Easter Video Series: How do you teach the Bible story of Jesus to kids?
In parts 1 and 2 of our Easter video series, we asked What's in the Bible? creator Phil Vischer why it matters that Jesus is the "good news", and why he spent so much time discussing what happened between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In his new DVD, Buck Denver Asks ... What's in the Bible? Volume 10: Jesus is the Good News [Matthew, Mark, Luke & John]. Today, Phil explains how difficult it was to teach the story of Jesus and shares some of the things he learned. Watch below:
"After 9 DVDs, and 3 years of production we finally got to the point of telling the story of Jesus - which was not as easy as I thought it was going to be," Vischer said about his new DVD on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. "It's easy to tell the facts - Jesus lived, he did this, he went here, he went here, he said this, and then he died, and then he rose again."
What Vischer aimed to do in Volume 10 of his What's in the Bible? series, though, was more than tell the facts. He wanted kids to have an emotional response to what they were learning about Jesus.
"What's much harder is not to just give kids the facts," he said, "but to give them the space to have an emotional response to the facts."
Creating that space for an emotional response was hard in the context of a DVD, Vischer shared. Children's entertainment has become faster and faster in recent years, because it has been shown through research that kids can keep up and learn facts at a fast speed. However, Vischer says, the part of the brain that processes feelings cannot be trained to go faster.
"If everything is whiz-bang, fast, fun - kids can learn the Bible in their heads, but they can't connect it to their hearts," Vischer said.
So in What's in the Bible? Volume 10, Vischer tells the facts about Jesus - he lived, he said this and that, and went here and there, and then he died. Then Vischer creates a lengthy, quiet moment - where the characters on screen realize what it means that Jesus died for them. As the characters quietly respond, the audience is invited to do the same.
Vischer shares that the first time he showed Volume 10 to friends and family, many were in tears during those quiet moments - which is not an easy thing to accomplish in a DVD with puppets.