For the last decade or so there has been an assumption that anything done in the past in ministry to children or teens no longer has value in this modern, technology obsessed age. While some aspects of ministry past and present aren’t effective, not everything done in the past has no value. In fact, technology has given some time worn oldies new value.
Here are a few of our favorites you may want to consider bringing back into your ministries to children and teens.
- Snail mail. When was the last time you got a real letter in the mail? It was probably your birthday. Because “real” mail is so rare, receiving a fun note or postcard in the mail will most likely be greeted with even more excitement than in the past. The added advantage is that physical mail is more likely to be saved and reread over and over again – rather than being buried in emails or texts.
- Home and school visits. Granted the school visits may require a written permission from the parents of your students and it may be more difficult to catch your students at home, but it can be done. If not, consider attending one of their events, games or performances. Nothing shows how much you care more than taking the time and effort to spend time with your Bible students on their “home turf”. With more and more young people having few meaningful interactions with adults, showing you care can signal you are also an adult willing to listen and help.
- Paper Bibles. Many schools are switching back to paper books. Studies are showing it’s easier to remember material studied in a paper book versus an ebook. Bible apps have some advantages, but every child and teen should own a personal paper Bible.
- Tactile lesson “visual aids”. The move towards tech means that many Bible lessons have either become high tech, multi media or dependent upon story telling only. Many young people are touch deprived (some are also deprived of learning from other senses like smell and taste). Bring in items connected to the Bible lesson that they can touch, taste and smell. They will give them important input to make understanding easier.
- Hands-on activities. This has always been a weak spot in many Bible classes for children and teens (who are often denied any activities at all), but it is getting worse. We aren’t talking about silly games or fancy crafts with no educational value. Children need meaningful art and other hands-on activities that give them an opportunity to interact with physical things in the “real world”. Interestingly, children and teens are often so deprived of these activities that even older teens get excited by activities that would have been considered “too young” for them in the past. We have hundreds of free activity ideas on our website. http://teachonereachone.org/activity-ideas/
How many of these have you eliminated over the last few years? It may be time to bring them back and make your ministry more effective.