When I first started in ministry I served on staff at one of America's largest churches, Thomas Road Baptist Church. I was on a pastoral team that served the spiritual needs of the children in the congregation. One of my ministries was to teach a fourth grade Sunday School class that had 70 children in it on a regular basis. It was a challenge, but also a lot of fun.
One of the things I learned through that four and half year ministry was that kids do not just want to sit and listen to someone talk. They want to do something. As I served in that role I began to develop a variety of Bible puzzles, games and other activities that would help the children learn the Bible in fun and creative ways. Though I moved on to minister to teens and later assumed a senior pastor role, I have never forgotten the importance of involving people in active learning instead of just passive sitting. Over the years I have used those puzzles and activities in a variety of ways and kept refining them and improving them.
Recently I worked with Wayne Lavitt to assemble all those puzzles, activities and games into a book called Bible Brain Teasers: Fun Adventures Through the Bible. The book was distributed to over 1,100 children across Vermont this summer as part of 38 different Vacation Bible Schools. We are currently working on grants to continue to distribute the book to more children so they can benefit from learning the Bible in fun ways. Those interested in buying a copy can go to this LINK to purchase one directly from the publisher. Those interested in donating to help us buy copies for children in Vermont, can send your tax deductible donation to Next Generation Evangelistic Network, 30 Jones Brothers Way, Barre, VT 05641. Please write "Puzzle Book Distribution" on the memo line of your check.
As we have used the book the past three months, it has become obvious that children are not the only age group that needs active learning. In our modern world it has become increasingly difficult for teens and young adults to just "sit and listen" effectively. They need to be involved in the learning process. I suspect many middle age adults feel more comfortable with active learning as well, but were trained to sit and listen and can maintain some level of success in doing so. But would they learn more if they did not just sit and listen? What if they were actively engaged in the learning process? I think they would learn more effectively.
Times are changing. The way people learn is changing. Though the Gospel never changes, if we want future generations to understand it, then we must learn to communicate and teach it in ways that emerging generations can understand. My puzzle book is only one small effort to do that. I pray that many other Christian leaders will make similar efforts and together we will be able to engage the next generation with the Gospel.