The Value of Listening

25 07 2011

Csinos writes,

Adults, therefore, should take the time and effort to listen to the children around them in order to gain a sense of how they feel about God, church, and the world in which they live.  In the words of Cathy Stonehouse and Scottie May, authors of Listening to Children on the Spiritual Journey, “Listening to children is a cruical part of our relationship with them.  It brings pleasure, helps us know what the child needs, and can even teach us valuable lessons.”  Ministry with children, ministry that values young people as spiritual pilgrims, invlvoes listening to them on the spiritual journey. (31, emphasis his)

This quote returns those who work with children in their spiritual development to the value of listening.  Commonly children’s ministry is thought of as teaching and the children listening (and that is important) but in order to value them as fellow pilgrims on the spiritual journey, there must be dialog together.  The joureny is one done together instead of strictly done by the adult instructing the child.

Unfortunately, I do not believe a lot of times are created for adults to listen to the spiritual struggles of children.  The one exception to this would be church camp.  That tends to be an opportunity for children and adults to slow down from the hectic schedules and allow for time to listen.  This is a very important ministry that must be embraced by churches.

It is difficult to find “listening time” on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights when there is an agenda to get accomplished.  I believe in the importance of teaching lessons and the story of God at work.  But, adults must look for times (perhaps in small groups) for kids to open up about what is happening in their spiritual lives and how God is at work in them personally.  Without this time, these kids spiritual lives are not being fully embraced.

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