Bible Kids Explorers is an interactive website, with movies, tasks, songs and more – all it takes to create a great program for Sunday schools in different parts of the world. The site is available in twelve languages and is an open resource for anyone who wants to use it.
“The goal is to give Sunday school teachers and mentors a whole new tool that can capture and engage the children in a way that makes the Bible come alive for them”, says Annette Tobler, chair of the children’s committee in the BCC Federation. She is a educator herself, and has taken a break from her job as a teacher in Switzerland to work full-time with the projects.
Several hundred children in different parts of the world have this weekend tested the site – see photos here (photo: BCC Media):
BCC Media produces the films and content on the website, and in collaboration with the children’s committee, they want to help provide children all over the world with an offer tailored to them:
“That the children themselves can explore God’s word and relevant themes, we believe can create a breeding ground for what is our vision; that children can have Jesus as their best friend”, says Elise Schöll, editor of BCC Media.
The children become Bible explorers
The website works more or less like a game. Here the children join a time travel together with the characters “Jack” and “Gina”, who are their own age, and face dilemmas that many children will be able to recognize themselves in.
To find answers to these, they go to their secret “control room”. Here, inside a kind of time machine, they meet the narrator, Iris. She takes the children on exciting experiences back in time, where they get to experience the history of the Bible up close and learn how the message can help them solve their dilemmas.
The participants, who are children and mentors at the Sunday school, get to help guide the journey through various tasks, and become “explorers” themselves.
“Something the children can understand and use in everyday life”
The concept has already been tested by several local churches, and one of them is BCC Oslo and Follo. Here we meet a committed Sunday school leader, Yaron Okun (31). He makes the latest technical preparations and brings with him several mentors who prepare for the tasks to be done along the way.
As the kids come in, Yaron and the team are ready by the big screen. In the background there is suspense music from the game:
“Now we are going to start a really exciting journey – are you ready?”, he asks expectantly, and gets a loud and clear “yes” back.
“It is very nice to have good resources like this to rely on. It gives us a good basis for making it catchy for the kids. That they face dilemmas together with Jack and Gina I think makes it easier to relate it to themselves. They can learn things and get encouragement and advice to make good choices in everyday life”, says Yaron.
Then they start the first chapter. In the first film, Gina dreads starting high school. Together with Jack, she goes to the secret headquarters, where Iris is ready in the time machine. She takes them on a time travel to the story of Daniel in the lion’s den.
Must solve tasks to move forward in the story
Each chapter contains both films and tasks that must be solved to move forward in the story. Then Jack and Gina need help from the group of “explorers”.
In the first assignment, Gina receives a verse from the Bible that she is to take with her on the journey, which is taken from James 4: 8: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Now the group must find out what the verse really means.
As the task is solved, the children are given a code that opens the door to the next part of the story, and they have come one step closer to the solution for the chapter.
“The children remember things better when they themselves are active and have to solve challenges together”, says Annette Tobler.
“I think it strengthens the relationship between the children, between the children and the mentors, and not least it strengthens the children’s relationship with Jesus.”
Kaylie (8) was one of the children who tested the game for the first time:
“It was really fun and exciting to be along”, she says. “I wish it lasted longer, and that we could do even more tasks. I also think the other kids who get to try will like this.”
“We met a girl who needed help understanding something from the Bible, and when we solved the problem, we could somehow move on”, she says. “What we could learn from it was: stay close to God, then he stays close to you. Staying close to God really means praying, keeping your heart pure, and doing good things.”
New chapters are coming
The story of Daniel in the lion’s den was the first test of the new concept, and further testing of a new chapter is planned for the autumn of 2022:
“The way forward from here is that we send out a survey to the local churches to get feedback, input and tips”, says Elise Schöll. “This is a large and expensive production, so we want to ensure the quality of all parts of the concept, so that it brings users the greatest possible joy and benefit.”
“We have already received a lot of positive feedback, so it is not a question of reworking the concept, but of making the adjustments that may be necessary to make it best possible for the users.”
For children’s meeting leader Yaron, the day has been a positive experience.
“It looked like it really captured the children today, and it was fun to see their feeling of mastery when we managed to solve tasks together. I think it creates completely new expectations for the children’s meetings – that it is something new and exciting”, says Yaron.