Hey friends! It’s been a while since my last post about my book page wreath. The last couple of weeks have been nuts, but I think things will slow down some now, so expect more frequent posts!
Today I taught my first real Sunday school lesson with our new fall curriculum to my new crew of third graders! Our children’s ministry uses Standard Publishing’s HeartShaper curriculum, which I like. However, as I looked over this year’s introductory lesson, I rather wished I had held on to last fall’s lesson book. The 2014 inaugural lesson discussed where the Bible came from and how we’ve come to have different translations. I thought it was a great lesson, and the 2015 intro leson didn’t touch on these crucial topics, instead focusing on why God is worthy of praise. Don’t get me wrong: I think this is an excellent lesson topic! But I thought last year’s focus on the inspired nature of the Bible started the year of study off right and clarified some things that middle elementary-aged students may find confusing about scripture.
When I expressed this disappointment with a coworker, it dawned on me that I could just write my own lesson. Duh! God had given me the resources to rework the provided curriculum to what I felt He wanted me to teach. (Isn’t it funny how God holds on to these obvious solutions until the right moment?)
As I said, the provided lesson focused on why God is worthy of praise. I get to my classroom around 9:00 am on Sundays, but technically our lessons don’t start until as late as 9:45, since the kids trickle in throughout the morning. Because of this, I like to have a welcome activity that the earlybirds can complete slowly or the latecomers can finish quickly. For today’s lesson, I made a quick word search full of fourteen ways kids can practically praise the Lord, such as being thankful and showing love, alongside the conventional ways such as singing and dancing.
For the lesson proper, the kids and I studied the provided passages on praise (Psalm 66:1-5 and Romans 11:33-36) in their contexts of the Old and New Testaments, respectively. We discussed the figures and themes of the Old Testament (the kids shouted out phrases like “God created everything!” and “David and Goliath!” while I made a list on the left side of the board) and the structure of the New Testament and its events (“Jesus performed miracles!” and “He died and rose again!” on the right side of the board). I think the kids really enjoyed showing what they already knew about God’s word and seeing the white board fill up with their recollections.
Sing the glory of His name;
Make His praise glorious. Psalm 66:2
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36
When I explained how Paul had written the letter to the Romans, one of the kids looked at me very seriously and asked me how that was possible, because they didn’t speak English. (KIDS ARE SO SMART.) God made it very clear that I was still supposed to discuss the origins of different Bible translations and versions just like last year. I was blown away.
If you’d like a copy of my word search for use in your children’s ministry classroom, I’m making it available to download totally for free! You can download the PDF on Dropbox.com (link below). You may have to create a painless and free Dropbox account to download it! Pair this word search with a devotional on praise or a full-fledged lesson from the Psalms or other passage of scripture. The 14 ideas listed here can lead to a fun discussion about what it means to praise God. Just don’t try to pass the word search off as your own or sell it in any way. 🙂
Disclaimer: the word search has words going backwards and diagonally, so some younger children may need some help finding the words! Have fun!