Family faith-sharing tip:
Jesus used open-ended questions (ones that don’t have a single, or yes/no, answer) to start up spiritual conversations. Try using the ones listed below to help you open up thoughtful conversations about Bible stories.
- 2 Timothy 3:14-17
- Studying the Bible together can be fun, interesting, useful, creative, and relevant.
- Various props for your chosen Bible story (see below), or the link to a good retelling on YouTube.
- An assortment of interesting craft materials—whatever’s available
- Scissors, glue, coloring materials, etc.
- A tray full of interesting natural objects such as fresh flowers, leaves, feathers, stones, bark, shells, etc.
What you do:
- Choose an appealing parable—such as The Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7); The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10); The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32); or The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
- Tell the story in a way that your children would enjoy—reading, watching a YouTube clip, acting it out.
- Use a clear and modern translation of the Bible.
- Ask the children: Who do you think the shepherd/lost sheep/lady/prodigal son/father/injured man/good Samaritan, etc., really is? Discuss their answers and warmly accept any of their ideas.
- Then ask:
- What did you like best about the story? What did you enjoy the most? (Warming/opening question)
- What was the most important thing in the story for you? (Focus question)
- Where are you in the story? (Personalizing questions)
- (These special questions help the children internalize the story and its values. This approach has been developed by Jerome W. Berryman as part of a reflective storytelling technique called Godly Play. Go to www.godlyplay.org)
- After discussing the story, ask the children to create anything they want that’s connected with the story in some way. It may be a picture, a craft, a 3D model, a poem, or a fresh retelling of the story.
- This is a simple and effective way of exploring Bible stories with children, as it requires very little preparation. Yet it can have a powerful impact on adults and children when they begin to think about Bible stories using these simple questions, and to make things created from their own response to the story.
Useful Internet resources
- Search for Bible-story based activities, on www.lightlive.org—by age, type of activity, Bible reference, story theme, etc.
- Or find ideas on www.barnabasinchurches.org.uk. These are not Adventist sites, but most of the activities on them are suitable for Adventist families, so choose the ones that you think will work best for you.
- Place a tray of natural objects on the table.
- Ask each person to choose one thing and spend three minutes (if they can manage this) exploring every detail of the object. Ask them to find three special things that fill them with amazement.
- Then share with one another the three wonderful things you discovered about your object.
- Discuss other natural things that also fill you with wonder, such as rainbows, babies, clouds, stars, snowflakes, etc. Or thank God for making the millions of amazing things that fill our world.