For the past couple of years we’ve been using our traditional children’s slot in church to run a series called ‘50 Christians’, giving a very brief biography and point of application for 50 significant Christians down the ages. I found the confidence to tackle church history from the What’s in the Bible series which is not afraid to teach church history to kids.
We backed up the series with a set of 50 baseball–type cards, each carrying a picture and some biographical detail. We had them printed as a set of business cards and encouraged the kids (and adults!) to collect the set. It was slightly amateurish as these things always are, but a really good use of the time in a church service to teach both children and adults the value of church history without getting into dry and dusty detail.
I’m glad to see the idea done well – better in fact than we ever did it – as a superb book by Clare Heath–Whyte and a matching set of cards with fantastic illustrations from Jenny Brake. Why not think about using these to do something similar to us? Clare’s book gives you the script and the teaching points, then the church could invest in enough sets so that kids can collect one each week. They will love it and learn as they go. Even adults might learn a thing or two. We had kids in our church buy albums to keep their collections and ask for missing cards when they were away. You could follow a similar pattern.
I’ve long been a little sceptical about kids’ slots in church: if kids are taught well in Sunday School I fail to see what value the talk adds other than giving a church member something else to prepare. Moreover, they often reflect the inability of a service leader to know how to lead a service so that it serves all the congregation, including kids. But that rant aside, here is a very useful way to use that five–minute slot that will do precisely what is needed – it really will make a difference and do something that is not being done elsewhere. It would be ironic indeed if the way for adults to appreciate church history was through the kids’ enthusiasm. But why not?
– Adrian Reynolds, FIEC Director of Training