Is bringing the Bible to church a waste of time? That’s the status quo the parents at our church would like to challenge in our children’s ministries.
Lee and I are helping in the children’s church program at our church. After singing, Scripture reading, prayer, and offering, children post-nursery (age three to four) up to about second grade are dismissed for their Bible lesson. Parent-teachers rotate teaching, and have all expressed a desire that this time not be play-time, absent of Bible, entertainment driven. We wanted to see Bible instruction on their level, with application directed towards their daily life. We are using Kids4Truth curriculum, something completely new to our church. The response has been positive.
We’ve found that the children are actually excited about learning the Bible. They’ve learned many of the standard Sunday school curriculum Bible stories, and they’re ready for more challenging content. Should we be surprised? If they are believers, the same Holy Spirit giving us adults a hunger for God’s Word is working in their lives, too.
One of the reasons that bringing a Bible was a waste of time was that the children never actually used the Bibles. They may have gotten a sticker or prize for bringing their Bibles, but those bright children realized the Bible was only a prop. What have we done to change this perception?
- We continued rewarding children who bring their Bibles. (attention and praise, and occasional candy rewards)
- We’ve provided Bibles for children who don’t bring their own. (we keep a stack in the classroom)
- We’ve started using them. Sometimes we just have them all look up the monthly memory verse, and we say it all together (because it’s familiar, even the prereaders try to read the verse). Other times we look up key verses during the lesson.
- We’ve been trying to teach them the books of the Bible. The better they know these, the faster they will be able to look up the verses. It’s an important prerequisite skill.
- We’ve been individually showing them how to locate chapters and verses (even a prereading child can find verses if you show them where the particular book starts).
- We’ve been asking the ones who can read to read the Scriptures, helping them with words they find difficult.