When students aren’t able to attend your Bible class, they may or may not receive any Bible teaching from their parents. The absence may also leave them feeling disconnected from you. In the worst case scenario, they may question whether anyone loves or misses them…including God.
We forget at times that in our tech savvy world, not every young person has a smart phone or tablet/computer at home. Even if they are connected to you virtually, old fashioned communications like mail can mean more to a child emotionally than a group email or text.
Why not send your Bible students a weekly note with some spiritual challenges in it? It can be typed, but add a handwritten personal sentence or two to each student, so it feels more personal.
Remember that challenges need to be able to be completed with the items your Bible students have in the house. You don’t want to add to the burden of parents by requiring unusual items.
If you have the budget in your ministry, this is a good time to make sure each of your students has a personal NIrV Bible at home. They can be purchased in adult paperback versions for just a few dollars each. Of course, more expensive versions will last longer, but do the best you can.
What challenges can you send? Get creative, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Live Proverbs Challenge. Proverbs is a great, practical book for even older children to read. It has 31 chapters, so encourage students to read the chapter matching the day’s date. Have them email, text or keep a list and tell you when you call of their favorite proverb in each chapter. Older children and teens can also be challenged to focus on living out their favorite proverbs.
- Secret Service Challenge. Can your Bible students do secret acts of service for the people in their home? How long can they go before someone catches them? Give them some Bible stories like the Good Samaritan or Bible verses mentioning various good works they can read for ideas and encouragement.
- Find Your Favorite Challenges. These are great, because you can vary them and send your Bible students to different parts of the Bible to explore. For example, “find your favorite Psalm and let me know what it is” or “read these stories about the Apostles and let me know who is your favorite”, etc.
- Bible Treasure Hunt. This is a great way to give students practice in using Bible study aids. Send them a list of things to find in the Bible. When they find it, they need to write down the scripture book, chapter and verse where they found it. This is another one you can make easy for younger students and more challenging for kids who really know their Bible.
- Spiritual Disciplines Challenge. Give students challenges to encourage them to read the Bible independently, pray etc. Don’t make the challenges too difficult. For example, you might send them a week’s worth of suggested Bible passages to read. Label the various passages you chose by using things like “my favorite Bible story” or “a really gross Bible story”. Use descriptions that will catch the interest of your students and make them want to find those passages to learn what those stories are.
- Dream Godly Dreams Challenge. What are some ways they would like to serve God now and in the future? Have them illustrate their ideas and share a photo or tell you about their drawing on a phone call with you.
- Write a new worship song. They can create their own original tune or use a familiar one and write new words that match the syllables in the original song. (Note: Songs using other people’s tunes should only be used for fun. Any other use is theft.) Have them use their phone to record their family singing their new worship song or call you on a regular phone and sing it to you.
Sending homebound Bible students challenges, takes extra time and effort on your part. They can also help them continue to learn and grow spiritually when they can’t attend your Bible class. It really is worth your time and effort.