Same-Same But Different

For a number of years I have been collecting songs to add to www.missionbibleclass.org My hope has always been that Bible class teachers who would like to learn new songs can watch and listen to the videos over and over until they have mastered them.

Hearing Christian songs sung in different countries often reveals some interesting variations to what I have been singing the same way for years. In these last couple of days some wonderful Christian women allowed me to video them singing songs to upload to my website. I hope other teachers in Thailand will appreciate listening to them and learning new songs to sing with children.

I thought you might enjoy listening to the Thai version of a couple of old favourites.

More songs here.

Understanding Ananias and Saphira’s Big Lie

A few weeks ago I taught a class of 5-11 year olds about a very important lesson learned by the early church.  The lesson was from Acts 4:32-5:11 and it was about lying.

The church in Jerusalem shared possessions among themselves so that no one was in need.  Ananias and Saphira saw how much a man named Joseph was admired for selling property and giving all proceeds to the church.  Wanting everyone to think they were equally generous this couple conspired together to keep back part of the proceeds from a sale and yet lie and publicly say that they were giving it all.  They were caught in their lie and the punishment was swift and harsh.  There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that lying was wrong and that this would not be the way the church would conduct itself

Do not lie to one another.  Colossians 3:9  (ESV)

To help the children understand these transactions I brought some money and houses from an old Monopoly game to class.  This was great with a mixed-age group because one of the older children quickly volunteered to distribute all of the money equally to everyone and the youngest child asked the child next to her for help.

CityCouncil-300pxI then proceeded to “sell” houses and hotels to everyone at ever-changing prices.  Once everyone had accumulated property I told them about how some Christians were hungry and how others sold property and brought it to the apostles to distribute.  I then invited the children to do the same with their money.  Immediately, a “Joseph” came forward, “sold” all of his property back to the bank and “gave” the money to the apostles (at least the little pile that we labeled as the apostle’s money).

One by the one the children sold property and laid it in front of the apostles.  It was easy for some and difficult for others.  Using the money and houses we re-enacted what Ananias and Saphira did.  Because the children actually turned the “property” over and counted out the money they understood what it felt like to share.  They also understood the lie Ananias and Saphira told.

Give this one a try.  I think you’ll like it!

Walking and Jumping and Praising God!

Healing Lame Man Craft (2)

The Healing of a Man Who Could Not Walk

What an amazing Bible story!  A disabled man well known for begging.   Two apostles who responded to the beggar by giving him much more that money.  A man who could now walk because of the healing power of Jesus Christ.

Children can really relate to expressing excitement in the same way that this man did.  He praised God while walking and jumping in front of everyone.  Of course we had to practice this for a while in our class this past Sunday.

We also used our feet to express praise.  First, we wrote “Praise God” on the centre of a piece of paper.  Then we used our toes to paint.

It was messy.  It was joyful. And it allowed the children to relate to the feelings the man had and to express praise with even the most humble of instruments…toes.

Oh, for this exuberance in accepting God’s power in my life!

But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold, but I do have something else I can give you: By the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth—stand up and walk!”

Then Peter took the man’s right hand and lifted him up. Immediately the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk. He went into the Temple with them, walking and jumping, and praising God.

All the people recognized him. They knew he was the crippled man who always sat by the Beautiful Gate begging for money. Now they saw this same man walking and praising God. The people were amazed. They could not understand how this could happen.

Acts 3:6-10, International Children’s Bible

 

Healing Lame Man Craft (1)

Pick a Card, Any Card

2017 4 SPBC Students1

I had a lot of fun this week working with students at the South Pacific Bible College here, in New Zealand.  It was their “Outreach Week” so I got to share with them the importance of reaching out to the children around us.

After talking about that we launched right into some hands-on participation in the behind-the-scenes work of Mission Bible Class.  Among other things, the students prepared a demonstration video for the website.  In the future teachers around the world will be able to access this free resource when they share God’s Word with children.

Click here or on the picture below to link to the “Pick a Card” Memory Verse Game demonstration video.  I can tell you first-hand that children really enjoy playing this game.

Thanks for your help, Students!

Pick a Card (Memory Verse Game)

Wading Lambs and Swimming Elephants

2016-2-elephant-and-lamb-1

 

As a Scripture was being publicly read in the church of my childhood I would sometimes watch my grandmother’s finger slide across the page of her Bible.  As a small child I would light up when I could occasionally read a word or two.

