Train ‘Em Up: The Structure and Curriculum of a New Believer’s Class

In a recent podcast I shared five reasons why every church should hold a New Believers’ Class.  You can check that out here.  Today I wanted to share a structure and curriculum that has worked for me over the years.  Regardless of whether you go this route or not, I strongly encourage you to get a class on the schedule at least a couple times a year for Elementary-aged kiddos.  It is such a great opportunity in regards to evangelism, discipleship, and partnering with parents.

Parent-Child Format

What better way to partner with parents than to team up to teach their child the foundational truths of the faith?  We dream of opportunities like this in our churches and communities!  Why not put them on the calendar twice a year?

I advertise the class to the parents of elementary-aged kids in our church and surrounding community (invite everybody!).  I make them aware in announcements, on Facebook, at Kidz Church that we are hosting a FREE parent-child formatted class designed for kids who:

-are thinking about giving their life to Christ
-have recently given their life to Christ
-would like to learn more about the foundations of the faith
-are considering baptism

I inform them that this is a fun and interactive class where parents are invited to help the kids complete activities, to play games together, and all the while being able to gauge where there kids are at spiritually.

We have had a blast over the years with a variety of activities but a favorite has been the Salvation Terms Egg Hunt.  In week 1 after everyone has arrived I announce that I have hid eggs with words and definitions in various rooms and the kids have to go hunt and find them all.  They have a blast doing this!  Once the eggs are all found they bring them back, open them up, and then their parents help them to match the salvation terms with their definitions.  This type of interaction helps to ensure the kids and parents have a great time as their children learn important truths about the Lord.

Three to Four Class Session

I have found that this class works best if stretched out over three or four Sundays, with each class being about an hour and a half.  While this sounds like an intimidating request to make, most families have been amazingly good at attending each class unless something serious is on the schedule that they can’t miss.

The reason I recommend multiple classes is because of the curriculum structure (will be discussed later) and because of my goal to continually reinforce foundational truths about salvation and Christianity.  For while it is week 1 only that goes over salvation and the gospel.  I quiz them on it in various forms and go over it each week.  Let me explain the schedule.

Week 1- Salvation

Week 1 is all about salvation, what Jesus has done for us, the Gospel.  I go over in great detail about how Jesus died for us and rose again using various illustrations such as the one Lifeway provides, the bridge illustration, the ABCs, and more.  I teach in detail about sin and repentance and about how we can only be saved through Christ.  It is very important that kids hear over and again that there is no way to be saved but by and through Jesus.  I emphasize this because religion teaches that we need to do things to be approved by God and saved, and most people tend to think this way in the world- that it is good people that go to heaven and bad people who do not.  We need to remind the children that we have all done wrong worthy of punishment, but God in His grace has send Jesus to take the penalty we deserved for our sin.  Why do I go on and on about this?  Because it is a great opportunity to evangelize the kids who do not have a relationship with Christ yet, and even if they do, it is super beneficial to reinforce these truths that are central to their life and purpose.

Week 2- Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

This class is an awesome opportunity to go on a field trip to the baptistery.  I make a big joke of it saying I hope they brought nice shoes, we are going on a big journey, then we go one hundred feet to the baptistery.  Once there, you can explain that it isn’t magic water, that what matters is the faith they profess in Christ and the confession they are making before God and their church family, that they have given their life to Jesus as Lord and Savior!  You can answer their practical questions- How long underwater? Warm or cold?  What do I wear?  What do I say? Etc.  I share with the parents that they are to be the ones to gauge where there kids are spiritually.  That usually when kids are ready for baptism they will be asking about it like crazy! That once they feel their kids are ready for baptism to set up a meeting with me where I can also gauge where they are at with open-ended questions.

I teach the Lord’s Supper as show and tell with the elements at the table.  I do not allow them to partake of it though.  This is to treat the Lord’s Supper with the respect that this ordinance deserves as well as the reality that it is to be taken by professing believers only (most always not everyone in the class is there yet).  I emphasize the importance of the heart when taking the Lord’s Supper- grateful, thankful, and joyful for the sacrifice Christ made for us, sorry for our sins that He died for, and right before God in regards to our repentance of sins AND forgiving those who sinned against us. This class includes matching salvation term cards or a quiz.

Weeks 3 and 4 or combined- Church, Discipleship, Evangelism

Week 3 we teach how church isn’t about a building, it is the people.  We use various metaphors found in Scripture such as the body of Christ and the bride of Christ.

Week 3 or 4 we talk about what it looks like to follow Jesus in your everyday life, to be a disciple.  We go over the important faith disciplines such as prayer, Scripture memory, Bible reading, serving, worshiping, and evangelizing.

Week 4 would include a final quiz on the salvation terms.  This can be followed up with a fun graduation ceremony including diplomas and/or gifts.  I love to have fun and play the graduation music, call them up one at a time, shake hands, while parents get pictures.  Good times.

Curriculum

I use great curriculum called ‘I’m a Christian Now!’ by Lifeway.  The leader kit has guided my classes over the years.  It has a recommended class schedule and a dvd with a ton of worksheets for each class and a lot more.  I always buy the ‘I’m A Christian Now!’ workbooks for the kids.  They are beautifully illustrated and they have very helpful activities that teach these important truths.  The kids have enjoyed them and I have assigned homework out of them each week.  They have two editions, one for older kids and one for younger kids.  This is nice so students from K-6th can all have a workbook at their level.

I hope this helps.  Feel free to comment below with any questions that you may have.  God bless you as you share Jesus with your amazing kids!

– Dave Zablocki

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