“Those marbles are heavy!!”
Like many of you I’d bet, I have a container of roughly 3,000 marbles in my office. The kids are endlessly fascinated with this container of small glass balls (and can I just add here, WHO thought it was a good idea to make small glass balls for a children’s toy?!?). Beside that container is a small jar filled with 40 marbles that the kids find much less fascinating.
If you are familiar with the Orange curriculum or have read Reggie Joiner’s book Think Orange, you know that these marble represent two things.
- The first larger and heavier collection represents the average number of hours a child will spend in the home each year (give or take 500 or so).
- The second smaller and much less weighty assortment represents the average number of hours the child will spend in church each year, again give or take 10 hours or so.
When I first saw these marbles, I was instantly focused on the number. It’s hard not to be. When you see 3,000 marbles next to 40 marbles, it becomes abundantly clear just how small the window of opportunity is for those of us ministering at church. I became obsessed with those 40 hours. How could I effectively use them? How could I ensure that when the kids were in church, they were receiving the best teaching and biblical foundation we could give them?
But as time has gone on, my focus has shifted towards those 3,000 marbles. Because, as the kids point out, nearly every week, “Those marbles are heavy!” What happens at home carries a lot of weight in a kid’s life. It’s not just the time. It’s the weightiness of those hours.
Recently I shared this demonstration with a set of parents. I had a dad hold the bucket of 3,000 and I buried the jar of 40 inside. As he was holding it, I pulled out the jar and asked him how the weight had changed. He laughed and said, “It didn’t change.” So, I put the jar back inside and grabbed the other handle of the larger bucket. “How about now?” I asked. “Yeah, that’s a lot lighter,” he replied.
The weight didn’t shift when I took a few hours away. The weight shifted when we carried all of the marbles together.
What we say to our kids on Sunday will carry the most weight when it is reiterated at home on Monday. And what parents tell their kids on Friday will have the greatest impact when we re-share it on Wednesday night. It is imperative then that we are on the same page, reading from the same script, and sharing the same truth with the children. How can we do this?
- Talk with your parents and caregivers. Let them know what topics you’ll be covering that month, give them tools to continue the discussion at home, and provide daily contact and support through prayer, Facebook posts, private messages and texts.
- Listen to your parents and caregivers. Since communication goes both ways, ask the parents what’s happening at home. What are they talking about at dinner.? What events are shaping their family dynamic? How can you be praying for them?
- Pray with and for your parents and caregivers. When we pray, we go to the same God through the same Savior in the same Holy Spirit and as we pray, He makes us one in Him. He gives us His heart for each other, our church and the kids we love so much.
As Reggie Joiner shares, “two combined influences make a greater impact than just two influences.” When we join parents in carrying the weight, we become part of that bigger impact. And when church comes home and faith is an integral part of a family’s daily life, the weight is spread evenly across their lives and faith is not a “church” thing but a life thing. And disciples are made for generations to come.