There’s a 100% chance that every single one of us has witnessed a child being asked this question at pickup each Sunday:
“Did you have fun?!?”
Truthfully, I’m both the disciplemaker hearing this question and the parent asking the question. As a disciplemaker, I know the answer is “Yes!” But realistically we did so much more than just have fun. We studied the healing of Bartimaeus and how Jesus hears the cry of His children. We prayed for boldness and shared our needs with Jesus, and we finished up with a time of singing and playing! We all had fun, but it certainly wasn’t the pinnacle of our time together.
As a parent, I’ve realized the question goes deeper than just hoping my child was entertained for an hour. “Did you have fun?” is masking the real questions I have lurking beneath the surface such as, “Did you enjoy yourself? Were you taken care of? Did you feel safe? Do you want to come back?” Parents want their children to feel a sense of belonging and experience church as a place they want to regularly visit.
Did you know that when a child experiences a sense of belonging in their church through a relationship with a loving, caring adult they are significantly more likely to integrate biblical principles into their lives, read the Bible on their own and understand the big picture of the Gospel?
In fact, research backs up the longing parents have for their child to be known and loved by someone within their church community! This research was revealed in Children’s Ministry in a New Reality, a report released in partnership with Barna Group and Awana to help church leaders know how to build communities with lasting faith.
Before we replace “Did you have fun?” with something awkward like, “Uhh, so what did you do today?”, check out 25 different questions you can ask a child when you’ve picked them up from a discipleship experience. Ranging from short-and-sweet to deeply thoughtful questions you can ask at a meal or in your car, you’ll change the conversation from church being about arbitrary “fun” and learn how your child is connecting with their community of faith.
Melanie Hester serves as the director of discipleship engagement at Awana. A passionate disciplemaker of children, her own faith is deeply impacted by the 4- and 5- year- olds she teaches each week at her local church. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and most recently became an executive leadership coach to help children’s ministry leaders implement effective discipleship strategies into their churches. She is a wife and mom, a lover of craft coffee and an avid shopper at Trader Joe’s.