GOD’S BIG STORY
By Jack D Eggar
At the very core of GCN’s Malachi Kids ministry platform for churches is our understanding of God’s desire to share His story with everyone worldwide. He reveals this through the many stories of the Bible which serve as chronological building blocks for children and youth. Think of it this way. Within God’s big story, we all have our story. We not only have our own stories to tell, the Lord has given us a Bible full of stories that help lay a foundation of understanding. Together Bible stories reveal four interlocking truths:
1. God - We highlight by telling biblical stories about His attributes, creative works, conflict with Satan, and prophetical plans for the ages.
2. Man - Fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God in His own image, all people are of great value.
3. Sin - Adam and Eve come to life as Malachi Kids master story tellers revisit with their children the garden, temptation, and the resultant fall of mankind.
4. Salvation - In all that we teach Jesus Christ is lifted high as God’s sin bearer and our wonderful hope. The centrality of the gospel is consistently maintained so that children and youth will come to know Christ as savior and lord.
MASTER STORY TELLERS
Children and teenagers can understand the teachings of the Bible if communicated well through story and application. In Malachi Kids a strong emphasis is placed on training volunteers to master the art of story telling. Though some people may be naturally skilled in captivating listeners, telling Bible stories with excellence is also an acquired skill. Learning how to communicate a compelling story to young people while masterfully utilizing available resources is something everyone can do.
Of upmost importance to the Malachi Kids leadership team is the partnership that must be rebuilt between the church and home. The champion of this relationship is the pastor. All pastors accurately see themselves as shepherds spiritually leading their flocks. We call on them to also serve and lead as captains over an army of volunteers in the church and in the home. Captains are commissioned to accomplish two fundamental tasks:
1. Prepare their troops for spiritual battle. Pastor, consider the parents who are called upon to reclaim their homes as the primary place for their children to be mentored in Christ. They need your help!
2. Lead their troops into spiritual battle. A small portion of this is done from the pulpit. The larger portion is done through the building of effectual bridges into every home.
In Malachi Kids, Christian parents play an integral role as they become spiritually active in their homes according to Deuteronomy 6:5-9. Unchurched parents of children attending club must first be reached by the church and Malachi Kids is an excellent way to begin a relationship with them. As trust is earned we are often astounded a how quickly doors open as well as the hearts of parents. The mission of the church has never changed. It remains singularly to MAKE DISCIPLES. All aspects of church including activities and programs must be closely connected to this great commission from Christ Himself. What better way is there to reach people in the community than to reach out to the little ones and then build relational bridges to their parents?
Consider with us the potential of children to influence their peers as well as adults. It is our firm conviction at GCN that children and youth can also become exceptional Bible story tellers. When a child hears such a story as is released to go and tell the story to others, the Lord often does a spiritual work in the hearts of the who listen. Imagine the Lord using a children to do kingdom work! We believe this with all our hearts. To help the reader better envision how this actually happens, I will briefly describe God’s Big Story Time which is the very center of every Malachi Kids club. Besides games and fun activities that serve to attract children to Malachi Kids club, it is our intention to make God’s Big Story Time both fascinating and participatory. Here goes:
GOD’S BIG STORY TIME
The children of all ages sit down together. The master story teller begins the Bible story. Tools and props such as videos, flannel graph, music, drama, object lessons and more are utilized by the story teller as needed. The story is told with passion and clarity.
At the story’s conclusion the children choose a partner and practice retelling the story with each other. The volunteer leaders and teens help and encourage as they see the need to do so among the children.
This is where the teenagers shine. The children are either placed into small groups of five to ten or they all come together again to listen to one or two of the teens remind them of the central truth or principle in the story. Explaining this in greater detail helps the children better understand biblical truth as week after week and story after story, they build the necessary theological framework. Calling on teens to participate also enables them to serve and lead giving them a taste of ministry critical to their own spiritual development.
The master story teller briefly recaps the story and then asks the children of they are able to tell the story themselves. Of course they can! All hands go up. At the conclusion, adults, teens, and children all hold hands together and everyone, including each volunteer, is commissioned to go and tell the story to others. Imagine God’s stories going out and permeating the community each and every week! Please keep in mind that this is only HALF of the Malachi Kids club.
Parents, this is your opportunity to act. As the children participate in Malachi Kids club each week, the parents have a small, pleasurable set of tasks. Let me briefly describe them:
1. Receive digitally or on paper your weekly assignment. This is generally a half page of simple instructions. Read them.
2. The instructions detail the biblical passage and story with the central truth and/or principle. Read the passage.
3. Prepare your heart parents when your children tell you the story! Dads, become good listeners. Show great interest in the story your child is telling you. Most mom’s already do this quite well.
4. Ask some questions using words such as why, what, or how. The aim here is to learn how to have spiritual talk or conversation with your children. If you develop the art of spiritual conversation when your children are young and you remain faithful to the practice, when they reach the challenging teen years you will be able to continue conversation on a spiritual heart level. They need this dad and mom. How often should parents have spiritual talk with their kids? Again, Deuteronomy describes this well. For those parents who may feel overwhelmed, lets start here with first preparing and responding to the weekly story that your children bring home. i have every confidence that parents can do this well.