Life Apps. Virtues. Character traits. God’s Big Ideas. Whatever you call them, you might wonder why they show up in 252 Kids curriculum each month. And if you do, don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, that’s one of the biggest questions we get when it comes to churches deciding to use the curriculum.
We use Life Apps as a way of organizing the scope and cycle of Bible stories we hope kids experience throughout their elementary school years.
Life Apps can be defined like this:
A Life App is something God is doing in me to change the world around me.
If you’ve been around the church for a while, you might understand that idea with another word: sanctification. When we put our faith in Jesus, the Spirit transforms us into a new creation—and the fruit we bear looks like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
But the idea of Life Apps doesn’t start there. It actually starts with Jesus.
Since the beginning of 252 Kids, our goal has been to help kids learn the same way Jesus learned when He was a kid. Of course, we don’t have many stories about this, but we do have some insight from a moment recorded for us in the book of Luke.
At the end of chapter 2, Luke makes this comment, “Jesus became wiser and stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to God and to people.” (Luke 2:52, NIrV)
Faith, wisdom, and friendship. Everything we do in 252 Kids connects to one of three Basic Truths about how Jesus grew up:
3 Basic Truths
First Truth: I can trust God no matter what.
Second Truth: I need to make the wise choice.
Third Truth: I should treat others the way I want to be treated.
In addition, each monthly topic is also connected to what Jesus taught in the Greatest Commandment. One of the Pharisees once asked Jesus, “‘Which is the most important commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’” This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’” (Matthew 22:36-39, NIrV)
Love God, Love others, Love life.
This is also the vision Jesus gave His disciples through His teaching on the Beatitudes:
Blessed are the humble,
The people with integrity,
Those who seek justice and offer peace
Those whose aim is to do right
Throughout Scripture, we see that God calls us to be different in the world. We see this through the life of Jesus. We experience this through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Monthly Life Apps Help Kids Connect and Apply Bible Stories
Developmentally, kids don’t always see how the stories in the Bible connect to the life that God wants us to live, or how they can help us become the people God wants us to be in the world. That’s why we organize our curriculum around Life Apps—life applications.
Life Apps help kids understand what to do with what they know and are learning about God. They help make it obvious that following Jesus isn’t just about a list of rules or a bunch of knowledge we keep stuffed in our heads. We learn the stories of the Bible and immerse ourselves in the truth of Scripture because we pray that the “head knowledge” becomes “heart knowledge”—and that it will change how we see and interact with the world around us.
In fact, that’s what it means to “go deeper” with the Bible. Depth of study has little to do with how much content a child can absorb. Rather, depth is what happens when a child can connect the dots between what they’re learning in one area (church) and apply it in other settings (home, school, extracurricular activities).
This is why we teach one Life App each month, with one Bible story and one Bottom Line each week. We want to bring clarity to the message, so every kid who experiences the lesson will have a clear takeaway that helps them put what they’ve learned into action. To do this, we teach Bible stories over a three-year scope and cycle, strategically organized by monthly Life Apps.
Life Apps Organized in a 3-Year Scope and Cycle
We have a plan for what we’ll teach (scope) . . . as well as when we’ll repeat certain stories that offer various ways of looking at God, ourselves, and others (cycle). This is important when we consider church attendance patterns throughout the world. For various reasons, kids attend in-person church programming on average about 25 times each year. When they show up, we pray that they get a glimpse of God that makes them want to pursue a relationship with God outside of church. Life Apps and clear Bottom Lines help kids connect and apply the stories and principles from the Bible to what happens in their day-to-day life. Ultimately, we hope this will help point them toward a relationship with Jesus that not only impacts their eternity, but also their everyday world.
As kids experience the scope and cycle of 252 Kids curriculum, we hope that even the youngest kids in your church will find concrete, accessible, active ways to follow Jesus.
If you have any questions about 252 Kids curriculum and our strategy for helping kids grow in their relationship with Jesus, please reach out and connect with an Orange Specialist. They’d love to chat more with you about why we do what we do. Our hope is that ALL kids can experience the amazing love of God reflected in the life of Jesus.