“Where did the day go?”” John sighed to himself as he tucked his children in bed and turned off their bedroom light. Sports practice, music lessons, supper, homework, cell phones, computer games, not to mention his own hectic work schedule—it all seemed to conspire against meaningful family time. He pondered, “How am I supposed to teach my children what they need to know about God and His Word? There just aren’t enough hours in a day!”
Many parents have been thwarted from finding the time to effectively ground their children in God’s Word. There are, however, very doable solutions that have been tried and tested by parents who have successfully fitted meaningful Bible teaching into their families’ busy lives.
How should I get started?
Much is working against you giving your children a solid biblical foundation. Not the least of which is the Evil One himself—the Enemy of our souls (Ephesians 6:12). It will take concerted effort and specific prayer for you to be ready to teach your children. Write out your prayer to the Lord, asking for His wisdom and direction in this endeavour. List the individual names of your children and ask God to work in each of them, preparing their young hearts for learning. Share your written prayer and commitment with your spouse, your pastor, or a trusted friend.
How do I find the time?
For busy families, it’s usually a matter of making time rather than finding time. Usually it requires saying “no” to some things in your family’s schedule. It may mean having your children only involved in just one after-school activity instead of two or more. Doing so may free up a few precious hours per week so that everyone is home and available for family time together. Budget TV and computer time so that they don’t monopolize all their free time. If giving your children a solid foundation in God’s Word is important enough to you, you’ll have to make time.
When does it work best?
It’s important to choose a window of opportunity that works best for your family. Perhaps mornings are better suited for you before everyone heads off to work and school. Many families have found that just after dinner or supper works well as everyone is at the table. They do a study for about 30 minutes, several times a week. If weekdays are too full, you could schedule regular time together over the weekend—on Sunday afternoons for example. In looking at the calendar, you may see an opportunity during an upcoming school break or long weekend. Your family’s schedule is as unique as they are, so choose a time that works best and go for it!
What if my kids don’t want to participate?
It’s true, getting wiggly children to sit down for family Bible time can be a challenge, but you might be surprised at how much your kids might enjoy the time. Keep it within their attention span. Be firm. Make it fun. Who knows, maybe one of your kids will enjoy it as much as Chris* does.
“I really like it, after a busy day, to have supper together and talk and read the Bible as family. It’s fun and relaxing and I really learn a lot.” – Chris (12)
What materials should I use?
Unless you really enjoy writing up your own lessons, you probably want to find resources that are already laid out in a way that you can easily guide your family. Also, because everyone likes a good story, it is helpful to use resources that follow the events of the Bible as an unfolding drama—where each event ties into the next. And finally, no matter what their age, it is crucial that your children are not only learning the information in the Bible, but that they are also gaining a clear understanding about what it means and how it applies to them. When materials include comprehension questions, it can give you confidence that your children understand the message.
Steve*, a 36 year-old, husband and father of three boys grew up with parents who regularly made time to teach the Bible. He said, “Talking, laughing, and learning together as a family… I still remember things about God, His character, and Jesus Christ… they continue to come to my mind—even as an adult.”
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
The Lamb is a great resource for teaching children, ages 4-11. The review questions are helpful to check the children’s understanding.
The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus works well with children, 12 and above. For older children, you may want to give each child a copy of the book and the workbook, and a highlighter so everyone can underline and take notes.
If you want to take it up one level, “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” is packaged as part of our Worldview Rethink curriculum. With this curriculum, you get the added benefit of the Leader’s Guide and visual aids which work very well in holding the attention of your family.
(*Names changed according to GoodSeed policy.)