Summer has become superhero season, as blockbuster movies depict courageous characters with special powers. Bible heroes are a popular topic for summer church programs, as well, offering reminders that those “characters” were real flesh-and- blood people. Daniel really survived a stint in the lions’ den. David, a young shepherd boy, did indeed defeat the giant Goliath with a slingshot and stones. And Mary, likely a teenager, actually gave birth to God’s Son, Jesus, who walked this earth in bodily form.
When you discuss Bible heroes, help children walk in their sandals. Explore Bible times and customs, consider people’s emotions and fears, and make comparisons to modern-day situations.
Point out how Jesus’ followers throughout the ages have played a role in God’s grand story— and how that story continues today. Emphasize that children play an important role in God’s story, too. Modern-day faith heroes of all ages and abilities are doing mighty deeds of service and kindness in Jesus’ name.
Point out ways your kids are faith heroes and watch for opportunities to practice your family’s superpowers—on loan from God—throughout your community this summer. Our world is in need of rescue, and your heroic children can proclaim the news that Jesus saves!
How to be a Hero
Our status-conscious society tends to view athletes, celebrities, and singers as heroes. But God defines that word differently.
As a family, use this acronym to remember the traits of Christian, God-centred heroes:
Honour—Faith heroes give ultimate honour to God, our King.
Empowered—Faith heroes get their strength from God’s Holy Spirit.
Rise above—Faith heroes are forgiven, not grounded by sin.
Obey—Faith heroes follow God’s commands from the Bible.
Heroes in the News
Watch for local and national news stories about everyday heroes. During meals, discuss the heroic acts as well as the people’s responses to being labelled heroes. Point out how some people glorify God rather than take credit for heroism.
Search online for hero-themed Christian movies, and watch them with older children and preteens. Examples include: Soul Surfer, God’s Not Dead, Samson, Paul: Apostle of Christ, Courageous, and I Can Only Imagine. (Some are rated PG-13)
Examples of Excellence
On five index cards, write the following words (one per card): speech, life, love, faith, purity. Put the cards in a hat. Read aloud 1 Timothy 4:12. Then have family members take turns choosing a card and acting out a way to be a good example of what’s listed. Keep the cards in a visible location. Encourage family members to share how they live out their faith in those ways.
God Protects Us
Read or tell the story of Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6). Have one person be Daniel and stand across a room, facing away from others, who are Lions. Say: “Lions, quietly creep up to Daniel and try to touch his back before he hears you. Daniel, if you hear a noise, turn and point to that lion, who will have to start over. And we’ll all say, ‘God protects Daniel!’ If a lion touches Daniel, Daniel will turn around, hug the lion, and say, ‘God protects me!’ ” Play several rounds and then discuss how God protects and strengthens us.
The Hero’s Journal
Keep an affirmation notebook for each child. On the first few pages, jot down the talents and abilities you’ve noticed that God has blessed the child with. As you see the child being a faith hero and honouring Jesus, write a brief description of what you observe, plus the date. At regular intervals, let kids read the excerpts. Then enjoy hero sandwiches.
Goliath, Be Gone!
Have one person stand in the middle of the room and be Goliath. The “giant” must try to tag others while standing in place. Play several rounds, taking turns being Goliath. Read aloud 1 Samuel 17 (or the account of David and Goliath from a Bible storybook). Say: “Goliath was huge and had defeated many people, but David wasn’t afraid. He said, ‘I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty!’ God helped David beat the giant, and God helps us be brave, too.”