While Christian parents realize they need the extra help teaching or reinforcing biblical concepts ministry Bible classes can provide, they often miss out on extending those lessons at home. One of the easiest ways to do that is to ask your kids a few thought questions after every class.
Unfortunately, after Bible classes for kids and teens end we are often rushing to get them fed, in bed or into the worship service. As a result, we may ask what the topic of class was or ask to see what they did in class and move on to the next activity.
Making some time available within a few hours of class for discussion can help your kids get more value out of the class, increase the chance they will move anything important into long term memory and give you opportunities to reinforce important biblical concepts. Added discussion can also give you an opportunity to correct any misunderstandings or mistakes and encourage your kids to use what they learned in living their lives.
There are a lot of questions you could ask, but here are a few that go beyond asking them to recall the facts of a Bible story (although that’s good, too).
- Why do you think God put that story in the Bible? What do you think He wants us to learn from the story? These questions are designed to get your kids thinking about the application principles in a Bible story. Most stories have more than one application principle and there are a lot that repeat throughout the Bible….allowing your kids to see patterns of things that are important to God.
- What does gentle mean? Can you give me some examples of how Jesus was gentle? Substitute any word for gentle that might apply to the lesson they just learned. These questions help you see if they really understand some of the big concepts in the Bible. They may be able to give a pat answer to define a word like justification, righteousness or any of the other big words and ideas in the Bible, but can they put them into their own words? Do they know it when they see (or don’t see) it in their own lives? If they don’t understand important concepts, it’s going to be hard to base their lives on them.
- What can you do to serve others the way Tabitha/Dorcas did? How can your share the Gospel message with others like Peter, Paul and John did? Ask your kids questions to see if they know how to apply the principles in their Bible lessons to their lives. It’s one thing to know God wants you to handle conflict in better ways than Cain and Abel, but it’s more helpful to be able to realize it also means you need to stop hitting your sibling every time you disagree.
- Why do you think the mother of James and John was so concerned about where her sons sat in Heaven? Why did Priscilla and Aquila spend so much time making sure Apollos understood and was teaching others everything God wanted them to know correctly? Ask questions to help your kids dig deeper and analyze what happened in the lesson. These are often why questions. Many won’t have precise answers, but require piecing together other things they have learned from the Bible to come to a plausible conclusion.
- How important is your faith in your life? How hard do you try to obey God in all things – even if you disagree with the command? How much effort do you put into serving others and sharing your faith? These questions ask your kids to evaluate their own choices and lives in comparison to what God wants them to do. Where are they being successful? Where are they struggling? You can ask questions that match what they learned in class or just ask them in general as a spiritual check up. These are questions you and your spouse may also want to answer and make it a family project to stretch and grow spiritually.
- What are some ways you can use the talents God gave you to serve others and share your faith? What are ways you can glorify God in everything you do? If your kids are young, they might struggle with these last few sets of questions. That’s okay. It’s a developmental process and they will grow into the questions and eventually be able to answer them. These last questions are designed to help them use their God given creativity to see the opportunities God is giving them to serve Him. It helps them notice opportunities and think of ways to use the gifts God has given them in these opportunities to be as effective as possible in bringing others to Christ.
Some of you may wonder how your kids will answer these questions if they can’t even tell you which Bible story they studied or the topic of the lesson. If your kids consistently are unable to tell you anything about their Bible classes, there is a problem. It may be the curriculum, it may be the volunteers aren’t fully prepared or need training, or it may be something else….but something has gone awry. Have conversations. Ask questions. Encourage improvement and growth. Because if your kids aren’t getting anything out of Bible classes, a lot of other kids aren’t either and that’s not good for the Church.