Children’s and youth ministry can be characterized by many different kinds of activities and programs. It’s often tempting to focus much of our weekly planning on things like being sufficiently staffed, offering fun activities, and providing child-friendly worship music, a Bible lesson, and a snack. All of these things are good—in right measure.
The start of a new year is a popular time to commit afresh to Bible reading and Scripture memory. We believe that our Fighter Verse™ program is a wonderful tool for encouraging and sustaining Bible personal Bible memory. But did you know it was originally designed to also be used in the context of a larger church community? Pursuing a shared goal has one big benefit: stronger biblical community.
Let’s face it: trying to get the children in your classroom excited about engagement with the Scriptures can be difficult. It just doesn’t seem as “fun” as doing other things. Plus, for a teacher, leading the class to actually read and study texts can be a laborious process. What do you do when you have a classroom full of wiggly, distracted first-graders who are just learning to read? What Bible study goals are realistic for your fourth graders? How can you help a child that isn’t from a Christian home and has no prior acquaintance with the Bible?
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (James 1:22-25).
Steve and I (Candice) started serving our children's ministry eight years ago in the two-year-olds' room when our youngest was two. Since then, we've followed him up through the various classrooms as he's been promoted. This fall, we'll be teaching he and his classmates, third and fourth graders, To Be Like Jesus. I've noticed as we've moved to higher grades that finding verses in the Bible still proves challenging for a lot of the students. I figured they'd all know the order of the books of the Bible by now, but that's not something teachers can assume their students will get in school (espeically non-Christian schools), or even at home. I'm so glad to have the following creative solution from Jill, and look forward to using it in our classroom in the coming weeks.
School supplies are everywhere these days. Most schools give parents lists — sometimes really long ones! — of supplies their children will need for the first day of school. As a longtime Sunday school teacher, I would like to give parents a list for their children’s Sunday school class. You’ll be very happy to know that there is only one item on that list: a Bible. Not a storybook Bible. Not a New Testament and Psalms. The full Scriptures, Old and New Testaments.
(with Jill Nelson) The first time I heard our young grade school-aged sons say they spent some of the Sunday school hour doing “sword drills,” I wondered if maybe they’d had a guest speaker from the Army. I’m only half kidding. Not having grown up in churches that had Sunday school, I had to ask them what they meant by the term. They explained that the teacher would announce an “address” (chapter and verse) for a Bible passage, and then all the kids would hold their closed Bibles over their heads, and once the teacher said “Go!”, they’d race to see who could find it first.
Much has been said in recent years about teaching the Old Testament from a distinctly Christian perspective — seeing Jesus and the Gospel in all of Scripture. But in this video, John Piper raises an important concern about turning this perspective into a type of simplistic interpretative formula. He says,
… the danger in making a beeline to the cross too quickly and too methodically and regularly is, number one, it'll start to sound artificial. It'll start to sound monotonous. It'll start to be fanciful, because you'll come up with really clever ways of doing things that aren't really there and it'll keep you from seeing important things that are there.
Children Desiring God is excited to announce the release of two, brand new booklets for parents, pastors, and those involved in ministry to children.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.—James 1:22-25