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How to Handle Doubt & Questions
“Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith,” wrote Frederick Ask God:
Buechner. “They keep it awake and moving.” This runs contrary to
most people’s assumptions about doubt—that questioning your faith 1. To help your children know
proves you’re a weak Christian. But when we have doubts about it’s okay to have questions.
something, we’re forced to examine its truthfulness and consider
how much of ourselves we wish to invest in it. If we (and our 2. To help you be a good listener
children) are going to truly own our beliefs, we must critically when kids share their doubts.
evaluate them first.
3. To reassure your whole family
Teaching your children that it’s okay to express doubts and ask of God’s presence and love.
questions is crucial for their faith development. “When the doubts
get ignored, it could eventually result in serious skepticism of one’s
worldview and personal faith,” says professor Dean Hardy. Use these Parenting Insights
tips to help kids wonder and open up: These age-level insights from
Children’s Ministry Magazine track
Don’t feel threatened when children want how young Christians’ thoughts
to ask questions. These queries help kids and questions change over time.
verbalize their doubts. View tough questions not
as a sign of rebellion but as opportunities to
Ages 3 to 5
teach and learn.
Older preschoolers begin to ask
“why?” and “how?” Miracles,
Listen intently, and don’t shame kids for
symbolism, and God’s nonphysical
asking questions. Reflect on what children say
nature are often confusing for kids
and affirm their feelings with phrases such as
this age. Answer their questions
“You seem afraid” or “You look like you have a
simply with words that mean
exactly what they say.
Make your family a “safe zone.” Foster attitudes that say it’s
Ages 6 to 8
okay to question and doubt. That will encourage children to feel free
Children this age begin to
to think critically and explore honestly.
distinguish between fantasy and
reality and begin to use logical
thinking. Give them answers that
When Doubts Arise allow them to use these skills;
otherwise, they’ll get frustrated.
In Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can
Do About It (Master Books), Ken Ham and Britt Beemer explore the
Ages 9 to 12
epidemic of young people leaving the traditional church in droves.
Older children tend to question
They cite a George Barna study showing that 61% of young adults
some basic beliefs they
had been churched at one point during their teen years but are now
previously accepted. They want
spiritually disengaged. They also discovered that of young adults
to explore an issue from many
who no longer believe that all the Bible accounts are true:
perspectives. Share your own
• 40% first had doubts in middle school. doubts and help kids find a niche
• 44% first had doubts in high school. to put their faith into action.
• 11% first had doubts in college.
“You believe because you
have seen me. Blessed are
those who believe without
Jesus said these words to
“Doubting Thomas,” the Support children’s faith development by talking to them about
disciple who wouldn’t believe their doubts and questions. Start by asking:
that Jesus rose unless he saw
and touched him. When our 1. How much proof or evidence do you need before you believe
faith is unsteady, we can find something or someone?
answers in God’s Word.
2. What things about God and the Bible are hardest for you to
believe, and why?
3. Why do you think God asks us to believe without visual “proof”?
1. Establish the Bible as the
authority for truth. Affirm 4. How might doubts and questions actually make our faith
that whatever God’s Word stronger?
says has either happened or
will happen. Tell Bible
accounts with enthusiasm so Family Experience: Faith Adventures
your children will believe
them, too. Many people in the Bible struggled with doubt. Use these
experiences from Group’s Hands-On Bible to explore faith.
• What You Know—Read aloud John 20:24-31 to meet a doubting
disciple. Then say: “When you have doubts, it’s helpful to separate
what you know from what you feel. For example, you may doubt
that God loves you because you didn’t make the soccer team. You
feel alone and unloved. But the Bible says that God loves you and
that he’ll take care of you. Because the Bible says it, you know it’s
true, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.”
2. Let your children know Together, divide a sheet of poster board
into two columns. Label one “What I Feel”
that you also doubt
and the other “What I Know.” List some
sometimes. Share the ways
feelings, and across from each feeling,
that your faith is a work in
write a Bible verse in response. For
progress. Tell how God has
example, across from “loneliness” you can
worked in your life today. Be
write “God is with me. Matthew 28:20.”
an example of how to grow
Use a Bible index to help you find relevant
through positive doubting.
3. Celebrate your children’s
• Childlike Faith—Say: “When you were
faith journeys. Recognize
littler, you trusted your parents about
that kids’ images of God
everything. Jesus says everyone should
expand as they struggle with
have faith like little kids—even grown-ups!
life’s complexities. Accept
We all need Jesus, all the time.” Read aloud Luke 18:15-17. Then
their immature perceptions
make something to remind you that Jesus wants you to trust him
and challenge them as their
the same way little kids trust their parents. Have each family
ability to think abstractly
member draw a heart on a piece of construction paper. Write
develops. Mark important
“Jesus” inside it. To the left, tape a picture of when you were little.
milestones such as baptism,
To the right, tape a recent picture of yourself. Decorate and hang
first Bible, Sunday school
the paper as a reminder of your faith.
promotion, confirmation, etc.
This page is designed to help educate parents and isn’t meant to endorse any movie, music, or product.
Our prayer is that you’ll make informed decisions about what your children watch, listen to, and wear.
What’s Playing at the Movies Culture & Trends
Movie: The Tooth Fairy (Jan. 22) What’s happening right
Genre: Family comedy now that may affect your
Rating: PG children and family:
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Julie Andrews
Synopsis: A tough minor-league hockey player with a • “Helicopter parents” who
reputation for doing facial damage to opponents gets are overinvolved with
busted for some insensitive comments to a child. His their children’s lives face
lousy attitude earns him a sentence working for a a growing backlash. Kids
week as a real-life tooth fairy. After getting used to grow best when parents
his new role, he starts to rediscover some of his own let go, experts say.
Discussion Questions: What type of attitude do you usually have? • The recession is slowing
Think of a time you’ve hurt someone with your words: Were you able to such “hyperparenting.”
undo the damage? If so, how? Read aloud Matthew 18:4. What does it One-third of parents say
mean to have a childlike faith? they’ve had to cut their
What Music Is Releasing families admit they like
Artist: Katharine McPhee (CBS News Poll)
Artist Info: This 25-year-old pop singer was the
runner-up on American Idol season five. Her self-
titled debut album reached number two on the Quick Stats
Billboard top 200 chart. McPhee has been upfront • An estimated 13% of
about her struggle with bulimia. U.S. children walk or
Summary: McPhee’s sophomore album highlights her versatile, elegant
bike to school these
vocal style. Several songs deal with broken relationships. In the first days, compared to more
single, “Had It All,” McPhee sings, “Why did I believe that little voice that
than 50% of children 40
led me down the path to this bad choice? Why don’t I listen to the angels years ago.
when they sing?” (Science Daily)
Discussion Questions: How aware are you each day of your
conscience? How much do you rely on it to help you choose between • A study shows that
right and wrong? Read aloud 1 Kings 19:11-13. How and when does God children burn about
speak to you? When are you most likely to listen to him? three times more
calories playing some
What Games Are Out exercise-oriented video
Title games than they do just
Content sitting on the couch
Ultimate I Spy
Players navigate 3D
screens to solve
and the Diabolical
In this adventure
game, players can
work on more than
MCC Youth & Family Winter/Spring Schedule
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ED CARTER, Minister of Worship & Evangelism
ED HARNISH, Minister of Benevolence & Pastoral Care
JOSH TODD, Minister of Education & Youth
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