Teaching children Bible lessons–at their own pace

little feet taking a big step onto a tree stump

In teaching children Bible lessons, we must keep the steps manageable even for little feet.

In Vacation Bible School–and nearly every other part of children’s ministry–teaching children Bible lessons is one of the most important things you will ever do. Last week, we talked about keeping the children engaged as you tell the Bible story. This week, let’s take a slightly different angle.

As you are teaching children Bible lessons, the children are learning how to study the Bible for themselves. How important then that we learn the skill of teaching children Bible lessons at their own pace!

Sometimes stories in the Bible are long and action-packed. You may find yourself trying to decide what to mention and what to leave out. Other times, a key event is described in only a few brief verses. Then, the question becomes how to make sure the lesson is not lost in its brevity.

Have you ever been reading along in your Bible, intensely interested as a plot unfolds, when all of a sudden you find yourself lost? What do you do when a quick change of circumstances has left you feeling a bit confused? Go back and read it again, right?

In teaching children Bible lessons, you may easily encounter similar difficulties. But by following a simple formula of four “R’s”, you will be teaching children Bible lessons at their own pace–and you can be confident that each child is understanding the lesson well.

The four “R’s” are this: Read, Repeat, Re-word, and Review. Let’s take a closer look.

Read the Bible lesson

Whenever possible, it makes sense when teaching children Bible lessons that we read directly from the Bible. For very short stories (say, a half dozen verses or less), that could mean reading the entire passage. For longer stories, that could mean picking out a verse with a key quotation or fact here and there.

Either way, reading directly from the Bible helps the children to associate the Book with the lesson. It also helps them become accustomed to the wording that they would encounter in studying a lesson out for themselves.

Repeat where necessary

When key events happen very quickly, it can really help to simply stop for a moment and repeat what you just said. You could add a very brief explanation of why this part is so important that you want to make sure the children don’t miss it, if you think it would help.

Re-word challenging sections

Something else to consider when teaching children Bible lessons–especially in group situations like Vacation Bible School–is the varying levels of vocabulary that the children may have. To put it simply, not everybody knows all the same words. Taking a moment to re-word a challenging section of the story to make absolutely sure that every child understands definitely pays off in the end.

(We can’t apply something we don’t understand!)

Review the Bible lesson

At the end, go back over the Bible lesson. Ask questions. Check the children’s understanding.

Remember, it’s four “R’s”: Read, Repeat, Re-word, and Review. By applying this simple formula whenever you are teaching children Bible lessons, it will be much easier to be sure that you are teaching at their own pace, in a way that truly helps them to understand.

You might also like to check out this video: “Vacation Bible School tips: Teaching children Bible lessons–at their own pace”:

~Do you have any tips for teaching children Bible lessons at their own pace? Share them in the comments below.


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