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Why Do You Spoil The Kids?

December 13, 2011

Sundays are a wonderful time in TrinKids. We get to introduce kids to the grace of God that is unbounded, undomesticated, and unbridled. God is pursuing our kids in such a way that brings them from darkness to light. He takes rebellious people and calls them his children (1 John 3:1). It is my firm belief that God’s grace is bigger, wider, and deeper than any of us can imagine. It is for the hardened, life-long atheist and it is for the covenant child who has never known a day they didn’t know Jesus. We want to lavish the Gospel on our children in ways the world doesn’t.

As I reflect on this, I am sometimes asked the question of whether we spoil the kids in TrinKids. The candy flows, the prizes are always there, and we provide a buffet of activities for them on Sundays. Aren’t we just building in their minds a consumer mindset? To that, I would say…absolutely we are.

I want our kids to be consumers of grace and to know of it no other way. Why do we give out prizes? To model the lavish love of God for his children. Why do we provide a cooking class for our kids (something I can guarantee you 99% of children don’t have access to)? Because we want them to know their heavenly father cares for them, wants them to have dominion over the earth, and gives them good gifts.

In all these things, we have a chance to drown our children in a sea of grace unknown to the rest of the world. We want them to be so overwhelmed by the freedom of the Gospel to enjoy God that they can’t help but love him.

In most other places in life you have to work for what you get. You study hard, you get good grades. You wait in line, you get to ride the roller coaster. You get the degree, you get the paycheck. But the grace of God is something far different. We are only consumers of it. We do nothing to merit it.

Part of our call as Christians is to represent God to his people (1 Peter 2:9). My job as a children’s director in this is to lavish the inconceivable depth of grace on our children. So the candy, praise, high fives, and smiles will be in high supply within TrinKids. My hope is that, having received grace from God and having seen it modeled, they will in turn extend it to others.

So, yes…I am producing consumers. I am producing consumers, not earners of God’s grace and I will do everything in my power to make sure our children know that they will never merit, but will only enjoy the grace of God.

Now, to those who are still concerned about the “consumer mindset.” This is a real concern for me as well because the second commandment charges us to not make idols of anything and to worship none but the true and living God. To this, I would say AMEN! This is the primary reason God’s people were led into exile in the Old Testament….and well…we know how that went.

There is, however, a distinct difference between idol worship and enjoying God’s gifts. Unfortunately, these get lumped into one category called “consumerism” when they are, in fact, very different things.

For instance, if your child has an emotional break down every time they have to stop playing the XBox…they might be worshipping an idol instead of enjoying God’s good gift. However, if your child enjoys the XBox for what it is, uses it in moderation, and is not emotionally distraught at the thought of having it taken from them…you have a child who is experiencing the grace of God in giving us good gifts.

So, in TrinKids we will be ladling on the grace all year round. We will be helping our children know the deep love of their heavenly Father seen even in things like candy.

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