Making the Bible a 4-year-old

For months now, my four-year-old has fought me on going to church.  Specifically, his issue is with going "upstairs," where the children's ministry is.  He's fine coming to church and seeing Aunt Mandy and her boyfriend, "Big Tristan," and his teenage friends like David and Courey, and his college friends like Rachel.  But he doesn't want to go "upstairs."  I've tried talking with him, and I haven't exactly figured out the issues.  I have confidence in what our children's ministry offers; I don't fault them.  He says the kids aren't his friends; I'm not sure what that means.  He doesn't like that they read out of adult Bibles; he wishes they read from a Bible like his.  He wishes it were like MegaCamp all the time (our summer camp for one week).  He's been asking to go to "the Big Room" with me, and I've resisted. 

As the Pastor to Students, I know the twinge of watching students go to the Big Room with their families but missing out on the age-specific ministry we offer them.  I know the Big Room worship and teaching are important for their spiritual lives!  I just want them to get the full experience and some age-specific community and teaching, too.  I want that for my son, even though he's only four.

But this past Sunday was different.  He spent Saturday night with my parents, so he came to church with my mom.  He wanted to go to the Big Room with Nana, and she agreed, because it was a special day.  I was preaching.  I walked off stage, having not seen my kids for a day, and went searching for them.  I got a huge hug from my baby girl (she gives THE BEST hugs!).  But Tristan wasn't available for a hug.  He was in the Big Room with Nana; he made it through the hour-long service.

Afterwards he came running out, smiling, and then I got my hug.  He loved it.  (If you were at my church Sunday, then you'll understand that his favorite part was the turtle video.)

Paleontologist Tristan digging for fossils
The series is about being "Stuck" in our spiritual lives.  That night Tristan asked me, "Why are we talking about being stuck at church?"  

I explained that the Bible says that when we get stuck, or when we fall down, we need a friend to help us up.

Tristan said, "Like if a Triceratops got stuck, the rest of the herd could help him get out."

"Yes, just like that."

Even though he wasn't upstairs, he heard what the Bible says, and he understands it in his terms.  Dinosaurs are his life, and I'm encouraged that he was able to put the Biblical teaching in a context he could understand.  So, I'll keep bringing him to church and praying for him and listening to his bedtime prayers, and we'll see where he ends up on Sunday mornings.


  1. This is awesome in about a million different ways.

    Great parenting.

    Adorable children.

    Incredible preaching.


    And God making himself known to a little boy.

    Beyond precious and an answer to prayer for me. Thank you for sharing this.


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