Bon Voyage

 

Ada Waving Goodbye

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.

 

Concluding Activities

 

Encouraging Last Words:

  • I’m glad you were here today.
  • You have blessed me today.
  • Today is a good day because we were together.
  • I’m going to remember today’s class for a long time.
  • I am so excited to see how you are going to be like Jesus this week.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing you next time.
  • I thank God for each of you.  He is good to me to allow me to teach you.
  • I have written your name down because I will be praying for you this week.

 

Individually, as They Walk Out the Door:

  • Shake each child’s hand
  • Give a hug to each child
  • Say “May God bless you” to each child by name.
  • Say each child’s name and a Spirit challenge.  For example:  “Suzy, may you be loving this week”  or “Jacob, may you show Christian joy to people you meet.”
  • Give a card or note to each child.  (This will require you to plan ahead, of course.) or
  • Give a paper with a Scripture written on it.

 

Photo “Ada Waving Goodbye” by Chad Orlikowski    Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Keep it Simple: Stick Figures

2015-09-18 16.59.30

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:

  1. I drew this for you.
  2. I don’t mind if you see me trying and making mistakes.  I’m willing to share the “real me” with you.
  3. This story is more important than my inadequacies so I want to share this with you.
  4. 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:

 

Instructions:

  1. Read over the event in the Bible and outline the story.  In the example above the outline was:
    1. Paul heals the lame man in Lystra
    2. The people of Lystra begin to worship Paul and Barnabas like they were gods
    3. 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.
    4. Some angry men from another town came and started saying bad things about Paul and Barnabas.  They made the crowd very angry.
    5. 2015-09-18 17.00.03The crowd became so angry that they threw stones at Paul until he fell down and they said he was dead.
    6. After the crowd left Paul got up.  He and Barnabas left Lystra and continued on to other cities to teach about Jesus.
  2. Divide the paper into sections.
  3. Draw the scenes of the story on each of the sections.
  4. Before class begins cover each of the scenes with paper.
  5. 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.)

 

Adaptations:

  • 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.

Mothers of the Bible Quiz

Mary and Jesus at Jesus Birth Mother’s Day is coming up (May 10th, 2015 here in New Zealand) and I usually help the children write cards or make gifts for their mothers.

These days, the quickest way to find good ideas for Mother’s Day gifts is to go to Pinterest online and simply type in something like “Mother’s Day gifts from kids” into the search bar along the top of the page.  Once you click the search button you will find more ideas than you know what to do with!

But, even while you are preparing for others, I thought I would put together a little quiz for you, the teacher.  You try to challenge the children so here is a little challenge for you.  After all, children are not the only ones who like to have fun.  I’ve never tried creating an online quiz before so let’s see if it works 🙂

Answers Below (Don’t Peek!)

Once you have taken the quiz you might like to use the links below to find out more about these women of the Bible.  Actually, you can hover over each question and find the quick answer.  Have fun!

  1. My son was raised by another woman.
  2. Both a mother and a career woman.
  3. A mother who laughed.
  4. A mother who received baby gifts from smart men.
  5. Manoah’s wife’s son.
  6. Her husband was a priest and son a prophet.
  7. Match-making mother-in-law.
  8. Mother accused of being drunk while praying.
  9. A prophet raised her son from the dead.
  10. Tricky mother with a tricky son.
The photo above is from http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/ 

Stargazing and Pointing the Way

Star Gazing

One beautiful summer evening, years ago, I held my sleepy two-year-old son in my arms as we gazed at the twinkling stars in the night sky.  He peered intently as I pointed out constellations with my finger and reminded him that God had made each star.  I was touched that we were sharing this special moment together until I realised that, in actual fact, he was not looking at the stars at all.  His full attention was concentrated on my hand!  He was trying to make his chubby little fingers bend and point in the same way mine did.

And sometimes that is how it is when we teach children about God.  In our minds we are viewing a grander and bigger picture of the Story of God but the children we are teaching are concerned with what is directly in front of them.

In time my son learnt to look beyond my pointing finger to see and appreciate God’s creation on his own.  In fact, his knowledge of the night sky long ago far exceeded mine.  He still loves his mother but now he has a unique and personal relationship with the Creator beyond what I could have planned for him.

In the same way, the children we teach will eventually see far beyond the individual Bible stories and begin to appreciate how each fits into God’s Greater Story.  I know it is your prayer, like mine, that they will understand how they themselves fit into that story.  I hope this will be far beyond what you and I could plan for them.

We ourselves need to remember that, at its core, God’s Story is more than facts, heroes, doctrines, moral lessons or even how children can live happy lives.  These things are pointers but the grander and bigger story is about The One who creates, restores and reigns.

Timeline Pics

Helping Children See the Bigger Picture

Learning the Stories of the Bible will provide children with a strong spiritual foundation that will continue to shape them throughout their lives.  But to understand an even grander and bigger picture of God children also need to understand how the Bible fits together as one continuous story.

A friend of mine drew the simple figures above as memory joggers so that children could draw them and tell the basic story of the Bible:  creation, law, kings, Jesus, the church and the final coming.  The pictures are intentionally simple so that children can easily draw them.

Other teachers have painted these pictures on their classroom walls as a timeline.  Pictures of individual Bible Stories are attached to the appropriate places on the timeline so that children understand the chronology and how the stories fit together.

Whatever methods you use to share God’s Story may God bless you as you point children toward him.

Photo at top of post: “Star Gazing” by Uditha Wickramanayaka
Creative Commons via Flickr
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

You Are Never Too Young

“From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”   2 Timothy 3:15, NIV

Most of the teaching ideas you will find on Mission Bible Class relate to teaching children aged 3 years and older.  But this week my mind has been on infants and toddlers as I have been uploading some lesson plans for teaching this age group.

Even these very young children are able to experience the love of God through the loving care of adults around them who choose learning activities that suit their stage of development.

For a demonstration of how infants and toddlers can learn about God in a Bible Class take a look at the following 5 minute video created for Mission Bible Class by Virginia “Vivi” Vitalone (http://www.virginiavitalone.com/).  I think you will agree that the little one featured in the video is a very precious little boy, indeed.

 

Free Infant and Toddler Resources on this Website

Finding My Feet_Parent Brochure

Class Schedule for Infants and Toddlers

Free “Finding My Feet” Lessons to Download and Print

Understanding Infants and Toddlers