Building Bible literacy in children
Helping children and their families dive into God's word throughout the childhood years can be accomplished in many ways. Here are 10 to get you started:
The gift of God's word
Give age-appropriate Bibles and Bible storybooks to children. A range of options are available, from those for newly baptized infants to 3-year-olds beginning Sunday school to third graders receiving their first Bibles.
If the parents of young children feel inadequate in their own knowledge of Scripture, they may hesitate to read Bible stories to their kids. Model Bible storytelling during children's messages, fellowship time and seasonal programs. Give tips in the bulletin, in newsletters and on your website.
Read the Bible in public
During worship, talk about reading the Bible and then read the Bible. Yes, this sounds obvious, but how many times do children see the lector carry a piece of paper up to the lectern rather than opening up a Bible to read the lessons?
Tell me a story
Retell a Bible story during the children's message. You can use your own words or read from a storybook. Reading the Gospel or the Old Testament text they'll hear in the service is a great way to give children (and everyone else who's listening) a fresh take on the story.
Read any good books lately?
Check out your book selection in the congregation's library. A range of Bible storybooks that would be great additions in your library are available. If your church does not have a library, consider starting a storybook collection for children. If your church has worship bags, include board books with Bible stories and other faith-based stories.
Bibles in the pew
Children may see Bibles in the pew, but do they see anyone reading them? Invite everyone in the congregation to find Bible passages during the readings, the sermon and other times when the Bible is read.
Check out the Spark Bibles
Augsburg Fortress offers "The Spark Story Bible" for children ages 2 to 7. It contains vivid illustrations and 150 read-aloud stories that will make kids giggle, wonder and say "Again!" "The Spark Bible" is an NRSV translation for third through sixth graders. It is packed with definitions, facts, questions, book introductions, four-color maps, and -- an all-new feature -- dozens of stickers for kids to put in their Bibles as they explore its pages.
Equip the nursery
Some parents of young children spend lots of time in the church nursery. Provide Bible storybooks and story-based toys (Noah's ark, lambs, nativity sets) to create a faith-filled environment for children.
Use songs to teach stories
Many children's songs teach stories, from "Rise and Shine" to "Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man."
Find the stories in your sanctuary
Do you have colorful stained-glass windows, paintings, sculptures or other art in your sanctuary that tell the old, old story? Point them out during children's messages, sermons, and other times so children can make a visual connection to the stories they hear.
You might also like to read:
'10 Commandments for Kids Online'
Never give a child a new Bible
'Does anyone have fun in the Bible?'