Children

Author: Margaret Hill

"I think the workshop gave all the kids a way of expressing thoughts and emotions that they had no outlet for before. It helped them know that what they are feeling is normal and that God cares deeply about them."

How can children who have been traumatised by war engage with Scripture meaningfully? How can they believe in a loving father who cares for them? Through stories of children who had experiences similar to their own and Scripture stories, they can learn that - although life involves suffering - God cares for them. Through games, crafts, and conversation, they can give voice to their pain and bring it to Christ for healing. This model has proven to be effective with children in Gulu, Uganda and Liberia.  [more...]

English and French teacher's guides, coloring pages and big picture books

Chris and Karen Jackson (eds.), 2015
Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy (CABTAL).

Lessons from Luke is a 52-lesson curriculum for children, based on the Gospel of Luke and developed in the North West region of Cameroon. It aims to provide an easy-to-follow series of lessons that are culturally appropriate and make use of teaching aids and illustrations found in a typical rural milieu.

Each lesson contains a teacher's guide, a coloring page with the memory verse and truth of the week, and a big picture book called a Flip Book in A3 format with the pictures from the Bible story section. There are also review lessons.

Lessons from Luke does not make use of any other portion of Scripture outside of the Gospel of Luke. The goal is to provide a tool with which language communities can start to engage with the mother-tongue Scriptures at the earliest possible opportunity once Luke is translated and approved for publication. It has been designed to be a bilingual document with the teaching content translated into local languages, keeping the repeated text and the teacher instructions in English or French for new mother-tongue readers.  [more...]

Published by: Lion Hudson

Five years ago Lion Hudson (a UK based publisher) was approached by the United Bible Societies with the need for an illustrated re-telling of the Bible narrative that was suitable for a wide age range including adults, culturally appropriate for non Western readers and which could be printed at a price that made it affordable for a mass market in the two thirds world with minimum or no subsidy. The organisations settled on a long-standing and successful title - The Lion Children's Bible - as the book that best met this requirement.  [more...]

Author: Wendy Strachan
Published by: Scripture Union International (Catalyst, August 2007, pg. 2-7)

Our problem is not relevance. It is accessibility. The world of today’s children is different from the world of the Bible with its unfamiliar names, values, cultures, countries, politics and history. Our task is to build bridges between the world of the child and the world of the Bible so that children can enter that world and meet the God who is so utterly relevant to their world today. Our task is to open up the Bible.

This article is based on a paper given at the Worldwide Scripture Use Consultation 2006 by Wendy Strachan, Children's Ministry Co-ordinator with Scripture Union.

The author argues that we close down the Bible for children when: we sanitise it, we trivialise it, we reduce it to a book of 'stories with a moral', we treat it as a book of rules, we treat it as a textbook of information to be memorised, and when we treat it as a book of stories about heroes.

To open up the Bible, we need to: let the Bible speak for itself, let children explore the Bible text in their imagination, build a framework within which children can interpret their world and God, and then respond to God's Word.  [more...]

Report into Scripture reading habits of parents and children
Published by: Bible Society, UK

The Bible Society in the UK has launched Pass It On, a campaign to encourage parents to read, watch or listen to a Bible story with their child.

An accompanying Research Report is available for download. Among the findings are:

  • Only 35% of children have had a Bible story read to them by their parents and just 16% by their grandparents.
  • Over half of children (54%) never, or less than once a year, read Bible stories at school or at home, and 45% of parents of children aged 3 to 8 say they never read Bible stories to their child, falling to 36% in London and rising to 52% in Scotland and 60% in Wales.
  • In stark contrast, 86% of parents read, listened to or watched Bible stories themselves as a child aged 3 to 16.
  • For 1 in 5 parents (22%) of younger children, aged 3 to 8, a lack of time is a barrier to them reading to their children more often. For some parents, an increase in the availability of different types of media is making it difficult to read more often to their children. Yet, while digital devices are growing in popularity, 82% of children still like to read stories more traditionally in a book.

The report concludes:

Our research highlights a number of worrying trends, among them evidence that Bible literacy – already in serious decline – will become significantly worse in the future.

While millions of people in Britain and around the world believe in the value Bible stories bring to society, little is being done in our homes or schools to keep them alive for future generations.

The Pass It On campaign seeks to respond to this challenge.  [more...]

Promoting Scripture use in difficult environments
Author: Mary Beavon

“The illustrations captured the imagination of the children.”

Mary Beavon describes a Scripture Use activity their team used in an area of Cameroon where churches are small, travel is difficult, and people have little money. They developed Scripture Big Books (from Shell Books), which served to both teach the Bible and promote literacy. They were used in churches and open air. Though it is not a sustainable activity, it provides useful manuscripts and exposes people to written forms of the Bible.  [more...]

Theories and themes emerging from the World Wide Scripture Engagement Consultation
Author: Stephen Opie

"There is clear confusion among Christians about why they should read the Bible. For many, who have lived a Christian life without much engagement with the Bible, there is no perceived need to engage with it."

This paper, fruit of the recent WWSE Think Tank, seeks to engage with the 'Bible Engagement Crisis' in contexts where Bible availability is high but Bible use is relatively low. The focus is on the emerging generation who are less likely to use the Bible than the generations before them, especially using traditional methods.

After presenting the challenge, Stephen Opie outlines some of the strategic themes emerging, such as:

  • establishing relevance by listening first;
  • embracing technology, especially the Internet;
  • identifying grassroots movements and helping them to grow.
  [more...]