Last evening’s session went OK, however, as I look back over my attempt to walk the young people through the Bible in preparation for the unit on Jesus, I’m having second thoughts about my approach.
Frankly, I think it was a bit beyond them to explore so many Scripture passages (as outlined in my handout) in one swoop. As brief as most of those passages are and as easy as I thought it would be to tell the story of salvation history by glancing at each of these, I’m not so sure that the lightbulbs were going on. I have to hand it to the kids…they behaved well throughout and we had some nice moments (especially when reading about the giving of the Ten Commandments). However, I think this approach of reading so many Scripture passages in one sitting is better suited for high school students and adults. I think it would have better suited my 8th graders for me to simply lead them through the sections of the Bible as I describe in my book The Bible Blueprint - inviting them to find one or two passages in each of the 8 sections of the Bible (Pentateuch, History, Wisdom, Prophets/Gospels, Acts, Letters, Revelation).
Overall, I think they got the idea of the story of salvation history but I don’t think I was hitting the nail on the head. To top it off, the CD I had for my song of the week didn’t work last night so that threw me off a bit. Luckily, they were very well behaved for the guided reflection (sacred space) and things ended on a good note because of that.
The good part is, they did read directly from the Bible for a couple of weeks in class, and they encountered the wonderful stories of Abraham, Moses, and David. The “bad” is that I’m not so sure that reading certain other passages was very effective (too many unrecognizable names of people and places) and I’d hate to think that they would come away with the idea that reading the Bible is too difficult for them.
We live and learn, right? And, we teach and learn! Each time we teach, we can step back and evaluate how effective our approach was and make adjustments so that the next time we teach that same topic, we can improve our strategies. With years of experience, we learn not to beat ourselves up over sessions that are less than satisfactory but to simply make the necessary adjustments to find the right vehicle for proclaiming God’s Word in the future!