One of the challenges the Church faces in keeping young people faithful to God is the lack of sufficient instruction and coaching time most of them are receiving. Studies have found children and teens need to be engaged with spiritual disciplines, direct biblical instruction, conversations about spiritual topics, etc. for 14 hours a week. If your Bible students are getting minimal instruction at home, the hour or less you have them a week is just not enough.
In order to increase the amount of time your young Bible students are learning and practicing what God wants them to know, you will need to get parents to commit to providing the other 13 hours of spiritual instruction and coaching needed each week. There is, however, something else you can do to help your students learn and practice more. You can find creative ways to extend your lessons outside of your official class time.
Here are seven of our favorite ways.
- Communicate with parents each week. Explain to them not only the Bible story or passage that was taught, but the key learning objectives of your lesson. Suggest additional scriptures to read before the next class. Give them questions for discussion. Suggest an activity that will help them better understand the topic or practice it in some way. You can also share this information directly with older children and teens – especially if their parents are not interested in working with them at home.
- Send home everything needed to do an activity at home. I know of several creative Bible class teachers who did this during the worst of COVID. Don’t forget to add supplies like crayons, glue or scissors for children whose families may not have them at home.
- Take Bible class field trips. Go to museums with artifacts from Bible times. Visit craftspeople who make things in similar ways to how they were done in Bible times. Go to a restaurant that serves historical Middle Eastern food. Encourage parents to go with your class as many of them may also enjoy the experience.
- Host coffee shop or ice cream parlor meet ups. Talk about what you have been studying and how well they are doing incorporating it into their every day lives.
- Execute a service project. For best results, read our past posts or chapters in our ebooks about effective service learning experiences.
- Send check in texts between classes. Ask questions about the lesson or ways to apply it. Encourage them to read a passage or do a specific thing to practice.
- Send them home with a ”research” question. Your Bible students may not willing read a book of the Bible if it were assigned to them, but ask a question that can only be answered by reading (or at least skimming) the same passage and many will be drawn in to reading even more. Especially appealing are often questions asking for their favorite proverb in the chapter, psalm that they find comforting, etc. Personalizing the assignment like that is often more engaging.
Mix up your strategies to keep them effective. Increasing student interaction with scripture even in small amounts will often prove beneficial to them.