Today was the first day of school for many in our city. I know many of you have begun your new school year as well. My little ones have all flown the nest but I wanted to take a minute to share some thoughts on starting your school year right. Many times it’s hard to find a place in our busy family schedules for family devotions or time in the Word together. But it’s so vitally important! Not that I want to add one.more.thing to your “to do” list this fall, but this is the perfect time to begin a habit of getting into God’s Word with your children.
I thought I’d share a few of my favorites that our family used during our kids’ growing-up years. Don’t make it complicated. Don’t feel pressured. Perhaps you can incorporate it as part of your morning routine with breakfast. Or perhaps in the evening after dinner. The point is to be intentional. If you will commit to this discipline as a family, God will provide a way.
So here are three of my favorites:
Okay…I know…it’s a boring title. But a great one! It was one of my favorites and one of the most valuable for giving our kids a “big picture” view of God’s story from the beginning. It helps to lay a foundation and gives greater insight when you read the New Testament. It’s perfect for the school year because it’s broken down into 36-weeks, 180 days…a typical school year. Beginning in Genesis, each day has a portion of Scripture to read and then a few questions to answer based on the text (great start for teaching inductive study of Scripture). It gives you a chronological overview of the Old Testament. Sometimes we’d take turns reading and other times I’d read the passage (sometimes my husband would read, but he was often off to work in the wee hours of the morning). Then we’d talk about the questions. You can have your discussion as kids are finishing breakfast, while driving to school, or in the carpool line. Perhaps you might want to read the passage in the morning and then discuss in the afternoon on the car ride home, while you’re preparing dinner, or at the table after dinner. You get the picture…just find what works best for your family. And by the way, I personally learned so much about the Old Testament in this study!
These are inductive Bible studies for kids put out by Precept Ministries. They are a great way to teach 8-12 year olds how to study the Word for themselves. I’ve listed Jonah, but there are several others. Each one comes with an activity to go along with the study, like performing a play, writing a newspaper or making a movie. Great activities for kids! This would be a great one to do throughout the week and then on Saturday or Sundays work on the project together as a family.
This is a devotional study that takes your family through the basic tenets of the Christian faith. It’s a study of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It’s a great question and answer series that you can read together, use as memory work and talk about throughout the week. Make it fun. Commit as a family to read, memorize and understand each point. Put each question and its answer on an index card, one for each family member, or post in a prominent place in your home. Once you’ve got it down, place the card in a jar. Once you learn a certain number, celebrate with a special family treat or outing. (We always loved Bruster’s Ice Cream). Another great one that has come out recently is Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God. It’s recommended for 6-14 years olds. It was released after mine were all out of the nest, but it looks really good! I plan on saving this one for use in future years when my grandbabies visit!
So these are a few recommendations you might want to check out. Make a commitment to be intentional and ask the Lord to show you what works best for your family! He is faithful! And as a parent of grown children, who all love and serve the Lord as adults, I can tell you the rewards for your efforts are great and eternal! We easily make time to ensure our kids are at sport practices, dance classes, after school clubs, etc…make the same commitment to get them into God’s Word. It’s one of the greatest gifts and legacies you can give your child. Again don’t feel pressured or let it stress you out (see my post on Stress here). I remember one year we were working on memorizing Scripture as a family and the resource we were using had us to memorize Psalm 103 for the week. Well…I looked at how long Psalm 103 was and freaked out! But then I paused, asked the Lord to help and we dug in. And we did it! Well…not in a week, but five weeks later, we had it down! So don’t feel bound by the schedule of the resource you’re using or set unrealistic expectations for yourself or your family, just be intentional and faithful!
I’d love to hear from you all. What resources does your family use? What are some creative ways you get into God’s Word as a family? Share and let’s encourage one another!
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. —Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (HCSB)