Teaching Children the Bible
What a responsibility we have, if you are trusted with educating children in a school setting or church setting! I’m going to be talking about a church setting today. Two hours a week, is all the time, some children will be exposed to the Bible. We need to be doing all we can to make something from God’s word stick with them throughout the week till they return next Sunday.
1. Private Devotions! Be in the Bible and Study it yourself. If you are not spiritually ready to teach your class, they are going to pick up on it. They know if you are just up there to kill time.
2. Be Prepared! Start preparing early in the week (Sunday Afternoon is not too soon). The more you are familiar with your subject or story, the more thoughts, illustrations, examples, props, etc… will come to mind. At the beginning of the week, I was going through a closet at church and came across some gold coins left over from a vacation Bible school theme (I’m sure it was a pirate theme). Because I knew what my lesson was about on Sunday, I knew these coins would be helpful to illustrate a point on Sunday. More on that later! I knew way before Saturday night what my lesson was about on Sunday.
3. Know your age group! There is no way a four year old and a ten year old learn the same. Not that we don’t have both ages in our Jr. Church, but you have to be aware that you are going to have content that will reach each age level.
4. Visuals! I love using the Abeka flash cards. They have great pictures to help learn any Bible story. We use the Joyful Life Sunday School Curriculum, so we have many of the stories they offer. You can order just the stories through Abeka though. They are wonderful. I always use other visuals as well: props, puppets, sleight of hand, role play, etc. . . The more you can engage a child the more they will learn. There are two ministries who have helped get this teaching across in our church.
CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITES!
5. Show personal interest in your students. Ask them how their week went. Ask them how school went, how their vacation was, etc. I ask them what they are having for lunch. Ask them their favorite foods, what they want for Christmas. Take time to let them answer and talk.
6. Give them an early “hunger” for the Word of God! Make your lessons and the time they are in church exciting – because God’s Word is EXCITING!
7. No idle time. You only have an hour or two to influence them in the things of God. Always have something to take up the time. Especially, if there is communion that week!
• Announce what behavior is expected of them. Along with a quiet seat prize and game prizes
• Songs (2-3 songs. Motion songs are best)
• Bible Verse Memorization
• Bible Lesson
• Craft or color sheet
• Prizes Given
Examples from last Sunday:
Last week my Bible story was on Zacchaeus.
I used a tall child and a short child to illustrate how short Zacchaeus was. I even used my two helpers, Olivia and Micaylee.
Part of the story the children acted out. I had a table with a sign that said, “ Zacchaeus – Tax Collector”. I had a student sit at the table to collect the taxes. I gave each of the children in class two gold coins. “Zacchaeus” was to collect two coins from every student, but I told the children that they really only owed one coin. Every student went up to the table and asked “Zacchaeus”, “how much do I owe you?”. “Zacchaeus” said, “Two coins” (Coaching will be needed). They handed him two coins. Every student in the class did this.
After they were done, I asked them is they were happy that Zacchaeus took all their money, “NOOOO!” This perfectly illustrated why nobody liked Zacchaeus and nobody wanted to be his friend.
After I finished telling the story, I had “Zacchaeus” return one coin to every student, because the Bible says he made things right. He even gave to the poor, so I had him give four coins to my poor helpers (Olivia and Micaylee).
They loved acting out the story!
There were two basis truths that I want to get across to the students.
1. Zacchaeus was a sinner – he was a liar and a thief. (There are many more truths, so little time.)
2. Just like Zacchaeus, we are sinners and we need a Saviour.
Invest in the children you are responsible for. Go to a conference, read a book, get new ideas from other teachers, Pinterest, etc… There are so many resources available to us. Use them!
Olivia is one of my helpers!
Love to Teach,