Do your kids fidget during the sermon on Sunday? Do they complain that they’re bored and can’t follow the pastor? Is there a solution? Happily, yes! It will take just a tiny bit of prep from you and your child the week before. Here’s how to help your kids listen in church.
Get the Scripture text ahead of time
If you talk to your pastor and ask him for his Scripture text ahead of time, I’m sure he would be happy to give it to you! In fact, I have it on pretty good authority that if you let your pastor know that you will be studying the passage ahead of the sermon on Sunday, he might just faint.
I’m married to a pastor, and I know he would be tickled if the adults prepped ahead of time – let alone the kids.
So, find out what Biblical text the sermon will cover and you will be able to get a head start on understanding the passage with your kids.
Print out the text
You can certainly read through the passage in your Bible, but in order to really study it, the best option is to print out a double-spaced copy of the text. You will be able to mark up your copy in a similar way as you might study a piece of literature or your history textbook. The Bible is certainly not merely a piece of literature – it’s God’s Word, after all – but we should approach our study of it at least as seriously as we would an academic subject, not less. In addition, by printing a clean copy without the commentary that accompanies study Bibles, you’ll be able to concentrate on what the text itself says instead of immediately jumping to someone else’s interpretation of the text.
So, go ahead and print out a copy of the text for each of your children who can read and they can start to look into it before Sunday.
There are many free online sites that you can use to access the Scripture text in the version you would like. We use biblegateway.com
But how can you study a Scripture passage without a set of questions? Glad you asked!
Teach Your Kids to Do an Mini Inductive Study
Simply put, the inductive Bible study method lets the Scripture speak for itself, while you notice key words, repeated ideas, and the entire context to find a big idea. This is different from a deductive, or topical study, that starts with a topic (God is love) and then looks for Scripture that will support that big idea.
Kids as young as fourth and fifth grade can effectively do inductive Bible study through a passage! I know this because I’ve taught my kids to use this Bible study method. And even the younger kids will surprise you at the depth of meaning they are able to bring from the text.
So, what kinds of things should you look for when you study through the passage before Sunday? Grab your colored pencils or colored pens and have your kids mark these things in the passage:
- Repeated words or key words
- Attributes of God
- Points made in the text – including lists, commands, parallel thoughts
- Transition Words – if/then, therefore, but, because, in the same way
- References to the author (Who wrote this?) and the audience (To whom did he write it? When? Why?)
- Find a main idea for each paragraph (a paragraph is smaller than the whole chapter – there may be several natural breaks in each chapter)
- Write down questions you have after studying the text and see if your Pastor addresses them in his sermon
Have your kids follow along with their inductive study notes on Sunday and see if the Pastor mentions things they noticed in the text. Does he answer your questions? Does he talk about the same key words you marked? Was his main idea the same as yours?
Don’t forget to tell your pastor that you’re studying along with him during the week! He will be so encouraged. Most adults would get so much more from the sermon if they prepared like this each week.
So, if you want your kids to be engaged with the sermon, taking the time to prepare like this will help your kids listen in church.
Want a bit more help with the inductive Bible study method?
- Check out the Inductive Bible Study Courses at 4onemore.com (coming soon!)
- Download an Inductive Bible Study Guide in the resource library at 4onemore.com
- Bonus Idea: Your kids can use their Bible Memory Box to memorize a verse from this week’s sermon text
Abby is a former public school teacher, now homeschooling her five children. She’s in the trenches just like you and knows it can be challenging to be home with your kids all day while you struggle to keep up with the housework and educate your kids (and maybe even work on the side!). She blogs over at www.4onemore.com and hosts the Homeschool with Moxie podcast.