Some young people are great at seeing connections. They can naturally understand how things they learn in different places and at different times fit together. It’s almost as if anything they learn is a piece to a large puzzle. Someone has given them the picture on the box, so they confidently fit the pieces together.
For most young people though, they have a handful of random puzzle pieces of knowledge that they aren’t even sure are from the same puzzle. While that confusion can cause issues with academic subjects like math, it’s especially problematic when it comes to putting together the pieces of their faith.
To these young people, every bit of knowledge and understanding they may have picked up from a Bible class, a sermon, a devotional or a conversation are just random puzzle pieces. They have no idea how to begin to put them all together to create a somewhat cohesive picture of what their lives should look like as Christians. And unfortunately, we haven’t been great at helping them do that.
Thankfully, there is one simple activity – that if done regularly with young people – can help them start connecting those bits of knowledge and understanding.
Whenever you are teaching the Bible in any format to a young person, try to get in the habit of asking them three important questions at the end.
- What new information did you learn or begin to understand from this Bible lesson? This should help them pull out the bits of information or insights that are new to them. It can also help you see if they misunderstood something.
- Where does this new information connect with something you already knew about God and what He wants from us and for us? This gets young people attempting to make connections themselves, but you are there to help them if they need it.
- What new questions do you have after learning these new things and making these new connections? Sometimes connections can slightly alter what they thought they knew or believed and/or create new questions for them. The sooner those can be voiced, the sooner they can be addressed either by another lesson or a conversation. Remember, it’s not questions and doubts that pull young people away from God, but unanswered questions and doubts. Catching those questions the first time they arise and answering them can close the door to the world’s inaccurate answers.
Helping students connect the pieces of their Bible knowledge and understanding can help strengthen their faith foundations. It’s definitely worth the extra time and effort.