events that were experienced by real people.

Don’t assume they know this.  Tell them as you teach.

Not teaching age-appropriate apologetics.
It’s important to teach kids why we believe what we believe.  If we do not, when they are faced with the onslaught of humanism, they will have a difficult time.

People won’t continue believing what they discover is fiction…but they will die for what they know is fact.  Just ask the disciples.

Relying too heavily on secular media for illustrations.
I have used clips from secular movies to illustrate Biblical truth for most of my ministry.  Looking back, I may have relied on it too heavily at times.

If we’re showing a clip from a Disney movie followed by a clip from an illustrated Bible video…could the lines get blurred? 

Taking too much creative liberty.
I recently watched the movie Noah.  I knew ahead of time from the reviews that lots of creative liberty had been taken.  I was able to discern the difference because I had a base to do so. 

But with kids, who are very impressionable and may not have enough maturity and understanding, it’s important that we distinguish the truth from creative liberty.  If we don’t, the line between fact and fiction can become blurred. 

Using common descriptions.
This is a hot topic.  Many children’s ministry leaders do not believe you should use words like “story” when referencing Bible events.  The thinking is the word is also used to describe fiction and thus blurs the line.

While I have not taken this position, I do think it is a valid point.  We do have to be careful to use language that distinguishes between the two.

What do you think?  Are we blurring the lines?  What should change?  Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below. – See more at: http://www.relevantchildrensministry.com/2014/08/are-we-blurring-lines-between-fact-and.html#sthash.iEDQHd7L.dpuf

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About the Author

Dale Hudson is the Director of Children's Ministry at Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida. He has been in children's ministry for over 25 years. He was named one of the top 20 most influential people in children's ministry. He is the co-author of 5 books. He writes daily about his children's ministry journey at www.relevantchildrensministry.com.