Moving beyond reading a Bible story to really using the Bible to build Christian character and develop a relationship with God is a great goal of parents. To make it a reality consider the focus of a Bible lesson and what you want your children to learn from it. Then use a technique that helps children share the focus and apply that truth in life. Here are some techniques to try.
Make Lessons Memorable
- Appealling to children’s learning style naturally improves memory. Post verses for visual learners, repeat key thoughts and phrases for auditory learners, and let kinesthetic learners draw about the bible lesson or dramatize what they learned. For global learners, sum up how the lesson affects people. Let the analytical learner ask questions and provide thoughts to ponder about the lesson. Give tactile learners things to touch related to the lesson or something to do to apply the bible lesson.
- Connect stories to movement. Motions, such as up and down or in and out, have a memorable rhythm. For example, use the up and down and this side and that side as a reminder that friends of Jesus put their nets down and came up empty on one side of the boat until Jesus said “Let your nets down on the other side.” Then the nets went down and came up full. Let children act out the story with motions. Repeat the motions with the idea that when children try one way that doesn’t work, they can pray for God to show another way that will work.
- Connect Godly lessons that relate to a child’s interest shows that the Bible is relevant. For the nature lover, look up animals and plants in the Bible. If your child enjoys science, then end with experiments related to lessons. If you read about yeast, then conduct a yeast experiment and talk about what things spread like gossip and love.
- Add a contemporary story for a Bible verse, or ask children to share their story of a similar event that happened. When teaching about being happy with troubles (James 1:2) sum it up with a story about a very bad, terrible day that ended up with a special blessing.
- Jesus used the mustard seed and other images. Showing children these items or connecting to fascinating facts will help children retain information. For example, share the following bamboo tree facts for lessons on the importance of learning the basics: A bamboo only grows one foot per year for the first five years. Let children stretch up one foot at a time, to five feet. In the next year the tree shoots us 90 feet-taller than many buildings! The plant spends five years growing a strong and healthy root system. Compare this to establishing a root system of prayer or basic knowledge of reading and math.
Challenge Children to Action
- Children are familiar with the verb phrase, ready, set, and go. Sum up Bible story concepts, such as the boy who shared his lunch with verbs that promote action, such as get ready to share favorite toys, get set to play and go let others use those special toys. Or use the verbs go, play, and share!
- WWJD and FROG are memorable acrostics. Create ones to reinforce ideas, such as suggesting being a PAL to God, that is Pray And Love God all day!
- Think of challenge that flows from a Bible story. After reading about kindness, challenge kids to perform acts of kindness.
- Parody safety phrases or a commercial. Stop, look, and listen for crossing streets can become a phrase to keep from sinning after a lesson on obedience. Stop to decide if you are obeying God, look inside yourself and see how you feel, then listen in your mind to what God’s word says.
- Sum up lesson in steps that end with a motivating statement for children to echo. A bible lesson on Jonah in teachable steps would be:
- Jonah ran away from God’s call and landed in a fish’s belly.
- When Jonah obeyed many people turned to God.
- Jonah got mad and ran away again. He wanted God to punish everyone.
- God let a plant die to show Jonah how sad God feels to loose people and how he wants to forgive people who are sorry.
- Go God’s way, tell others about Jesus, and share his message of forgiveness.
Whether you use a book with great ideas or create your own, work at getting the main point to stick. Let devotions be an exciting adventure in growing together that builds your child’s faith.