Training Our City Kids to Slow Down

Slowing down is not popular in our culture, nor is it typically encouraged. We live in a world where there is a microwave option for cooking everything (in case we don’t have 10 minutes to spare to cook mac and cheese); where newsfeeds and notifications constantly nudge us for continued interaction; and where rest is sacrificed for productivity and efficiency.

Sadly, it is not just the adults who feel this pressure to always perform and produce, but our children as well. Our days are marked by hustle and bustle...especially at this time of year. But for the past several months we have been encouraging our older elementary and middle school students to slow down and dwell on God’s promises in Scripture.

Psalm 46 encourages us to “be still and know that [God] is God.” In the midst of chaos and tumult, we are told to slow down, to rest, and to know God. Our curriculum this year in City Kids has encouraged this stopping to know God. Our elementary school students from 3rd grade to 5th grade have been marveling at God’s love and mercy in the parables Jesus told in the gospels. Some of the parables are just a few sentences long, but Alex and Liz Thomson have encouraged the students to not only read and think about the stories, but to live in the details of the story. Through acting it out, or playing games, or creating pieces of art, our leaders have encouraged kids to slow down from their daily routines and meditate on what it means to encounter the God of the universe in the person and work of Jesus.

Shelby Garzon and I have had the privilege of sitting with the middle school students of City Church and asking the question, “Who is Jesus?” Many of us in the church would think this a simple question. We could even point to some of our historic creeds, confessions, and catechisms to give an answer (and of course, we totally should!). But as a group, we have slowed down to think about Jesus and how he is our Lord and Savior, the Messiah, our Redeemer, our Mediator, how he is risen and at God’s right hand…and through it all we have barely scratched the surface! There is a richness to God’s Word, to our faith, and in community that we miss if we rush through it all. 

At City Church, we want to encourage everyone to slow down and consider, wonder, even marvel at God and his redemption of all of creation. And so we start with our children—and this wouldn’t be possible without our volunteer leaders: Alex and Liz Thomson; and Shelby Garzon. It is no simple thing to teach children profound truths of the gospel in a way that is engaging and age-appropriate. City Kids meets after our worship service about twice a month during the school year and it is a time of marveling at God through the study of his Word, and of building friendships in the context of community and a shared meal. When we slow down and allow ourselves to rest in God, we can begin to see more beautiful things—about God, about his creations, and about ourselves. I would invite you to come join us in slowing down when we resume meeting after the new year. Email me at jim@citychurchrva.com if you are interested in learning more.