5 ways to make your memory verses memorable

Leave a comment

01/02/2013 by Chris Green

memory verse

I’m doing the all-age part of the service on Sunday, which includes teaching a memory verse. That word ‘memory’ is important – how do I move from teaching a verse, to teaching people to remember? And how do I get it out of short-term memory into long term recall?


  1. Choose a verse that can be memorised. It sounds obvious, but some verses are complicated and others are simple. And some translations are simpler than others on the same verse. So given that memorisation is an odd task to do together, but one we want to encourage, choose something that has a fair chance of going in and staying in. And practice saying it out loud so you get to hear its internal rhythms.
  2. Decide if you are going to include the reference or not Because half the church will assume you will, and the other half will assume you won’t. Say what you’re planning to do, and lead it with confidence.
  3. Make it sticky. Don’t just print it out on some A4 sheets which you glue together. Make it visual, physical and not just about the words. Make it funny or extreme. Give people clues to remember things by. Each clue you give increases the chance of the verse surviving an encounter with the rest of life.
  4. Explain the because. Why are you trying to get them to remember this verse? What’s important, or unusual, or unexpected about it? Answer their questions: When I have so many other things to remember, why should I clutter up my brain with this?
  5. Plan ahead and build up. Plan the verse in a series. Are you building up six verses in a sequence? Then remember all the previous ones each week. Given that repetition is the key, little and often, why not have the same memory verse each week for a month, and build up a battery of twelve verses a year? Keep reminding them, and put the verses on the notice sheets.

And round about the time you’ll go mad if you hear it one more time… They might have got it.

Oh, and use this in your normal sermons too. Why keep it for the kids?

If you don’t know it, an excellent secular book is Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath (Arrow Books)

And Bruce Wilkinson, who created Walk thru the Bible has some excellent books on this, available from WTTB. I particularly recommend The Seven Laws of the Learner

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Shortlisted for “Most Inspiring Leadership Blog, 2018”

New resource

Pastors are busy, and leading a church is a demanding task.  That’s why I wrote this e-bookchecklist: The Pastor’s Checkup – The Top 10 Questions every pastor needs to answer (and helpful stuff if you can’t)

There’s only way to get it is by subscribing to my  (occasional) email newsletter here.


God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Legal stuff

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.ministrynutsandbolts.com.”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at ministrynutsandbolts@gmail.com

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2018 Chris Green

%d bloggers like this: