I hope you and your family have found some tricks that work for you in storing up God’s word in your heart. It does take effort and planning, but if you find that you are still struggling yourself, this post is for you.
The first piece of advice I can offer is actually believe you can memorize something. If you constantly tell yourself things like, “Ugh my brain. I’m losing it!” or something to that effect, of course you aren’t going to be very successful. God designed our brains to store up scripture, and even if takes a little longer than it did when you were younger, or just longer than you would like it to, choose to have a positive mindset toward memorizing scripture.
Say Yes to Less
A yes to one thing means a no somewhere else. If you intentionally set aside time for scripture memory, that means you are going to have do less of something else. For me, that means less social media. While I’m still working to curb my daily consumption, I have to admit that there is plenty of time in my day to meditate on verses, time that would’ve been spent scrolling through my Twitter or Facebook feed. Time that yields no returns for me, but using that time to store up scripture will always yield results.
For you, it may be something different that you set aside in order to make time for memorization. Just be aware that you’ll need to say “no” to something in order to say “yes” to something new in your routine.
Take the Plunge
And the end of the day, you just have to dive in and go for it. There’s no magic formula. You’ll forget and mess up, so just start again the next day. Don’t suffer from paralysis by analysis. Ask the Holy Spirit to bless and multiply your efforts as you seek to hide God’s word in your heart. Those efforts will never be wasted.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
Beloved, surrender wholeheartedly to Jesus Christ, who loves you. As you drink from the deep well of Scripture, the Lord will refresh you and cleanse you, mold you and re-create you through His Living Word. For the Bible is the very breath of God, giving life eternal to those who seek Him.
It’s amazing what kids store in their minds. Or rather, the things they CHOOSE to store away.
Like, they can definitely remember you told them they could get ice cream after dinner, but they can’t remember where their closet is to put away the five outfits they’ve worn in the course of 24 hours.
Or they can for sure recall that you declared today was a zoo day, but for the life of them, can’t remember where their shoes are.
And they for sure heard you mutter that ill-timed curse word under your breath, and will gladly repeat at the most inopportune time.
It’s time to harness those recall skills for good!
Here are some ways you can guide and motivate your children to store up God’s word in their heart.
Pick verses they can easily relate to when starting out on this memorization journey. Any verse that talks about family relationships is a great place to start because they live those relationships out every day and can more quickly see how to apply it.
You can also help them select verses that apply to the issues they may be struggling with, like bullies, fear, anger, or dishonesty.
Hey, I would still be happy to get gold stars on my work. Don’t be afraid to implement a simple reward system for meeting memorization goals. Whether that’s a sticker chart, picking out a new toy, or maybe that long-awaited ice cream trip, make memorizing scripture a fun and positive activity, not a dull task or punishment.
We can all list numerous songs that we know perfectly (or at least mostly perfectly) because our brains are capable of storing way more information than we give it credit for. We just have to get it in the habit of tucking away nuggets. Audio is a great way for kids to immerse in the word of God, whether it’s verses put to music or straight up audio versions of the Bible.
Here are some great websites/albums that put scripture to music. The whole family can benefit from it, not just the kids.
If you have older kids, integrating technology into their memory habits will increase the likelihood of the scriptures actually getting memorized. Here are some good scripture memory apps to get them started.
Kids love activities that older siblings and parents participate in. One way to involve the whole family is to pick a passage that everyone memorizes, like something for Easter or Christmas. It could also be fun to pick a Psalm that focuses on nature glorifying God and memorize it for an upcoming trip to the mountains or the ocean, assigning each person a few verses to recite, or having everyone memorize the whole passage.
To help you unleash your own creativity, I’ve created two new PDFs for this week’s post, and included the PDF from last week as well.
My mom smiled and sighed as she left my room. I was hanging off my bed, upside down, as I studied my AWANA verses for the week. (I swear it did help…all that increased blood flow to the brain, right?)
Twenty (!!!) years have passed since those AWANA days, but those weekly challenges laid a solid foundation for memorizing God’s word. Throughout elementary and middle school, I continued to sock away verses, but sadly I didn’t continue the habit throughout high school and college. I’d memorize a verse here or there, but I realized the majority of my verse stockpile were old verses, with hardly any new verses. And why is that? I know at least for me social media consumption tricks me into thinking I have less time from such ventures.
The source escapes me at the moment, but I read a great post last summer focusing on how we spend our time. Essentially, we get nothing back from mindless browsing on social media. Yes, there are positive uses for media, and I believe it’s here to stay, but I can assess and adjust my own attitudes toward it.
According to a 2016 article in the New York Times, the average American spends almost an hour a day on Facebook. When looking at social media consumption and web browsing as a whole, those daily figures can range from two to four hours a day, with higher totals for teens and tweens.
