The door opens and in streams a group of bright-eyed kids full of energy. They’re all ready for a new club year to start. Some may be first timers new to your church and Pioneer Clubs, while others are seasoned veterans knowing exactly what to expect. Many are looking forward to the fun games and activities they know or have heard about. But you know how important it is for them to meet Jesus. Learning to present a Bible Exploration is a key tool to help you introduce children to Christ.
What is Bible Exploration & Award Time?
A Pioneer Clubs-style Bible Exploration is not just a stand alone devotional or Bible story told during your club time. Instead, it’s a real, kid-sized inductive Bible study. We believe that the key to transformation and spiritual growth in children’s lives is for them to be actively involved in discovering for themselves how God’s Word applies to them. In fact, this should be the most important time during your whole club meeting.
Parts of Bible Exploration & Award
So it’s important to understand exactly what Bible Exploration & Award is. Here’s what it includes:
- Focus or Introduction
- Scripture Study
- Discipleship Challenge
- Salvation Challenge
Each of these work in harmony to get club members interested and actively involved in the Bible study. Here’s how they work:
Review. In the second through fourth meeting of each unit, the Review allows club members to reflect on the previous week’s lesson or review memory verses or share how they applied last week’s lesson to their lives. Example: “Last week we learned that God is our shepherd. How did you thank him for caring for you?”
Focus or Introduction. This part of the curriculum serves as a bridge from the club members’ interests and real-life experiences into studying God’s Word. If you are running a Pioneer Clubs program you will find two Focus options. Simply choose the one that you think best fits your group. For those running DELTA or a Discovery Club there is an introduction section for the lesson with only one option. However, we encourage you to use a different introduction if there is one that you think would work better for your children.
(For Skippers, Skippy [puppet] often leads this meeting part, called Introduction.)
Scripture Study. This section helps you and the club members delve into Scripture together. Kids should be prepared to use their Bibles each week. (For Skippers and Scooters, this section is called “Scripture Story” and puts the Bible passage into a narrative format.)
Allow plenty of time for children to think and answer questions. Encourage them to ask questions, too, and express opinions.
Use the questions provided to help the kids understand the meaning of the Scripture passages rather than only knowing the facts about the passage. This helps children understand how to apply the biblical truths to daily life.
Application. You want children to not only know God’s Word, but live it out in their lives—and they can do it! The application section challenges club members to think about how God’s Word relates to them. Children are encouraged to respond in some way and act on what they have learned about God and His Word. Doing so helps them live according to biblical principles.
Children are able to choose from several options rather than being told only one course of action. This allows children to develop their own moral compass as they grow in their personal relationship with Jesus. Example: In a Pathfinder meeting, after studying verses from the book of Job, each child plans one or two ways to encourage a friend.
Discipleship Challenge and Salvation Challenge. These sections appear at least one time per unit for your 1st through 6th graders. The Salvation Challenge lets you to talk about salvation based on the meeting’s Bible Exploration. Children are then given the opportunity to invite Jesus into their lives. The Discipleship Challenge helps club members grow in their faith. Both challenges are included to allow you to address the spiritual needs of all club members.
Bible awards are earned by completing handbook requirements as part of Bible Exploration. At some point in each lesson, the planbook tells you to have the kids work on a Bible award requirement in their handbook. They are engaged in activities such as drawing cartoons, making charts or writing a prayer. Bible Exploration is not complete without the award requirement, since it is often when life application of the lesson takes place.
Example: A Trailblazer lesson talks about respecting our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Kids turn in their handbooks to fill in one way they can start changing a bad habit.
(Skippers and Scooters have Activity Books. They complete activities that relate to the lesson such as gluing, drawing, cutting, and doing mazes.)
Note: clubs using the DELTA Large Group/Small Group format will find that the sections above will be split between the Large and Small Group times.
How to Prepare
Here are some simple steps to follow when planning to lead a Bible Exploration.
- Pray that God would use you and the lesson to reach the kids’ hearts.
- Review the Bible Exploration & Award aims provided.
- Follow the Do Ahead/Plan Ahead directions at the beginning of the Bible Exploration.
- Gather supplies listed in the “Supplies” box at the left of the lesson.
- Read the Scripture.
- Familiarize yourself with the lesson so that you can lead the study with ease.
- Look over the corresponding award requirement in the club member handbook.
- Choose a “Focus” option if needed.
- If you’re a Skipper or Scooter leader, prepare the parts for the Skippy puppet.
Tips for Leading Discussions
- Sit in a semicircle so you can maintain eye contact with everyone.
- Encourage club members to think by avoiding questions with yes/no answers.
- Allow club members time to think before they answer. Mentally count to 10.
- Reassure kids that their ideas and feelings are important. Accept their responses or silences without criticizing.
- Admit it when you don’t have an answer (but suggest that you can find the answer together).
- Keep the discussion on track.
- Direct questions to different kids to avoid letting the same ones do all the talking.
- Assist club members in discovering what God’s Word says for themselves. Guide their discussion and discovery without too much interjection. You will be amazed at what they learn and how much they enjoy it.
After you’ve led a Bible Exploration & Award, reflect back on it to see what went well and what you could do differently the next time. Get into a cycle of “prepare, lead, reflect, prepare, lead, reflect, etc.” Your reward will come when a child asks an insightful question…invites Jesus into his or her life…or says at the end of the year, “In Pioneer Clubs I learned God is real and He loves me!”