Reaching Kids Through Bible Exploration
Here are some great ideas for making Bible Explorations useful to both churched and unchurched kids.
If your Pioneer Clubs program is like many other clubs, then you probably have kids attending from your church and other children who are just learning about salvation. Probably not all the kids are at the same stage in their spiritual journey either. Clearly you’ll need to minister to both the Christian and non-Christian children in club during Bible Exploration lessons. But how?
Two tools in the leader plan book lessons are the sections called Discipleship Challenge and Salvation Challenge. These appear in at least one Apply section per unit for Voyagers through Trailblazers. Generally you’ll want to use both sections in a meeting instead of assuming everyone is saved or unsaved.
Discipleship Challenge offers ideas to help Christian club members grow in their faith walk. This is where kids apply the truths they’ve learned in Bible Exploration. For example, in a Bible Exploration about Psalm 139, club members learn God created them. In the Discipleship Challenge, they express a way God uniquely made them, and they choose a way to celebrate that fact. This fosters a deeper connection between the Christian kids and God, while giving non-Christian kids a look at what God is like.
Salvation Challenge provides an opening for you to transition naturally from the topic of the Bible Exploration to talking about salvation. A basic prayer for salvation is provided for you to say and for the kids to repeat if they choose. It’s marked with slashes to show you where to pause for the children to repeat. For instance, after kids have chosen a way to celebrate that God made them special, you can lead the following salvation prayer in the Salvation Challenge:
Dear God, / thank you for making me special. / I want to belong to you. / I know that my sin—the wrong things I do— / gets in the way. / I believe Jesus came to die / to take the punishment for my sins. / Please forgive me for my sins. / Please make me your special child. / Thank you! / In Jesus’ name, amen.
Another technique to reach your non-Christian kids is to ask questions about thoughts and feelings rather than just Bible knowledge. You’ll find plenty of examples in your Bible Exploration lessons.
For instance, in one lesson, kids read the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Then they’re asked, “How do you think Jesus felt about his disciples?” This question doesn’t require any previous Bible knowledge. Unchurched children can propose answers based on their own life experiences, just as well as the Christian kids can.
Another lesson asks, “How do you feel knowing God loves you so much that he sent his one and only Son, Jesus, to die for you?” Non-Christian kids are just as able to put their feelings into words. They can be on equal footing with the Christian kids without feeling shy for having less knowledge.
Pioneer Clubs’ spiraling curriculum deals with the same topics in different age levels, but in progressively deeper ways. If you’re about to teach a familiar Bible story and are concerned that the Bible whiz kids may tune you out, ask them to summarize it for everyone. Then ask them to be on the lookout for something new they can learn. Explain that the Bible is “living,” in the sense that it can teach all of us, even adults, new things when we listen.
Be creative! The Bible can apply to kids who’ve grown up in the church and unsaved kids at the same time. Pray for wisdom and just watch God work in the lives of the kids in your club!