Conspire 09 continues with an interview of Ivy Beckwith and Donald Ratcliff, performed by Amy Dolan. I did my best to sum up the questions and responses!
Question: How do you define spiritual formation of children?
• Encourage children to be Christ-like, which might mean connecting to God and the child, having an experience of God, or the child growing and learning. It is important to realize that we are not a people that are actually doing the actual formation – God is, but we can facilitate that! – Donald Ratcliff
• Helping a child learn to love God and live in the way of Jesus – Ivy Beckwith
Question: How do we know when we are spiritually forming children?
• We have to look for those moments of spiritual formation. – Ivy Beckwith
• Not a test, but a testimony. The power of story is better than a test. Listening to their story. Being able to observe in the small moments that God is doing something in a child’s faith. – Donald Ratcliff
• Forming children is a process and a journey and we are at the beginning of that journey. Often we do not get to see the end of that journey. Children’s ministry requires faith that God will continue the journey in this child. – Amy Dolan
Question: How does a church influence a child’s formation?
• We need to think through our song choices. Sword drills break down spirituality! Spiritual formation is not our work; it is God’s work. – Donald Ratcliff
• Hidden curriculum matters. – Ivy Beckwith
Question: How does the church negatively influence children’s faith?
• We need to be careful, especially with preschoolers (that’s when they are the cutest). Young children are having spiritual experiences. – Donald Ratcliff
• We need to talk about the matter of a moment of salvation…How many kids come to know the Lord in a gradual way? Do we want to make those kids feel like they did it wrong? Faith needs to be affirmed. See where kids are spiritually and affirm that. Give them the language they need to talk about their faith. – Donald Ratcliff
• How can we expect kids to think its cool to go to adult worship services when we keep them out for the formative years of faith? – Ivy Beckwith