Those last few words can remain long in our memory. They draw everything together and mark the people and event as unique and special to this particular place and time. Imagine spending an evening with our friends in their home only to realise that they had gone to bed and left us on our own without saying goodbye. This would probably make us feel awkward and abandoned.
One of Paul’s Goodbyes
As Paul traveled and shared the Gospel he had to say goodbye many times. These were often emotional occasions with tears, encouragement and even words of warning or advice. Here is one example:
We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home. Acts 21:2-6 NIV
How do children feel when they leave our Bible Classes?
When a child leaves Bible Class is he or she a ship full of fresh provisions being warmly fare-welled from a safe and friendly port? Or are the children drifting off toward open sea while the busy people back on shore seem to barely notice they have gone?
Take the time to draw everything together at the end of your teaching time. Solidify what you have taught, let the children know you are glad they came and give them courage to go out and put into practice the things God has moved them to do.
Encouraging Last Words:
- I’m glad you were here today.
- You have blessed me today.
- Today is a good day because we were together.
- I’m going to remember today’s class for a long time.
- I am so excited to see how you are going to be like Jesus this week.
- I’m looking forward to seeing you next time.
- I thank God for each of you. He is good to me to allow me to teach you.
- I have written your name down because I will be praying for you this week.
Individually, as They Walk Out the Door:
- Shake each child’s hand
- Give a hug to each child
- Say “May God bless you” to each child by name.
- Say each child’s name and a Spirit challenge. For example: “Suzy, may you be loving this week” or “Jacob, may you show Christian joy to people you meet.”
- Give a card or note to each child. (This will require you to plan ahead, of course.) or
- Give a paper with a Scripture written on it.
Photo “Ada Waving Goodbye” by Chad Orlikowski Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
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