Effectively leading a small group of kids has many challenges. Challenges you might expect: fitting material into 20-30 minutes, redirecting wild behavior, keeping kids engaged. And challenges you could never anticipate: having to scrap lesson plans to have an impromptu discussion on whether or not pet rats get into heaven, ransacking the snack closet to find something for the kid who skipped breakfast, or the one I never saw coming…
…The Old Hat Syndrome.
This is what happens to a Bible story when it’s been told eight times already… and it’s only November. There are only so many kid-friendly Bible stories and no matter how many spins or perspectives there are, Eve always eats the fruit, baby Moses is always found by the princess, and David always defeats Goliath. How can I make the Jonah and the Whale sound like a fresh, exciting story? How many times can a 4th grader hear about Jesus staying behind in the Temple? Are we really teaching Noah’s Ark again?
How can I help the kids in my group see and process the story in more meaningful, personal ways?
Here are a few questions I’ve found help the kids in my group think about each Bible story in a fresh light:
- Was there anything that surprised you in today’s story?
- Did you learn anything new?
- If you could ask God one question about today’s story, what would you ask?
- What do you think is the most important thing you should remember about this story?
- How does this story make you feel closer to God?
- Is there anything you need to start/stop doing because of this story?
- What did you feel as you read/heard/saw/acted out this Bible story?
These questions go beyond children giving the ‘right’ answers and help them really think about what the story means to them.
There’s also creative ways to ask these questions so they don’t get old hat, too!
- Put questions on a cube or spinner, have kids draw a number and those whose number matches the one the teacher calls gets to roll or spin.
- Place 2 or 3 colors in a bag. Have kids draw a color and then their color will dictate what to do activity-wise.
- Review/discuss and get the wiggles out by tossing around a beach ball with questions written or taped on them.
What questions do you ask to help children process and apply the Bible story to their lives?
By Kathie Phillips