If you volunteer as a children’s Bible class teacher, you may think your only role is to teach them the Bible story for the week. Actually, you are in a wonderful position to facilitate connecting your students to their church family.
These connections will often be what keeps your students returning to worship, even when they are not quite certain they really “get” church. It will make them feel accountable to those in the church family when they are faced with a tough moral choice. In short, the relationships your students have in their church can keep them connected to God when they otherwise might walk away.
So what can you do as a Bible class teacher to connect your students to other members in meaningful ways? There are actually many fun ways to start creating relationships between your students and other members of the congregation.
- Remember you are teaching a group of children with a wide variety of personalities and interests. As you introduce your students to various members of the congregation, try to vary the people. It’s tempting to just use the people to whom you are closest. Most likely they are very similar to you and may or may not connect to some of your students. Pay special attention to personality types and interests outside of church and try to keep a wide variety of people visiting your class.
- Introduce your students to people of all ages. The dynamics of today’s families mean some children are not around grandparents or one of their parents. Others may look up to teens. Having them connected to a wide variety of ages will help them feel connected in the ways that are meaningful to them.
- Introduce your students to church leaders. Your students can probably recognize and name the minister of your congregation. Do they know the leaders God put in charge of the church – the elders? Invite the elders in for the first few minutes of class. Have only one or two at a time. Encourage them to introduce themselves, share a little about what they do as an elder and maybe their favorite Bible verse or story. Have your students share prayer requests and have the elder say a short prayer. The whole exchange can take just the first or last five minutes of class, but will educate your child about biblical church leadership and help them know who their elders are.
- Have members share their gifts with your students. Have talented actors, singers, story tellers, crafts people in your congregation? Have them come share their gifts with your class. They can act out stories, teach new songs, tell your story for you and teach your students about the crafts of Bible times. These visits often touch one or more children in a very special place in their hearts. Encourage those students to continue talking with the guest. Suggest the student’s parents help the visitor mentor their child in the gift that caught his eye.
- Encourage members to share how they worship and serve God in their daily lives. My parents have done this with their kindergarten Bible class since I was that age. They have people from doctors to homemakers and everything in between come share with the children about their careers and how God uses them to serve him through their work.
- Consider working with your congregation to set up a mentoring program for every child. Our daughter had a mentor at church from the time she entered seventh grade. Honestly, I wish it could have started sooner. She gained so much from knowing an unrelated family cared enough about her to keep up with her life, attend some of her special events and celebrate birthdays with her. It created a very strong bond, not just to them but to the congregation. She always felt loved when she walked through those doors. She became so close to them they even got some of the coveted high school graduation tickets!
Taking a little extra time to involve other members of your congregation in your class can make a real difference in the spiritual lives of your students. The next time you go to services, look around and find people to introduce to your class. The more connections your students have to the church family, the more bonded they will be to it and ultimately to God.