Sometimes we try our best and then wonder if children actually retain what we have taught them. I thought you might enjoy watching this video of children sharing what they have learned. I don’t know about you, but these children certainly encourage me to keep teaching!
Although we may sometimes view the Bible as a collection of stories it is actually one story. It is God’s Story. It is about how he has revealed himself to mankind throughout history.
Thank you to the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Edmond, Oklahoma, USA for allowing me to post this video on www.missionbibleclass.org
Thank you to the children on the video who are willing to share The Story!
I spent this week preparing for my Bible class that was scheduled for today. The class was for infants and toddlers and we were going to learn about the Birth of Jesus. I studied the Scripture and prepared the classroom.
We would start with a welcome time and then I would show them all sorts of animal families. We would look at toy ducks, cows and puppies and talk about Mummy, Daddy and Babies. Then I would tell the story of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus. I even prepared a little craft with Jesus in a manger. We would end the class by giving cuddles to baby dolls and rocking them to sleep. Everything was ready.
I knew I would not have many students but today…only one child showed up.
Only one child. People who are used to having lots of children in Bible Class might have questioned whether it is worth teaching if only one child turned up for class. For many of us who are with small churches this situation might happen quite often.
In the years that I have been a Bible Class Teacher there is one important thing that I have realised. I have realised that I am not here to TEACH A CLASS. A class is impersonal. A class is just a group of children. No, my calling is not to simply “teach a class”. My honour and privilege is to SHARE CHRIST WITH EACH CHILD. I will share Christ whether I have one student or ten.
What’s the difference between teaching a class and sharing Christ?
- If I’m teaching a class then I am disappointed that only one child attends. If I am sharing Christ then I see it as an opportunity to spend one-on-one time getting to know the heart of that child so that I can build a better relationship with him or her.
- If I’m teaching a class then one child is not worth my effort. If I’m sharing Christ then it is my pleasure to do whatever it takes to help that child get to know my precious friend, Jesus.
- If I’m teaching a class then one child is not worth my time. If I’m sharing Christ then it is not “my” time at all. God has granted me golden moments to affect a life for an eternity and I do not want to waste any of those moments pining for some false version of his will that I have created for myself.
- If I’m teaching a class then one child would be a waste of a good lesson. If I am sharing Christ then I know that my attitude IS the lesson. I want the child to know that I have a personal relationship with God and so can they. Even when I am all alone I talk to God and he gives me his full attention. If God can give me his full attention then I can give mine to one child.
- If I’m teaching a class then I think God needs large numbers to do his work. If I am sharing Christ then it is because I believe in the all-sufficiency of Christ. God has plans for this child beyond anything I can imagine.
So back to today’s Bible Class for infants and toddlers. Just one little child but I tried my best to share Christ with him. We held our bibles and turned the pages. He found the sticker inside the bible’s cover that has a picture of Jesus. We sang about the bible. And then, when his mother and I least expected it…he said in a clear voice and with a proud smile on his face, “BIBLE”.
So I got to experience a small step in a journey of a lifetime. Today, I had only one student. Today, I shared Christ with a child.
Today in Bible Class we studied about the Great Commission and the Ascension of Jesus.
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 spoon
- A small bowl or saucer
- Eye dropper (if you have one, I didn’t)
- Cooking Oil
- Dish-washing liquid
- 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):
Great Commission- Colour My World Craft!
I’ve seen and used quite a few very elaborate visual aids and presentations in the 35+ years I have been teaching Children’s Bible Classes.
Once I even convinced a wonderful man at church that he should construct an amazing “feat of engineering” whereby a young man was lowered, on a stretcher, down through an air vent in the ceiling, into the church auditorium to teach the story about the Man Lowered Through the Roof. That was just awesome (thanks, Steve!).
Even though these times were memorable for the children and great fun for me and others involved they could certainly not be done every time I teach. That would be both exhausting and expensive.
Jesus used amazing miracles but what did he do day in and day out as he taught people? It seems to me that he made use of situations and teaching tools on hand. Once it was lilies in a field. Another time a coin in the mouth of a fish. In John chapter 8:6 Jesus even wrote on the ground using his finger.
Very simple. Very effective.
Recently, Samer (Sam) Samlertaree, a student at the South Pacific Bible College offered to help add to this website. Sam had seen some simple line drawings and thought he could create some more to depict Bible stories in a way teachers might find useful. The drawings could be used for flip charts or included in Power Point presentations.
Knowing Sam was a great student of the Bible I challenged him to tackle some stories that teachers sometimes can’t find visual aids for. Drawing what the Bible says is much more difficult than it appears and I challenge you to give it a try. At first glance this picture here seems simple. But have a closer look. In a simple drawing Sam has captured the essence of 1 Samuel 8:4-9 by showing the people’s desperation for a king and Samuel’s confusion at their request. Sam has proved that a simple visual aid can say it all.
Kids love simple drawings! I’m no artist but that has never stopped me from using stick figures to teach a lesson. Once I have set aside my self-pride and make attempts I find that children encourage and even want to help me give it a go. And simple drawings inspire children to listen to the story and draw their own pictures.
Click the links to view the Bible story pages where you can view and/or download the pictures Sam has drawn. (The pictures appear in the lower sections of each Bible story page so be sure and scroll down once you are there.)
Achan’s Sin Joshua 7-8:1
Saul Becomes Israel’s 1st King (1 Samuel 8-10)
Jehoshaphat and the People Pray 2 Chronicles 20:1-30