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!

 

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David & Goliath

This Sunday was the 1st Sunday of the month, and in our kids’ ministry this week is a little different from the rest of the month. Our church does communion on the 1st Sunday, and we like to have families participate in that experience together. So all of the kids (kindergarten and up) stay upstairs through worship and communion with their parents before coming downstairs to kids’ church. Our middle school service┬áthat usually meets on Sundays even takes a break on this week, so that families can be together.

Once the kids come downstairs, we have about 45 minutes, compared to our usual 1 hour and 15 minutes, so we switch up our downstairs experience. We do a short lesson and game or activity, usually unrelated to our curriculum, then at the end of the service we have our “Pier Dollar Store.” Every week when they come, kids get the chance to earn “Pier Dollars” by bringing their Bible, knowing the memory verse, bringing a friend, and participating in class. Then, once a month, we have a store where they can spend their “dollars.” It’s a lot of fun and really encourages the kids to be actively involved in class!

This week, we decided to talk about David and Goliath, and how through God we can do anything (no matter what our age)! Chris summarized the story while he had two helpers “act” it out. “Goliath” got to stand on a chair and hold a “spear” and a sword, while “David” got to throw a “rock” and kill him. The kids had fun with it. ­čÖé

Then we took them outside to an area we had roped off and played a version of Sharks and Minnows that we called “Goliath is Hungry.” The kids all lined up on one end of the field as the Israelites. Chris stood in the middle as a giant. When he said, “Goliath is hungry!” all the kids ran from one end to the other, trying not to get tagged by Chris. When you got tagged, you became a Philistine and had to go in the middle and help tag. The game continued until all the kids had been tagged. It was a beautiful day so it was great to be able to get outside and enjoy it!

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Ezra & Nehemiah

We combined the books of Ezra and Nehemiah into one week in Hightide, because they focus on pretty much a similar theme: Israel beginning to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their culture. We read excerpts that I picked out ahead of time from Ezra and discussed how the people returned and began to rebuild the temple, but were already failing in following God when Ezra himself showed up.

Then, I brought out graham crackers and icing and we “rebuilt” the temple. We talked about how this rebuilt temple was nowhere near the glory of Solomon’s temple, which we had just talked about.

Moving on to Nehemiah, we again read several verses from the chapters to summarize the story. Nehemiah’s goal was to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so we discussed the importance of a wall to a city back then, as well as how Ezra and Nehemiah worked together to help the people follow the law.

So then we “rebuilt” the wall–using marshmallows and more icing.

The kids definitely enjoyed being creative and playing with food, and whether or not they remembered all the details, at least they knew that someone built a temple and a wall somewhere. ­čÖé

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