For all the years you’ve put in reading Bible stories to your child from infancy, it’s not at all uncommon for kids to lose interest in the Bible. They’re kids. They change. Their interests change. It’s not a failure on your part, but you do want to be proactive in it. Hopefully, it will just be a season of life and not a permanent meh.
“Bible study” in this post refers to any type of reading and studying of the Bible, whether it’s a verse-by-verse study or discussing a topic from a biblical point of view. Whether or not your child has ever done any type of Bible study, these ideas are for you!
(Full disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. You know the drill.)
Let’s get to it!
Strategy 1: Come at it from a different angle, one that does interest them.
Look at your kid’s life and see what kinds of activities and content they are naturally drawn to. Do they read books about people’s lives? Do they watch Netflix documentaries? Are they glued to Snapchat or Twitter? Do they listen to thought-provoking podcasts? Survey the content they choose for themselves. Armed with that information, present Bible stories or study that way.
- If your kid is interested in people’s lives, choose a person from the Bible and study that person’s life. Don’t choose the person randomly. Think about whose life will hook your kid in pretty quickly. It may be someone whose life has something in common with your kid’s life or a friend’s life. Or someone with a really dramatic life. Maybe an old favorite that you haven’t looked at in a long time. It may be someone you love to hate. Remember, there are some pretty interesting bad guys in there, and a lot to learn from them!
- If your kid is interested in a particular topic, see what the Bible says about it. This could be a current social issue, a personal struggle, or even an apologetic issue. Be careful that the conversation with your kid doesn’t turn into a debate with the Bible. We’re trying to reconnect them to the Bible, not strengthen resistance.
- If your kid is a history buff, think about studying an aspect of history, such as Jewish tradition. Or Paul’s missionary travels. Encourage your child to take what else he knows about history and bring it alongside what you learn from the Bible to get a larger context.
- If your kid is struggling with an issue or a problem, or has a friend struggling, it’s a great opportunity to turn to the Bible for wisdom and advice. This shows your child that the Bible is a good counselor, and having these deeper conversations brings you closer to your child.
Strategy 2: Was there a specific point when your kid lost interest? Go back.
If the change was sharp, there was probably a reason. See if you can figure out what it was, and then talk about that. It could have been a crisis of faith, or a new friend, or starting high school. Reconcile whatever that was with the value of the Bible in our lives.
Strategy 3: Change up the material.
If you’ve been consistent in using a particular series or type of material over time, it could just be that it’s time to switch things up. There’s a lot of great material out there, so look for something with a different approach to Bible study, or a different tone. Maybe a new author or format is all you need. (Just remember that your first priority is bringing something solid to your child, not just something flashy.)
Keep in mind that the change may be a different medium. Kids who like visual content may do better with a video Bible study (your church may have something you can borrow, or see if your church has RightNow Media). Auditory kids might get into a podcast. Artistic kids are great candidates for Bible journaling. Social butterflies do well in group Bible studies.
I recently switched it up with my son. We started taking Jim Burns’ Faith Conversations with us to the coffee shop, and I have him choose which one he wants to do. I love this book because it requires zero preparation, and it walks you right through important conversations. And it’s pretty short.
Strategy 4: Maybe it’s YOU!
That’s not as harsh as it sounds, actually. But it’s not unusual for a kid to be ready for a new teacher or leader. Choose wisely, but don’t be threatened that someone else might be a better discipler for a while. It may be your spouse or an older sibling, or it may be a new study at church, or you may need to scout out a new person to meet regularly with your child (especially if he’s older) to disciple him.
The Bible is way bigger than any one teacher, thank goodness. Don’t let your kid be held back by inflexibility.
Strategy 5: Add a “hook.”
It’s okay to add something to your Bible study time to bump up interest. For example, my daughter loves going for coffee. She’ll pretty much always go to coffee. This is a great way just to spend time together, but it’s also where I now take her to do our discipleship/Bible study time. And she’s always up for it. Similarly, my son loves the cookies at my favorite coffee shop, so he’s a pretty easy sell, too.
Other hooks might be listening to their music while you talk, including a friend, driving around a pretty area and talking in the car, wearing special nummy pajamas. You get the idea. Make it as appealing as possible. And I can think of worse things than associating something they love with opening up the Bible.
I know, I know. We want our kids to be there for the right reasons, which is to connect to God’s Word. But as long as that’s happening, I think it’s okay to ice the cupcake. Because you’re still eating the cupcake. And keeping some momentum going is a big deal.
Off you go!
Hopefully, at least one of these will help you shake things up and keep things going. Is there anything else you’ve tried that helped? If so, tell me about it. How old is your kid, and how did you know it was time to make a change? And, how’s it going?