An urban myth is a strange or surprising story that many people believe, but which is not actually true.
You probably remember some you heard growing up. Here are a few of them.
Alligators in the sewers of New York City. The myth is that someone (probably a snowbird) brought some baby alligators back from Florida and flushed them down the toilet. They ended up growing into giant gators roaming the sewers.
The fake moon landing. The myth is that NASA faked the moon landings in a movie studio.
The Jedi religion form. This myth claims that if enough people fill out “Jedi” as their religion on their census forms, the government will have to make it an official religion.
Walt Disney cryogenically frozen. The myth says his body was frozen when he died with the hopes he could possibly be brought back to life from technological advancements. It says his body is stored in a deep-freeze chamber under the “Pirates of the Carribbean” attraction.
Pop Rocks and Soda explosion. This myth says if you mix pop rocks and soda, it will explode in your chest.
The truth is, these are just myths. There are not alligators in New York’s sewers. We really went to the moon. Jedi is not recognized as a religion by the government. Walt Disney was cremated in 1966. Mixing pop rocks and soda may give you hiccups and burping for a few minutes, but it won’t explode in your chest.
Over the years, there have been some “urban myths” that have circulated about children’s ministry as well. While they are not true, they have been believed by many. In fact, walk into many churches and you will hear these myths still being perpetuated. Let’s examine some of these and talk about why they are just myths.
Children’s ministry is just childcare. This myth sees children’s ministry as a babysitting service that is used to keep kids in check while the real ministry to adults happens.
The truth: Children’s ministry is ministry at the most critical time in a person’s life and is the most important ministry in the church.
If you serve in children’s ministry, you are entering a black hole that you will never escape from. This myth causes people to run from serving in children’s ministry. People fear they will be cut off from other adults forever and be doomed to corral hyper-active kids for the rest of their time on earth.
The truth: Children’s ministries want people who love serving with kids. Serving in children’s ministry is one of the best ways to grow in your faith. And you have the opportunity to form friendships and deep relationships with the other adults you serve with.
Children are the church of tomorrow. This myth is partially true and is meant to inspire people to invest in the future of the church.
The truth: But the complete truth is this. Children are the church of today and tomorrow. They can be the church today. They can make a difference today. They can be leaders today.
Children can’t enter a relationship with Jesus until they turn 12. This myth often uses the analogy of Jesus going to the temple at age 12 and says kids under the age of 12 should not be allowed to make a formal decision to follow Jesus and be baptized.
The truth: Jesus’ parents brought him to the temple to fulfill the requirements of the law regarding his confirmation. At 12, he was supposed to enter the period of life where He would have immediate dealings with the law, receiving it no longer through the instructions of His parents, but having been brought by them into a knowledge of its requirements. This was about Jewish tradition.
The Bible tells us we must have the faith of a child to come to Christ. Children can understand the Gospel and enter a relationship with Jesus before the age of 12.
Each child is different and there is no set age of accountability. Around the age of 7-8, children begin to be able to think abstractly and understand the meanings behind terms such as “Jesus is the bridge back to God.”
This doesn’t mean children in kindergarten can’t come to Jesus, but it does means that parents and churches should make sure a child has a clear understanding of the Gospel before they make a decision.
We are not to push children into a decision, and on the flip-side, we are not to hold kids back from a decision if God is at work in their life. Rather we are to walk alongside children as the Holy Spirit draws them to God.