Over the years, I have observed a lot of people teaching kids and teens the Bible. Many times the teachers will ask the students a variety of questions. Rarely though, do I notice teachers asking the students what questions they might have.
Assuming they understand the principles and concepts we are teaching because our students can answer our questions is not always accurate. Often students can quote back all of the correct answers and still not have a clue what they re talking about (If you were like me, calculus is a prime example – great grades, but not a clue what I was doing or why). In a secular subject, this may not always matter. When we are talking about the Bible and living a Christian life though, it can make a huge difference.
The next time you teach, take some time and ask your kids what questions they may have about the lesson. If they are confused, trying explaining the concept in a different way. Give other examples. Encourage students who understand the concept to try and explain it. Spend as much time as necessary to make sure they thoroughly comprehend it.
If you are really brave, ask your students what questions they have about God, the Bible etc. These questions can become stumbling blocks to your students’ faith in time if they are never answered. Granted the answer may sometimes be “We just won’t know until we get to Heaven”, but that’s okay. Their questions may also reveal concepts you need to add to your lessons in the future.
I found a list from the last time I did this with a group of elementary kids. The questions ranged from “Why did God only have one son?” to “Why does God never hate us?”. Interestingly, many of the questions revolved around why are we here, how can God love us so much, can you make abstract concepts like Heaven more concrete for me and how does prayer really work. When you find groupings like that, it is worth considering taking an entire class period and spending it talking about prayer or Heaven or whatever.
Giving kids chance to ask questions about God can seem really scary. Allowing your students to reveal what is on their minds and hearts will help you teach them the things they want and need to know about God at this particular point in their lives. Ultimately, that’s what sharing our faith is about – showing people how God is touching their lives right now and how He wants them to respond.