Christian Survival Kit

Will our children have faith? Only if we nurture it! Here's a survival kit--Christian faith essentials that will stay with a child through a lifetime--things that will provide comfort in the valleys and joy on the mountain top.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Christian Survival Kit

Contents of a Christian Survival Kit

What do kids need to know? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Books of the Bible
Where to find the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, etc.
Well-known Bible passages for memorization: Psalm 23, John 3:16. . . .

Favorite Bible Stories:
Old Testament
The Creation
Noah's Ark
The Tower of Babel
Abraham and Sarah have a son
Jacob and Esau
Joseph and his brothers
Moses: Baby Moses, the Exodus (Including all those "yucky" plagues!), the Burning Bush
David: David and Goliath, David dances before the Ark, . . . .
Prophets: Jonah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel
New Testament
Jesus' Birth
The Visit of the Magi
Jesus in the Temple
John the Baptist
Jesus' Baptism
The Temptation
Jesus' Parables
Jesus' Miracles
The Sermon on the Mount
The Twelve Disciples
The Passion story
The Story of Pentecost
The Conversion of Paul
The Early Church
more. . . . .

The Apostles' Creed
The Nicene Creed

Church Teachings:
Luther's Small Catechism

Songs and Hymns:
Jesus Loves Me
Jesus Loves the Little Children
Beautiful Savior

Bible Keepsakes
The Jelly Bean Prayer
Prayer Rock
Prayer Beads
Bible crafts

Some suggestions for items to put in the kit
Cards containing memory verses
Pictures of Bible Stories
Text of favorite prayers (e.g., Martin Luther's morning and evening prayers)

Children's "fads" and favorites change as they grow. Encourage them to keep things in their box that have special meaning for them. Help them "treasure" these things. Invite them to put things in the survival kit on their own. Encourage them to make things: drawings, crafts, stories, etc.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Why a Christian Survival Kit?

I grew up in the 50's--the "Golden Age" of Sunday school. I learned all the songs, memorized Bible passages, could recite the books of the Bible from memory, knew all the great Bible stories, and loved going to worship. I had an attendance pin with a ladder of bars hanging from it. I went to Vacation Church School (a.k.a., Vacation Bible School) every summer, and Weekday Church School every Wednesday afternoon. I attended two years of confirmation classes and was confirmed on June 3, 1963! All of that has "stuck" with me to this day--and I'm almost 57 years old!

Not so, today's children! Most of them can't tell you the names of any book of the Bible, much less find a passage without first looking it up in the table of contents. Many can't tell you about the life of Jesus or what words like salvation, sin, and forgiveness mean. Some can't even sing "Jesus Loves Me"!

I've spent years trying to come up with fun and exciting ways to get kids interested in growing their faith. I've spent years trying to get parents to assume their role as the primary faith teachers for their children. I've agonized over whether to confirm a young person who hasn't been a regular attender of Sunday school and worship.

My memories of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis promoted my idea of a "Christian Survival Kit"--On November 4, 1979, Iranian students (followers of the Ayatollah Khomeni) entered the American Embassy in Iran and took 66 Americans hostage. the majority of the hostages (52 in number) were not released until January 20, 1981 (as Ronald Reagan was being inaugurated as President).

Ms. Kathryn Koob, one of the hostages, is a Lutheran. I learned about her at a youth gathering where she was one of the featured speakers. She told her story, emphasizing how her faith got her through 444 days of captivity. She spoke of the Sunday school songs, the hymns, the Bible passages, the liturgies she had stored in her memory. She prayed and worshipped daily. She held worship services with other hostages. Sadly, a great majority of today's children and youth would not be able to do this.

It is my intent to post--and invite you to post--ideas that will help those of us who have an impact on the faith nurture of the children in our churches--indeed, children everywhere!--write God's word on their hearts and stir up God's Holy Spirit within them.

Let us go forth with boldness--Onward, Christian Teachers!

Sister Carol A. Burk
Member of the Deaconess Community of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Consecrated on October 25, 1981