by Brent Colby/ December 12, 2016
Every story starts at the beginning. That opening line may be, “Call me Ishmael,” or, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times,” or even, “In the beginning.” The integrity of a story rests with the concept of beginning, middle, and end. The Bible contains the greatest story ever told, but we often fail to teach kids just how amazing it is. I want to share three key ideas that you can use to tell the story of God in a big way.
We often teach the Bible like an asynchronous collection of moral stories with loosely related characters. I have taught college students who couldn’t prioritize prophets between Jonah and John. The Bible has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and we need to preach through this framework.
The past 10 to 15 years have focused on conveying biblical truths to children. The next wave of teaching is placing a greater emphasis on “The Story of God.” We are rediscovering the importance of our place within the biblical narrative. We need to tell the narrative of the Bible in a clear and compelling way. It is important for us to place each episode of God’s story within the Genesis-to-Revelation timeline.
I’m sure you want kids in your ministry to get excited about their role in the Church today. Here are three ways you can help bring God’s big story to life:
Tell the story of God by putting each episode in perspective. You, as a Bible storyteller, should be able to connect the thread between John and Jonah. (For those of you who are still curious, Jonah came first.) Every Bible story makes much more sense when it is placed in a historical and scriptural context. It is impossible to grasp the significance of stories—like the woman at the well, the Exodus, or Pentecost—without a historical context. Our Bible stories are small when we fail to show kids where each of these characters came from and where they wanted to go.
Go back to the future by demonstrating how each Bible story looks forward and back. Not only do we need to see where each individual story fits within the greater whole, we also need to see how each of these stories looks back or forward to Jesus. Believe it or not, our modern world is reflected in first century Israel. For example, Jesus’ parable of The Good Samaritan has a lot to teach us about spiritual authority and racial equality. This is because it conveys God’s truth, which is always relevant and always true. When we fail to bring ancient truths into today’s world, we preach a small gospel.
Urge the urgency of today by placing kids into the timeline of God’s story. We have been made by God, commissioned by the Son, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to tell the world about Jesus! Every story in the Bible is connected to our purpose today. Kids need to know that they are living out the promise of Abraham, David, and Christ. They are the Church and have been given a clear task to do. They are living their lives in the grace of Christ with a lot of work to do. And this work has a clear due date, because Jesus is coming back! An underdeveloped understanding of the End Times is one of the greatest threats to the Church today.
Teach kids about the Revelation of John and put their lives in a biblical perspective. There is no more powerful way to help tell kids the big story of God.