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Rethinking Decorating Bible Classes for Kids and Teens

Rethinking Decorating Bible Classes for Kids and Teens - Teach One Reach One

 

Walk into a children’s or teen Bible class and you will notice two basic types of classes:

  1. Eye Centric: These classrooms are bright and cheery. It often seems every inch of wall space is somehow covered. These classrooms are definitely eye-catching.
  2. Non-Traditional: These classrooms are often bare or the decorations don’t seem appropriate for the children’s or teen Bible class meeting there. The walls may or may not be colorful and the decorations that are displayed may be faded and look as if they have been in place for many years.

Often non-traditional classrooms go undecorated because it is a shared space and the teacher doesn’t have permission to decorate in age appropriate or Christian ways. These rooms are also often the result of a volunteer group with a lot of turnover. The teachers only teach periodically and don’t see the need for spending the time and money to decorate the room. Still others believe they have no artistic talent and that any decorations they made would look worse than what is currently there.

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Signs Your Ministry to Children or Teens Is Drifting

Signs Your Ministry to Children or Teens Is Drifting - Teach One Reach OneWhen Christians start a Children’s or Youth Ministry or community outreach program for youth, they usually have the best of intentions. There is talk of raising up the next generation to be strong Christians. There are goals of conversions or lives being changed by learning about and following God.

Yet, when you examine many of these programs a few months or at best a couple of years later – they are virtually indistinguishable from secular programs. Oh, a Bible story is still probably told, but the emphasis has totally shifted. Instead of their original goals, they are now trying to merely entertain or provide secular education or housing or clothing or a safe place to hang out with friends.

Don’t misunderstand. None of those things are wrong. It’s just that when your focus switches from the spiritual to the secular, you are no longer meeting the entire standard God set for us. In scripture, there is definitely talk of social justice. It is always, however, in the framework of caring for those who are already God’s people or for pointing the unchurched to God so they can follow Him.

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Autism in Bible Classes

Special Needs In Bible Classes - Teach One Reach OneWith 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 62 children in general diagnosed with autism, chances are you will have one or more students on the spectrum in your class. If you haven’t had much training or experience working with kids with special needs, the thought of teaching a child with autism or any other special need may be intimidating.

There is one truth though you need to understand. Every single child in your class has special needs. God created each one of them to be slightly different from the others – even identical twins. That’s what makes the whole concept of the church as a body with all of its parts working together is so beautiful.

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Are You Using All of Our Free Teach One Reach One Resources?

Are You Using All of Our Free Teach One Reach One Resources? - Teach One Reach OneDo you teach children or teens the Bible? Are you a Sunday school or Bible class teacher? Do you mentor young people? Are you part of a faith-based tutoring ministry? Does your church have a community outreach program for kids, teens or parents?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, Teach One Reach One has free resources that can help you be more effective in your ministry. We would love for you to explore our primary Teach One Reach One website. Once you are there, here’s a list of some of the many free resources you can find:

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Asking the “Big” Questions in Bible Classes for Kids and Teens

Asking the "Big" Questions in Bible Classes for Kids and Teens - Teach One Reach OneA large part of our ministry at Teach One Reach One is to try and take educational research and see if using those principles can improve the effectiveness of the Bible classes we have for kids and teens. Recently, there has been some discussion on the role of “metacognition” in learning.

When you boil it down, metacognition for the Bible class teacher basically means “Are we so busy focusing on the little details in Bible stories that we aren’t asking important life changing questions?” Don’t misunderstand. Knowing the details of Bible stories has a place. It goes back to the Bloom’s taxonomy and levels of learning we have shared with you in blog posts and workshops.

Unfortunately, when teachers become so focused on the details, they may miss realizing their students don’t know what they are supposed to learn from the story and what God wants them to do with that information. In fact, the students themselves often believe they “know their Bible”, when in fact they just know lists of random facts and commands – not really how to practically use it in their lives.

In fact, asking the big questions goes beyond just your class. You need to teach your students to ask themselves these types of questions after any Bible class, devotional, sermon and especially after independent Bible reading. Then if they don’t know the answers, teach them how to find someone who will help them find godly answers to those unanswered questions.

So what are some “big questions” that need to be asked? There are probably quite a few, but these will get you and your students started.

  • What does God want me to learn from this Bible story or scripture?
  • What confused me in this Bible story or scripture?
  • Where can I find godly explanations of the things that confused me?
  • Did this Bible story or scripture make me want to ask more questions?
  • Where can I find godly answers to my questions?
  • What does God want me to do in my life because of what He wanted me to learn from this Bible story or scripture?
  • Do I need to learn how to do what God wants me to do after studying this Bible story or scripture?
  • Where can I get godly help if I am having trouble doing what God wanted me to do after studying this Bible story or scripture?

If you can get in the habit of asking your students these types of questions at the end of each class, you will help many fill in important gaps in their faith foundation. If you can teach your students to ask themselves these questions regularly, they are much more likely to actually apply what they read in the Bible or are taught to their daily lives. It’s definitely worth the time and effort to instill this great habit of asking “big questions” in the lives of your students.