Too often, I see that children within the children’s ministry in our denomination know the stories of the Bible well and can tell you facts about Noah, Moses, David, Jonah and the life of Jesus, but they see them as a lot of individual stories about individual people. We don’t help by talking about these characters as heroes; we even sing children’s choruses about it. But they are not the heroes.
There is only one hero that we should be pointing children to in the Bible and that is our God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the only one that we want children, young people and adults to strive to be like. Yes, there are all these other characters in the Bible – sinful, messed up people who God in His graciousness and faithfulness to the promises that He made at the beginning – uses to work out His story of redemption.
Therefore, we need to think, at least sometimes, of using resources that help children to grasp this big story so that they understand how the rest of the small stories in the Bible work and what they are really about. We want children to see what God does in the story at this point, not what the human character does. How is God working? What is God like? What can we learn about what it means to follow Jesus through these stories?
One resource that helps with this is called 17 Stories. This resource takes 16 individual stories from the Bible and teaches them through story, activity, games, and memory verses and then the final story, the seventeenth, shows how they all fit together. The pack comes with a set of story cards for each of the children so that they can build up their own (literal) picture of God’s story of redemption through the Bible.
Children need to know the whole story of the Bible to truly understand what it is all about. They need to know not only why Jesus had to come, but why He came when He did – and why that was the perfect time for God to fulfil His promise.
Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St. Ebbe's Church, Oxford, Director of the Proclamation Trust, and the author of many books says: ‘The Old Testament on its own is an unfinished story; a promise without a fulfilment. We must read on to the New Testament if we want to know what it really means. And the New Testament constantly looks back to the promise it fulfils. We shall not make much sense of it if we are not aware of what has come before… the Bible must be understood and read as one book with one ultimate author, God, and one ultimate subject, God’s plan of salvation through his Son Jesus.’
Ruth Bromley is PCI Children’s Development Officer. If you would like free copies of 17 Stories to use in your children’s ministry, please contact Ruth and it can be arranged for you to have them. Email firstname.lastname@example.org