Whether it is in art, play or their faith, Lisa Bishop knows that children are expressive by nature.
And she's been trying to teach them more about expressions of faith during her 10 years working with youth and children at First Presbyterian Church in Cape Girardeau.
At first, Bishop didn't feel her own faith was strong enough to carry her through the challenge. People talk about childish faith, but it's not that at all. Children just have faith, Bishop said. They don't take things for granted like many adults tend to do once they've accepted salvation.
Bishop didn't discover faith for herself until age 30.
"I dove headlong into this and learned more from that involvement about my own faith," she said.
It took a persistent youth minister to get her involved in teaching, though she still doubted she was ready. "But that's where you get the foundation, from being involved," she said.
Bishop now teaches in the childrens department, and often relies on art and drama to help convey the gospel message.
The childrens department at the church uses music, video clips, puppets and art projects to teach lessons. Bishop tries to use what's relevant for the children, so they'll better understand the lessons.
Recently, Bishop wanted to find a way to explain to the children about a new capital campaign for renovations in the church. Since the campaign theme is "By faith we grow," Bishop used that as a lesson. The children were asked to create plaques using sculpting clay that showed how they'd grown in their faith. Some have pictures of butterflies and flowers; others show a plant sprouting next to a list of the leadership roles in the church.
Each is a work of art, Bishop said. And she treated them as such. She set up a temporary exhibit in the church parlor to showcase the work, which she'd mounted and framed.
Some of the congregation was so impressed that they asked to buy some of the artwork.
Bishop said she was amazed at the diversity of the children's thoughts and projects. "Children are always more expressive with their faiths," she said.
As part of the campaign project, Bishop and the children also constructed a model of the church's new atrium addition using large cardboard boxes.
The display showed the church with its rose-stained glass window and bell tower. The education building was connected to the church using Plexiglas to represent the atrium area.
The display helped explain the construction project to the children, and even some of the adults, Bishop said.