Remember that time Jesus told the story about the farmer (Matthew 13)? A farmer went out and threw seeds onto different types of soil. Some of the seeds were choked by thorns, others were eaten by birds and a few of the seeds grew and produced loads of fruit. The disciples (as usual) are completely bewildered and ask Jesus to explain his parable. Jesus (as usual) talks them through it, step by step,
- When anyone hears the word of the kingdom anddoes not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
- As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself. This person endures for a while, but when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
- As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
- As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
Many people will hear God’s Word but for different reasons, it will not grow in their lives. Our children probably do not deal with a lot of persecution or even deceitfulness of riches. But you know what they do struggle with? Understanding. Kids just don’t understand what’s going on in the Bible. And look what Jesus says: when they don’t understand the evil one will come and snatch away what was sown in their heart! Snatch away!!
This is why helping our kids understand God’s Word is so important! If we can help them understand it now, it will be able to grow up to 100 times in their heart before they even become adults with all the other problems of the world.
But how? Studying God’s Word by ourselves is daunting enough. Helping our kids study the Bible can be downright scary!
Here’s a few tips to help your next foray into Bible study with your kids just a little less frightening:
- Make it understandable.
Just like Jesus said, our kids need to understand the Bible. Find a kid-friendly, grade-level appropriate version for your kids. Read the appropriate version to them, let them read it on their own and memorize it (even if it does sound different from what you memorized as a kid!).
- Make it short.
Did you know your kids have a short attention span? Ha! That was a trick question–of course they do! Generally, attention span is about one minute for every year of age. So, your five year old can pay attention for about five minutes. That gets you about 5 minutes of Bible study! And that’s perfect!
Read one or two verses and be done. Read the first part of a Bible story at breakfast and finish it at dinner. Keep your devotions on their level and you’ll see more interest and response!
- Make it fun.
Use what you can to make God’s Word come alive. How about making a sheep craft after reading Psalm 23? Or play acting in the kiddie pool with a toy boat after reading about Jesus calming the storm? Or building towers with blocks when reading the story of Nehemiah? There are lots of fun ideas online, but look around your playroom and see what creative idea strikes!
- Make it everywhere.
I actually stole this tip from God. In Deuteronomy 6, He tells the Israelites, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Surround yourself with God’s Word. Put up Scripture art on your walls (even if your kids have to make it!), play Scripture songs (like Seeds Family Worship, the Rizers or Yancy) in your car and while you get ready for school, talk about creation when you notice fluffy clouds, use television morals and movie themes to lead to conversations about God’s Word. See how many times you can say, “That reminds me of a verse/story in the Bible…” Make God’s Word a part of your every day language.
- Make it chill.
Yup. Chill. Just chill out. Training our children in God’s Word can seem intimidating. But guess what? His Word is alive (so you don’t have the responsibility of making it come alive for your kids). It’s a seed (so you won’t see the fruit right that second, you just have to be faithful to plant it). It’s a sword (it cuts to the heart, you don’t have to bludgeon your kids with it). And it’s like rain that waters the earth (you don’t have to make God’s Word do anything, God watches over it to make sure it does what He planned!).
Your job is to talk to your kids about God’s amazing, life-giving, life-altering Word. It’s God’s job to change your child’s heart and draw them to Himself. You get the fun part–experiencing God with your child! What a gift and opportunity!
What are you going to do today to introduce your child to the Bible?
But before all that, she lived and breathed children’s ministry. She was on puppet and drama teams in Middle and High School, she was a CILT graduate in a camping ministry, she interned at a premiere Children’s Ministry in Tulsa, she and her husband were special guest speakers at kids camps and churches during college. Later they helped start a church in Celebration, FL then moved to Birmingham, AL to be the elementary pastors at a mega-church there.
But after becoming a mother (and moving back home to Atlanta), she moved her children’s ministry skills onto her children. She likes making every day activities point to God and His laws and love.