Videos give toddlers a fun way to memorize Scripture
By: David Ibata
Like many inspirations for ministry in The Salvation Army, Bethany Farrell’s arose from a need she saw in her own family: A way to encourage young children to memorize Scripture. Given the shelter-at-home and social distancing mandates of the COVID-19 outbreak, it would have to be virtual.
“I wanted to help my preschoolers memorize daily Scripture passages with some semblance of organization and structure. We’re all about the ABCs right now, so it just made sense to start there,” said Farrell, Southern Territory creative arts director. “I knew that if my family needed this encouragement during this time, other families would, too.”
So, Farrell and her coworkers at territorial headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, started producing “The ABC Scripture Memory Challenge with Ms. Bethany,” 26-plus short videos based on Bible passages and the alphabet and posted to YouTube and other social media. The series debuted the first week of May.
“We have created a special Scripture memory verse challenge especially for the tiniest people in your house – preschoolers, toddlers, those who are full of energy and running around your house right now and are capable and willing and ready to start learning Scripture,” Farrell said in an introductory video. “If you stick with us through the rest of the month, you’ll see a lot of fun and friendly faces who are going to share Scripture verses with you and challenge your kids to memorize them.”
“A,” for example, stands for, “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7); “B,” “Be kind to one another” (Ephesians 4:32); “C,” “Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you” (Psalms 55:22), and so forth. Click here to view the videos.
“These will help kids through these scary times, and their parents as well,” Farrell said, noting that as adults work through the verses with their youngsters, they can’t help but also learn them. “There will be the 26 letters and an occasional review. We’ve asked parents to send us videos of their children reciting the verses they’ve learned, and we’ll share those videos in the reviews.”
Each episode runs for less than two minutes, with five segments and a review going up each week for a total run of five weeks. Farrell enlisted creative arts people around the Southern and Eastern territories and co-workers in the territorial Youth and Music departments to also “star” in the videos – “people who are enthusiastic and who love the word of God and teaching it to children.”
The feedback has been positive, not only from families with young children, but adults who enjoy seeing Scripture communicated in an enthusiastic way.
“Another way this resource is being used is through digital corps programming,” Farrell said. “One example of this is the Atlanta Temple Corps, which uses these videos in their virtual youth meet-ups each week to encourage Scripture memorization.”
When the current series is finished, Farrell said, “after a little while, we may want to do Round Two, to give kids new verses to learn. Someone recommended a musical version, too. We’ll see as this comes to fruition what happens and what we might do in the future.”
The purpose of this outreach is to bring to families peace and confidence in the Lord. “They’ll come out of quarantine richer, because they’ll have the word of God in the hearts and minds.”