Word-Centered Spirituality…expanded

26 07 2011

The previous post introduced the Word-Centered approach to spirituality.  Here is an expansion on that thought.

Young people who have a word-centered approach to spirituality need to be surrounded and influenced by people who can adequately engage them in learning about God and the Bible through lessons, devotions, and personal conversation.  They need people who profess truths about God through the spoken and written word.  The Bible is central to their lives, and those who read and teach the Bible to these children profoundly impact their spirituality and can aid in their trans/formation.  The places where they are apt to experience God include those where people speak of God and where the Bible is taught and books are read, especially Sunday School classrooms and church libraries. (Csinos, 76)

In my opinion, most children’s ministries are structured around a this approach to spirituality.  Children are taught the lessons out of the Bible.  They are taught about the precepts of God (truth, love, etc) and how it applies to their lives.  They are taught to respond to the Bible above anything else (which is good).  They are taught that the curriculum used to teach them is based upon the Bible and all the stories in it are true in order to help them understand how much God loves them.

All of this good, if not even, very good.  However, I agree with Csinos that this cannot be the only approach to spirituality.  There are children who respond to this form of spirituality, but this cannot be the only way.  Children need to be taught the truths found in the Bible and they need to be able to trust God’s Word.  However, they need to be given opportunities to do something with what they have heard.  If the story leads them to worship, then worship.  If the story leads them to prayer, then pray.  If the story leads them to engage, then engage.

My current church is definitely a Word-Centered church as many Evangelical churches are.  This is good, but it cannot be the only way.  Being word-centered is only one approach amongst others.  Any church that leans to heavily in one direction is missing out on ministry opportunities that God is offering.  He wants to engage his people spiritually and he has designed them to engage in different ways.  There are people who engage through the word and want to be involved in deep study.  But this CANNOT be the only way.

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