I learned very early on that repetition was an effective way to teach. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Little ones especially love to sing a song or read a book over and over, learning it by heart and enjoying how it becomes more and more familiar each time it is sung or heard.
Learning about God’s love is the same. The things that we know in our hearts as deep, spiritual truths are learned again and again. God loves us. God loves us. God loves us. It takes repeating this idea over and over for it to really become part of our hearts and minds.
Teaching children God’s story takes creative and fun repetition. In our congregation we love using the Spark Rotation Sunday school curriculum, where we pick a Bible story and focus on it for several weeks of various workshops. By hearing the story for multiple weeks, learning about the story through different activities, and having a different teacher lead those workshops, the repetition is thorough and fun.
When I am teaching the music workshop, I love how songs take the Bible story and create new ways for us to remember them. Think of all the songs that teach Bible stories and themes of God’s love through repetition of text and tune: “Jesus Loves Me,” “Who Built the Ark,” “Praise Ye the Lord,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and on and on. When we add movement to these songs, they become even more deeply learned. Hand out a rhythm instrument and now the learning experience is rich with full body movement. Sight, sound, and touch are all engaged, and the kids learn deeply.
It can be fun to make a game of learning a Bible verse or passage. Asking kids to come up with a poem, a chant, or a rap can encourage them to create their own response to the Bible. They can practice it over and over, finding ways to polish and make it even better. It can even become silly and zany as they take the ideas and find how far they can go with rhythm.
Teaching children about God is not a one-time experience. Repeat it over and over. God loves us. God loves us. God loves us. And may our children learn and know God’s story and love for us through joyful repetition.