Children and teens in Bible classes are often unsure what to do with what they are learning in those classes. In fact, it is one of the most common complaints we hear from teens. Using overarching themes in your curriculum can help focus both teachers and students on the purpose of a group of lessons.
One of the overarching themes in the Bible is remembrance. The entire book of Deuteronomy is actually a call for the Israelites to remember who God is and what He has done for them and called them to before they enter the Promised Land. It is a sort of memory book God created especially for them. The Bible has quite a few of those little memory sections from God. In fact, the word “remember” is used about 150 times in the Bible (versions vary slightly). What if you grouped some of these references within Bible stories together as a unit?
The key with using an overarching theme is that the teacher can’t be the only one aware of it. Within the context of each Bible story or lesson, students should have the guiding question, “What does God want us to remember?”. From week to week, compare the things God wants us to remember. Are those things about who He is? Are they specific commands or principles? Are certain things God wants us to remember repeated over and over from week to week?
Remind students that God understands our brains because He created them. He knows that repetition is key to putting something important in our long term memories so we won’t forget it. He even tells us which things He really wants us to remember and often repeats those things over and over.
Plan activities of remembrance that include some of the things your class discovers God wants them to remember. Encourage them to create works of art, songs, poems and other creative things to help them remember who God is, what He has done for them and what He wants from them. If you can accomplish moving those important things into the long term memories of your students, you will also be helping them strengthen their faith foundations.