The other day, my eight-year old daughter was leading out in our family worship. She chose Genesis, chapter one, for her Bible reading. As she read, my heart went back to my childhood.
There is something incredibly special about this passage of Scripture to me. I cannot tell you with 100 percent certainty how it happened, but I have an idea. I am fairly certain Genesis 1 was one of the first sets of memory verses I had in school.
We were actually expected to memorize our memory verses. With that in mind, we spent a lot of time with them.
The amazing thing is that I still remember some of those memory verses today. The other beautiful thing is the peaceful feelings that are linked with those verses, even decades later–especially when I hear the Bible passages read aloud.
They will never forget…
American author and poet, Maya Angelou, said:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
How can we apply this to Vacation Bible School?
Can you tell me, if there is one thing that gets repeated more than any other at Vacation Bible School, what would it be? It ought to be the memory verses!
I won’t go into the reasoning behind that today, but what I would like us to focus on is the invaluable opportunity that goes with all the repetition. As we seek to engraft the word of God into the hearts of the children, let us seek to engraft the love and peace of God with it!
As you consider the following 16 ideas, take note that it all boils down to two basic principles: 1) Repeat the memory verses often, and 2) Keep the experience positive.
Here goes…16 ways to link joy with the children’s Bible memory verses:
- Read the memory verses aloud to the children.
- Simply say the memory verses together.
- Sing the memory verses every single morning. (Repeat the favorites again!)
- Practice the memory verses using fun activity sheets.
- Give each child his very own memory verse booklet to practice with at home and at Vacation Bible School assembly.
- Incorporate memory verses into the Vacation Bible School crafts.
- Play simple games, using index cards with the memory verse broken into pieces. Add a new verse each day.
- Spend one-on-one time before and after Vacation Bible School each day, giving personalized memory verse help to any child who desires it.
- Focus on the meanings of the memory verses. There are few scholarly pursuits drier than rote memorization of nonsensical verbiage.
- Make it personal. Talk about what each of the memory verses teaches us about God–and what it means to each child’s relationship with Him.
- Be relaxed.
- Be joyful.
- Provide incentives, if you would like to, for learning all of the verses well at Vacation Bible School, but…
- Avoid pushing children to learn their memory verses for the sake of “achievement” (for lack of a better word).
- On the flip side, make the real motive for learning the memory verses–a closer walk with God–very clear to the children. Your own attitude in all of the above points will likely take care of that.
- Finally, encourage all children to do their own personal best. While we want them to store as much treasure in their hearts as they can handle, realize that for one child that may mean he comes excited on Day 10 that he finally has learned the verse for Day 1. Another child may have done fabulously with all 10 verses. Be happy for both of them!
Repeat the memory verses often
Keep the experience positive
Remember, repeat the memory verses often, all throughout Vacation Bible School, in many ways, through all the days…and keep the experience positive. The Holy Spirit will be there when decades have gone by–and perhaps even the memory of you has been forgotten–to inspire the children with joy and peace at the sound of His Holy Word.
~Is there a particular Bible passage that represents an area of peace from your childhood? Do you have a tip for linking joy with the children’s Bible memory verses? Please share with us in the comments.