A few weeks ago, we celebrated our children in first grade with a church tradition “First Grade Bible Presentation.” Many kids have enjoyed this small rite of passage and the significance that “I’m a big kid now.”
My first year, I handed each child a Bible when their name was called and they walked forward. It took forever and I was just hurrying. Not exactly the special moment I hoped for. The next year, I placed all the children on the stage and called their names in hopes of spending less time but still not special. As I complained again, a friend of mine shared with me this idea and it was a success–Create Ceremony.
That is exactly what I did! This ceremony caused the adults to cry, recognized the parents as the spiritual mentors and empowered children with the reason this Bible is special. We had ceremony! When we were finished and the families joined the congregation to sing, our pastor slipped out and came back just in time to preach. He left to get the Bible he was presented in the first grade and told the kids how special the Bible was to him.
Here’s what I did:
- Mailed a letter weeks ahead to inform families of this special night.
- Met with the parents the hour before the service and briefly covered reasons why this was important and described their role as the spiritual mentor of their children. I gave them practical advice like how to teach respect for the Bible, encourage the child to read it with you, always bring it to church and avoid storing it on a high shelf. Finally, I left plenty of time for parents to each write a note to their child in the Bible with a permanent pen.
- The Bibles were provided by the church but we had Bible covers from the store they could purchase since all the Bibles looked the same. (They are always getting mixed up in the classrooms.)
- Gave instructions when to come forward and stand with their child. (All at the same time.)
- My opening comments: We are very proud of these kids and the commitments of these parents. We desire to invest in your children and resource parents as the spiritual mentors of their children. As your church family, we want you to know how much we value your family and set aside this time to celebrate your child’s spiritual journey as you impress upon them the value of the Bible (God’s word for our lives). 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
As we continued, I asked the parents to face the child, holding the Bible and repeat some scripted words of promise to their child then present the Bible. It was very special. The congregation applauded. Then I asked the first graders to repeat some words of gratitude to their parents while holding the Bible. I knew it would be special but we were all deeply touched when we heard the beautiful voices of the children repeating the words to their parents. I had trouble holding back the tears.
I want to share the blessing of the Lord that we all experienced so I have included links for: Parent Letter, Script, and a link to the video clip. I left these in the Word document so you can change them to fit your needs.
Tell me what you think.