Church History For Children: A Colorful Past

One important way to connect children to the past is through family pictures. Our house is a little old-fashioned and we have family photos in our hall way and living room that go back to the late 19th century. Church history is the family history of Christians after the apostolic age, after the completion of the canonical books. Of course there are no photos of most of famous pastors and teachers until the 19th century. The first photographs were not taken until the first quarter of the 19th century. The only eyewitness picture we have of John Calvin (1509–64) is a student sketch and we have no genuine representations of any of the early Christian pastors. Still, pictures have their value. They bring to life times and places that might otherwise seem entirely theoretical and even fanciful. Of course their life was just as real as ours. They lived in color (not in black and white) even though we may only see them in black and white.

So, A Colorful Past: A Coloring Book of Church History, the new children’s coloring book by William Boekestein, pastor of Immanuel Fellowship Church (URCNA), Kalamazoo, MI and illustrated by Naomi Kamphuis is a valuable way of introducing children to some of the great figures in church history.

This book begins with the Apostle Paul and finishes with J. Gresham Machen. It introduces children important figures in church history in every century in between. Some centuries give on figure (e.g., Patrick in the 5th century) and some (e.g., the 16th century) give several figures. There figures from various parts of the world (North Africa, Asia Minor, Italy, the British Isles, Europe, and North America) and various traditions (e.g., Roman, Reformed, Anglican, Congregational, and Baptist).

Each picture to be colored has a brief sketch of the figure so that by the time a child has completed the book he should have learned a decent bit of basic church history. This would be a good addition to any Christian education program and for Christian schools and home schools. The pages may be detached and used in a display in a classroom. Given the recent popularity of coloring books as therapy for adults one hesitates to limit the age group for such a work but traditionally this would have been aimed at pre-Kindergarten through perhaps 2nd grade.

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  1. Thank you for this, looks like a helpful resource.

    I was also wonderig if you had ever heard of a children’s book that had some metrical Psalms with illustrated pictures (not of the references to God, of course, but the imagery used). With all the rhyming books we read to my one-year-old son, I thought that reading him metrical Psalms would be worthwhile.

    Any help would be appreciated.

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