Listen to the children

Most of us went to Vacation Bible School when we were children. Some parents spend the summer taking their kids to one VBS after another – good solution to childcare when school is out. By August, those children could run their own VBS.

I am always amazed at children’s insights and ideas. While talking about Elijah and his dealings with evil King Ahab, I asked “What is a prophet?” One girl was quick to answer: “A prophet is like an alarm clock. He’s supposed to wake people up.” You couldn’t get a better answer in seminary, from a student or a professor.

Someone shared these gems with me:

  • A Sunday School teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan. She asked her students, “If you saw a person lying by the road, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?” One young lady broke the hushed silence: “I think I’d throw up.”
  • The class of youngsters was challenged to memorize Psalm 23. When the time came to see how the kids were doing, one young man named Rick was called upon. He had had a really hard time memorizing those six verses and was very nervous when his name was chosen. Stifling his fear, he spoke with conviction: “The Lord is my shepherd, and that’s all I need to know.”
  • The pastor’s five year-old daughter had noticed that her dad always bowed his head for a few moments before beginning his sermon. Curious, she asked him why. “Well, honey,” he explained, “I’m asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.” She took that in and then said, “How come He doesn’t answer it?”
  • Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his grandmother’s home. When everyone was seated and the food was being passed, little Johnny began eating his food. His mother spoke up quickly, “Johnny, we haven’t said a prayer yet.” He responded, “I don’t need to say a prayer.” His mother wasn’t happy: “Of course we need to pray. We always say a prayer before we eat at our house.” Johnny didn’t skip a beat, “That’s at our house. But this is Grandma’s house and she knows how to cook.” No word if Johnny survived to adulthood.

Yes, they can be brutally honest. But they can also open our eyes and hearts to the world they see and are trying to understand. Do they need to listen to us? Of course, we are wise and worldly. We know most, if not all, the answers, right? Perhaps we need to hang around kids more and listen to them. We just might learn something.


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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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