Helping Children Respond to God’s Word
We long for children to understand what our Bible lessons mean for their real lives. Bible application is used by God to transform hearts.
This is the final element of EGM’s discipleship model. The children will take all they have learned and experienced during the lesson and have the opportunity to respond to it!
In order to truly become a Christ follower, we need to take action and apply God’s Word to our lives. This is precisely what we challenge the children to do in the response element.
God wants us to live out His truths as part of our everyday lives.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, God gave the Israelites instructions on how to participate in the spiritual development of the children in their community. In verses 8-9, God says, “Tie them [His commandments] as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
God wants us to live out His truths as part of our everyday lives. He was encouraging the Israelite community to keep His truths in their minds, to practice them with their actions, and to remember them not just in worship, but also in their homes and outside of them. The Word of God was to impact EVERY part of their lives EVERY day.
The response element is the moment when you challenge kids to take action and apply the lesson aim.
EGM is focused on seeing children live out spiritual truths so that they can experience spiritual transformation. We long for children to not only learn Bible stories and memorize Bible verses, but for them to understand what they mean and to live them out in their lives. The response element of our discipleship model is the moment when you will challenge the kids to take action and apply the lesson aim.
During this Bible application time, you will give the children two opportunities to respond. The first is called “Respond Now.” This takes place at the end of the lesson when the children are still with you. You will guide them in an engaging activity that is designed to help them respond to God’s word and take their first step in living out the lesson aim.
We don’t only want to give children the opportunity to respond to God’s Word when they are in church.
Now that the children have taken this first step, we don’t want to stop there! We don’t only want to give children the opportunity for Bible application when they are at church. We want children to have the opportunity to respond during the week as well.
We want them to experience real-life application as they go about their daily activities: going to school, playing with friends, spending time with family, etc. After you lead them in the “Respond Now” activity, it is now time to share the “Keep Responding” exercise. This gives children another opportunity to respond to the lesson aim. It is key to helping them integrate the spiritual truths they are learning at church into their everyday lives.
5 Tips for engaging children in a response activity:
- Make sure to allow adequate time for this element. This will require you to keep a close eye on the time allotted to the other pieces of the lesson. It’s very important that Bible application doesn’t get squeezed out at the end. We don’t want children to miss out on the opportunity to respond to God’s Word.
- Since this is the last thing we do with the children before we finish up, we want to make sure that their understanding of the lesson aim is crystal clear. It is important to repeat the lesson aim several times and tie the response activities to the other activities during the lesson.
- Be sure to build on the final questions you asked during the discussion time. This will help you to stay focused on the lesson aim and help the children connect what they discussed to what they are being challenged to do.
- Our desire is to nurture children to genuinely grow in their faith. It is important to encourage them to respond to God’s word but we must never require them to do so. It is a personal decision.
- The next time you see the children, be sure to follow up with the “Keep Responding” activity. It’s important that they have an opportunity to share about their experiences. It also allows you to encourage them in their spiritual walk. I good idea is to incorporate the “Keep Responding” follow up into the relationship activity in your next lesson.
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