Leveraging How Elementary Schoolers See God

If every kid is created in the image of God, then they have a divine capacity to… 

  • believe, imagine, and love.
  • care, relate, and trust.
  • reason, improve, and lead. 

That’s a lot of opportunity to leverage, and you don’t want to miss it. Some adults miss it because they treat kids like they are not old enough, smart enough, mature enough, important enough, or even Christian enough to really learn anything.  

But every kid, the first-grader who knows how to build a Star Destroyer out of Lego blocks and the third-grader who knows how to spell “interlocutory” at a spelling bee, has the God-given potential to learn more about God than most adults imagine. 

And when kids begin to understand they are made in the image of God, they tend to look at the world and themselves in a different way. This one perspective can affect how they: make decisions, view sex, use technology, relate to their parents, see the church, care about people, and trust God. Don’t make the mistake of missing it. You wouldn’t just be ignoring a child. You could also be ignoring God. You would definitely be ignoring the potential every kid has to know God. Maybe that’s why Jesus was so emphatic the day His disciples were impatient with a group of children. Jesus knew something the disciples were missing, that every child is made in God’s image. 

Jesus firmly reminded His disciples, “None of you can really know God or His kingdom unless you are willing to trust Me like a child.” It’s interesting Jesus didn’t say kids should become like adults before they could relate to God. He said adults should learn from kids on how to relate to God. Actually, there may be some ways kids have more potential to know God and the principles of His kingdom than adults do. Maybe we program our churches backward. 


Have you ever noticed how kids seem to have an unusual curiosity and openness to learn about spiritual things? They don’t seem to mind talking about God. They don’t seem to mind talking to God. There has been a lot of research and money spent to understand what drives children. It’s almost as if every kid is wearing an invisible sign that says… 

Amaze me.

Inspire me. 

Move me. 

You may think that sounds selfish. Sure, these same drives also have the potential to awaken the dark side of a kid’s nature. A kid’s attempts to indulge their imagination, satisfy their curiosity, and gratify their physical needs can also lead to things that are damaging and dangerous. Sin could simply be defined as satisfying a God-given drive in an inappropriate way. But just remember, God designed these drives to help us. That’s why your role is to… 

  • Amaze a kid’s mind to imagine God.
  • Inspire a kid’s will to follow God.
  • Move a kid’s life to serve God.  

No, that doesn’t mean it’s up to you to actually make a kid grow spiritually. That’s God’s role. You can try. But chances are it will frustrate them and make you tired. But you should try to get better at breaking up the ground, planting seeds, watering, and fertilizing a kid’s potential to know God. 

So, start treating every kid like they are made in the image of God, with the potential to know and relate to God. And remember, whenever you teach, play, model, discuss, sing, story-tell, pray, worship, or read, you are usually turning one of three dials. The better you understand kids at every phase, the more skilled you can become at knowing how to incite wonder, provoke discovery, and fuel passion. 

This content was contributed by Phase. Discover all the resources available for your elementary schooler in the Phase store.