For more than half my life, I have been involved in teaching Bible classes. These are some of the lessons that continue to impress me:
The Bible Applies To All Ages: -- The Bible is an amazing book. It is practical and applicable to everyone in every generation. Kids need to know that the Bible contains work they can be doing for the Lord right now, no matter their age. Obeying their parents is an obvious one, but they also need to be taught to respect teachers and authority figures, obey the laws of the land (Rom. 13:1-5), and learn to be a friend (Psa. 18:24). Kids can help ensure the worship is conducted "decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14:40) by participating in the worship, staying seated during the services, and not running or playing in the building. As Bible class teachers, we can bring these principles into focus for even our youngest children.
A Prepared Child Is A Happy Child: -- It is usually obvious. One child will come into the classroom and sit down. He's brought nothing with him. He's looking around, unsure of what to do. He doesn't know his lesson, so he plays with his pencil during the discussion. Or, when the teacher asks a question, he'll throw out any answer just to be heard. Another child comes in. He has his Bible in hand, walks straight to the teacher and says his memory verse. During the lesson, he can't wait to tell you what he knows. Even the shyest of the group will quietly participate if he is prepared. Kids are no different than adults in this regard -- the more we invest, the more reward we receive. The difference is that kids need to be taught how to do the investing, and its importance (1 Tim. 4:13,15,16). Bible class is a happy time for the prepared, but an anxious time for the unprepared.
Kids Care: -- Never is my class more enthusiastic than when they make cards for people. They work diligently until their cards are just right. Why? Because kids care. They have a built-in sense of compassion, and we need to give them opportunities to act upon it. Last year, our class sent letters to the speakers prior to our Lectureship, and every one of those men mentioned those notes from the pulpit. You know the class felt proud that they had been an encouragement. Think how much an envelope of happy letters would mean to the elders, the shut-ins, or the sick. Teenagers could spread much joy by doing yard work or house cleaning for someone who can't do it any longer. We need to show our kids how good it feels, and how much good it does -- to do good.
Bible Classes Build Connections: -- Kids who attend Bible
classes together form friendships that can grow stronger as their faith grows
stronger. The result is a group of peers who help each other to be right instead
of wrong. Through Bible classes, children are also able to connect with caring
adults they might never have known otherwise. I have the opportunity to build
a relationship with each child as he comes through
my class. What a blessing! When I moved to Florida, two young girls from my Bible class wrote to me regularly. They encouraged me immensely during those two years, and are still my friends as high school students. It is a great joy to watch my third and fourth graders grow up, become Christians, and continue to serve the Lord. Bible classes connect all
I Still Have A Lot To Learn: -- It never fails. I'm teaching a section of Scripture I've read a hundred times, and as I'm preparing the lesson -- pow! Something brand new hits me, something I've never seen or thought about before. Isn't it amazing that the oldest story known to man is new every time it is told? Yes, I still have a lot to learn about the Scriptures, about life, and about all those precious children. I'll admit that I get tired sometimes, but I have come to realize that teaching helps me grow. During teaching times, I'm studying the Scriptures with a greater intensity, and giving of myself to those young ones. And, I'm constantly learning from the kids. They make me smile and make me think and keep me on my toes, and I need all those things. It feels good to do what you can for the Lord. I've learned that, too.
There is much to learn from teaching and attending Bible classes. They are beneficial to all of us. Are you and your children actively involved in them? Come on in...there's still plenty of learning to be done.
By Denise Bowman in Biblical Insights, Vol. 6, No. 6, June, 2006.
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