Questions about faith and deep topics may arise at the weirdest times. Kids will pop out with inquiries that you just didn’t see coming. One minute they’ll be telling you about “Paw Patrol.” Then the next minute they’ll ask a deep question about the Trinity.
These questions about faith can be deep and theological. For example, “Where did God come from?” They can be questions you aren’t ready for. “Where do babies come from?” or “What does (fill-in-the-blank) mean?” Kids can ask questions that can shock you. For example, “Is there really a God?” or “How do we know that Jesus was real?”
Kids’ questions about faith tend to scare us for multiple reasons. We fear that we’ll answer poorly and wreck their theology forever. We’re afraid of what could possibly be going through their minds to ask such things. We’re quite nervous about having “those” types of conversations. Quite frankly, we just don’t want to mess up.
But it’s a great thing when kids ask questions, especially questions about faith. First, it shows they’re thinking. Second, if they’re asking you, that signifies a great level of trust. So…how do we not blow it?
8 Tips for Responding to Kids’ Questions About Faith
Here are my basic guidelines for answering tough questions about faith:
1. Don’t panic!
When we freak out, we communicate that it isn’t safe to ask questions. Yet we want to be the safest place for children to turn. First, take a deep breath. Then prevent yourself from saying, “Why would you ask that?” or “How could you think that?” or “Why would you be thinking about that?”
2. Clarify what they’re actually asking.
I loved the TV show Everybody Loves Raymond
. One of my favorite episodes is when the daughter asks, “Why are there babies?” The dad flips out. He elaborately prepares to answer, only to discover she wasn’t even asking what he thought. You can watch the clip here.
Take the time to make sure you know what kids are really asking. Ask clarifying questions before launching into your answer. You may be relieved!
3. Answer according to age and maturity.
A 3-year-old can’t handle the same depth of answer as a 10-year-old. Some 5-year-olds are much more mature than others and require deeper answers.
4. Answer according to your relationship with the child.
If you’re a church leader or volunteer, you need to pass some questions off to parents. You should not answer “Are Santa and the Tooth Fairy real?
” That’s true no matter how passionate you might be about the subject. Always bring parents in on any topic that might be controversial.
5. Always be honest.
It’s easiest to answer with a vague, quick, pat answer—even if it’s not entirely true. Our goal is not easy. Our goal is for kids to know Christ
and have a biblical worldview.