Teaching the Bible so Kids Want More of It

teacher

I’m a little ashamed of this but when I was in school I would fall asleep in class. A lot.

Too much of my academic career was spent napping (don’t tell my parents, they’re still paying off some of my student loans; this is just between me and you, OK?). Most teachers just ignored it. One slammed a dictionary on my desk.

Before you write me off as a slacker:

  1. I was an honor student for most of that time (I went to kindergarten on a finger-painting scholarship).
  2. I only had two teachers that ever called me on this.

I think most of the problems that we have teaching in Children’s Ministry is not the subject matter. There’s God creating the universe, parting seas, flooding a planet, walking on water, killing giants, and raising the dead. The material is good. Kids’ attention spans aren’t to blame either. What makes teaching so hard is that a lot of the people communicating God’s Word just aren’t very excited about it because it’s so familiar to them.

A lot of my teachers didn’t mind me sleeping through their classes because they were bored with their own teaching. Too many times our teaching can feel like this:

When it should be more like this: “My words are straight from the heart, and I sincerely speak the knowledge that is on my lips.” – Job 33:3 (GWT)

The key to good teaching has almost everything to do with passion. It’s not enough just to know the nuances of the Bible story. If it becomes “Remember when Jesus raised what’s-his-name from the dead?” or “How about that one time that God sent bread from the sky?” then you’ve lost the battle.

Try reading it from a different translation than you normally do. Read it with different voices like a one-person show. Know it well enough so you don’t have to read off a script. Have kids reenact it with costumes. Use a spontaneous melodrama (my favorite). There’s nothing normal about angels talking to people, blind people being able to see again, and the dead coming back to life. Do whatever you need to do to get re-excited about the amazing, out-of-this-world stuff that God has entrusted you to pass on to the next generation.

How do you make sure that the Bible isn’t taught in a boring way to kids?

–Jeff

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