Pitfalls of Kids Ministry: Theology: Story vs. Fact

One of the pitfalls of Children’s ministry is we tell so many bible stories we treat the bible like it is a story book or play script.

I am not trying to say every kids pastor treats the bible with irreverence. I am saying that when we are using the stories in the bible as a medium to communicate truth we can forget that those stories really happened.

How can we remember and reinforce the bible as a History book?

1. Preach from the bible to your kids. – Bring your bible on stage don’t just use story sheets.

2. Read the bible for yourself not just for your lesson plans.

3. Study the Bible – It is easy to just rehearse the stories you have learned dig deeper push yourself to learn more.

4. Communicate to your kids that what you are about to talk about really happened.

5. Check your beliefs: Do you believe the bible is true and actually happened.

The bible is a supernatural book. It will change your life. It will change the life your kids. Let it.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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13 thoughts on “Pitfalls of Kids Ministry: Theology: Story vs. Fact

  1. Another thing I’m careful about with stories is not using the same ones over and over. I think this gives kids the impression that they know everything that’s in the Bible. If they’ve heard about Adam, Noah, Jonah, Daniel, Moses, David, Samson, Jesus, and the disciples and that’s all they keep hearing about, it would be wasy to assume that’s all there is.

    When I pull out a really random one, people seem caught off guard that there’s something in the Bible they’ve never heard of. Some of the really obscure stories have great messages too.

  2. Kendra,

    Great Point! So true. I agree that we can make the bible seem like a rerun because we teach the bible through the lens of 6 great Bible Characters. In doing that I think we minimize the power, reach and scope of who God is.

    Excellent point.

  3. While I agree that we don’t want kids to see the Bible as a storybook with a bunch of stories in it, we also don’t want to lose the story aspect of the Bible. It is, in its entire context a story. It’s the story of redemption told in many different ways throughout the lives of many people throughout history.

    One great book to help us as teachers and leaders understand this better and even enhance how we study the Bible is Scot McKnight’s “The Blue Parakeet.”

    • Well said Henry. The Bible is communal library, collected over thousands of years. And regardless of its own internal conflict, it is one story that happened and continues to happen today. For kids and students to capture this larger movement is essential.

  4. While I agree that we don’t want kids to see the Bible as a storybook with a bunch of stories in it, we also don’t want to lose the story aspect of the Bible. It is, in its entire context a story. It’s the story of redemption told in many different ways throughout the lives of many people throughout history.

    One great book to help us as teachers and leaders understand this better and even enhance how we study the Bible is Scot McKnight’s “The Blue Parakeet.”

  5. Great point. I know that when I’m talking one-on-one with a kid about Salvation, I often pull out a copy of The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe; and then talk about the difference between it and the Bible. One being a Story, and one being True. And the importance of believing that God’s Word is True.

    and I’m also on board with your #1 point. I always make my storytellers, bible teachers, small group leaders have a Bible in their hands when referencing God’s Word. Such an easy thing to do, and it communicates so very much!

  6. Henry,

    I am not sure if this is semantics I prefer to refer to what you call story as the Theme or Purpose of the bible is to reveal to us our need for redemption.

    I get a bit nervous when we connect story with the bible since in our day and age people have a moralistic view of the bible. Many people want to put the bible in a context of story which I believe robs authority.

    The bible is more than a story it is the word made flesh.

    Thanks for the pointer on the “Blue Parakeet” I will have to check it out.

  7. Henry,

    I am not sure if this is semantics I prefer to refer to what you call story as the Theme or Purpose of the bible is to reveal to us our need for redemption.

    I get a bit nervous when we connect story with the bible since in our day and age people have a moralistic view of the bible. Many people want to put the bible in a context of story which I believe robs authority.

    The bible is more than a story it is the word made flesh.

    Thanks for the pointer on the “Blue Parakeet” I will have to check it out.

  8. Great thoughts. I agree totally. When I talk with preschool leaders, I always stress using the Bible–actually holding the Bible open to the right passage–as we tell a story.

    One preschool/early childhood minister relayed this story to me: A parent asked her child what Bible story he had heard at church. The child said: “We didn’t have a Bible story. We had a magazine story.” (The teacher held open her curriculum guide as she told the story.)

    Thanks for the reminders to focus on the Bible and communicating its uniqueness to children.

  9. Sam I get your concern. I do not think, though, that we have to equate “story” with fiction. Even history is a story… a non-fictional story of what happened. My concern is in swinging the pendulum back to where the Bible is about “them” and what happened to “them.” I know that is not what you are advocating. I just think that we ought not lose the “story” aspect of God, which is more than a theme or purpose I think. Maybe it’s because I tend to see life through the lens of a story or play but I just see more life and passion and adventure in seeing God’s “story” for humanity and finding how we each fit into that story.

    I guess I’m just cautioning that we don’t make the word “story” a bad word when talking about the Bible. Stories aren’t always fiction or moralistic tales, and I think that is where the distinction needs to be made rather than in the term “story.”

  10. It’s a balance isn’t it? There are those who on one extreme do the bible like a kid’s story book… then there are those who do all object lessons and concepts and the only bible in the service is the memory verse.