LifeWay recently made some huge (amazing!) changes to their Sunday School curriculum. With that change came a lot of opinions. Most of the opinions I heard were very favorable… and by “most” I mean all but one.
I was speaking with someone specifically about the children’s curriculum. She was very upset that the old style of Bible story drawings were gone and replaced with “cartoon” coloring pages. The “old style” she was referring to were realistically drawn images that have been around for decades. I remember being a kid and thinking “Wow, these pictures look old!”. If I thought that back in the 90’s, what do you think the kids of today are thinking?
Her reason for not liking the coloring pages was because they were cartoon-like and would make the children think the Bible is filled with neat stories that didn’t really happen. She thinks the children will relate the stories to the cartoons they see on TV and not the Bible they are being taught is God’s word. She is worried that we are trying to be more relevant to the kids at the cost of watering down the message of the Gospel.
Why are we so afraid to present the Gospel in a way that works for people? The old style isn’t wrong, it’s just not right anymore. If they are coloring a picture of Jesus with the woman at the well they are investing time and effort in looking at the image and thinking about it. How often do kids take home the old style pictures and look at them? How often do parents put the picture on the refrigerator? Seldom, if ever.
The contemporary vs. traditional debate is about more than just how we worship with music, and I’m learning that more and more every day.