My parents have taught a Bible class for young children since I was a young child myself. One of the class activities they initiated decades ago was to bring in various members of the congregation. These special guests explained to the children what they did for a living and how their Christianity impacted their work life. The kids loved it, as did the various adult guest speakers. More importantly, the children began to hear at a very young age practical ways to do occupational ministry, no matter what they did as adults.
The young people in our ministries need to hear more positive faith stories. Too often, they are only exposed to cautionary tales or people criticizing the congregation of their youth. Kids and teens more exposure to real life stories of how people are living the Christian life every day. What does it look like to love your neighbor when you have a mean teacher or boss? How important is honesty in every day life? How does a Christian teacher perform his or her job differently than a secular one?
The more real life stories they hear, the more students who are struggling can begin to better understand what God expects of them every day. They will learn that the morals that are acceptable to many secular people just don’t work for Christians. They will learn creative ways of serving others and sharing their faith – even in places where direct faith sharing may be prohibited. They will learn how to make everything they do a ministry to God.
Many Christians aren’t used to thinking about or sharing how they live a Christian life – especially with kids or teens. Giving them plenty of advance notice and some questions you will ask them can help ease their discomfort. Your church may even want to consider having a Bible class for adults on the topic. One of the most productive classes I ever attended was built around people sharing how they served others and shared their faith in their occupations. It was amazing (and encouraging) to hear the creativity many people had used to share their faith without violating office policies against formal faith sharing in the office.
Don’t forget to give your Bible students opportunities to share with their peers how they are serving others and sharing their faith at school and in the other places they spend time with people. Research current laws impacting students and what they can and cannot do legally in school. Teachers, for example, would have a tough time in a public school assigning a paper on Jesus, but students can legally mention God in any paper they choose. (Of course, if it’s totally off topic, the teacher can give a lower grade.)
Bible stories and scripture should be the primary part of any Bible class. Adding practical examples shared by people the students already know, love and respect can add that extra help and encouragement many of your students may need.