You don’t have to read very far in the Old Testament to learn the importance of names. Adam’s name for his wife certainly summed up her role as the “mother of all the living.” Jacob’s name captured a theme of much of his life, until God graciously changed it to Israel. And, most importantly, the various names of God from the very beginning enabled His people to grow in their knowledge of and love for Him.
Even though it can be argued that names today aren’t as meaningful as they were back then, most parents still take the naming process pretty seriously. And, if you have had more than a couple of children (and you’re honest), you may even start to run out of “good” names–but you will never tell your children! Well, in the world of educational curricula for children and youth, it can seem like all the good names have been taken too. So as I developed each of our curriculum choices over the years, it has been a challenge to come up with some solid names that would communicate what they are all about. If you are interested, here is the thought process behind those names…
1. INVESTIGATING GOD’S WORD…. I started with the mission to write a children’s Sunday School curriculum that would teach ALL the stories of Scripture, not just the “major” ones over and over again. That goal was integrated into the name of our publishing ministry: One Story Ministries. But I also wanted a curriculum name that would show HOW we teach God’s Word to children. The curriculum is designed to not just teach the stories of Scripture, but to teach children the HOW TO of studying God’s Word. So, it made sense to me that Sunday School should be all about “investigating” the Bible. Children, more than ever, need to lean to study God’s Word, rightly interpret God’s Word, grow in love for God’s Word, learn to live out and apply God’s Word, and begin to share God’s Word with others. So the name Investigating God’s Word…was born. And, since the curriculum is not thematic, but a chronological study of the entire Bible, it does not require another designation other than the particular Bible book or books studied that quarter. The name also connected to our VBS material, which we’ll get to in a moment.
2. INVESTIGATING GOD’S WORD…AT HOME. I mentioned in my previous post here that I lack creativity when it comes to names and titles. As you can tell, Investigating God’s Word…At Home confirms it. When you take a 7 year, 28 volume Sunday School curriculum and turn it into a 14 volume series for families to use “at home”…well, the name just came naturally. Our At Home curriculum is used both as home school Bible curriculum as well as material for Family Worship. I have even heard of adults using it for their own personal Bible study. I hate to spoil a surprise, but One Story Ministries will soon unveil our new series entitled (wait for it): Investigating God’s Word…At School. I leave you to wonder what that curriculum is all about.
3. IMPLEMENTING GOD’s WORD. Okay, so the lack of creativity continues! When it came time to name our new Youth Sunday School Curriculum, I thought long and hard about how to tie it to our Children’s Sunday School curriculum. After all, shouldn’t the Christian education given to children simply be foundational to what we teach our youth? Which led to the next question: If we teach ALL the stories of Scripture during the elementary, where should we go with our middle and high school students? My conclusion was that they needed to take all of God’s Word and learn to systematically APPLY it to all areas of their lives. In other words, after INVESTIGATING, you need to IMPLEMENT. To “implement” is to “carry out” or “put into effect.” In essence, Implementing God’s Word trains youth to develop a Biblical world and life view–and begin to live it out.
4. THE SCOTTISH SLEUTHS. To be historically accurate, my Scottish Sleuths Vacation Bible School series preceded all of the other curricula available at onestoryministries.org. It is what got me writing for children in the first place. Long story short, I wanted to write a Biblically-rich series which did not require the traditional changing of themes every year (yes, that creativity thing again). So I figured that maybe people would enjoy keeping the same “characters” each year, but a new “episode,” just like there favorite TV series. Couple that with my love for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and you get the Super Scottish Bible Sleuths Angus McTavish and Professor Dabney Thornwell! (If you are familiar with Southern Presbyterianism, you will get the Professor’s name as well as why they needed to be Scottish.) And, then, you probably get the connection to our Children’s Sunday School curriculum, right? What do Scottish Bible Sleuths do? They investigate God’s Word, of course!
So there you have it. Hopefully, what is lacking in “name creativity” is made up in Biblical substance!