New research conducted by LifeWay Kids and LifeWay Research and published in Jana Magruder’s book, Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith, identified childhood indicators of spiritually mature adults. The statistical analysis revealed 15 key components that were consistently present in the lives of kids who grew into adults who continued in the faith and maintain a vibrant relationship with the Lord. One of those 15 stood far-and-away as the number one indicator: Bible reading. While this may not be surprising, it is profound. If we wish to train up children who walk closely with God as they grow into adults, we must influence them to read and reference the Bible. Here are four ways you, and those who lead the kids in your church, can cultivate a love for Bible reading in children:
Make sure every child in your church has access to an age-appropriate Bible that they can carry and read themselves. Having a Bible of their own helps kids feel a personal connection to God’s Word.
Tip: Make it a tradition to give Bibles as gifts when kids pass milestones as they grow.
Encourage kids to bring their Bibles to church and acknowledge the kids who do. Make sure your teachers ask kids to use their Bibles as a regular part of class times.
Tip: Assist kids in finding key passages and Bible stories from each session in their own Bibles, then bookmark them so they can re-read them at home.
Get kids excited about interacting with their Bibles by introducing games, races and activities based on Bible skills. Incentivize kids who memorize the books of the Bible. Create competitions to find verses quickly. Challenge kids to name the books that come before and after the name of the book you call out.
Tip: Introducing play is a great way to get kids familiar with their Bibles and excited about using them.
Kids need to see you using your Bible. Encourage your adult leaders and the parents of kids in your ministry to set an example by carrying and reading their own Bibles in front of kids.
Tip: Modeling the use of an actual Bible helps reinforce to kids that God’s stories and principles come from His special book, the Bible, not from a teacher guide or the Internet. How is your children’s ministry doing in regard to connecting kids to their Bibles? I encourage you to check out the free interactive Bible Skills for Kids resources available online where you can explore how you can teach Bible skills to kids and preschoolers in age-appropriate ways. You will also find a link to a free training video and printable resources that you can download to use with your kid’s ministry team and parents.