Did you realize most purchased literature for Bible classes for kids only covers 30-40 Bible stories over the entire time a child in your ministry will be taught from it? Or that most children in faith based tutoring programs or on the mission field are exposed to even fewer Bible stories?
Do you know how many Bible stories there are in the Bible? Over 200! Children and teens who depend upon churches and ministries for their Bible education are getting less than 20% exposure to the stories in the Bible and less than 5-10% exposure to the rest of the scriptures. No wonder they have such a difficult time living their faith. They don’t know have a full picture of what that means!
As a ministry leader or teacher, you can make a difference. There are lots of ways to make sure your students are at least exposed to more of those Bible stories. After all, we have to assume God put those particular accounts into the Bible for important reasons. You can also do things to make sure your students have experienced more of great Bible books like Proverbs, Psalms, the Epistles and others rarely even mentioned in Bible classes for kids and teens.
Here are some of my favorite ways to make sure young people have a much broader exposure to all of that great material God placed in the Bible.
- Ask those who purchase the literature for you if you can use something covering a broader scope of Bible lessons and scriptures. Not all purchased literature is created equal. Some expect students to discuss the same Bible story for multiple weeks – drastically reducing their exposure to what’s in the Bible. Others cover more Bible stories than average. The Teach One Reach One website has lots of free lessons and activities you can use – over 200 Bible lessons! Encourage the person choosing curriculum to opt for something that will expose students to more of the Bible.
- Create a special segment of class. Your ministry or church may want everyone to teach the literature they have purchased. You can still carve out a special five minutes at the beginning or end of every class. Call it something that will capture your students’ interest like, “Mystery Bible Story”. Find all of the obscure Bible stories – especially those that only cover a couple of verses (our website has a lot of them on our list of Bible stories) and share one each time. Make it a fun experience. Maybe after telling the story, your students have to guess in what book of the Bible it is told. Or maybe they get points for the first one to explain why they believe God wanted that story in the Bible and what we need to learn from it. Over time, your students will have heard a lot more obscure Bible stories at least once.
- Have a class challenge. This can have the added benefit of encouraging independent Bible reading. Don’t give the challenge during class. Contact students on a week day with the weekly challenge – a short passage of scripture or Bible story. Be aware though that unless there is some sort of incentive, most students will not participate. It doesn’t mean you must have an incentive or that if only one student participates, it wasn’t worthwhile. If you decide to use an incentive, make it something given only after participating multiple times or given randomly on some weeks and not others. You can even make it “educational” – perhaps a gift card to a local Christian bookstore, an ice cream cone with you (allowing you to do some mentoring), or a field trip to a museum with artifacts from Bible places and times.
- Let students create a challenge. Older kids and teens can be very creative. Plus, they should be better at knowing what will motivate them and their peers to read the Bible more. Encourage them to create a challenge and “marketing campaign” to encourage everyone in your church to read the parts of the Bible often skipped. Teens may want to incorporate social media, so make sure their parents have agreed for them to participate.
Is it worth the time and effort to introduce your students to the 160+ Bible stories they will probably never hear? Or entire books of the Bible to which they will have little if any exposure? Or to put the energy in attempting to get them to read their Bibles at home? If we believe what we say, that THE answers to everything important are in the Bible, then absolutely. Who knows, you may find some great new things in the Bible new to you, too.