My Blog Posts

Website Update

Next time you open http://www.missionbibleclass.org you’ll notice a few changes to the look and feel.

Since I have two great interns working with me right now, we’re using the opportunity to update the look of the site. There are quite a few details to take care of so please let me know right away if you notice something is not quite right.

As always, may God bless you as you share His Word with children!

Mary

mary@missionbibleclass.org

I Think I’ll Just Hum…

2018 Tower of Babel Jengasm

Sometimes I prepare what I think is a great class and yet my students struggle to think past the surface level of the Bible story.  But sometimes, often when I least expect it, the kids run ahead of the teacher and want to go deeper.

Instead of just appreciating the facts or even the drama of the story they may ask questions about the characters or wonder why the characters did what they did.  They might want to discuss motivations and causes.  They may even ponder over what God was up to or discuss how he interacted with the characters.

Sometimes the Biblical truths become personal.  They dig deep into a child’s heart and convict them to act upon these truths.

And them sometimes, like this past Sunday, a child takes one more step and actually makes a plan.  It is at times like these that a teacher knows she has truly passed on the message.

Earlier in the week a young woman and I had prepared a lesson together on the Tower of Babel using the Lesson Template.  This time I stood back and she did the teaching.

  • First she had the letters of the words “proud” and “humble” written on cards.  She mixed the letters up and showed how to unscramble them to form the words.
  • Then she drew the face of a girl on a balloon and spoke as if she was the girl on the balloon.  She began “bragging” about everything from her good looks to her amazing skills at sports.  Every time she bragged she would blow some more hot air into the balloon.  The bragging continued until the balloon finally popped.
  • Using a simple flip chart she then told the story of how people began building a tower thinking only of how they would make a great name for themselves.  God was not pleased and mixed up their language so it must have sounded like they were just babbling to one another.  Not being able to communicate led to the people going their separate ways.
  • After this, two towers were built in class…
    • One was built out of large Lego blocks.  As each block was stacked the young teacher talked about how great God was.
    • The other tower was built from wooden Jenga blocks.  As we had planned, I built this tower making a point to blatently brag about my own abilities at each level.  As expected, my tower crashed and the first one held.
  • As we gathered back together we looked once more at the word “humble” and talked about what it meant.

One boy had taken in the facts and had been convicted that he should be humble.  But now, he was ready to put it into ACTION.   At his own instigation he devised a way to go deeper!

And here is a seven year old boy’s simple plan of action…

“Every time I start being too proud I think I’m going to just hum.”  In answer to the perplexed expressions on our faces he went on to explain, “I’m going to hum because that will help me stop being proud and remember to be HUM-ble.”

Yes, that little boy really understood the message.  He has a plan of action and now, so do I.  Next time I start thinking that teachers have all the answers…I’m going to start humming.

2018 Tower of Babel Lesson2

 

 

 

Teaching Children About the Church

How important is it to teach children to love the church?  Basically, the church should be as important to all of us as it it to Jesus.

In the middle of a conversation about submitting to one another in situations such as marriage the Apostle Paul writes…

Christ died for the church to make it belong to God. Christ used the word to make the church clean by washing it with water. Christ died so that he could give the church to himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that the church could be pure and without fault, with no evil or sin or any other wrong thing in it.  Ephesians 5:25b-27 (International Children’s Bible)

Jesus loved the church completely and was willing to die for it.  Not because it is perfect but so it could be perfect.

So, how do children learn to love the church?

A good beginning is to understand that the church is personal.  It is made up of living and breathing people and is not simply an organisation or a building.

To make this point I used two large white poster boards.  One would represent “family” and the other “church”.

 

My Family

On the family poster I drew a large outline of a house. My drawing lines went right to the edge of the paper.  I then set one group of children to work drawing their families inside that house.  Families come in all shapes and sizes so the picture was quite an interesting collection of faces.

Knowing my intentions with this picture I encouraged the children to be careful to keep all of the drawing inside the outline of the house.

 

My Church

Meanwhile, on the other poster I had drawn an outline of a church building.  While the first group was working on drawing family members I asked the second group to think about who is in their church and to draw those people inside the outline of the church building.  I loved hearing the children name people from their own perspectives.  Soon the building was filled with people of all ages and various backgrounds.

Again I encouraged the children to draw only inside the walls of the church building.  This would be important later on in the next step.

 

What is a Family?

Now it was time for part two of the lesson.  After we spent some time talking about the families drawn inside of that house I took my scissors and began to cut away the outside edges.  There were gasps because this was not what the children expected.  Basically, I cut away the house and left the pictures of the family inside.

Then we talked about how our family is still a family even if there is no house.  When we go to the park are we still a family?  Yes.  When we get in a car and drive to another place are we still a family?  Yes.  One little girl even offered up that her family was still a family even though they had moved far far away from their home country to be missionaries.

 

What is the Church?

Now it was time to talk about the church.  I know many adults who struggle to separate worship from formal buildings but I was a bit unprepared for the initial reaction these children had when I began to cut away the edges of the church picture.  You would have thought I was committing sacrilege when I cut off the outline of the building.  I even heard an accusation of “church cutter” thrown my way.

But then the children began to see that only the building was missing and that the Christians were left inside.  We talked about how it is the saved people who are the church…not the building.  If the church decides to meet at the park instead of a church building are they still the church?  Yes.  If the church travels across town to deliver food to a family in need are they still the church?  Yes.

We concluded with a reminder that every person in the church is loved.  Christ was willing to give up his life for the church and we all agreed that he did not die for buildings.

 

How to Use this Lesson

The earlier quote is from the International Children’s Bible (ICB)
The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

 

Same-Same But Different

For a number of years I have been collecting songs to add to http://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!