Do you ever struggle to believe that the kids in your ministry can genuinely connect to God’s Word? Of course, if someone asked you if kids can genuinely connect to God’s Word, you would probably respond, “Absolutely, the Bible is relatable to all of us! It always will be.”
But in full honesty, you have moments of doubt that kids can find themselves in God’s Big Story, especially in light of the many distractions vying for their attention. If you’ve wondered this, you’re not alone.
Here’s the good news: the Bible is relatable and relevant to all of us—at every age and at every stage of life. God’s invitation for us to be a part of His Big Story does not change.
Finding a Rhythm
As ministry leaders, we have a tremendous opportunity to help families understand this truth and live it out. We must start by acknowledging where we are on this journey before we seek to begin new rhythms.
Maybe this sounds familiar to you: each week, you teach and share God’s Word in your ministry. But as kids grow, you see their love for God’s Word fade. By the time they reach adulthood, their knowledge of and desire to study the Bible is miniscule. There is limited evidence, if any, of connection to God through His Word.
Some of us may need to accept that Bible engagement one or two times a week is not enough to develop a genuine desire for God’s Word. I have seen this rhythm lead kids to believe that the Bible is a part of their church experience but not needed for or applicable to life outside of that. Many of our kids lack an understanding of the Bible’s purpose—an anchor for their lives and relationships with Christ.
Unfortunately, this is a common experience in many of our churches—including mine. I desire, and I hope you do too, to partner with families to create rhythms of Bible engagement that pour into every aspect of life. While there is great work to be done here, I invite you to dig into this. Seeking to foster a love for God’s Big Story is one of the most impactful ways we can serve the families we lead.
Cast a Vision
So, where do we start? A great first step is to cast vision with the staff, volunteers, and families in your ministry. This question may help you spark some conversations:
When children are 18 years old, what do you hope to be true about their faith?
You can ask the same question about a child’s identity, purpose, character, understanding of God’s character, Biblical knowledge, etc. As you share responses, you will find that the truths mentioned are shaped by a connection with God’s Big Story.
Once you cast vision in your ministry, you will likely ask the question, “How do we help families connect to God’s Big Story?” If you’re asking this question, here are two great places to start.
1. Know the Kids
First, become a student of the kids in your ministry. It is important to learn what draws them in. You may seek to know their interests, hobbies, families, favorite books/movies/toys, and learning styles. Kids will engage in the biblical story differently than adult do, but that does not diminish its value or beauty.
2. Develop a Strategy
Second, create a strategy that is simple and sustainable. The goal is for volunteers and parents to feel equipped to study God’s Word with their children. While you may choose to create something new, there are great existing resources that can be altered to fit your ministry’s needs.
An example of a method that exemplifies simplicity is the S.O.A.P. method of Bible Study—Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. Let’s walk through what it could look like to lead the children in your ministry through this method or equip parents to use this at home.
Read the passage together. It may help to give young children a “job” as they listen to the passage. You may invite them to draw what they hear while you read or close their eyes and imagine what they hear.
Ask children what stuck out to them in the passage. This could include God’s words or actions. It could also include any questions or confusion they experience.
We want children to hear from God and obey Him. You may ask children what they learned about God from the passage. Or ask how they can apply the truth of God’s character (ex. God is a Promise Keeper). In other stories, this application will be an actionable step of obedience.
Our prayer response allows us to show children that we read the Bible not to just know about God but to know God and know our place in His story. These prayers can be filled with thanksgiving for God’s Word and the truth it holds. You may pray for the Holy Spirit to help children live out what they have learned or give a quiet space for children to practice listening to God.
As you participate in this work, be encouraged. Recently, the ministry team at my church has been seeking to equip families to spend time in God’s Word. As we resource parents with a strategy, we see God pursue their families in love.
While it has been a challenging road, we are so encouraged by stories of households coming together to study God’s Word together for the first time. We are seeing God transform households, grow parents in their leadership, and bring deeper unity to family relationships.
These stories remind me that while our strategies and efforts are important, we are transformed only by God’s Spirit. It would be a beautiful image to see more stories like these across our ministries as families live into their part in God’s Big Story.