Monday, May 24, 2010

Good Question!

As a Bible Club leader or helper, you must rely heavily on questions to generate discussions. Your Leader’s Guide will provide some wonderful discussion starters and questions to get your group talking. You will need to do quite a bit of restating and condensing of your students/ comments and the ideas they give during discussions. You will also need to summarize and clarify what your students say so everyone understands. Your use of questions will be a helpful guide in the progress of your discussion.

Six questions—what, why, when, where, who, and how—can form the basis for many different kinds of discussion questions. Here are some forms of questions (in addition to those suggested in your curriculum) you may want to try:
•   Fact-finding questions help children learn information and data.
•   Ambiguous questions have several meanings (or answers) to help keep the discussion moving.
•   Leading questions seek or suggest answers and can be used when no one knows what to say next.
•   Provocative questions are designed to incite an argument or debate and wake up your group.
•   Direct questions are aimed at a specific person.
•   Relayed questions are used when someone asks you a question and you pass it on to another student to answer.
•   Reverse questions are used when someone asks you a question and you refer it back to the questioner.
•   Either/or questions force the group to make a choice.
•   Multiple-choice questions help to ascertain priorities.

To begin, ask simple questions–some with obvious answers. Try to use a variety of questions that do not have simple yes or no answers. Give the children time to think. It may help to ask the question two or three times. Pause after each question so the children have time to think it over before responding. Respect each answer, even if it is not exactly the one you were seeking. (See the post from February 18, “Leading Discussions with Kids,” for more helpful info.) Soon your questions and answers will develop into helpful discussions, and you will be on your way to helping your students really understand the lessons!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Leading a Child to Christ

When presenting the salvation message to kids in any setting—Sunday school, Bible club, kids camp, or children's church—be prepared for questions. Have an adult Christian talk individually with each child who responds to your invitation. Ask the child, “What decision do you want to make?” or ask, “What do you want Jesus to do for you?” Let the child say in his own words what decision he wants to make. Don’t put words in the child’s mouth.

Depend on the Holy Spirit to work within His own timetable to make the plan of salvation clear to the child. After ascertaining that the child does want to accept Jesus as his Savior, and answering any questions he has, share what the Bible teaches about salvation:
1. God loves you — John 3:16
2. You have done wrong things (sinned) — Romans 3:23
3. God says that those wrong things must be punished — Romans 6:23
4. God sent Jesus to take the punishment for us — Isaiah 53:5
5. Tell God you are sorry for the wrong things you have done — I John 1:9
6. Ask Jesus to be in charge of your life and be your Savior — John 3:16-17

Talk and pray individually with each child. Let the child pray his own prayer asking Jesus to be his Savior. Explain that the student is now God's child. Let him know that God promises to never leave him. Explain that God will help him do what's right, and God wants the child to get to know Him better. Clarify any questions the child may have. Help the child say a prayer of thanks for what Jesus has done for him. Then pray aloud, thanking God for the child.

Also talk with the child’s parents, informing them of the student’s response and sharing your views of their child's spiritual development. Encourage the parents to help the child pray, read the Bible, obey God, attend church and Sunday school, and tell others about Jesus. (This may be a good opportunity to tell the parents about Jesus.)

When presenting the plan of salvation, group invitations should usually be avoided for preschoolers and elementary children due to the “herd” instinct of small children. Rather, talk with the children individually to determine which children are ready to receive Christ as Savior of their lives. Keep the children in prayer, and trust God to do His work in each child’s life.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Discipline That Motivates

Cut down on classroom discipline problems with a popcorn surprise. Draw a frowning face on a clear quart jar. Label another quart jar with a happy face. Fill a third jar of the same size with unpopped popcorn. When your Bible club class behaves well, listens attentively, shows kindness to others, etc., add a handful of the popcorn to the happy jar, and mention the class (rather than the individual) behavior that is being rewarded.

For undesirable behavior, add a handful of corn to the “sad” jar, and mention the undesirable behavior. Be sure to find plenty of reasons during each meeting to fill the happy jar. After the jar of unpopped popcorn is emptied, the corn will be transferred from the labeled jars. Transfer the corn from the happy jar to the sad one for undesirable behavior and from the sad jar to the happy one for good behavior. When all the popcorn gets into the happy jar, reward your All-Stars with a well-deserved popcorn party!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bible Teaching—What's the Point?

Why teach children Bible stories? Can young children really understand stories about God and His Son, Jesus?

Bible Stories help children learn to develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
The first five years of a child’s life are the most important developmentally. We can help children develop into worshipful people who love God and Jesus. During the preschool years, a child can easily be taught foundational attitudes about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the church that will stay with him for the rest of his life. Psalm 139:1-16 reminds us that God knew us before we were even born and “all the days ordained for [us] were written in [God’s] book before one of them came to be.” Even the smallest child can begin to understand that God is love by interacting with a Christian teacher or friend who communicates a love for God and His Word through words, actions, and attitude.

Bible Learning Activities teach children God’s Word, the Bible. 
A child’s learning abilities are greatest during her first five years of life.  In fact, a child’s learning and remembering abilities are far greater during her first five years of life than they will ever be again. This is an ideal time to begin saying memory verses with children. Even very young twos who aren’t talking much can begin to absorb God’s Word as you and the other children say simple Bible Words together.

Creative Bible Activities help children grow in their faith. 
We can easily communicate important spiritual concepts to children—even toddlers and preschoolers. They are open and ready to worship God. Little children have an inborn desire to worship. We can give them lots of opportunities to sing, pray, and praise God during our time with them. So in our children’s Bible programs, we want every activity we do to focus the child’s attention on God, Jesus, or the Bible.

Our Bible programs can help meet children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. 
Children need Christian role models in addition to their parents. We are those role models. As the children watch us pray, worship, read the Bible, use kind words, and show love to them, they learn important Christian concepts.

Our programs should lay a foundation for faith in Jesus Christ. This does not mean that every child will make a personal decision to follow Jesus before the age of five or six. Some will. But even preschoolers and toddlers can understand that Jesus is God’s Son; Jesus was born, grew up, and told people of God’s love; and Jesus loves us. We need to begin planting God’s Word in the hearts of children, so that they are able to make a personal decision for Christ in the future. We can teach the Bible as God’s Word, including saying and understanding Bible verses; teaching children to respect, obey, and love God’s Word; and helping them understand what is appropriate behavior. Preschoolers can understand that the Bible is God’s special book, the Bible contains stories about God and Jesus, and the Bible tells us that God loves us.

The continual aim of our programs should be to help children develop a relationship with Jesus.
We also need to help them learn responsibility to God, parents, and others. Many older children and even some adults today do not accept responsibility for their actions. We can teach our students that God planned for families, and children should love and obey their parents. We can also help them understand that wrong behavior is sin, and good behavior pleases Jesus. This is an important concept for even the youngest child to understand. If a child understands this, he can understand that God sent Jesus to forgive him. This provides the foundation for the child to accept Jesus as Savior.

Even young children can learn to worship and serve our awesome God!