November 18, 2016

Being Available

Cameron Tarrh

Have you ever spent time with someone and, out of nowhere, they asked a question that you weren’t expecting? It wasn’t just any question – it was a hard question that you didn’t know the answer to and a question that you were struggling with yourself. How did you react? What did you say? Did you feel a need to provide an answer, even if you weren’t sure if the answer you were providing was the right one?

We often feel this pressure when suddenly faced with a question we weren’t expecting. We feel a need to try and come up with an answer even if we’re not sure if it is the right one. This pressure can be fueled by many things: fear, pride, insecurity, etc. Sometimes we’re afraid the person asking us the question will look down on us if we don’t know the answer. This is especially true when it come to kids.

Kids ask a lot of questions. They ask hard questions. Sometimes they ask questions that we haven’t thought about since we were kids. In his book Relational Children’s Ministry, Dan Lovaglia (an Awana staff member) writes about the importance of being honest with kids when you don’t have an answer for something. He writes, “‘I don’t know,’ is an admission that you don’t have every answer, and it can be a humbling experience…When you and I are able to look a child in the eye, call them by name, and dignify their sincere questions with truth, not speculative or trite answers, humility shines through and helps unlock the door of their heart,” (Lovaglia, 136, 137).

When kids are asking tough questions, it is important for us to be available to them. When we don’t have the answers ourselves, it is important for us to be honest with them and simply say “I don’t know.” When we say I don’t know, it assures the child that their question is legitimate and it opens the doorway for them to continue to come to us when they have questions. It lets them know that there is safe place they can come, and that there is someone who is willing to wrestle with their questions alongside them (Lovaglia, 135-137). We need to be available, and as Lovaglia notes in his book, we need to model Jesus and embody a “Come to me” attitude and way of thinking (Relational Children’s Ministry, 135).

Jesus invited those to come to Him who were weary and burdened and He promised them rest (Matthew 11:28). When Martha was worried and anxious about many things, He invited her to sit at His feet and listen because it was the only thing that was necessary (Luke 10:41-42). David tells us in Psalm 55 that we should cast our cares on God because He cares for us and will not let the righteous be shaken (55:22). Paul tells us in Ephesians that we are to follow God’s example and walk in the way of love (5:1-2). If we are to be imitators of Jesus, then we should have the same attitudes in our hearts and minds towards the kids we serve in our church and through Awana.