I've been searching for a family Bible study for a long, long time. I've purchased quite a few, and looked at far more, and haven't been happy with any of them. They're either too simplistic, too babyish or their focus is too pointed. I've even considered writing my own, but just don't have time and don't necessarily feel like I have the skills needed to do it well.
My goal has been to be able to introduce the kids to inductive Bible study, as opposed to simply taking at face value what others are saying about Scripture or filling in blanks. I want them to become engaged with God's Word, and learn how to truly dig into it.
It's also important to me that they learn that as they grow, it's their job (not a church's) to feed themselves spiritually. A church should inspire, support and even equip them, but ultimately there comes a time when their spiritual growth is their responsibility. I truly believe that is a lesson that needs to be taught as children, and I believe that those skills are something that we as parents can teach them.
I think I've finally found a devotional guide I love:
Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson (side note: his wife Sally is one of my very favorite authors and her books have probably influenced me more in homeschooling and mothering in the last year than any ever). It's not perfect -there are a few verses that I disagree slightly with his readings of, but for the most part it has been exactly what I was looking for. I appreciate that it leaves plenty of room for discussion and that it's even training me to lead the kids in similar studies once we're done with the 24 Ways. Also, while I want the kids to get in and discuss, I can also direct where that discussion is going. In that sense, I like to think of myself as the training wheels on the bike – guiding and helping, but they're still learning to do the hard work.
Each week focuses on a Family Way, or a Biblical value or character aspect. There is a daily passage of Scripture, along with questions, discussion points and prayer notes. As the parent, I can decide which ones are best for my kids. There is also a memory verse for each week that corresponds to the Family Way.
I haven't quite figured out the best way to work this into our schedule quite yet. I've been trying to start each day of school off with Bible study and prayer as a family, but we're making a few changes to our daily plans due to some special needs the kids have. I don't know exactly when that time in our day will end up, but it's one that I am committed to.
Each week as we learn a new Family Way and corresponding verse, I'm adding them to this wall:
It's adjacent to the window in our dining room, and I look forward to having a little gallery of Family Ways filling up the wall. I kept it super simple – white and black cardstock. At some point, I might begin framing them…but for now this works. Simple is good =)
I truly believe it is important that we as parents take the reins on our children's spiritual educations. Our church's should be supporting equipping us, but ultimately the spiritual development of my children is my responsibility.
On a side note, I'm also reading Think Orange right now by Reggie Joiner. He agrees with me…or maybe I agree with him…about a lot of things facing churches and families today. If you want a good read (or maybe one to suggest to someone on your pastoral staff) this might be the book you are looking for. I'm sure I'll have more to share from it soon.
Disclaimer: I'm just a mom who loves to read, loves to learn, and loves to share the fruits of that with those around her. I'm not an expert at anything, so be sure to take anything I write or say with a grain of salt. My ultimate goal is that you would feel free and even encouraged to do your own research and prayer.