each year we present our first graders with a new Bible. we have a special family brunch where we share the importance of God’s Word to families. (you can read more about that here.) we also give the children a small gift bag. it usually contains some sort of family faith discussion product and a bookmark. you would think the purchased family-talk product would be the biggest hit, and they are great, but this year the real fruit of Bible reading came from our simple bookmark.
the bookmark is not an expensive item, but this year we saw its eternal value like never before. the idea for this bookmark came from the thought that while we are presenting children with God’s Word it can be incredibly daunting to know just where to begin. so many books. so many verses. so many words. so we thought what if we give them a jumping off point? what if we help children with some suggestions for verses and passages to seek as they begin their Bible reading? so we asked all the ministerial staff and first grade teachers to share with us the scriptures/passages that have meant the most to them. that’s all. we typed them neatly on a bookmark, laminated them really thick, and challenged the kids to use them to begin to find verses to read.
this year there was an overwhelming response. kids were so proud of their Bibles. they wanted them with them as much as possible. we even heard a story of a child choosing to read God’s Word over playing games on an ipad.
here is what one father emailed in to say,
“What a wonderful Sunday! You gave a powerful (and challenging!) message on the importance of the Bible and each family’s role in it. Kaleb was so excited after church that his Bible did not leave his side the rest of the day! I could go on and on about all the impressive things but I think the one that was most special to me was the bookmark. That all those people took the time to share, y’all put it together so clearly, and that it gives us a starting point to read with him is just awesome. “
if you are like me you know that sometimes we make things too hard. we think money has to be spent, bells and whistles must blow, and mountains must move. we simply gave them a bookmark with a challenge to use it as a resource to read God’s Word. kids accepted the challenge, so in my mind and heart i believe there is a great potential for the moving of mountains and changed lives for eternity.
how do you encourage children to read’s God’s Word? i would love to hear your ideas.