I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is a free digital quarter of Bible Studies for Life: Kids curriculum. Our LifeWay Kids team helped write this post.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
If you’ve ever had a conversation with a six-year-old, you know that kids communicate differently than adults. As such, we cannot teach the Bible to children like they are grownups. You would never expect that a first-grader could understand a seminary hermeneutics class or that a fourth-grader could exegete a passage from Romans. Because they are children, we expect them to speak like children, think like children, and reason like children. It logically follows that we need to teach biblical truth to children in age-appropriate ways. Based on years of teaching children and working closely with experts in the field of child development, we know that:
- Younger Preschoolers understand concepts like love, trust, and safety experientially. As concrete learners, they aren’t able to comprehend abstract concepts.
- Middle Preschoolers are beginning to understand that God, Jesus, and church are special and that God loves people in special ways. They like stories but cannot yet make personal application to their lives.
- Older Preschoolers can remember the names of people in the Bible and retell Bible stories themselves. They are beginning to connect biblical principles to life situations.
- Younger Kids are developing a general understanding of right and wrong (of good and evil). They are becoming aware of the general concept that people sin and God does not. People need God’s forgiveness.
- Middle Kids are developing a personal awareness of their sin and God’s perfection. They are able to understand their personal need for a Savior.
- Preteens are developing their own values systems and are seeking personal spiritual answers. They are able to wrestle with abstract spiritual principles and make personal application at deeper levels.
To minister to children effectively, churches need a wise plan for discipling kids at every age and stage. We need to use words, thoughts, and logic that kids understand. The LifeWay Kids team maintains a scholarly document called the Levels of Biblical Learning that outlines a framework for the age-appropriate teaching of 10 major biblical concept areas that kids can understand at six different age levels. The Levels of Biblical Learning not only helps leaders and parents understand what kids are able to learn at different stages, it provides adults with age-appropriate language to communicate key biblical concepts to kids; first laying a foundation, then building concept on concept, precept on precept.
How is your children’s ministry doing in this area? I encourage you to check out the free interactive Levels of Biblical Learning resource available online where you can explore how to communicate these 10 key biblical concepts to kids at six age levels. You will also find a link to free training videos and printable resources that you can download to use with your kids ministry team and parents.
The Levels of Biblical Learning is not a curriculum. It is, rather, a pedagogical construct that informs the curriculum resources that the LifeWay Kids team creates. The Bible Studies for Life: Kids curriculum, in particular, adheres tightly to the Levels of Biblical Learning. Each session includes the Levels of Biblical Learning concept printed on the leader guide and on the activity sheet that kids take home.
This week’s giveaway is a free digital quarter of Bible Studies for Life: Kids curriculum, from the LifeWay Kids team. You can preview samples of Bible Studies for Life: Kids here. I hope you enjoy the sessions and are inspired to be even more intentional about teaching the Bible to kids in age-appropriate ways.
Enter here or in the form below by 11:59pm, Wednesday, March 28, 2018, for your chance to win one of two digital quarters of Bible Studies for Life: Kids curriculum. Winners will be able to choose which age group they want and will be notified by email in the next several days.