Last week at church I was working with young children and we were reading the story of Joseph. This particular children’s Bible divided the story so that the first part ended with Joseph in jail. The leader read the part that explained that Joseph was in jail because someone had lied about him. Then he said, “but that’s not all” and read the final lines of the text with emphasis, “God was with Joseph” as he held the picture closer to the children so they could see it. There was Joseph, shirtless, sitting alone on a bench against a brick wall.
One of the kids sitting in back raised his head up to look at the picture and called out, “Where is God?” The storyteller wisely echoed his question back to the group—“Where is God in this picture?” Some of the kids stayed quiet. Others pointed to the bench beside Joseph, where there was some empty space; others said that God was all around Joseph. God is everywhere! God is invisible! It was a moment of discovery that lead right to the heart of the story—“Do you think God with you when you’re feeling sad or lonely?” the leader asked.
In our Sunday school or children's church, we're always looking for ways to incorporate a good children’s storybook Bible into the times I spend with children. I love to pause after each page to wonder a little about the story and about the art. This simple approach seems to naturally draw out kids’ questions, observations, and thoughts. Somehow reading the story from a book allows the leader to enter the story with the kids, not as one who knows it by heart, but as a fellow reader, listener, learner.
What do you use to supplement your Sunday school or children’s worship times? Certain Storybook Bibles? Books? Music? Art? Let the rest of us know so that we can give them a try!