[moving away from application] merge 2day

during the merge 2day, we spent a good deal of time discussing the role of application in bible storying for children. when i first started writing church curriculum, i approached the lesson by choosing the bible story – and then drawing 3 application points for the children to walk away with. for example: if i was writing a lesson on noah for 4/5 year olds, the 3 application points would include:

  1. children will learn the story of noah.
  2. children will understand what it means to obey god like noah did.
  3. children will obey their parents.

now, i believe that when those lessons were written and taught, the spirit moved in the children and they were inspired. but, i’m not sure that through those lessons we provided the best opportunity for children to experience god and begin to develop a biblical context for their lives.

when we reduce bible stories to a simple application point, we take away space for children to wonder, question and process deep thinking. i believe we create environments in which children, and then later high school students expect us to process and apply the bible for them, and that they need not work hard to understand the bible for themselves.

instead, what if we considered telling children the bible story and then followed up with discussion and activities that included wondering questions, imaginative thinking, and connective points that helped children connect the story with previous stories.

if we took the same example of the noah story – instead of telling children what the story means for their lives, we follow up with questions such as:

  • what did you notice for the first time in the story?
  • i wonder how noah felt when god was asking him to build a boat?
  • how would you feel if god asked you to build a boat?
  • are there other times in the bible when god gave someone directions? what happened?
  • what do we learn about god from this story?

the exciting part about asking questions like these is that each child potentially walks away with a different key concept from the story! a key concept that is relevant and spirit led for that specific child. beautiful!

would love to hear your thoughts and ideas! also, check out this great video from a youth leader’s perspective on moving away from teaching only application.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for posting about this, Amy! This is one of the most important distinctions of an approach like Bible storying. We talked about this on Tuesday morning of the 2Day, as we discussed in the morning meeting about the difference between focusing on application points vs. environments that foster story implication and observation skills.

    The video you linked to in the post is an interview we did for my book, Shaped by the Story. Really powerful to hear how a children’s ministry worker could see the benefit of allowing implication to surface. I have additional ideas, interviews and resources on my site at http://www.echothestory.com. Thanks for a great collaborative experience!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Ruben on September 1, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    A-ma-zing, exactly what I’ve been experimenting with as well. Keep up the great work!
    Ruben – curriculum development for kidmin – Saddleback Church

    Reply

  3. […] on September 2, 2010 by kidzministryonline| Leave a comment I stumbled across this post over at lemon lime kidz. During the merge 2day, we spent a good deal of time discussing the role of application in bible […]

    Reply

    • Posted by kidzministryonline on September 2, 2010 at 6:46 pm

      I have been thinking about creating a space for kidz to connect and apply the bible to their own lives in a way that they understand and that is real and true to them and their current circumstance.
      I think the success of achieving it through small group and open discussion will depend on the competency of the small group leader and in many instances the maturity of the individual small group members.
      Whats important though is that we as leaders identify the need for our kidz to start those internal conversations, that allows the spirit to speak into their hearts. Asking the questions is vitally important and even if we don’t receive a verbal response from our kids it doesn’t mean that we haven’t provoked an internal response.
      Lets create the space and allow God to move
      Tim
      Looking forward to this next part of the journey

      Reply

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