Mustard Seeds and Matryoshka Dolls

Teaching Jesus’ parables to three and four year olds is challenging.  Pre-schoolers struggle understanding abstract concepts.  The figurative nature of the parables will largely pass them by because they usually think in more literal terms.

This morning the class I was teaching tackled the Parable of the Mustard Seed.  Jesus told a story about a farmer planting a tiny little seed.  The seed sprouted and grew into the tallest of trees.

We began the class by sorting seeds.  The children pulled the tiny mustard seeds from the pile and we marveled that such a tiny seed could grow into a large tree.

The three little boys I was teaching are also very small.  They dream of the day when they can be big and strong like their dads.  Great men begin as little boys.

Sometimes hands-on activities are helpful in helping pre-schoolers understand concepts.  I chose a couple of these to stress the point about growth.

  • First, I placed a tiny little paper circle on the table. Then, one at a time, I revealed a set of circles of ever increasing size. The children loved stretching their vocabulary to describe the sizes.  Tiny, little, small, medium, bigger, enormous, giant and finally, super super huge.
  • Secondly, I was able to make use of some Matryoshka (nesting) dolls that I had on hand.  Seeing the sizes displayed in doll form helped the children relate to how they themselves are in the process of growing.

All in all it was a great class.

Sometimes my efforts in teaching seem extremely small.  What difference will my teaching make in the bigger picture?  This parable reminds me that God does great things from small beginnings.

Dressing Up is Serious Business

King and Queen costumes
Volunteers modelling costumes for Queen Jezebel and King Ahab from 1 Kings 17.  (click photo for basic costume instructions)

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.

Click here for instructions for making simple costumes that can be used for any Bible story that you teach.

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.

 

Agabus and a Belt

As the Apostle Paul was making his way to Jerusalem, a New Testament prophet, Agabus, used a prop to warn Paul of dangers awaiting him there.  He removed Paul’s belt and then acted out the message by tying his own hands and feet (Acts 21:7-14).  Paul would also be bound in Jerusalem.

 

Give it a Try in Your Bible Class!

 

 

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/ 

About Mission Bible Class

To Equip

…individuals and churches globally through:

  • Practical biblical teaching resources free on the web and
  • Training in simple teaching methods through the web and periodic seminars in strategic locations.

To Mentor

…and provide consultation for those interested in the spiritual formation of children

  • Missionaries and others who minister
  • Churches and leaders
  • Training schools
  • Apprentices

To Promote

…God’s plan for passing the faith on from one generation to the next through

  • Intentional conversation
  • Speaking engagements and
  • Social media.

Mission Bible Class Vision_Mission_Values

Who Else is Teaching Children about God?

Teacher and Map

Is anyone else out there?

As parents and Bible Class teachers we can sometimes feel alone.  Children are hearing so many unhealthy messages from the world that we can feel inadequate in sharing the truth of God’s Word with them week after week.

But remember there are others around the world who, like you, love children and have a hope-filled knowledge that God will make an eternal difference in their lives.  They, like you, do not know the future challenges the children will face but they believe that the faith they will need comes from hearing God’s Word.

 

Stand Alone on the Word of God

  • Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are not enough.
    As Jesus reminded Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
    Matthew 4:4
  • Moral behavior and strong values are not enough.
    Jesus described discipleship to the Jews who believed him when he said,  “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
      Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    John 8:32, NIV
  • Being born into a faithful family is not enough.
    The author of Romans talked about the people of God (the Jews) that did not accept his son, Jesus, when he writes, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
    Romans 10:17, NIV
  • We are not enough.
    Hopefully, we are doing our best to plant the seeds of faith in the children we teach.  But even the Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians that, “neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. ”
    1 Corinthians 3:7, NIV

Others are standing with you!

You are not alone.  Each week people from around the world view www.missionbibleclass.org searching for help in sharing God’s word with children.  They are reading their bibles, preparing visual aids and devising activities that will help children better understand what God is saying in his Word.

This week these pages have been viewed 17, 843 times by people in 128 different countries.  So, you are part of a global community.

Scroll down below to see where your fellow teachers are from.

(The countries are listed in order of where the most views are from.)

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