Several months back I came across a Kindle deal for the book "Cold-Case Christianity". The sale put the book at $2.99 and so I read the synopsis of the book and clicked to buy it and have it downloaded to my Kindle. The book is an argument for the claims of the Christian faith written by a Cold-Case detective. The author, J. Warner Wallace, is not only a detective but he is a rather well known one. He is a regular contributor on several network news shows for his expertise in the field. The premise intrigues me but I have not read the book yet. It is on my reading list and I hope to get to it in the next month or two after I finish a few other books.
In the meantime, I discovered that Wallace had written a "for Kids" version of his book. I have always loved studying the defense of the faith. I thought it would be fun to read the book with my two youngest children. My hope was that it would bolster their faith and give them some critical thinking skills they could use in everyday life. A few weeks ago I sat down with them at bedtime and we read through the book a chapter each night for about two weeks.
To make the book interesting for children, the authors wrote the book in a narrative form. The book is about a group of children taking classes at their local police station to learn to be detectives. During the flow of the story, we discover that the detective teaching the class is a Christian who has good knowledge on how to defend the faith. One of the students has a lot of questions about the claims of the New Testament. The detective applies the skills they are learning as junior detectives to the questions about Christianity. Each chapter has a section where they are trying to figure out a case about an old skateboard and a section where they are examining the claims of Christianity.
The formula works well because it shows the critical thinking skills it is teaching in two different ways. Many times defending the faith seems abstract because we are talking about events so far removed from us. Just because an event happened a long time ago does not mean that we can't use our critical thinking skills on it. The book helps to teach kids to use critical thinking skills about the miracles of Jesus, his death, resurrection, and the formation of the New Testament. I have studied these topics at great length and it was impressive how well the book was able to make it understandable for children. It gave me an excellent opportunity to talk with my kids about the issues. Many good conversations happened as a result of the book. I feel as though this is a good first step to prepare them to defend their faith in a world that can be hostile to Christianity.
While my children and I enjoyed the book there is one complaint that I have in how the book is laid out. During the course of the book, there are some terms that need to be defined. To do this they have a small call-out section in the margins. I have a hard enough time dealing with those when I read myself but I found them even more difficult with kids. I had to decide where to stop and read the call-outs. If I stopped right away when they applied to the story it interrupted the flow of our reading. If I waited until the end of the paragraph often that was on the next page or we were long past the word. While the call-out information was valuable, it would have been better to be written into the story or to have boxes with the information at the end of the paragraphs. This is a small complaint and I only bring it up to help you plan on how to deal with these in the course of reading with your children.
In conclusion, the book "Cold-Case Christianity for Kids" is an excellent read. It will will teach your children critical thinking skills and help them defend their faith. You might even learn something along the way too. I highly recommend that you grab the copy in the church library and work through it with your kids.
One of the things that has amazed me about being a parent is the similar experience many people have with their children. While there are no membership cards or fees being a parent puts you into a club. One of the things that I am sure most of us have experienced in some capacity is the difficulty of keeping kids occupied in church. It is often hard enough to get everyone ready and out the door in time without even beginning to think about how to engage children during worship. We have tried to help with the older elementary age students with the Connect@Worship sheets but what about the preschool to middle elementary age. Below we have put together some ideas on how to engage this age of children.