Welcome to another post in the Bringing the Bible to Life series. In case you’re looking for other other posts in this series, you can find them here:
In this post, we’ll talk about how to develop (or enhance) any lesson using the Bible alone. Karl Bastian provides a great format for developing a daily schedule in his resource, the Kids Church Cookbook. He explains that building a lesson is like creating a delicious meal:
- Appetizer: Whet the kids’ appetite for more by giving a great introduction to the day’s story
- Main Course: This is the meat of God’s Word, the Bible story for the day
- Side Dishes: These complementary activities draw kids attention back to the main point or main story again and again, all while providing opportunities for many types of learning (stay tuned for a list of 10 side dish ideas to get your own ideas flowing!)
- Dessert: An extra special treat for use on occasion
Recently, we held a training session at our church entitled “Cooking up a Lesson from Scratch” based on Karl’s Kids Church Cookbook, section #3. At the end of the training, each team member was given a Scripture passage and asked to develop a theoretical schedule (or menu!) based on the training. Here are a “Sample Menus”:
Scripture: Exodus 1:15-20 (The Egyptian Midwives)
- Appetizer: Begin by showing the class two baby dolls, one a boy and one a girl. Ask the kids if they had to choose, a brother or sister, which would they pick? Explain that in our Bible story today, parents didn’t get to pick. They only got to keep the girls. Except for one brave woman…
- Main Course: Tell the story as Moses’ mother, using the boy baby doll and a basket
- Side Dish: After the story, have kids make their own baby and basket out of clay or dough
Scripture: 1 Samuel 16 (David is Anointed)
- Appetizer: Begin by standing at the door, greeting kids as they enter. Appear to be looking them over and then shake your head and mutter, “No, not this one” as they pass by. Perhaps stop a few kids and say “Surely this one!”, pause and then say “No, I guess not” and send them into the classroom. After the all the kids have entered, ask them if they knew what you were up to as they entered the classroom. What did it seem like you were doing? How did they feel about being “inspected”?
- Main Course: Explain that Samuel did the same thing when he went to Jesse’s house to choose a new king. Tell the story from 1 Samuel 16, explaining why a new king was needed and why it was so important for him to have a good heart.
- Side Dish: After the story is told, ask for a volunteer to be David and anoint his head with a little oil. Ask the others to pretend they are David’s brothers and to tell how they are feeling after “David” was chosen. You might want to even give David a crown and chocolate bar to really bring out some authentic jealous feelings!
Scripture: Genesis 18 (Good News for Abraham and Sarah!)
- Appetizer: If you are female, dress up as a pregnant lady (Bible time robe with pillow or balloon stuffed inside). Greet kids at the door, exclaiming that you have exciting news to share. If you are male, stand at the door (also in Bible robe) and pass out “It’s a boy” favors excitedly.
- Main Course: Tell the story from Scripture, emphasizing how Abraham or Sarah might have felt before, during, and after the visit from the angels.
- Side Dish: Want to create a laugh? After all, Sarah laughed when he first heard the news – seems like an appropriate response. Find some old magazines (for a WIDE range of ages: Parents, Prevention, Clubhouse Jr., Reader’s Digest, etc). Have kids find pictures of old men and women and cut them out. After that, have them find pictures of babies and cut those out. Glue the babies in the arms of or near the old people. Have kids write Genesis 18:11-12 at the bottom of their collage.
Get the idea?
Now that you understand the basics of cooking up a mouth-watering menu for your classroom kids, we will dive in a little deeper to each component of the meal in the next post! Stay tuned for more posts in this series.