When I first started teaching the Bible to kids I didn’t know what I was doing. I was in High School and helping out with our Sunday night AWANA program. I’m not sure if they saw something in me or just needed someone to fill in but I said I’d give it a shot.
That teaching time went OK but it wasn’t very great. I knew the Bible story and the principle we would be focusing on in it but I didn’t know how to present it well. I basically just read the story to them. Not very compelling.
Since that time 15 years ago I’ve learned a lot about teaching kids. Whether you’re using a curriculum or writing your own stuff here are 4 elements you’ll find in any lesson that changes kids lives:
1. An opening that grabs your audience’s attention
That could be a story from your life, something they do with a partner, a movie clip, or an object lesson. The idea is to “hook” them in the beginning so they want to listen to what you have to say.
2. A creative telling of the Bible passage
Again, whether you read it creatively, have the kids do a creative reading with you, have some kids act it out on stage, or show a video reenactment the key is for kids to know what the passage you’re talking about is talking about.
3. An explanation of what the passage means
Who are the people you talked about? Did they obey God or not? Why is this passage important. Don’t assume kids will get all this because you’ve just retold the story/passage. Make sure your explanation is simple enough for the youngest kids in the room to get.
4. Details on how to apply what they’ve just learned
What can we learn from this Scripture? How can we apply it to our own life? What is the main point? What is the connection to Christ? Don’t assume they already know. Tell them.
Create a sticky statement that you repeat throughout your talk that will help kids remember what you’ve talked about. Here are some I’ve used:
- Jesus is the only way to wash away my sins (Easter).
- When I get off track God will always take me back (Prodigal Son).
- God can bring good from bad (Joseph).
- I don’t need to fear when God is near (David & Goliath).
- God can help us heal from any ordeal (Jesus heals a blind man).
We provide response stations and small groups right after our teaching time for kids to apply what they’ve learned and talk to a leader and group of kids about it. We’ll also send a worksheet home for parents and kids to reinforce the lesson during the week.
In addition to these elements I’d also encourage you to pray over your lesson, practice beforehand, and get feedback along the way. This will help maximize the impact of your teaching time.
What are some great ways you’ve found to teach God’s Word to kids?