what matters NOW: space

i’m still a relatively new presbyterian (4 years!) but still on a regular basis, i’m challenged in my thinking and my christian faith starting place.  after spending almost my entire life in non-denominational churches (expect for my brief stint in the catholic church as an altar girl, but those stories are for another day) it’s been nice to experience my personal faith in new ways.

so when i asked my pastor and friend, sean miller to contribute to our what matters now eBook, i expected that his writing would come from a different perspective. and the whole purpose in choosing our contributors was to offer a variety of backgrounds, denominations, and experiences.

when i received sean’s submission on space, something really connected for me. we often talk about the word “space” in children’s ministry – but mostly when it has to do with physical space. we say, “i don’t have enough space,” “i need more space,” “doesn’t the kids’ space look great?” and what i love that sean did was expand our definition of space – yes, if refers to the physical places in our church, but it also refers to the spiritual and emotional space that we are creating for our children.

sean miller on what matters most in children’s ministry – space:

physical space matters. we have all seen children run up and down the halls of a church pointing out their spaces to parents, giving spur-of-the-moment tours to their friends, like they own the place… because they do. physical space gives children ownership in their family of faith. physical space, especially in the age of e-space, matters. physical space helps to build memories for children, and when children remember that there was space for them in the church, they will remember the church to be a place of meaning and purpose for them.

spiritual space matters, too. giving spiritual space to children means taking seriously their budding ideas. not in the context of “kids say the darndest things” or “the children are the future of the church.” these statements aren’t about giving kids spiritual space; these perpetuate the myth that how children express themselves is silly and not significant and that children will someday matter… but not now. giving children spiritual space provides the freedom of theological and spiritual expression in worship, in our learning environments, and in our community life now and not just when they are grown ups.

what does giving children spiritual space mean to you?

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4 responses to this post.

  1. […] what matters NOW: space – Amy Dolan on Sean Miller’s contribution to the book on space […]

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  2. I loved the idea of spiritual space in Sean’s submission! Just because kids worship differently than adults does not mean that it is any less significant. We should embrace it, and perhaps learn from it.

    Reply

  3. It means that they are given the “space” to ask questions…it’s the best way for them to grow deeper spiritually. I had a conversation with a new friend recently who told me she was raised in a church environment where you were told everything and never felt like you could ask questions. As an adult she recently attended another church (completely different denomination) and felt the same way. She’s searching for spiritual space where it’s okay to ask questions. We need to offer this kind of space for our children and youth…and yes, adults too!

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  4. […] what matters NOW: space – Amy Dolan on Sean Miller’s contribution to the book on space […]

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