The Gospels

We spent two weeks talking about The Gospels in our Hightide class–the first week we went through the story of Jesus, hitting all the major events and using all 4 gospels. I wanted the kids to just have a really good grasp on the life of Jesus. I taught them a few big “churchy” words, like Ascension and Transfiguration.
The following week, I talked (in brief) about how and why the gospels are  different. I gave a brief overview of who each author was and why that helped shape their perspective, along with who their audience was and what their main point was. Matthew, one of the disciples and a Jew, emphasizes Jesus as the Messiah, as the long awaited King of the Jews. Mark, a young follower of Jesus, talks about all the things Jesus did and how he was a servant to all. Luke, the Greek doctor and historian, emphasizes Jesus as the perfect man — yes, the Son of God, but he was fully human. And John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, explains that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, emphasizing his deity.
I also taught them the phrase “Synoptic Gospels”–that Matthew, Mark, and Luke are very similar in stories and teachings of Jesus, but John has many differences. We didn’t get too deep into the differences, just talked about having different points of view.
Finally, we played another game of Jeopardy, since the kids had so much fun with it last time. There were 4 categories (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and like last time each question had a Scripture reference to help them find the answer. I tried to pick stories and teachings that were unique to each gospel for the questions, though I had trouble with Mark. Because the kids are generally more familiar with the Gospels than they were with the Major Prophets, there were a few questions they could answer without looking in the Bible.

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Here’s a list of my questions, if you’re interested in what I used.

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. 🙂

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 covered 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. 🙂

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!