God has blessed me with an opportunity to travel through Greece over the next week. Along the way I’ll try to send some pictures and thoughts you might like to share with the children you teach.
Today I’m in Athens and typing this from the top of Mars Hill (the Areopagus).
There are ruins of temples in many places. Seeing all the temples around makes me really appreciate the Apostle Paul and how he stood on Mars Hill and shared the Good News of Christ with philosophers. You can read about that event here.
The steps leading up to the top of the rock have been worn smooth because of the millions of people who have climbed them over the years. I snapped a picture of my daughter-in-law, Olivia, climbing these treacherous steps today. These would have been the same stairs Paul would have climbed!
I think kids would enjoy scrambling over the huge rocks and picking the little yellow flowers growing between them.
I watched two little Arabic-speaking girls crying out “Abba, Abba” in worried voices to their dad as he leaned over a dangerous edge gathering two of the little flowers to give to them. They were all smiles when he was safely back with them and gave them the flowers.
There is something unassuming about a simple stick figure. It is not a great work of art. It does not have moving parts nor is it usually animated.
Yet, at a camp last week some student teachers used stick figures to illustrate a Bible story for kids. The kids were enthralled.
Why was that?
Kids are constantly stimulated by all sorts of colourful graphics on T.V., laptops and tablets. What was it that they found so interesting about these simple figures?
Personally, I think that the unassuming imperfection of a simple stick figure relays a certain genuineness that children can’t help but recognise. By keeping the visual aid simple the teachers communicated the following to the children:
- I drew this for you.
- I don’t mind if you see me trying and making mistakes. I’m willing to share the “real me” with you.
- This story is more important than my inadequacies so I want to share this with you.
- God uses me (and you) for good when we put our pride to the side.
Here’s an encouragement for today. Strive to give your best effort when you teach children but remember God can use even our most humble gifts to advance His kingdom.
Supplies Used in this Story-telling Method:
- Read over the event in the Bible and outline the story. In the example above the outline was:
- Paul heals the lame man in Lystra
- The people of Lystra begin to worship Paul and Barnabas like they were gods
- Paul tells them that only God should be worshipped. He is the giver of all gifts. He made everything around them. But the people would not stop worshipping them.
- Some angry men from another town came and started saying bad things about Paul and Barnabas. They made the crowd very angry.
- The crowd became so angry that they threw stones at Paul until he fell down and they said he was dead.
- After the crowd left Paul got up. He and Barnabas left Lystra and continued on to other cities to teach about Jesus.
- Divide the paper into sections.
- Draw the scenes of the story on each of the sections.
- Before class begins cover each of the scenes with paper.
- Remove the papers one at a time as you tell the story to the children. (By waiting to reveal pictures one at a time you will help the children maintain a sense of anticipation.)
- Draw the pictures as you tell the story. This will require planning ahead and a little practice.
- Ask another person to draw as you tell the story. Teenagers or adults could be the guest artist in your class.
- Older children can read the story from the Bible together with you and outline it. They could then plan out the scenes and draw them themselves.
- Instead of a number of scenes choose one scene and draw it together as a group.
- Use other mediums besides paper and markers:
- Paints or chalk pastels
- Sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk, footpath or concrete
- Sharpie pens or any number of purchased products made to write temporarily on glass. The teacher or children can write on a window pane. (You will want to test this first to make sure it cleans up well with window cleaner).
- (for outside) Use a stick and draw in the sand.
Extra Help for Drawing Stick Figures:
Here are a few helpful instructional videos I have found online.
Last week I had the honour of listening again and again to the beautiful words that never grow old to me:
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.
Students from the South Pacific Bible College (Tauranga, New Zealand) generously volunteered to add some new material to www.missionbibleclass.org
Even though SPBC is a small school the student body consists of people from many parts of the world. As students cheerfully sang the same song in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalon and Thai I was reminded again and again that the love of Jesus is for every person in the world. This means every language, every culture, every socio-economic group and every age.
Children are naturally curious about people in other parts of the world so I think they will enjoy listening to “Jesus Loves Me” in various languages. How about taking your laptop or tablet along with you when you next time you teach one of the following lessons?
And perhaps you will enjoy listening too. Click here to listen to “Jesus Loves Me” in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog and the Thai language.
Scrolls can be adapted to almost any lesson using a message or the Scripture you are studying and children love making them.
One teacher used them in this way: The children in our Bible classes recently learned about how our modern-day Bibles came about. First they talked about original languages of Hebrew and Greek. Then they talked about how the Bible has been translated into many languages so that everyone has the opportunity to learn about God.
They created “ancient” scrolls and copied scripture onto them.
Here’s how to make the scrolls:
- Paper cut into a long rectangular strip. Tan or brown paper looks great but it is not necessary.
- Brown paint and a wiping cloth or brown crayon with paper removed.
- Two sticks of some kind (purchased dowel sticks, sticks you find on the ground outside, pencils…)
- Tape or glue to attach the sticks to the paper.
- Pen or crayon to write with.
- You or the children write a scripture or message on the scroll (alternatively, prepare scroll first and then write).
- Crunch or wad the paper up into a ball. Then smooth it out and wad it up again. Do this a number of times until the paper is soft and looks old and worn.
- If using a crayon then turn it on its side and gently rub over the paper. The colour will be uneven and will make the “wrinkles” of the paper stand out better.
- If using the paint then use a small amount on a cloth. Rub the cloth over the paper so the wrinkles will stand out and the paper look old.
- Use the glue or tape to attach the sticks at each end.
- To close the scroll just roll up the ends. Tie it off with twine or ribbon if you wish.
Stories Suggestions for Scrolls:
- Jeremiah and the Scroll
- The Story of Timothy (All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16, NIV)
- Paul in Ephesus
- Philip Teaches the Ethiopian
- Or use for the memory or important verse in any lesson. Here are some examples:
- The Birth of Jesus “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6-7, NIV
- Wise Men and a Star “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16, NIV
- Wise King Solomon “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10a, NIV
- Meaning of the Lord’s Supper “Do this in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24b, NIV
- The Noble Bereans “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15, NIV
- Great Commission and Ascension of Christ “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20), NIV