The word education comes from the Latin
word educo meaning to draw out. Faith
Inkubators Bible Song curricula is designed to draw out thoughts and an understanding
of scripture from children, youth, and adults through art, signing a verse from
the Bible with hands, and using voices to sing scripture verbatim to praise
God. This is a different way of thinking.
The Sunday school teacher way of thinking we are familiar with is to
make a craft ahead of time, have supplies ready, and help children do it while
reciting or reading the story to them. Normally one adult has more children in
the group than one can handle.
Bible Song small group time is called Art Attack. There is no premade craft. Art supplies are for telling the scripture in one’s own creative way and those in the group take turns retelling the story heard during large group opening. Adults in some cases outnumber the children in a group.
The directions for Bible Song Art Attack small group time are simple:
- Come with your child.
- Share Highs & Lows.
- Read the scripture.
- Get creative and use art or music to retell the story you heard together in large group opening through art of your choice and music.
- Pray for one another and bless one another.
Some anticipate small group time to mean the time when an already prepared craft is brought out and everyone makes the same craft to take home or display on the wall. As a Sunday school teacher when I first volunteered, I felt I needed to know all the Bible verses and prepare a lesson before I got to church. I felt ill-equipped but knew I wanted to help somehow. Many times I was looking at the lesson and preparing it on the way in the car!
If there is time and energy to find
volunteers who will spend the time to prepare a lesson and gather supplies for
a craft each week, that’s one thing. On staff in a congregation, I never found
it easy to do. If you’re seeking to bring more volunteers on board, get parents
involved and encourage them to learn with their children, that’s another.
My experience has taught me that two things could make a difference rather quickly in any setting:
- Smaller group size with more parental involvement providing an added benefit of fewer discipline problems.
- Encouraging parents and adults in small groups that it’s more about listening, caring, asking questions, and appreciating responses than pouring a lesson into a child, youth, or other adult.
If there is a program where the expectation is not to prepare and have to do something before coming each week, parents and other adults are more likely to participate. They begin to understand and enjoy their role of facilitating and drawing out, not leading all the time.
The most important ingredient is to
provide an atmosphere that says, “I like being here.”, “Someone cares and is
listening.”, and “I want to come back.”