Those last few words can remain long in our memory. They draw everything together and mark the people and event as unique and special to this particular place and time. Imagine spending an evening with our friends in their home only to realise that they had gone to bed and left us on our own without saying goodbye. This would probably make us feel awkward and abandoned.
One of Paul’s Goodbyes
As Paul traveled and shared the Gospel he had to say goodbye many times. These were often emotional occasions with tears, encouragement and even words of warning or advice. Here is one example:
We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail.After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo.We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray.After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home. Acts 21:2-6 NIV
How do children feel when they leave our Bible Classes?
When a child leaves Bible Class is he or she a ship full of fresh provisions being warmly fare-welled from a safe and friendly port? Or are the children drifting off toward open sea while the busy people back on shore seem to barely notice they have gone?
Take the time to draw everything together at the end of your teaching time. Solidify what you have taught, let the children know you are glad they came and give them courage to go out and put into practice the things God has moved them to do.
Fabric scraps, old sheets and other odds and ends can be treasure for a Bible class teacher. Using some of these items a teacher might dress up as a Bible character to tell the story. A teacher can also collect items that encourage children or other volunteers to play character roles in an impromptu re-enactment of the Bible story they have just been taught.
The brave volunteers at left are modelling examples of costumes that could be used for Elijah’s nemeses, Jezebel and Ahab in the story God Takes Care of Elijah.
Child’s Play or Ancient Teaching Method?
At first glance this might seem like a childish way to review or re-tell a story. How can something this fun be serious, right? But think again! More than once in the Bible prophets used variations of costumes and props to bring home a message from God.
Jeremiah and a Yoke
We can read in Jeremiah 27-28 how the prophet, Jeremiah, was instructed by God to wear a wooden yoke to show how the people would fall under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
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?
I have to be honest, Halloween is not exactly my favourite holiday. But one thing I really like about it is what happens afterwards. After the big rush (and sometimes even before) there are all sorts of skeletons on sale!
Why is this a good thing, you might ask? Why would I need to stock up on skeletons and stow them away in my closet?
I love to tell this story of hope. This vision has the vital elements needed for a dramatic story. The kids love the “creepy” image of dry bones lying all over a valley. They can relate to how Ezekiel must have felt when the bones began rattling and coming together. Tendons and flesh formed on them and finally God breathed his spirit into them. If Ezekiel was hopeless because his people were in captivity he could finally understand how God had the power to bring a nation back to life.
Teaching Items in Post-Holiday Sales Bins
As a teacher I am always on the lookout for items that will help me share God’s Word in ways children can best relate to. No one has to spend a lot of money or buy new things to teach children about God. But if you live in a place where after-holiday sales provide extremely cheap items then this may be a great opportunity. What are the holidays where you live?
Creche and manger scenes (angels, wise men, animals, Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the manger itself), pictures of Jesus as a baby, stars and spices like the wise men brought. The obvious uses are for stories such as The Birth of Jesus and Wise Men and a Star.
And I like to have a few plastic eggs on hand throughout the year so I can put verses or pictures inside and let the children hunt for them. They are also great for telling the story of death, burial and resurrection of Jesus with Resurrection Eggs.
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.
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
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