The Front Page

Welcome to the Front Page, the digital cover of the Wayne Press.  Here we will share with you things that can't be captured in our newsletter--videos, music, color photographs--as well as articles that reflect on faith and life.  

 

Sacred Play

Anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes with teenagers and kids knows that sitting still and studying things are next to impossible for them to do for long periods of time.  They want to be silly.  They want to play with their friends.  They want to laugh and joke.  Being bored or, even worse, boring all kids want to avoid.  Fun is what they excel at.  Play is their birthright.     

I think that many people wonder how good this is.  Is “play” something that they should grow out of, or something we should wean them from?    

In my years of experience in youth ministry, I have seen time and time again just how fruitful “play” is.  Play helps us do so many things.  First, it helps youth build friendships.  When teens are playing, they can let their guard down and just have fun with each other.  They open themselves to new people.  These friendships are such a crucial part of what it means to be the Church.  Secondly, some of the best learning happens during play.  Play attracts and engages kids and teens alike, and if you can get learning to coincide with playing they will be more engaged.  Lastly, play can bring a welcomed reprieve from the frustrations of life, and give people a chance to laugh and find peace and joy in the midst of storms in their lives.   

Scripture also affirms the importance of play.  These points I gathered from an article called “A Serious Theology of Play” by David Naugle.  In the 4th commandment, that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai to teach the Israelites, God commands his people to take one day every week to rest from work.  God did not intend for God’s people to work constantly.  God wants his people to rest, play and enjoy the blessings God has given us.  Additionally, God commanded his people to observe many festivals each year which were marked by big feasts and community (sounds suspiciously fun doesn’t it?).  Lastly, the writer of Ecclesiasties writes that there is “a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Eccles. 3:4)  The Hebrew word for dance was also the Hebrew word for play, indicating that Scripture explicitly tells us to play!   

This blog helps explain some of the reasoning behind how I plan and run our youth program at church.  But I hope it also helps you see how important play is for everyone.  So plan a game night with your family, take your grandkids to the park, take a moment to swing on the swings again, and enjoy the goodness of the world God has given us.

~Andrew

Posted by Andrew Hostetter at 7:30 AM
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