One of the challenges many volunteers who teach Bible classes to kids and teens face is trying to encourage parents to continue discussing the lesson with their kids after class. This extends the lesson and makes it more likely your students will remember and use what they are learning from the Bible. There are a lot of reasons why that often fails to happen, but there’s a fun activity you can use periodically to encourage it.
The key to the effectiveness of this activity is how you present it to your Bible students and their parents. The more enthusiastic you are, the more creative you are in using the results and the more you can educate parents on the importance of participation, the more successful it will be. In fact you may want to send a note or email explaining the activity and it’s purpose to parents before you introduce it to your students.
Start the project a week ahead of time by teaching students about the conversion of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10. Spend time making sure they understand why this conversion was such a big deal. The next time you meet, tell them the story in Acts chapter 11. Point out that the Apostles and the Christians in Judaea had heard about the conversion, but wanted to hear what happened directly from Peter.
Explain that since there were no media outlets, other than an occasional carved stone tablet placed where everyone could read important government news, people relied on letters and the oral accounts of people who witnessed something for their information. The Apostles were wise. Instead of believing something that may have been a misunderstanding or a rumor, they went right to Peter – the person they knew who was involved in the incident. They allowed him to tell the story and explain why he did what he did.
Tell students that just like Peter, other Christians have faith stories to share. They may be about their baptism, how they learned about Jesus, the things they have seen God do in their lives and many other things. Often these stories are not shared or told to only a couple of people. Explain this is unfortunate, because while our main source of everything about God should be the Bible, it can also be encouraging to hear the stories of others.
Encourage students to go home and film the faith stories of their parents. You can send home a list of questions the parents can choose to answer. Don’t forget ones that are less intimidating, like who is their favorite person in the Bible and why or what is one way they have served someone and shared their faith in their lifetime. For students whose parents are not Christians, assign them a predetermined person to interview who understands they are stepping into that spiritual mentoring role – at least for this project.
This project works with almost any age group, but younger kids will need more help. Consider finding creative ways to share what students capture….maybe a monthly or quarterly video shared in worship or something they can watch on a secure part of your church website. Once everyone is comfortable, considering having themes for each “issue”. Some can be more light hearted and others deeper. Have fun with it, but remember the purpose…to expose students to positive faith stories of the people they know and to encourage families to talk about God outside of the church building. It may just become one of your congregation’s favorite traditions.