 

There is no other book like the Bible in its importance for people of all ages.  It has always amazed me how God’s Word can seem so simple and yet so complex.  Even when I am reading Scripture as I prepare lessons for infants and toddlers I am often astounded at a new concept that I had never noticed before.

I think Gregory the Great said it best many many years ago when he wrote the following (emphasis is mine),

“Divine speech sometimes stirs up the clever with mysteries, but more often provides consolation for the simple with the obvious. It has out in the open food for children but keeps hidden away the things that fill the minds of the eminent with awe. Scripture is like a river again, broad and deep, shallow enough here for the lamb to go wading, but deep enough there for the elephant to swim”.

Saint Gregory the Great: Moralia on the Book of Blessed Job, Section 4.  Click here for full text.

 

What a blessing to help lambs wade in God’s Word!  As I teach children I want to be attentive to their stage of development and help them experience God fully.  I usually have my own Bible open on the table when I am teaching so that children can see that I refer to it and respect what God says.

In addition to my own Bible I want children to be very familiar with handling a Bible on their own.  If at all possible I try to have bibles available for the children.  Over the years I’ve developed a few measures for what children of various ages are able to do so I’m sharing them with you here in case you might find them useful in your teaching and at home.

 

Infants and Toddlers

  • 0-2 Rectangle3Allow the infants and toddlers to hold small Bibles.  These should be inexpensive because they will inevitably, at one time or another, be chewed and pulled apart and the pages torn.
  • Show them how to hold the Bible carefully and how to turn pages.
  • Place a sticker of Jesus inside the front cover so the children can “find Jesus” when they hold their bibles.
  • Hold the Bible in front of each child, in turn, and slide your finger along as you “read” from it.  I usually read, “God Loves Suzy.” (inserting the child’s name)  Or “God loves Mummy.” “God loves Daddy.”

 

Pre-School (ages 3-5 years)

  • 3-5 Rectangle3Pre-Schoolers can look at pictures in a children’s Bible.  If you do not have picture Bibles then tuck pictures between the pages of a Bible before class.
  • Guide the children in pretending to read along with you as you tell a story or read a verse.
  • Children of this age can learn to spell and write a few basic Bible words.  I use magnetic letters or puzzles to do this.  And of course they are learning to write letters at this age so they really enjoy just writing the letters.  We practice one word over a few weeks until the children have it down.  They are so proud of themselves!
    • G-O-D
    • J-E-S-U-S
    • B-I-B-L-E (song)

 

Younger Primary School Age (ages 6-7 years)

  • 6-7 Rectangle3Children of this age can learn to recite the names of the 66 books of the Bible. I think it really helps to learn them by singing the songs.
  • With help, children can find a book, chapter and verse in the Bible when given a Scripture reference.  This is much easier to accomplish with a few children than a big group.
  • Depending on their reading ability they can usually read a Bible verse that you have chosen (short and simple).
  • They can use their finger to follow along in their own Bible as the teacher reads

 

Older Primary School Age (ages 8-10 years)

  • 8-10 Rectangle3Depending on reading level children of this age might be able to read a few verses in a row or even a very short Bible story.  You will have to plan this carefully if children are reading out loud in class.  This can be embarassing for some children and it does take time.
  • Children in this age group can copy verses onto paper.  These can be used in the classroom or taken home as reminders.
  • Children aged 8-10 years are often able to confidently find a verse from a book, chapter, verse reference.  A fun game is for the teacher to call out a reference (like Ephesians 6:1).  The children then “race” to find the verse in their Bible and begin reading.

 

Pre-Teen (ages 11-12)

  • 11-12 Teaching AgesBy the pre-teen years children can usually read a set of verses or a Bible story of reasonable length from the Bible.
  • A teacher can challenge them to read a verse or set of verses and then:
    • Outline what they have read
    • Point out the most important words and/or
    • Name the characters and describe them based on what they have read.
  • Also guide them to read a verse, group of verses or a Bible story and then describe:
    • What this reading reveals about God
    • How the pre-teen’s thoughts and feelings are affected by what they have read, and/or
    • What actions they might take based on what they have just read.