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December 12, 2013 / BTM

How Can You Make Sure Christianity Doesn’t Get Boring?

boring2When our kids were still quite young, my husband made a startling discovery: Christianity was becoming boring to our kids.

We knew we had a problem on our hands.  Fortunately, my husband is a master at this kind of thing.  He came up with a way that made our kids want Bible stories over other story books for a long time.

This set a precedent for us, and we now strive to make learning about the Christian faith as exciting as that faith deserves to be.

At the time when my husband discovered that Christianity was becoming boring, we were reading two bedtime stories to our kids: one Bible story and one fictional story of their choosing.  Our older son began wanting the Bible story first, which seemed great at the time.  But that evening, my husband discovered that our son was asking for the Bible story first in order to get it done and over with so we could move on to the more interesting fictional story.

How did we turn the ship around?  My husband came up with an idea to make Bible stories come alive.  We did this two main ways while our children were young:

First, we started to tell our bedtime Bible stories as puppet shows.  We didn’t and still don’t have puppets though, so we used our children’s stuffed animals instead.  We took a bit of liberty with the stories and added humour.  We also often had the ‘characters’ ask the kids what they should do at critical moments (e.g.: Eve asked the kids if she should trust the snake and eat the fruit, David asked the kids what he should do about Goliath, etc.).  Our kids loved them so much, that we dropped reading the fictional stories at bedtime altogether (the puppet shows were longer as well, so we didn’t have time for a second story anyway!).

As our kids got older and more accustomed to the puppet shows, they often wanted to put on their own puppet show for the rest of the family.  This is a great way to illustrate how much (or how little) they’ve understood the Bible story.

The second method we used was to read through a series of books called the Muffin Family Picture Bibles by V. Gilbert Beers.  These books were published in the 80s, but they are still available used or new line.  Of the ones we’ve read, this one is my favorite (You can find them much cheaper elsewhere).

We really liked these books because they present a Bible story in very child friendly language, and then follow up each Bible story with a fictional story in which two children – Maxi and Mini – experience the lesson from the Bible story in their own lives.  It’s a great way for young children to see how the Bible applies to their own lives as well.  Our kids really loved these books and looked forward to Bible time before bed.

We eventually blended the two ideas together.  We began to make up our own puppet shows that illustrated a Biblical concept much like the Max and Mini stories did.  Often we’d pull ideas for these puppet show lessons from recent events in our kids’ lives:  like being honest, turning the other cheek, or the consequences of our behaviour such as teaching a sibling a bad habit.  To this day, we still call the stuffed animals that were used for these puppet shows ‘Max’ and ‘Mini’.

We’ve kept up this tangible approach to teaching the Christian faith now that our kids are older.  We’ve tried to find other fun and creative ways to pass on our faith to our kids now that they are older.  I’ve already outlined ways to teach that the Bible and its authors can be trusted (the historical reliability of the Bible), teaching the Bible, and money and finances.  These activities and ideas link faith topics to the everyday lives of kids in a fun, tangible way.  See my categories bar for more details on these topics.

In the New Year, I’m going to share ideas we’ve tried with our kids on teaching: intelligent design (vs. evolution), Christian worldview, theology, the resurrection of Jesus, studying the Bible, critical thinking, a knowledge of other countries, cultures and religions, and more.  Keep tuned!

What creative ideas have you used to make the Bible come alive, or to ensure that teaching your faith does not become boring for your children?

Picture: MS Office, modified

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