One day I took a group of kids to the local zoo. A little seven-year-old girl kept asking to see the giraffes. When we finally reached the giraffe exhibit, she looked at them and said, “That’s not real!” I tried my best to explain that the giraffes that were right in front of us were in fact real. In today’s world there are so many shows making unreal things look real that kids often have a hard time differentiating between what is real and what is not. The BIG question is, how do we make sure the kids in our class don’t just think that we are telling nice stories—how do we convey the fact that God is real and the stories in the Bible are real too?
The key is to spark the imagination of the kids in your ministry by getting them involved in the process. One hopes that spark will begin a fire within them to want to know God’s Word on a deeper level. Here are tips on how to start a spark within your class:
Introduce new tools that are age appropriate and that help the kids discover interesting facts about the Bible story. Choose different kids to be fact finders. One person might look up the culture of the people at the time, while another could look on a map to see where the story took place. Include pictures of what the place might look like today. When there is a connection to the present, the Bible story will become even more real.
Show the kids how to use the tools during the Bible story, and suggest ways that they can find answers to questions on their own. It’s okay to let them know that you don’t have all the answers but that together you can look things up. For newer kids who may be unfamiliar with how to read the Bible or may need help using the extra tools, invite a regular attender to become their mentor. Allowing kids to teach other kids may spark interest even more than when an adult is teaching.
Try telling the beginning of the Bible story and then letting the kids discover the ending on their own. You’ll find that if kids have the tools and opportunity to practice using their Bible-reading and research skills in church, these are lessons that will stick with them far after the end of your class. These are valuable lessons that will help them understand not only the Bible but also who God is and His plan for them.
Make plans to partner with parents and get them involved in part of the Bible discovery. You’ll see how quickly that little spark can affect the whole family!