Monday, February 18, 2013

CONFIRMATION: The Bible Reading Challenge!

One of my priorities is to try to get kids to read the Bible more and to have a greater understanding of God's plan for His people than just cherry picking verses to fit their current emotional state.  To that end, I came up with the Bible Reading Challenge for confirmation students.

If you want them to think about certain things while they read you'll want to have some simple reading guides to go along with the reading or you can have a brief conversation with them to be sure they're actually reading and that they're understanding what they're reading.  The guides should be simple and/or short but are necessary because kids often read the Bible (and many other things) without actually understanding.  At this age kids don't always connect all the dots on their own or in the right order so the purpose of the guide is simply to make sure they "hear and connect" what they read.

How to choose what they'll read:

  • The Pastor can do it. I suggest they read the Old Testament historical books one year and the New Testament the other year. If they have to read all the boring or difficult to read parts that aren't linked to the story they will quit. For example, genealogies, Proverbs and the Psalms are important and necessary pieces of scripture but would not be necessary or great reading for kids nor would they help put the big picture together.
  • Use or adapt The 70 Most Important Events of the Bible.  These are quite short and it will be difficult for the kids to get a whole picture without discussion and/or guidance. The epistles aren't included in this and provide great wisdom and insight imparted to the people. Personally, I would have them read more than just these snippets and add the epistles, but it's a good place to start if you need one.
  • Use The Story for Teens and break the 31 chapters up into 2 years. I really like the way this is laid out and that it uses the NIV and isn't a total paraphrase. There is a curriculum with video but be aware that if done outside of class kids will watch the video and not read the book. That would be a mistake! The epistles aren't included in this either and personally, I would add them and remind the kids that they're letters and should be read as such.  This would be my choice.

Create a special award and choose a special day to present them to the kids for this great accomplishment at the end of each year.  Make it a real award they get during the confirmation ceremony for those who have completed the whole challenge.  You might also have a formal plaque and have names engraved on it or have a large framed certificate type poster with names added when kids complete the whole challenge.  Be sure to put glass over it!


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