“Wait, there’s a heaven? There’s really a heaven?!” The young boy’s eyes grew wide as his small group leader joyfully shared about heaven, Jesus, and the God who created and loves him. Moments like these are common at Bible2School, where the Bible is introduced to children with age appropriate, relevant and Christ-centered lessons.
Bible2School provides free elective Bible classes to elementary children attending public school during the school day. Children walk or are bused to a nearby church or partner location where trained volunteers engage the children in lively worship and Bible stories. Children and volunteers discuss how they can apply the Bible lessons in their lives and pray together. Offering this program during the school day gives parents a convenient choice to have their children learn about the Bible.
Since its inception in 1979, Bible2School’s mission has been to teach the Bible to children and inspire hope, showing them their unique value in Christ. Over the last 40 years, Bible2School has taught the Bible to generations of children in central Pennsylvania. The program has seen a steady increase in children attending the program who are not regularly connected to a local church, and therefore, are not regularly being taught the Bible. Currently over 50% of the children attending a Bible2School program may be hearing about heaven, Jesus and God for the very first time.
Just imagine the look of wonder on a child’s face when they hear of God delivering Noah and his family through the flood and make the connection between the rainbow and God’s steadfastness in keeping His promises. Hope is palpable around the table as one child after another engages in prayer for the first time, giving God their worries and mentioning family members whose circumstances seem impossible. Excited chatter seasons the walk back to school as the children recount their experience of being inside a 25-foot inflatable whale and hearing how God gave Jonah, and gives us, second chances.
As blessed as we are to introduce a child to Jesus for the first time, we are doubly blessed to witness a child inviting a friend to know Christ. On one such occasion, a boy had been invited by a friend to come to Bible2School. The boy, curious about what the friend had been telling him, gained permission from his mom to come. On arriving at class and hearing the boy did not have a Bible at home, his small group leader promptly presented him with a Bible and showed him how to find the story the class was exploring that day. The boy’s face lit up, like he had been parched and was finally given a glass of water! Excitedly he asked questions about the Bible for the rest of class, and hugged the Bible to his chest when it was time to head back to school. The next week, the boy was eagerly sharing how he had read the entire story from last week and couldn’t wait for this week's lesson to learn more about God. How powerful it was to see the transformative work that only God can do with His Word, shared from one generation to the next, and friend to friend.
So far in 2018, over 700 children have attended a Bible2School class to learn of Noah, prayer, and Jonah. Plans are in motion to make Bible2School available for even more children. Bible2School’s vision is that every public school in the nation would have a dynamic Bible program taught during the school day through the national Released Time Education law. We invite you to learn more about Bible2School, the impact it is making, and how you can activate a Bible2School program for your local elementary school through a Bible2School Membership at bible2school.com.
Stephanie Smith is a follower of Jesus Christ, a wife to Jeff and a mother to three daughters. She worships and serves at Jerusalem Church in Manheim, Pennsylvania, and is the Assistant Director of Bible2School.