Major Prophets

After finishing the books of Poetry in the Old Testament, I decided to continue to do several books a week through the Prophets. When you’re 10, books like Ezekiel and Habakkuk just don’t seem as exciting. And though they of course hold lots of value to Christians, since my purpose with my Hightide class of preteens is to give them an overview of the Bible this year, I want to do just that.

So this week we covered the Major Prophets, sans Daniel. I decided to save that one for it’s own week, because it’s got such cool stories in it. ­čÖé

I began working on my lesson and talking points like I always do, starting out with all the basic information and hoping to add a fun aspect by the time I reach the end. I found this lesson online which gave me a lot of good info in a nice, summarized way. I wrote it all out and included lots of Scripture to look up through Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel, and realized I had a lesson that mostly included me talking. I didn’t even have a ton of questions and discussion. And if you know 10 year olds, that is not their preferred way to spend 45 minutes of their morning.

Then I decided to play Jeopardy. I’m not exactly sure how or why I came up with the idea, but I’m glad I did.

I created questions from the three major books we were covering: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. I ended up doing 8 for each. I set it up Jeopardy style on our white board, with good old fashioned paper and tape, like so:

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Before we got started, I gave a basic overview on the books and what their main topics were and some information about the authors. Then we got to our game.

I divided the kids into teams (I had 6 kids both services that I taught this lesson, and divided them into 3 teams of 2 the first time and 2 teams of 3 the second time and it worked both ways). Each team would take a turn choosing a category, and then anyone could answer the question.

For example: One team would choose, “Jeremiah for 600” and their question might say, “What kind of love does God have for us? (31:3)” The kids then had to race to look up Jeremiah 31:3 to find out that God has an “everlasting” love for us.

Or they might choose “Ezekiel for 400” and get the question, “Ezekiel had a vision about some cherubim–what were their bodies┬ácovered in? (10:12)” So the kids quickly flipped to Ezekiel 10:12 to find that these strange creatures were covered in eyes.

Because it was all new material, not a review on previous information, it was a great idea to just have them look up verses to find the answers. Basically it was a Sword Drill without them knowing. We had a couple kids who were really good at finding the verses, and some who struggled, but all of them had a blast. My husband hung out in class for some of our second service and was looking up verses on his phone, and we still had one of our kids find the verses faster in his Bible than Chris on his phone! I was impressed.

It was really a great lesson, and the kids requested to do something like that again. I definitely will! Maybe I’ll figure out a different game show to impersonate next time. ­čÖé

If you’d like, you can check out my list of questions here, but don’t hesitate to read through these books and find some of your own!

 

Easter Sunday

We kept our whole elementary school class combined for our Easter services (in addition to our usual 9:30 and 11:15, we added a service at 4:30 on Easter Saturday that had kids church). While the Hightide (preteens) class usually breaks off after worship, we all stayed together.

The kids performed a song on stage for the entire church congregation, a wonderfully fun mash-up of “Oh Happy Day” and the popular “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. If you’re interested, you can watch it here. This singing performance took away a little bit of our time downstairs, but we still had a really good class.

When we got back downstairs, the kids all sat down and we talked about the Easter story, from the Last Supper to the resurrection. I tried to keep the mood calm and semi-serious, and started out the story by asking lots of questions and being very interactive, then asking less and less questions as we got to the crux of the story, keeping the kids focused.

After the story, my husband (and co-children’s pastor) came up and did an object lesson with the kids about sin. He had two kids come up, one as “God” and one as “man.” He talked about when man sinned in the Garden of Eden, they took a step away from God. Every subsequent sin takes us further and further from God. But then when Jesus came, he bridged that gap–we had a large wooden cross on a stand, and laid it down between “God” and “man” so that the child who was “man” could return to God.

For the last part of our time, we broke the kids off into small groups by age–because we had plenty of leaders we were able to do 5 groups, leaving about 6-8 kids in each one. Within their groups they talked about what sin is, why Jesus makes a difference, and how God loves us despite our sin. Each child was given an index card and wrote on it “something bad” they’ve done. When the group was finished with their questions, they prayed together and brought their cards up to the cross (which was standing again) and we taped them on, showing how Jesus took our sins and although he didn’t stay on the cross, our sins did. We then closed out our service singing You Gave, a great worship song from VBS last year.

It was definitely a special Easter service, and we look forward to many more to come.

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