It is vital that you think long term when you are teaching kids. In other words, begin with the end in mind. Don’t just think about what am I going to teach next week. Think about what do you want the kids in your class to be doing when they graduate to the youth ministry? Where do you want your kids to be spiritually when they turn eighteen?
History tells us that 80% of the children that grow up in church will leave the church when they graduate from high school. I don’t think it is any coincidence that statistics also tell us that only 15-20% of teenagers have a devotional life. Only 15-20% of our teenagers read their Bible on a regular basis.
When children enter children’s church (I st grade) most of them can’t read yet. They are totally dependent on mom, dad or someone else to read the Bible to them. Your goal during the grade school years is to help transfer this responsibility from the parent to the child.
Chances are if Johnny doesn’t have a devotional life when he graduates from children’s church he won’t develop one as a teenager: The reverse is also true. If Johnny does have a devotional life by the time he is ten or eleven years old, chances dramatically improve that he will maintain his devotional life through his teenage years.
One way to make this come alive to your kids at church is to use this simple participatory illustration.
Connecting Kids To God
I have a question for you. Do you read your Bible? Not because Mom asks you to, but do you read it because you want to?
God and His Word are one. If God seems far away what can you do? Read The Bible! As you spend time reading the Bible you are drawing close to God and He will draw close to you. In fact, the primary way that God speaks to us is through the Bible.
There are many people who go to church, call themselves Christians and yet they don’t ever read the Bible at home.
(Have ten 4th and 5th graders come up to the front of the class. Speak directly to your 4th and 5th Graders.)
“You guys are going to graduate to the youth group in a short time. I want you to think a moment about your future. About seven years from now you are going to turn 18 and graduate from high school. What are you going to do when mom and dad don’t make you go to church?”
“Do you know what history tells us? History tells us that 80% of kids that grow up in church will leave church when they turn 18 years old.”
(Have eight kids stand on one side and two stand on the other side of the room.)
“That means that eight of you will leave church and only two of you will stay going to church. What do you want to do? The choice is up to you. Are you going to stay in church or leave? Did you know right now you are making choices that will impact your life when you are 18 years old.”
“One common denominator in almost every kid who stays in church is that he or she has a devotional life. They read the Bible at home and they talk to God at home. The reverse is also true for the kids that leave the church. Most of the kids that leave don’t have a devotional life. They go to church, but they don’t read the Bible.”
“That is why it is so important that you read the Bible at home for yourself. The Word keeps you connected to God. If God seems far away, don’t call your friends and cry on their shoulder. Read your Bible. One way to connect with God is through the Bible.”
How do you teach the importance of reading your Bible to your kids?