This guest post was written by Michael Grady from Michael Grady Ministries.
Life is more hectic and disjointed than ever before. The hustle and bustle of everyday life makes it very difficult to find quality, uninterrupted time with the children we serve.
And yet, we still have the responsibility to share God’s Word and participate in the development of their relationship with Jesus.
Even in many Christian circles today it seems that society dictates what is right and wrong instead of the standards established by God. This makes it imperative that we spend time together teaching our children God’s way.
Christian leaders, teachers, and parents have a responsibility to ensure their ideas and influences are given more weight than those of their children’s peers and society.
Even though kids may one day go astray, the things we teach them when they are young can build a strong foundation that provides support and encouragement that they need as they grow older and navigate their way through life.
Few church members take the time to read the Bible and even fewer understand it – especially the Old Testament. As part of my ministry, I created a resource to help teachers, leaders, and families dig deeper into God’s Word and better understand and share God’s message. Making God Part of Your Family is a series of Bible study books in story form that engages the reader and reveals God’s life-changing message.
Sharing lessons from God’s Word is essential in our time together as the Body of Christ. While we as individuals need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s in the family relationships where the teaching begins.
As leaders and teachers, we can develop resources and church programs that solidify the parents’ and children’s knowledge of God. Hopefully then, those we teach will be prepared to share God’s message with our community and others throughout the world.
For the Body of Christ to accomplish God’s purpose, we must spend time getting to know God individually and together. The place to start is in God’s Word. For us to know what God wants us to do, we have to learn to listen, then be willing to follow His path for us. The Bible should be our foundation.
Many teaching opportunities exist (whether in Sunday School, VBS, the classroom, etc.) that can be used to positively impact children to aid in their growth in the knowledge and application of God’s Word. However, we must make sure we find the time to make this happen!
So how do you get started?
Make teaching God’s Word a priority.
- Select a time that works best to get children’s attention.
- Select a specific time – Sunday School, Children’s Church, VBS, etc.
Keep it simple and to the point.
- Children like stories with characters they can identify with.
- Select a story and then discuss how it applies to their life.
- It may help to choose a storybook that makes it easier for the children to follow and bring in the scripture as appropriate.
Start out in small doses.
- Decide on a format that encourages discussion and sharing.
- Plan for 10-15 minutes and no longer than 30-45 minutes with good discussion (as teachers you know, once stimulated, children loved to share their thoughts).
Designate a comfortable location without distractions.
- Don’t allow tablets, phones, or toys.
- Consider your seating using pillows on the floor, couches from the youth room, or arranging chairs in small circles.
Engage kids in the lesson.
- Make the time conversational. Ask questions. Be engaged!
- Kids love learning when you involve them in the process.
- Equip older kids to read or share the lesson or scripture.
Conversations do not always have to be about God. Start with any topic that interests the children – their favorite sports team, video game, book, or show. Conversations about all of these can be used as a teaching opportunity and bring in biblical lessons when appropriate.
The younger the child, the more influence you have in helping develop their relationship with Jesus that will continue to guide them as they grow older. The bond established during their early years with quality time in God’s Word can carry over into their teenage years. Secure families for these kids can help to better equip them to navigate the roller coaster ride of the teenage years.
Here’s how I personally set up a lesson time in God’s Word with kids.
I found a place that was comfortable to be in with kids but formal enough so the children felt they were “in church.”
I started the lesson time by singing songs as it set the mood for the children to feel comfortable sharing and at the same time hear God’s Word in music. I promised them some candy for singing.
Then, I shared a story that connected their life to a story in the Bible, often the Old Testament.
I reinforced the message by playing a game. The game was a challenge to the kids – the team that answered the questions related to the story correctly had the opportunity to throw a paper ball into a small basket. The team that scored the most points won.
We closed the time in prayer. Eventually, I added in the opportunity for the children to lead the prayer.
Once again, the younger you start, the stronger your relationship will be in the future. Children of all ages crave structure, routine, and time with their church family.
Regular devotional time will strengthen them and help them form similar bonds and relationships founded on the Word of God!
Michael Grady has taught the principles of the Bible to all ages for over 40 years. His desire is to retell the Old Testament stories in an engaging and easy-to-understand format. His book series Making God Part of Your Family: The Family Bible Study, illuminate biblical messages that provide practical benefits for our daily lives and eternal rewards for all who believe the good news of Jesus. He can be reached at [email protected].