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June 2015 News

Capturing our children’s imagination

  • Written by  Jackie Bishop
‘Bible Joh’ teaching 33 RI teachers how to capture a child’s imagination Photo: Provided

How can we tell a Bible story in such a way that it will capture the imagination of a 21st century child, growing up in Australian society? 

This is one of the topics Bible Joh, (Joh Knijenburg) of the Bible Society, addressed with 33 volunteer Religious Instruction (RI) teachers. They gathered for a morning of training last month at the Salvation Army Church, to hone their skills and be inspired and challenged in their ministry. 

“We are aware of the amazing opportunity afforded by the Queensland Government, allowing Christian Religious Instruction to be delivered in state schools every week,” said RI teacher Jackie Bishop.

“Volunteers desire to teach to the very best of their abilities. Regular training is both encouraging and equipping.”

Bible Joh has extensive experience working with children and young people. 

“His obvious passion and vision is infectious, and his many ideas, most quite simple, help to engage students in the weekly CRI lessons,” said Jackie.

Games, rewards, competitions, simple props, treasure maps and tricks, are just some of his ideas.

The participants from Toowoomba and the surrounding area, came with much or little experience in CRI teaching. Joh drew on the ideas of those present and also gave time for small groups to talk about things to avoid and things to include in lessons. 

“These were great reminders for all,” said Jackie. “Enthusiasm, a sense of humour and fun, genuine care and concern for our students, are some of the ingredients which make up a CRI volunteer.”

“Our schools are the local churches’ ‘mission field’ and our ‘visa’ to enter is freely available. The news we have to share with children is the ‘greatest story ever told’.” 

Jackie said there is always a need for more RI volunteers. Some schools do not have sufficient teachers to cover all classes. 

“Stay at home parents might be able to baby-sit for each other to release some to teach for an hour a week,” she suggested. 

“Uni students in non-contact time might take up the challenge. It would be great to see younger volunteers stepping forward! We need helpers and buddies in the classroom, and those who will pray and give.”

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