We love to track down solid biblical resources for you to use with your families, Sunday School classrooms, and Christian school classrooms. Not only do we review them, they make regular appearances on our Christmas, Easter, and Graduation Gift Lists. We even spent the month of October focusing just on Church History!
But do you ever get a *great* biblical resource in the mail after ordering it, and it sits on your shelf? Maybe the kids haven’t discovered it yet, or your dreams of finally doing family devotions just aren’t materializing because baseball practice or scouts are getting in the way.
Try some of these ideas:
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If this is the first time you’re trying to do family devotions or anything more “serious” than casual fun reading, start with something limited in scope. Mission Accomplished is a great option for Easter: it’s only 2 weeks long. Others, like Susan Hunt’s family devotional guides, are 10-12 weeks long. When you’re ready to move up a bit, try one of Sally Michael’s guides (20 weeks long).
Go with Stories
If this is all new to you, try reading a missionary biography or another narrative and engage your kids in the story format. Read a chapter a time at bedtime, breakfast, or after dinner. Or, listen to one in the car to and from church! If you have reluctant readers, try a graphic novel like The Book of God. Read a book like that WITH your child.
Read the Reviews
Janie does a fantastic series of Bible reviews every April. She looks at Bibles and Bible story books for all ages. If you are trying to encourage your children to take more ownership of Bible reading or want to do a more systematic approach as a family, read her reviews! Our family has benefited from the Seek-and-Find ESV Bible, which we discovered through a Redeemed Reader review. It was a perfect fit for our newly independent readers when they were ready for a “real” Bible.
Try a Weekly Approach
If this is a busy season in your life, or if you have a “deep” resource you want to explore with your children, try reading it one day a week. Our family does “Theology Thursdays.” Currently, we’re reading The Ology, so the name is doubly appropriate! We simply read one section each Thursday and let it percolate all week long. Incidentally, we also do this with things like the Mr. Pipes books on “Musical Mondays,” and one of our children gets to pick which hymn we’ll sing.
Get the Kids Involved
For books like The Ology that have loads of Scripture references sprinkled throughout, I give my kids each a couple of verses to look up. It’s helpful to jot the references on little post-its, hand them out, and let the kids bookmark the passages with the stickies ahead of time so they’re ready when I call on them. This only takes a couple of minutes, but it has really made a difference!
Be Creative and Be a Model
Some resources, like The Radical Book for Kids, don’t fall into a neat box or category. How do we encourage kids to explore these kinds of resources? You can explore one chapter a week like I suggested above, or you might try reading a chapter aloud one day that sounds especially interesting, and then leave the book casually on the coffee table. Since this book is full of all sorts of interesting trivia, you can go with a more subtle approach: at dinner, drop some interesting piece of trivia (“did you know that the high priest’s breastplate had emeralds, diamonds, and rubies on it?” OR “Wow! They also had battle-axes and catapults in the Bible!”–assuming your son has just been showing you his Lego versions of these or something). Then, model for your kids how to do some research: “Let’s find out more about that!” The more we turn to certain books (including the Bible itself), the more our children will learn to do the same for their own questions.