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December 3, 2013 / BTM

Teaching About Christian Heros – Choose Your Own Adventure Style

what would you doA few weeks ago, I wrote a post about heros.  Since then, we’ve taken out a stack of child-friendly bios from our church library.  We wanted our kids to learn something about Christians who played a pivotal role in history.  We’d done this before, but this time we were looking for a way to make the ‘heros’ come alive for our kids.

That’s when God gave me the idea of reading the bios as if they were a choose your own adventure book.  This was one way to get our kids to put their feet into the ‘Christian hero’s’ boots, so to speak.  Here’s how we did it. 

Our kids are young, so we took out fairly short books.  As we were reading them, we looked for pivotal moments in the lives of the characters we were reading about.

For example, we read that David Livingstone learned that very few people in Africa knew about the gospel.  We stopped and asked: What could he have chosen to do now?  (Answer: ignore it, pray for someone else to go to Africa as a missionary, go to Africa as a missionary, get distracted by something else and forget all about it, etc.).  We decided which options would be the easiest, and which would be the hardest.  We briefly discussed what might have happened if he had chosen each of these scenarios.  (I actually drew out very basic flow diagrams to show the choices David and the other ‘heros’ made throughout their lives).

We continued to read that David chose to train as a doctor and a preacher.  Then we stopped here and asked: now, what could he choose to do?  (stay at home and work as a doctor or a preacher, go himself to Africa, etc.).  What would have happened if he had chosen not to go to Africa?  (He could have made a lot of money and supported missionaries to Africa,  he could have made a lot of money and forgotten all about Africa, he could have worked in a church, etc.)

We read on about how David chose to go to Africa and give away his services as a doctor instead of being paid for them.  This gave him an opportunity to tell Africans about God, but it also meant he did not have a lot of money to live off of, nor did he have a comfortable life in Africa.  In fact, life in Africa was difficult, dangerous and sometimes lonely.  What could he have done about that?  (gone back home, gotten mad at God, kept on going, trust in God, find a wife or friend to work with, etc.)

We continued on this way through the story, tracing all the options the main character had before him to choose from.  Obviously you could beat this one to death, so choose your pace.  But, the kids enjoyed guessing what ‘adventure’ the character would choose.  This also was a great way to emphasize that we all make choices every day that influence where we end up in the future.  It also became apparent that the main characters were often not choosing the easiest options, but rather the more selfless ones.  But regardless of their choices, following God was an adventure!

We feel that our kids appreciated the stories much more from having read them this way.  We also got to tie it all together by showing that following God throughout our lives involves many small choices – sometimes daily choices – to choose God instead of ourselves, to choose God’s way instead of the (sometimes) easier way, to choose a reward in heaven over a reward on earth, to choose obedience when no one else does, etc.  But, the stories also demonstrated that making these choices was worth it.

Is there a technique like this that you’ve used to bring a story to life for your kids?  Leave a comment or email me about it!


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