Build on Basics
The best course of action for children's ministers is to start
simply and build upon repeated concepts as children develop.
Teaching fundamental concepts first and adding to these as maturity
allows makes perfect sense.
"Children learn best when they're allowed to build on knowledge
they've already got," says Emeott. "Children learn difficult
concepts a little at a time and build on what they know. A
first-grade teacher doesn't start math lessons with algebra, but by
the sixth grade, algebra is part of the expected teaching
plan. Math starts with addition and subtraction and then kids build
on those learned skills with multiplication and division.
Eventually, the learner is ready for the more complicated math
The same theory applies with controversial concepts of the
Bible. "As a child matures and grows, you can share more and
more facts with deeper understanding of the events," says
Emeott. "God wants to speak anew every time you read
his Word. So even in Bible stories we think we understand
fully, God can reveal new and fresh truths."
• • •
When we look at the amazing array of events in the Bible, it's
all too easy to lean toward censoring the ones that make us
uncomfortable. Rather than censoring or omitting, change your frame
of reference. Everything in the Bible is there for a reason; it's
up to us to seek out the ways to help kids find the meaning God has
for them in his words. Rather than censor it, we can simplify
concepts and de-select details so they don't become a distraction
to the understanding kids can get from the basic story. Learn to
release and hold back just the right amount for the kids you
"Should we censor the Bible?" ponders Brolsma. "Of course not.
But we should use wisdom as we teach God's Word, gleaning
applicable and meaningful truths from every portion of Scripture.
It means we step out in faith, sharing God's Word honestly and
simply in ways that today's kids can best understand."
Lauren Hunter is a freelance
writer, a church technology consultant (lhpr.net) and the
founder of the blog Church Tech Today (ChurchTechToday.com). She and her husband have
four children and live in Roseville, California.