Jesus Without Language

Kid's Ministry & Sunday School Resources

10 years of JWL – Day 6

10 years of JWL

It’s been 10 years and I’ve loved being able to resource teachers across the globe though Jesus without language.

To celebrate I’ve made up a pack of teacher resources and I’m releasing one part each day for the next 10 days.

Last week I gave you tools to prepare, this week is all about the things you need outside the session itself.

Today we are doing a an essential yet often ignored practice: Session reviews.

If you don’t do session reviews then I’d encourage you to start. These ones are super duper simple and a good way to keep the team working on the same page. I’ve given you a speedy one for on the day and a discussion based one for chatting about over coffee.

Click on the picture for the PDF.
ps. the quick review would work on half a page if you want something small!

10 years of JWL day 6 pdf

 
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10 years of JWL – Day 5

10 years of JWL

It’s been 10 years and I’ve loved being able to resource teachers across the globe though Jesus without language.

To celebrate I’ve made up a pack of teacher resources and I’m releasing one part each day for the next 10 days.

This weeks offerings are all about placing us in the right place as we embark on teaching. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been teaching for years or your just about to start you first session these pages are helpful for you to paint a clear picture of how you approach your teaching time.

Today we are doing a practical one: Our crafting materials.

There really is no need for cutting machines and expensive craft tools to make memorable creations with your children. While it would be wonderful to imagine one day we will all have these clever tools at our disposal, it’s not a reality yet. These three lists are a good start for making sure your cupboard has the basics.
Click on the picture for the PDF.

10 years of JWL day 5 pdf

 
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10 years of JWL – Day 4

10 years of JWL

It’s been 10 years and I’ve loved being able to resource teachers across the globe though Jesus without language.

To celebrate I’ve made up a pack of teacher resources and I’m releasing one part each day for the next 10 days.

This weeks offerings are all about placing us in the right place as we embark on teaching. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been teaching for years or your just about to start you first session these pages are helpful for you to paint a clear picture of how you approach your teaching time.

Today we are doing a foundation one: Scripture.

Scripture can be tricky to grasp for every age, and sometimes it feels like we need a PhD in Theology to work out how to teach a preschooler. Other times, the passage can feel so familiar it’s hard to get excited. While the old adage of reading around the passage is often the simplest way to help, here are other ways of reframing passages to teach.
Click on the picture for the PDF.

10 years of JWL day 4 pdf

 
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10 years of JWL – Day 3

10 years of JWL

It’s been 10 years and I’ve loved being able to resource teachers across the globe though Jesus without language.

To celebrate I’ve made up a pack of teacher resources and I’m releasing one part each day for the next 10 days.

This weeks offerings are all about placing us in the right place as we embark on teaching. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been teaching for years or your just about to start you first session these pages are helpful for you to paint a clear picture of how you approach your teaching time.

Today we are doing a heart one: Our learning.

Often people will talk about “working” in children’s ministry or “serving” in the Sunday school or “pouring into” the lives of the young. But teaching should always be a two way process. If it’s not you are seriously missing out on something, as are your kids! Lets be honest, we’ve all known one teacher who overly relies on the materials and a knowledge of classic Bible stories to guide them. Their personal faith has stagnated and they justify it by “always being in with the kids!” When we see our teaching as a way of feeding us too, the lesson transforms and we model community growth and lifelong learning. It may not be an exegesis on the life of Lot but most of Jesus’s teaching was simple parables.
Click on the picture for the PDF.

10 years of JWL day 1 pdf

 
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10 years of JWL – Day 2

10 years of JWL

It’s been 10 years and I’ve loved being able to resource teachers across the globe though Jesus without language.

To celebrate I’ve made up a pack of teacher resources and I’m releasing one part each day for the next 10 days.

This weeks offerings are all about placing us in the right place as we embark on teaching. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been teaching for years or your just about to start you first session these pages are helpful for you to paint a clear picture of how you approach your teaching time.

Today we are doing a big one: The room(s) you’ll teach in..

To be effective in teaching kids, the environment matters. You may have been blessed with a purpose built space or you may be in a glorified boom closet. From caravans outside to purpose built Bible lands here is your basic checklist for assessing your space.
Click on the picture for the PDF.

10 years of JWL day 1 pdf

 
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10 years of JWL – Day 1

10 years of JWL

It’s been 10 years and I’ve loved being able to resource teachers across the globe though Jesus without language.

To celebrate I’ve made up a pack of teacher resources and I’m releasing one part each day for the next 10 days.

This weeks offerings are all about placing us in the right place as we embark on teaching. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been teaching for years or your just about to start you first session these pages are helpful for you to paint a clear picture of how you approach your teaching time.

