18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
I stressed four important words in the commission: Go, disciple, baptise and teach.
I asked how we could “make disciples” and I got the best possible response. A little girl said, “Well, I think we could just tell someone a story about Jesus and then they will want to follow him. Then they can tell someone else and they will want to follow him. And then they can tell…” This went on for a little while until someone else interrupted with, “If our whole class goes out today and tells someone then I think everyone in the world will be a disciple in about an hour!”
I want their faith!
Here is the class activity we did to help us learn about telling the world about Jesus.
A plate with enough edge that it can hold liquid.
A small bowl or saucer
Eye dropper (if you have one, I didn’t)
Pour a few drops of the dish-washing liquid into a small bowl and soak the ends of toothpicks in it. Set aside.
Pour enough milk into the plate so the bottom of the plate is covered and there is a thin layer of milk.
Pour oil over the milk. You don’t need as much oil as milk but you’ll need enough for it to eventually form a very thin layer over the milk (Don’t stress over the amounts). Stir with the spoon then set the spoon to the side.
Now, spend a few minutes watching the milk and oil separate and form oil clusters.
While this is happening talk about how this looks like the world and all its people. People like to live together in families and towns and countries. The plate looks like a map of the world.
Then talk about what it would be like if no one in the world followed Christ.
Now, add drops of food colouring to represent Christians and talk about how Christians live in the world among people who do not follow Christ. (If I had used a little eye dropper my “drops” would not have spread so much and this would have worked better. Small droplets will make the best effects.) What if Christians only stayed in one place and never told people about Jesus.
Now for the fun part! Ask the children what they think the world would look like if Christians were to follow the Great Commission and go out into the world to tell other people about Jesus. Then let the children take turns lightly touching the soap end of a toothpick to one of the drops of food colouring. Amazingly, the food colouring shoots out across the milk and oil and makes amazing colours.
Continue doing this until the white plate is full of colours. All the while you and the children are doing this talk about how telling people about Jesus changes the world.
I really think you will love this idea! Here are some photos (click to enlarge):
I’ve talked in other posts about using what is “on hand” or available to teach. This time I thought I would take that more literally!
Reading through Luke 7:36-50 I wondered how I might help the children remember how Jesus forgave The Sinful Woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.
Simon, the Pharisee, observed the woman and Jesus and began making judgements about them. Even though Simon didn’t say it outloud Jesus knew exactly what he was thinking and spoke to him. A great teaching on forgiveness was followed by Jesus forgiving the woman.
Who was looking where? Simon was looking at the woman and Jesus. Jesus was looking at the woman and Simon. But what was the woman looking at? In her shame I think this woman was looking at FEET the entire time. And very special feet at that.
What better way to relate to this woman than to help the children notice feet? I decided to write L-U-K-E-7 on the left foot and J-E-S-U-S on the right. If you try this then I would suggest a fine point Sharpie pen and (those who know me well will appreciate this) anti-bacterial hand sanitiser!
Be prepared for lots of giggles!
Some might call it crazy. Some might call it gross. I call it good teaching and about the closest I get to washing disciples’ feet.
Try to understand the children in your class. Spend time with them outside of class as well as in the classroom so that you see “their world”. What types of situations might they encounter in their lives? Think of how the theme you have chosen might relate to school, home, friends, playground, siblings, neighbourhood and church life. Consider their ages and level of comprehension. Talk about these things as you teach.
As you prepare your class try planning a variety of activities that relate directly to the scripture you are studying and to the theme. Ask yourself, “does this activity help the children know how to live out what they are learning or is it just ‘busy work’?” Click here for a lesson planner for easier preparation.
Pray for yourself and for each child in your class. Ask God to help you be His instrument to in bringing the children into a closer relationship with Him.
After you have taught a class give yourself a “review”. Did you connect to the children’s heads, hearts and hands? Ask yourself what went well and what you could do better next time. Don’t be afraid to ask an experienced teacher for advice if you need it. (I have found self-review extremely helpful!)
In Bible Class I often teach stories involving miracles. One such story is about the elderly couple, Zechariah and Elizabeth, who became parents despite the fact they were years past childbearing age. The point I emphasise in the story is that nothing is impossible with God. You can find details of that story in The Birth of John the Baptist.
Children love to see a “magic trick” but I want them to understand that a miracle of God is so much more than a trick a person does. I searched online for “easy magic tricks for kids” and found a trick I could do for the children. Once I performed the “magic” I showed the children how it worked. I even helped them learn how to do it so they could “wow” their family and friends.
This provided me with an opportunity to talk about miracles of God. Magicians perform tricks. God does miracles. Miracles are impossible for people.
I love bringing activities like these into my Bible class. My hope is that, from now on, when they see a magic trick my students will think about God and His amazing, impossible miracles.