I’ll never forget the day I left work (in Nashville, TN) heading home (to Murfreesboro, TN—about 23 miles away) on just short of a quarter tank of gas. Normally, it takes me a couple of ticks on my gas tank meter for me to get to work. I had stayed a little later than usual finishing up a project, and I needed to pick up my son before his Papa had to head to work. I figured, It’s a one-time thing. Surely I’ll have enough gas to get home!
Well, I wasn’t counting on heavy traffic due to an accident up the road. I watched, with rising panic, as my gas meter ticked dangerously close to E. When the “low fuel” indicator beeped at me, I was still 15 minutes away from home. In a panic, I called my hubby. Was I going to make it home? I had just passed the last exit that had a gas station. Was I going to be stranded on the side of the road? He assured me I’d make it to the next gas station, and I did, but he warned me not to let it happen again. (I haven’t!) I hated that panicked, what-am-I-going-to-do-now feeling, and it didn’t save me time because I had to make an extra stop anyway!
Want to hear an ugly confession? Sometimes I try to run on empty when I lead kids through Bible study at my church. What do I mean by that? I prepare the materials for the activities, I make sure the Bible story videos are ready to go, and I familiarize myself with the review questions and Scripture references. But sometimes I neglect to dig into the Bible story myself.
The Gospel Project includes a leader Bible study for each session, and I highly recommend reading it. Growing up in church, a lot of the Bible stories I’ve taught in the Gospel Project for Kids are familiar stories. Dare I say, sometimes my mind runs on autopilot for stories about Noah, Daniel in the lions den, or Esther. But whenever I’ve sat down to read the leader Bible studies, I’m amazed by the additional insight it gives me.
For instance: I’ve read Bible stories about Samuel nearly all my life. Never once did I realize he was a priest and not just a prophet, until I read the leader Bible study for “Eli and Boy Samuel.” Knowing now that Samuel was a descendant of Aaron makes the story of Eli and his sons’ deaths and Samuel’s ministry all the more meaningful. The leader Bible study also gives helpful historical information of timeline events, political and social customs at different periods of Israel’s history, and a Christ-focused lens of Bible stories that I hadn’t really thought pointed to Jesus. (I’m looking at you, Nahum. Actually, I’m eyeing most of the minor prophets in general.)
I know, I know. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to really prepare spiritually for the Bible stories we teach. As a working mom of a three-year-old, I get it. But I encourage you to take a few minutes in your day a couple of days before you teach to read the leader Bible study. Pray over the lesson, and specifically pray that the kids you teach will be open to the gospel message interwoven through the text. I promise you’ll get more out of the Bible stories than you’d even imagine!