Poll a group of ministry leaders and they will all tell you that teaching kids Bible stories is an important bullet point in their vision. That’s awesome and I agree! But with so many kids (and families) unfamiliar with the Bible, we have to go a step further today. We must teach kids to use the Bible themselves too. I find that a large measure of kids do not know the first thing about how to use God’s Word, even some “church kids.” This past year, I took an intentional turn towards teaching new kids these important skills.
We don’t start with Bible ice breakers. New kids are so nervous about being embarrassed. Starting the session with a Bible ice breaker won’t help alleviate that nervousness. Save the Bible lesson until further in the session. Reserve the first part of the service to getting kids familiar with you, the facility and each other.
What’s a memory verse, anyway? That’s a fair question and one you are likely to hear from new kids. I tell kids this, “God’s book is loaded with treasures about God and His kingdom. Each week we learn a tiny snippet or what we call a memory verse.” I also tell them, “When we have troubles in life, God reminds us of these snippets. They give us strength to overcome anything! Do you want to be stronger?”
I start with the same paragraph every week. I hold up the Bible and say, “These are God’s words. They are all true and healthy for my soul.” Then we get practical, “The Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament was before Jesus came to the earth, the New Testament is after Jesus came to earth.”
We partner up to discover God’s word together. Never let new kids struggle with the Bible. Train your volunteers to teach kids how to use a table of contents. Wait patiently for everyone to find the verse before starting.
I provide extra copies for kids who don’t have Bibles. I keep a stack of extras in kids’ church but I also give Bibles away too. Some Bible book stores offer discounts to churches when they buy in bulk. It never hurts to ask!