Todays offering is a great place to start.
I’ve seen so many teachers get overwhelmed with the choices of materials and sigh “I wish we could do that!”
This little sheet is a gem for knowing exactly which direction to look and why.
Click on the picture for the PDF.

10 years of JWL day 1 pdf

 
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The theory behind teaching with Bible Characters

 
Lets face it, the bible has some pretty interesting screw-ups and God uses them all, but while it’s great that the kids know David threw stones and Balaam chatted to a donkey these aren’t exactly the behaviors we are hoping our kids will imitate. With so many questionable stories is copying bible characters a good way to really teach our kids then… well I still think so.

The pull of a face

I love teaching with bible characters. It can be a really pure way of teaching the bible and there is something quite special about putting a face to a story. There is a deep and real reason for linking a story with a specific face – it’s the way we are programmed as a human race. As infants we learn to process and understand faces a whole lot earlier than any other object. A few years ago some scientists suggested that a four month old could process a face at an almost adult level while other objects or shapes were still being processed by a lower part of the visual system!

nun in the roomShortly after Christmas my husband shouted to me from the bedroom that there was a nun in the house. What he had seen was a partial pillow reflected in a mirror. Meanwhile what his brain had so readily done was try to assign the shape meaning and hit on a face. As a race we see faces everywhere, it’s even got a name : pareidolia. If you’ve ever thought a car was looking angry or a socket looked like it was screaming (image credit) it’s because of this.

Kids tap into this almost subconsciously. If you ask a child to draw a person the head will often be dis-proportionally large, because the face is the important part they want to show. This is well studied, having clearly defined eyes and high contrast faces is a technique used deliberately in children television programs. Even non humanoid shapes will undergo anthropomorphism having human features like eyes and mouth added – think Thomas the Tank Engine or Disney Cars. Ultimately we resonate with things that look more like us, we are attracted to people who share our features, we are drawn towards the familiar.

The importance of imitation

But it’s more than just a face that has me choosing bible characters over catechism so often, it’s another hard wired thing – imitation. Imitation is one of the primary building blocks of learning from the youngest ages. It’s generally understood that kids see most of their world in black and white terms. For an infant the imitation is fixed, “if you do this then that happens so if I do the same action again I will get the same result”. Things change after the age of 2 when children begin to use symbolism thanks to the developing imagination.

The infants stick is now a wand, a pen, a drumstick! While they continue to learn about their world through their senses they can learn about worlds closed to them by practicing the art of imitation. They unlock the dressing up cupboard and suddenly little Susie is Elsa and Dan is Spiderman. This is an important step in the development of empathy, role play allows us to imagine other peoples feelings in a way children’s brains are not hard wired for. Yet when Elsa runs away the child knows exactly what to do because they know these characters narratives already. As they repeat the characters actions the link with them becomes stronger and the more the narrative settles in them. Pause and just that last sentence with bible characters in mind.
 

 
Lets put this into real terms…

What kid doesn’t recognize Zacchaeus’ issue as they stared at coat backs unable to see the main event? Josiah clearing out the temple becomes the parents favorite lesson idea even if it involves a huge paper fight. Rhoda forgetting to unlock the door to Peter becomes a great lesson in over-excitement. John the Baptist allows us to grapple with the very difficult idea of humility as he speaks of being unworthy to untie Jesus’ saddles. These faces don’t just teach stories but become faces the children can inhabit to peer out of into the biblical pages.

When there is no character

Sadly not all passages have characters, so much of the bible is instruction, poetry or law. It doesn’t neatly fit into a lesson on a specific character. This is where you have to make a decision on how much you’ll let your bible passage be accompanied by non cannon material. A technique used by almost every kids bible show I’ve ever seen is expanding the story beyond the text. This has been used for centuries by literature and art.

On the most basic level it’s why we think of Jesus with long hair and a long beard when culturally he would almost certainly have had short hair and a neat beard if one at all. Remember Judas had to identify Jesus (Matthew 26:48) with a kiss to be arrested. On a deeper level you end up with CS lewis and the world of Narnia – a story woven deeply with biblical reference but choosing not to be explicit with it. Much of the bible allows you to weave a story that falls between these two, keeping pure biblical details but adding in extra characters and padding. This can be done badly, taking the emphasis away from the scripture, but when done right it can have the added benefit of linking other texts and biblical details allowing you to represent more of the big bible picture.

A practical example

The theory behind teaching with Bible CharactersThe latest lesson onsite is a good example of this. Jesus teaches about the lamp being hidden under a bed or basket, a bushel. It’s a simple idea, it lends itself well to science experiments and games in dimmed light but I’ve chosen to give it a face.

