Preparing Your Kid for the Journey

Every three years, my church hosts a contemplative, interactive Holy Week experience called Journey to the Cross, which highlights different elements of Christ’s last week on Earth. What our creative team is able to accomplish in the weeks leading up to this event is nothing short of brilliant – building elaborate rooms, spaces and gardens, embedding audio/visual effects, each custom station allowing us to share in the suffering Jesus in the most beautiful and soul-stirring way.

This is why this year alone we anticipate 5,000 individuals, families, church and corporate staff teams from all over North Dallas to join us for this one-of-a-kind experience. It is truly special and labor of love for our staff. Oftentimes, the question gets asked, “What about kids?”

What would it be like for a kid to get the chance to see, hear, touch, and feel what Jesus went through the days leading to his crucifixion and resurrection? At Journey to the Cross, children not only experience the wonder of this story but also the gripping reality that it’s so much more than a story – all of this really happened to Jesus.

If you’re a parent and have been around Bent Tree for a while you may have memories of taking your child through the Journey. One parent once shared with me how he would never forget the image of a father washing the feet of each member of his family. Another expressed how her son reached the end of the experience and was so overcome with the reality of what Jesus went through that he prayed to trust Jesus in that moment. And then one mom told me, “Oh yeah, Journey to the Cross. One year my kids accidentally decapitated the fake Jesus in the tomb. For reals.”

Kids will be kids. Depending on their age and stage, they may respond to the Journey in different ways. They may share in the suffering of Christ and bear the weight of their sin for the first time. They may walk through with their eyes covered because it’s just too dark and miss pivotal moments. Or they just might make silly faces in that mirror they’re supposed to be silently reflecting in. It happens!

Sometimes the best thing we can do as parents is simply to prepare them for what they will experience and trust Jesus with the rest. Use this as an opportunity to discover where they are on their own faith journey, instead of focusing on where you wish they were. Afterward, we can pray, guide, instruct…and admonish where appropriate. But the beauty of the Journey is that we give our kids an incredibly unique glimpse into a cornerstone of our faith and then we get to have a conversation with them about it.

Family-friendly hours at this year’s Journey to the Cross will be from 4pm – 6pm, April 11th – 13th. If you would like to find out how to reserve a time slot, join our 24-hour prayer team, host a Journey at your own church or learn about available serving opportunities, visit: https://benttree.org/journey-to-the-cross/

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