Time, some have said, is the great teacher.
Looking out the rearview mirror, one church in Jacksonville, Fla., will tell you they’ve learned quite a bit about their student ministries over the last five years and would like to pass along this knowledge. Free of charge, of course.
Kim Bogart is the children’s education director at Southpoint Community Church on the south side of Jacksonville, and five years ago she was first introduced to the Dare to Be a Daniel curriculum at a conference in Georgia.
“We had a great group of kids,” she said. “But they had not really developed relationships and they seemed disconnected with the message we were speaking at church.”
That’s when Bogart turned to the Dare to Be a Daniel materials and noticed how the videos and other materials resonated with the tweens and young teens in her congregation.
“Daniel was actually someone they could relate to,” she said. “Daniel was their age and it gave the kids something they could really connect to, because (the lessons) were so well done. All the videos were so relevant to where they were at the time.
“It seemed to really launch us into a new season where the kids developed lasting relationships.”
Relationships with each other. With God. With the Scriptures.
“Since we used it five years ago, I’ve seen a radical change in our kids,” Bogart said. “In their relationship with the Word and how they handle themselves in their everyday lives, both at school and with their friends.”
Like Southpoint in Jacksonville, churches all over the U.S. have used the Dare to Be a Daniel curriculum since its launch in May of 2006. And in its first six years, more than 26,000 students have graduated from the “Daniel” program.
Many of these Daniels are now graduating from high school and moving on to their next stage of life, but armed with a foundation of how to share their faith with their friends.
“One has just graduated high school this year and now is going into college,” Bogart said of the original group of “Daniels.” “I feel like this was a pivotal point in his life.”
Bogart feels Dare to Be a Daniel worked so well with her students because of the application and discussion that the materials and videos inspired.
“We broke the kids up into small groups and they were able to experience an authentic discussion,” she said. “They could open up a discussion and talk about the reality of taking God to school.
“It gave them such a confidence and they found they were on the same page with other kids.”
She saw a marked impact on students who went to both school and church together.
“I don’t think they really had connected on how to share their faith while they’re at school,” she said. “Like when you’re at your locker or at the park. I really saw several of those kids continue to walk with Christ and with each other. Kind of form an accountability group that has lasted.”
Bogart has also used the Dare to Be a Daniel five-day curriculum for summer camps. This year she is using it in July third- through fifth-graders graders. A 13-day curriculum is also available.
“What was so great about the lessons is as a leader they were so easy to implement,” she said. “We had a boot camp for Dare to Be a Daniel and it really worked.”