I’d look up from a fruitless crawl on Facebook, and then realize I hadn’t memorized a new verse all year. That just doesn’t add up. If I can check Twitter and Snapchat multiple times a day, then I can surely work in memorizing new verses in place of checking those apps. Right? Right.
So I headed into 2017 with my adult version of an AWANA challenge.
Starting on January 1, I started memorizing Psalm 119, one verse a day. Right now, my goal is to memorize six verses a week, so it will take me about 30 weeks to memorize (hopefully) the entire chapter. So far it’s going well, but you know, I’m only eight verses in. Check back in with me in a month!
The next few posts in the series will cover memorizing scripture with kids, and other tips to help us adults in our memory quest. You can do more than you think. No matter what age or experience you have with memorization, you got more in you. If you can belt out Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” or Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA,” with no hesitation, you can sock away a few verses.
The last couple of weeks, we have talked about many elements in helping your kids build their own quiet time where they learn to connect with God through regular discussions about him and his word, journaling, and prayer. Today we are going to talk about how to serve your church and community with your kids and show them God’s heart in serving people. Serving puts all that head knowledge into heart & hand action. So let’s dive in!
When I was in junior high and high school, I had many opportunities to serve our church with my family during the holiday season. During Christmas, the church would put on a large Christmas production. My parents and brother and I would help build and paint sets, as well as serving dinners for the cast and crew. My dad played the drums in the orchestra, and I performed four of the seven years we attended that church.
Those are some the best memories and experiences from those years, because not only did I experience being a part of something bigger than myself, I got to do it with my family. I can remember having to work a quick math problem to figure out how many gallons of mashed potatoes we needed to whip up for the 100+ member cast and crew. I remember brainstorming about costumes with my mom. I remember getting to perform on stage while my dad played in the orchestra. Great memories and moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But they represent far more than memories. I was getting to put my faith in action, and follow Jesus’ example.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
Jesus didn’t come to the earth to do great in the polls, rise to a high-ranking position, or socialize with the socially elite. He came to wash feet, hold squirming babies, and socialize with the social outcasts. He came to show love and change peoples’ hearts. And he did it with the heart of a servant.
Our society does not naturally promote or demonstrate selflessness, but rather selfishness. As the Church and as parents, we need to model Jesus’ example, not imitate society’s example. Kids need to see the importance of following Jesus’ example, because through serving, it reminds them (and all of us) that life isn’t all about them. We discover Jesus’ heart when we put others before ourselves.
But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. Luke 22:26
Serving also helps to uncover and develop your kids’ gifts.
It was through performing in numerous church productions and events that I began to uncover and develop gifts that set the course of my life. God used dance to teach me so much about him, and through dance, I was able to develop a passion for worship, choreography experience, organization skills, and confidence that easily carried over into other parts of my life. Because I stuck with dance, I unearthed a desire to teach dance and invest in the next generation of students. Out of those teaching skills and experiences, I gained confidence and a deeper desire to invest in kids through working in youth ministry. You never know what seeds of ministry are being planted while your kid serves alongside you at church.
Maybe your kids will find they like praying for other people, playing with babies in the nursery, making cards for the sick, or helping to organize the food pantry. For older teens, they may be able to serve on the worship team, nursery or kids’ department. All of these efforts help kids to realize that God has given them unique gifts to be used for his kingdom.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
Serving is also an outflow of salvation. Providing a way for your kids to serve the body is a crucial part of their spiritual walk with the Lord. They learn to put action behind compassion and empathy. They learn to put others first. They learn to overcome fears and trust God in the unknown. They learn that God isn’t just for Sundays, but for all days of the week.
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14
Kids are doers. These growing up years are crucial times for kids to exercise their faith and put it into action. Let them channel that energy and experience serving their church. Depending on your church structure and size, your child can help in a variety of ways.
For elementary age kids, they can:
Pass the offering basket during service
Join a parent in the nursery to play with the little ones
Help with local mission projects like cleaning or serving
Write prayer requests down or take attendance during Sunday school
Stand with a parent or adult to be a greeter
For older kids and teens, they can additionally:
Serve on the worship team
Serve on the media/tech team
Help with VBS and special events
Serve as a leader in children’s church
Kids want to feel helpful. It’s hard sometimes being a kid in adult world, where you’re not old enough to do a lot of things. Show kids they have an active role to play right now as a child, and they don’t have to wait to grow up to do things for Jesus. When kids know they truly have an impact NOW in this thing called life, that gets them excited to serve on their own. But if no one casts a vision for that, or never highlights Jesus’ servant heart, how will kids know that’s important?
If you set an example of serving the church and community and make it a priority in your family, rather than afterthought, they are much more likely to make that a pattern in their own lives.
Oh how exciting it is to be raising up a generation of servant leaders!