Holy Week is coming with palm parades, the last supper with the disciples, the arrest and trial of Jesus, followed by his death & resurrection. These are hard concepts for young children. Sometimes parents need resources and support from the church in order to help their children through the events of Holy Week.
Enter the storybook Bible(s) for preschoolers. Through G.I.F.T, or Growing in Faith Together classes, parents and kids gather during the education hour to explore the Bible together. What we learn during G.I.F.T. is then taught in worship by the preschoolers and their families. (Thanks Rich Melheim for the acronym!)
Here is what we do:
Bible Proficiency: Our conversation starts about what the Bible is not! It’s not just a story about superheros, or a list of rules, or a history book. In fact, it’s a little of all those things and more – the Bible is a love story, a true story, a life-changing adventure story. It’s a story that points to God’s love found in Jesus Christ. It’s a story parents and kids can trust together! To help families remember this, we combine Psalm 119:105 with yoga moves:
God’s word (mountain pose)
is a lamp (star pose)
to my feet (mountain pose)
and a light (star pose)
to my path (warrior 2 pose).
The fun part is that we will teach these moves – verse and yoga – to the congregation in worship during storytime.
Bible Pick: Young children love having a choice. Thanks to a generous donation, kids can pick a Bible that fits their personality. There are five different Bibles available: Spark Story Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, Picture That! Bible, Children of God Bible, and the Holy Bible for Minecrafters.
Bible Presentation: During worship, after we lead the congregation with Psalm 119:105 with some cool yoga moves, parents, grandparents, siblings and preschooler participate in a Bible Presentation. The goal is to help families fulfill their baptismal promises –
Presider says: Children, many of you were baptized when you were very young; some of you will be baptized soon.When your parents & sponsors brought you to be baptized they promised to place in your hands the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, to nurture your lives in faith and in prayer, to share with others the message of Christ through word and deed, to care for others and all that God has made, and to work for the mercy, justice and peace of God wherever you are. On that same day, this community of faith or another community of faith promised to help your parents fulfill that promise. Today, we join together in taking an important step toward fulfilling these promises. (Thanks Kris TM for these words!)
Children: please turn and face your parents.
Parents: please give your children their Bibles, saying your child’s name, followed by “This is the Word of the Lord,”
Children: please respond with “Thank you and thanks be to God.”
The point is for the parents to put the Bible into the hands of the child. There is power in passing down God’s story from parent to child. Kids love reading books with their family members. It’s a win-win situation.
Bible Practice. Now, Holy Week. During our time together, we will look at the variety of stories in the Bibles. Some have more Old Testament stories, and some have thematic titles. But each of the Bibles have the stories of Holy Week. Families are encouraged on a simple bookmark to read the story on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, ask a simple question, and then pray.
If God’s story has the power to transform lives, don’t we want our families to know the events of Holy Week? Sometimes they just need a little help to get started. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
(Check out other G.I.F.T. classes!)