In your ministry with children, there are all kinds of parents and caregivers. Some are wonderful teachers with a wealth of biblical knowledge. Some are wonderful supporters and want their children to grow in their spiritual formation, but are not able to share in a teaching role in your ministry. And others want Christian education experiences for children, but have no understanding about their partnership in this wonderful faith journey.
Inviting all of these kinds of parents/caregivers to be involved in engaging Bible stories with children is a great way to help them understand their important role as faith partners with children. Help them see how making a commitment to reading the Bible with children each day can become a ritual that supports the growing life of faith of adults and children. Using a wondering model of reading Bible stories with children is an easy way to begin. It doesn’t assume a lot of experience with the Bible. This is a major reason many parents don’t read the Bible with children. They are afraid of questions that a child may ask, ones that they don’t think they can answer. This model of reading stories together simply encourages parents/caregivers. They can create a tradition of a simple bedtime ritual of closing the day with a story from the Bible. It also introduces children and a family member to a spiritual practice that has five simple steps:
Enter. Find a space for beginning. Consider the transition from playtime or bath for this space using conversation ideas that help a child review the day:
I wonder what was amazing about your day!
Was there something that made you really laugh?
Was there something that made you sad?
Did you discover something new today?
The ancient spiritual practice of The Examen invites you to think about these two questions:
- Where did you see God’s love today?
- Where did you receive or share God’s love today?
Hear. Read the Bible story together. See the end of this article for some suggestions of good Bible storybooks.
Pause. Take a brief quiet moment after reading the story.
Wonder. Engage the story with the child, inviting her or his questions or asking ones like:
• Who is in the story and what happens to them?
• What do you think this story is about?
• What questions do you have?
• Why do you think this story is in the Bible?
• What would you like to remember about this story?
Bless. Affirm some of the things you heard the child say about the story. Recall some of the things that were said during the entering time and end with a prayer.
One way to make this storytelling model connected for parents and caregivers is to provide them with the Bible citations for stories that are being used in the Sunday school. Provide a list of good Bible storybooks such as these to use at home:
Bible Basics Storybook
Deep Blue Toddler Bible Storybook
Children of God, Storybook Bible by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Celebrate Wonder Bible Storybook
The Classic Children’s Bible Storybook
Come Taste the Bread
Come Touch the Water
Precious Moments Storybook Bible
The Little Golden Bible Storybook.
All of these Bible Storybooks came be found at cokesbury.com.
Reading the Bible with children is a wonderful way to build strong faith foundations as a family. Embrace this opportunity to share this time together with children.