Bringing Kids Into God’s Story

My big summer adventure of teaching at the Christian school at the church I grew up in is at a close. Friday was the last day of my seven weeks staffing summer day camp. I taught 1st-3rd grade Bible Monday and Friday mornings, and in the afternoon was a group leader for 1st grade for the first half of the summer and 3rd grade for the second half. On Wednesdays we did all-day field trips to places like the beach, Knott’s Berry Farm (it’s an amusement park much more than an actual farm), and the Natural History Museum in LA.

When I was asked to take this teaching position just a few weeks before camp began, I was pretty nervous about it. I’ve never worked with kids this young before. I learned a lot about God using me in my weakness. Even when I prepared my lessons at 11:00pm the night before and felt I had just my little loaves and fishes to bring, every time God multiplied it into something that actually kept the kids’ attention and touched their hearts.

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I got to design my own bulletin board!

My favourite part of the summer was teaching my kids the Bible. The camp was going through the Cave Quest VBS curriculum, and so I talked about how Jesus gives us hope, courage, direction, love, and power. I was given one page of thematic material and a memory verse for each week (crafts/games not included), which I had to stretch into two lessons. I had a lot of fun coming up with crafts, games, and dances to make the themes and verses memorable, and along the way I got to get my preach on and see kids’ faces light up as Truth hit their hearts! During “hope” week, I got very excited talking about how our ultimate hope is that Jesus will one day come back and “His feet will stand” on the earth, (Zechariah 14:4) and He will make all the wrong things right. Some of my kids had never heard that before. Hearing one of my 3rd graders pray “Thank You that Your feet will stand on the earth” absolutely melted my heart.

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Week 2 – Jesus gives us courage! I made a boat out of chairs, the Sea of Galilee out of sheets, and drew a storm on the whiteboard to act out the story of Peter and Jesus walking on water. The kids really seemed to get the concept of how Jesus gives us courage when we keep our eyes on Him.

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Week 3 – Jesus gives us direction! I had a lot of fun teaching them about how compasses work and how we need to align the symbols with the needle, just like we need to align our lives with God’s Word.

For our “love” lesson in week 4, we talked about how Jesus loved us enough to die for our sins. I showed them the crucifixion and resurrection scenes from the kids’ version of the JESUS film, and made a cardboard cross for the front of the room. I planned to tack pieces of paper with sins written on them to the cross, but in what must have been a Holy Spirit idea I first tacked them to my own shirt, then transferred them to the cross. Weeks later, the kids were still talking about how I used tacks to put the sins on myself “just like the nails on the cross!” Haha, not quite, but at least it made an impact.

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Week 7 – Royal Celebration. We made wordless gospel books to tell the story of our adoption into God’s royal family.

Our summer concluded with a “Royal Celebration” inspired by the Narnian crowning of the Pevensie children in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. We invited the kids to surrender the lives to Jesus, and then we offered them the chance to be crowned and baptised. That was a special week indeed! With children’s ministry, it’s kind of hard to say how many souls actually came into the kingdom during camp, but I believe the experience made an impact on them, even if the full force of it doesn’t hit them for a while.

Jesus is after the hearts of these kids. They’re not too young to experience the love of the Father and the wonder of His plan. One girl told me, “I didn’t know about God before I came here.” Another boy was so fascinated by my Bible that he begged me to let him keep it. Some of my biggest challenge kids were also my most affectionate, because they began to believe they were loved even during discipline. These kids are hungry for something real. As a camp staff, we had the opportunity to love them and plant what seeds we could, and watch God move in tiny little hearts.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle Morrison
    Jul 28, 2016 @ 14:24:29

    That is awesome. You’re right, they are never to young to learn about God’s truth. 🙂

    Reply

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