The Apostle Paul’s home town of Antioch was one of the earliest place to have known street lights, oil lamps, strung up on a series of ropes (read more). The guard responsible for lighting the house lamps was called the lanternarius and so making the logic jump to having a lamp lighter for the city center is a but a skip. This character then epitomizes the idea of a light being seen, he has a long torch that reminds us the light must be lifted high and his job is to illuminate the darkness. Importantly he takes the conversation one step further, he not only learns the symbolic meaning of Jesus’ words he also ties the narrative into the apostle Paul and how the message transformed his life going forward.

I know some won’t touch this story. There are purists who will balk at biblical movies that bend the text to accommodate extra plots and inwardly sigh just a little when the great King David is a scrap of asparagus in Veggie tales. I know they would rather say Jesus said this and lets play with lamps. The kids will learn the lesson, they will hold high their candles and torches understanding they are symbolic. But will it inspire kids to want to turn that stick into a torch to be a lamp lighter?

Live the story

When a story resonates with a child they live it. They can walked those streets with Albas the lanternarius, peer into windows with him and felt the sting of Jesus’ words. That’s what story does, it draws you into a different perspective. That perspective is somehow more powerful when you are looking at the world through someones eyes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our kids wanted to be Mary as much as Elsa and David as much as Spider man?
 


This talk was written for the bible creative conference which I sadly pulled out of. Just an extra note : Jesus without language also recently got featured in the top 20 kidmin blogs to follow by Feedspot! Click through to get some of the latest kidmin content delivered to your inbox!

One Child – One Week – Prayer

 
one-child-one-week-prayer Prayer is powerful, and each community needs to have someone praying for the young people in their church.

It is important to differentiate between prayer for the young peoples ministry, and prayer for the specific young people. I have found that often the former is much more widely prayed for than the latter. This little card is an easy way to ask specific adults to pray. In the example I have not put the child’s full name, it is designed to be filled as much as is needed and nothing more, the child’s name could be just a letter. Print the cards any size you wish, the back of the cards is a summery of the 8 steps if you wish to print it.

Those who receive a card are asked to use it to pray for a child for just one week, using the following 8 points as a guide. At the end of the week, if appropriate, the child can be informed that somebody from church was praying for them this week. The graphic to one side can be printed and placed on the noticeboard – for the prayer cards and the graphic please click on the images and a larger quality image will load.
 

One Child - One Week - Prayer Start your prayer time by putting aside your issues, both those from today and from your own childhood. Ask God to help you pray unbiased for this child and their needs. Thank God for bringing this child’s needs to you.

One Child - One Week - Prayer Be specific about the child you are praying for. Bring the child to mind if you know them, or use whatever information the card gives. Lift this individual to God as his child and his servant in his kingdom.

One Child - One Week - Prayer Be age specific. Is this an exam year, is there anything in the local news that may effect them, etc. Below is a simple 4 word description of areas that may generate issues by age group, this is very general but may be useful as a starting place for some.
 

0-1 years
Feeding, Sleeping, Movement, Communication
1-2 years
Independence, Language, Instructions, Self Awareness
2-3 years
Cooperation, Separation anxiety, Defiance, Inter-dependence
3-5 years
Friendships, Exploration, Personality, Pre School
6-8 years
School, Acceptance, Awareness of future, Independent goals
9-11 years
Relationships, Responsibility, Puberty, Peer pressure
12-14 years
Body image, Academic results, Stress, Complex thought

 
One Child - One Week - Prayer Siblings deeply shape a child’s everyday life. Consider praying for issues surrounding fairness and sibling rivalry, the process of sharing, and the strength to support each other. For single children pray for issues surrounding friendships, autonomy, and demanding attention.

One Child - One Week - Prayer Pray for the parents. Pray for their lead in discovering God, their relationships, and their ability to provide for their children. Consider that for a child provision of love is arguably the most important.

One Child - One Week - Prayer Pray for their contact with church. the group they are part of – it’s group dynamic and the leaders who serve. Pray for the groups needs and how they may influence the child.

One Child - One Week - Prayer Pray for their strengths and passions Praise God for their gifting and ask him to open opportunities to use that gifting in the child’s life. Pray that they can receive the encouragement and necessary tools to develop their gifting.

One Child - One Week - Prayer Pray for the child’s weaknesses and struggles. Pray that God will be with them in the dark moments they may encounter. Pray for strength, reassurance and confidence to face what may be troubling them and peace for the end of their journey through the present trials they face.

 

One Child - One Week - Prayer One Child - One Week - Prayer

 

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