Enhanced – read by the author
Faith Filled Family

with Steve Demme

Drawing Water from the Wells of Salvation with Joy
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2–3 ESV
I like to learn. I also like to have fun learning. When I teach others, whether it’s my family, a workshop at a convention, or in a classroom, I try to think of ways to make the atmosphere enjoyable and positive because that is how I like to learn.

My first experience as a small group leader was teaching high school students in Sunday School and later in a youth group setting. A few years after this experience, I found myself in front of the classroom teaching math to the same age group. To keep them engaged, and make the material interesting, I came up with some fun techniques that helped students retain the information. I employed similar strategies in our home when leading family devotion times. I would like to share them with you to encourage you and perhaps stimulate your thinking so that you can teach effectively AND have a good time doing so.

Before we jump into my ideas, can you think back to any enthusiastic and effective teachers that you have had, whether they served as a camp counselor, or a favorite teacher you had in school? What was it about these teachers that appealed to you? Reflecting on teachers that have inspired you is a great way to become an inspired teacher yourself.

Fun Family Devotion Ideas
Sword Drills

Since the Bible is the sword of the Spirit, I ask everyone to hold their Bible in the air like a sword. When everyone is ready I call out a Scripture reference. This is the signal for everyone to begin searching for that specific passage. The first one to find it stands and reads it aloud. Then all “sheath their swords” and the leader selects another verse (or you can have the winner choose the next Scripture reference to look up).

Read-Along Game

Let’s assume that in our family devotion time we’re studying John, which has twenty-one chapters. If we are reading three or four chapters per week, it might take us a month and a half to read through this book.

During the first week, when we are in the first four chapters, I will open to a passage and begin reading aloud. The first person to locate where I am reading and then read along out loud with me is the victor. Then it is their turn to read from one of these four chapters. As the adrenaline of competition kicks in, I find myself listening intently for key words while I am scanning the Scriptures. In the course of the game, I have heard the Word, seen the Word, and in the process, become more familiar with God’s Word.

We made up a few rules for our family. When we first began a new section of Scripture, we asked each person to begin reading at the start of a chapter. When we were more familiar with this section of Scripture, we then announced that each reader could begin reading aloud anywhere in the first four chapters. To encourage the younger kids, we stipulated that you couldn’t win twice in a game until everybody had a chance to win once. Do whatever works for your home.


When I am about to introduce a new word or concept, I like to play hangman. This game was very popular when I was in school. If the word is “Jericho,” you would draw a picture of gallows and seven spaces beneath it for each of the letters in the word. The object of the game is for the student to guess the letters of the word before the poor guy on the gallows hangs. It sounds morbid as I describe it. Emoji

If someone guesses the correct letter, write it in the appropriate space. If they guess a wrong letter, then you draw one of the body parts of the man on the gallows. I generally have one head, one body, two legs, two feet, two arms, and two hands, so kiddos have ten opportunities to guess the correct letter before the poor man hangs.


I met one family who reads a chapter of the Bible together, then the children disappear from the room and plan a skit, which they present to their delighted parents. As the Scripture is being read, each actor is attentive to what is being read since they will have to produce a play based on what they have heard.

Parents might also take a turn acting out a chapter of the Bible. Kids would be blessed out of their socks seeing their mom and dad performing.


Once you have acted out, or become familiar with several chapters of the Bible, you could review by playing this well-known parlor game. Have people act out a particular chapter and give a prize to the first one to figure out which chapter they are illustrating.


Friends in Massachusetts give their children a 4” x 6” index card and encourage them to draw a picture based on the passage that their dad and mom are reading. They then hang these from a clothesline suspended from the ceiling in their kitchen.

Girl eating a s'more in front of a campfire
Memorizing Hymns

I have four sons who learn better with visual input. When we were seeking to memorize hymns, we would focus on one verse for a day or two until we all knew it by heart. The boys would color images which would help them remember the words.

Sometimes we had hymns which were difficult to illustrate. In “Dare to Be a Daniel,” the first verse has the phrase “standing by a purpose firm.” I pondered how to illustrate a “purpose firm.” Then inspiration struck, and I sketched a dead porpoise. (After rigor mortis has set in, there is a “porpoise firm.”) My boys exclaimed, “Oh yeah, dead fish!” My wife just rolled her eyes and smiled benignly upon her children—all five of them. I’ve forgotten most of the props and the pictures we drew, but I have memorized several hymns using this technique.

A Special Experience

When you have family devotions in the evening, perhaps have a fire in the fireplace, or meet outdoors at a firepit. Make the experience memorable and enjoyable. I remember hearing how Hebrew schools conducted their first day of school. The teacher would dribble honey on the slate of the children. Their initial assignment was to lick the honey off the slate. Children went home and told their parents, “I like school.”

Perhaps you could have a special snack like caramel popcorn or s’mores when you have an evening Bible study. That way the whole family looks forward to a special event and has positive memories of being together as a family, reading God’s word, and singing His praises.

Rewards and Food

“In keeping them (God’s commands) there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:11) I like to have prizes and rewards for children who accomplish the objective laid out by the parents. Have little boxes of raisins or other snacks on hand. The better the carrot, the more motivation for the scholars!

Perhaps you could challenge each other to memorize the books of the New Testament, or a Psalm, or the Greek alphabet! I have short videos that can help you with these tasks. You’ll also find help for learning hymns.

May God give you new and enjoyable ways to teach and learn as a family.
Steve Demme

teve Demme and his wife Sandra have been married since 1979. They have been blessed with four sons, three lovely daughters-in-law, and six special grandchildren. Their fourth son has Downs Syndrome and lives with them in Lititz, PA. Steve has served in full or part-time pastoral ministry for many years after graduating from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is the creator of Math-U-See and the founder of Building Faith Families.