Archives For scripture

applyIn writing our curriculum for Fifty6, we really wanted to make every lesson connect with preteens and their daily lives. We wanted to draw lines between what the Bible says and how it can be put into practice. We want them to walk away from every lesson with an idea that will challenge them to live differently based on what they’ve learned from God’s Word.

Here’s how we’re encouraging preteens to apply the Bible to their lives:

1. Make space in the lesson for action steps

At the end of every small group session, we have a segment called React. We do a quick review of the lesson and ask preteens to consider how it will make a difference in their lives. We challenge them by asking this question, In light of all we learned, what will we do differently this week? Here is an example of the React portion of Small Group:

2. Give suggestions, but let preteens make decisions

We’ve decided that we will always provide some suggested action steps for preteens, but we ultimately want them to decide how they will apply the lesson to their lives. We don’t want to tell them how to react because we don’t want to limit the way Scripture is working in their life. We want them to make decisions and take this step in owning their faith.

3. Provide Accountability in the Small Group

Accountability is always important in life-change. To make sure that preteens have accountability, we ask small group leaders to follow-up each week on the previous week’s React segment. Preteens are free to share how they applied the Bible to their lives and what God is doing through that.

How do you help preteens apply the Bible to their life?

Weeping like Jesus

April 3, 2012 — Leave a comment

Cityscape View of Little Rock, AR

“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,” Luke 19:41

The city of Jerusalem did not have much experience with the concept of peace. They had been destroyed by enemies in the past, and they would soon be destroyed by the Romans. The tears of Jesus were not for the physical city of Jerusalem, He wept for the individuals.

Jesus taught the multitudes. He spent time with men, women, and children. He knew their need for redemption. They had been visited by the Savior. Instead of receiving Him, they rejected and killed Him. Jesus wept because they were blind to redemption. Jesus was their only hope of peace, but He knew they would refuse Him. This brought Him to tears.

In reading this passage of Scripture this week, this verse really struck me. Do I weep for my city and their sin? When I see their sin, does my heart break over their need for a Savior?

In a week of busyness and preparations for a huge ministry weekend, let’s not forget to weep for our city. Pray that they recognize the Messiah and accept salvation in Him.

As a preparation for Good Friday and Easter, you need to read The Weeping Chamber by Sigmund Brouwer.

The Weeping Chamber is a novel that sets the story of Jesus’ last days into a very personal context. The story is told from the view of Simeon of Cyrene. He is in a deep despair over his sin, and he has left his family with no intent to return. At the same time, Jesus is making his way into Jerusalem for the Passover and His final week. It is amazing to watch as these two men travel toward a head-on collision that happens on the road to Golgotha.

Brouwer is able to tell a fictitious story that deals with personal guilt, while also telling a very Biblically accurate account of Jesus’ final week as a man. It is a great historical look at the events of Passover and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but the uniqueness of the book is how this is told through the lens of a broken man.

This book was handed to me a number of years ago, and it has been a staple of this week for me ever since. Even after reading it for what seems like the millionth time, the book always becomes personal. As I put myself in the shoes of Simeon, I come face to face with the redemption that is available through Jesus Christ.

If you didn’t already know, I’m a nerd. When something catches my interest, I really want to study it and research it to learn more. In college, I did research for my final thesis on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Here is a little background…

In 1983, Howard Gardner put forth the idea of Multiple Intelligences. The theory of Multiple Intelligences is met with skepticism due to lack of research, but many educational systems still use components of his theory. Gardner suggests that intelligence goes beyond simply reading and writing.  Gardner’s theory proposed 8 abilities in which “intelligence” could be measured.  They are:

  • Logical-Mathematical—learns through the use of reasoning, patterns, and numbers (computer programmer, detective) 
  • Spatial—learns through use of visualizing and designing with the mind’s eye (architect) 
  • Linguistic—learns through use of words, written and/or spoken (author)
  •  Bodily-Kinesthetic—learns through the use of movement, motions, and activity (athlete)
  •  Musical—learns through the use of music, rhythm, and music theory (musician)
  • Interpersonal—learns through the interaction with others (sales person)
  • Intrapersonal—learns through the act of self-reflection (psychologists, lawyers)
  • Naturalistic—learns through relating information to natural surroundings (farmer, agriculturist)

That’s a really brief and insufficient explanation of the theory, but you can read tons more about it—the good and the bad—by googling it. It will have to do for this blog. My research into this theory was how it could be implemented in ministry curriculum to help kids better understand God’s Truth.  I think it has great potential to be used in churches and to better the learning experience of all age groups, but ESPECIALLY PRETEENS!

Sunday, we put it into practice.  We were wrapping up a unit with 5th graders on spiritual warfare.  As a review, we set up 5 stations and allowed students to choose their activity for the day. The stations were: Music, Body, Numbers, Words, and Pictures.  If a student chose Music, then they were given a passage of scripture relating to spiritual warfare and asked to create a song or rap that shared what they had learned from the passage.  Each station did similar activities relating to that form of “intelligence,” or as we called it “learning style.” 

As a Preteen Pastor, I know the struggle it is to get this age group to participate and really engage in a project. We often force them to all do the same things and the results are horrendous.  By allowing them to choose the activity, we saw what their natural preferences or learning styles were.  And since they chose the station, we had no problem getting them to actively participate.  The result…AMAZING!  There were incredible stories written, very talented rappers showed their rhyming skills, beautiful artwork, awesome skits, and really cool puzzles/riddles—all of which showed that the students understood what we had been teaching. And even better, it showed that they were able to share that knowledge with other students through their chosen learning style.

I’m excited to keep researching and integrating this into our curriculum.  There’s not enough space here to share all that we did or all that we’re planning, but I’d love share more or answer questions. If you’d like to know more, send me a tweet or leave a comment below.