Our audience is children, right? How will they know if we get something wrong, biblically or culturally?
I’ve found that it is incredibly easy to teach kids stuff. Dish in a little wonder, mystery and intrigue, and some culturally relevant observations or connections and you’ve got them right where you want them! C’mon… Disney, Nickelodeon do this all the time with their TV programming… who’s gonna check them? Who’s gonna fact check you or me?
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1 NIV
As someone who is a teacher and works with children, this admonition in James chastens me to make sure I teach well and as accurately as I can. And when I do make mistakes, because I am human, I admit them and tell the students that I was wrong or that I misspoke.
Our church doesn’t use a particular curriculum. We have crafted our own cycle/journey through the Bible in a 3-year plan. And every week, we record, archive, upload and podcast the audio and video teaching. We’ve been doing this for almost 5 years now. Because these teachings are broadcasted via the Internet, it also chastens me to make even more sure that what I say is accurate, which causes me to fact-check ahead of time. Often, while I’m teaching I’ll think of a thought, and I’ll almost say it, but if I’m sort of sure about it or not sure about it, I’ll hold back and not say it.
Knowing that other people watch these and listen to these Bible stories chastens the words I use, the stories I tell, and the accuracy of the things I say.
Hopefully we are all wise when we teach and we share stories along with our thoughts accurately with the children to whom we minister.