Jesus Without Language

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Kid's Ministry & Sunday School Resources

Preparing to Teach : Esther

 
Preparing to Teach : Esther
 

Quick notes:

This is probably the earliest version of ‘the bachelor’ game. These women had a full year of beauty treatments, Hegai would have been the shows presenter, and surprise-surprise, his favoured choice won! But, Esther is said to have pleased him, and won his favour, not a phrase about simply outward beauty but about character. The women were richly rewarded however, being able to claim palace treasures in the form of adornments for their time with the king. Esther is a testament to listening to good advice, for her not to chose riches when she went to see the king but rather to take only what was advised was a great restraint on her part and a great sign on wisdom.

Esther is was not a Jewish name, but a rouse to help her conceal her Jewish identity, the name Hadassah would have given the game away far too soon. Concealed identities is a common theme to the modern day Purim celebrations where people dress in costume.

As the famous verse echo’s ‘for such a time as this’, we too have a plan and a purpose for our lives. However glamorous it sounds, being queen in a foreign land, denying your Jewishness, and concealing your true name doesn’t sound like a good place to be if you want God to use you. This story is a call out to all those of us who feel like we’re feel trapped in secularism and those of us who feel like it would be easier to make a difference if we had a greater need presented to us.

There is a modern movie about this story called ‘A night with the king’.

Names you need to know

 
The King – Xerxes or Ahasuerus in the Hebrew (but may have been Darius)
Haman – the baddie, Agagite and therefore a sworn enemy of the Jewish nation
Modecai – wise kind uncle, had a position at the palace, devote Jew
Esther – also called Hadassah, young, beautiful, virginal
Hegai – king’s eunuch, in-charge of the harem of women
 

Historical significance

 
There is great debate about weather this is indeed a true tale or one that was used to proselytise a Persian celebration and surrounding story. The names of the characters are surprisingly similar to localised deities of the time. While scholars debated the acts of Esther, the powers that be agreed to allow it to continue as a minor Jewish feast. On the 13th day of Adar the celebration of Purim continues.

Who the king in the story really is has also been widely debated. Most modern translations use the name Xerxes though some retain the Jewish choice of Ahasuerus. Equally the text about Mordecai being brought into captivity is ambiguous, dependant on the reading of the text he could be over 100 years old, have the same name as his ancestor, or it may have been the names meaning misconstrued to refer to ‘servant of God’. Mordecai probably worked within the palace, to be at the kings gate is an indication of this.

Haman is an Agagite, a descendant of the Amalekites. This tribe of people have a long history of attacking the Jewish nation, sometimes alone and sometimes teaming up with other nations. As early as the book of Exodus (chapter 17), the word is given that God will ‘blot out the name’ of Agag (the traditional name of the leader of the Amalekites). Even modern day Purim traditions decree making loud noises to cover the name of Haman when the story of Esther is read.

Mordecai is described as a descendant of the king Saul. This is supposed to bring your mind back to the war where Saul fought the Amalakites. Saul is commanded to commit complete genocide, every man woman and infant alongside all their livestock is to be wiped out. Saul disobeys and this decision loses his favour with God and his kingship. Within the story Haman is portrayed as a direct descendant from Agag (the Amalekite king), bitter at the Jewish nation for the destruction of his people, and leaving Mordecai and Esther to do what Saul could not.

Building your team – The Childless

 
Being a parent is a huge gift, being a grandparent too.
But the church is a melting pot of people and offspring can be a delicate issue
Kids ministry is all about kids, but as you look at those who care for them you find both parents and many many others.
 
The childless tend to fall into 3 categories, the single, the elderly and the others.
Every stage has possible ramifications to how the leader sees the children. If you haven’t taken time to think about this issue I’d encourage you to take a moment and read the tables below.
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Teachers Pages

 
The monthly newsletter had contained a teachers page until recently, this month with the celebration of a full year of the site the newsletter will change and so for those who missed them here are the teachers pages set so far. Simply click on the image for the relevant PDF.

If you have suggestions for more teachers pages please leave me a comment and I’ll make set 2 in the coming months.
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Building your team

 
There are 2 common mistakes I’ve seen repeatedly made in my own ministry as well as that of others.
 

Building your team

Getting the direction wrong.

Building your team

Underestimating training.

 
These two areas make a huge difference to every team so lets examine them in the light of what we are doing. Read on and reflect how you may be able to start to implement this in your ministry. …continue reading

Next generation | Psalm 78:4

It’s always good to have bible verses about that encourage and affirm what you are doing in the kids ministry area. This bible verse from Psalm 78:4 has been made into a simple printable graphic that could be used on an entranceway poster, in a parish magazine write up, or to adorn a folder. Click on the picture for a bigger graphic. Do let me know if you want it in a higher resolution by leaving a comment below.

Mixture of fonts and scrapbook paper. children crowd image from Download free vector.com.

God of the Low Days

God of the Low Days
Today is a low day. I’m trying in vain to write some inspirational, uplifting instruction for the children’s ministry readers and feeling like a fraud. In the world of a missionary everything is supposed to come back to God, he is supposed to be there in our struggles, there is our weakness, and most of all there to guide us forward. But sometimes his voice is such a tiny whisper it’s frankly inaudible, and we get low days.

God is still here. God is still working, and God will never leave.

If you are having a low day then stop and read that again. He is here, he can see this screen, hear your sigh, he’s walked this path before you and returned to walk it again by your side. Just because you can’t tell he is there doesn’t mean he has abandoned you.

His work is far from complete, I know it with all my heart, even when it’s hard to believe. Personally, I’m struggling with church. The people there are lovely but the last few services I’ve been to have had no children in them at all. Here I am writing kid’s ministry materials and I’ve not children to use them with. Now I know people will gently remind me that the children will come as the church grows and this is just the low point in the year for attendance, of what is a very fledgling church anyhow, but reason doesn’t always make the heart feel better. Yet he is still working, even when we can’t see it, he is working preparing for what is to come.

…continue reading

Using Character Images

 

Recognising the character in a story is a big part of how the bible comes to life for the youngsters. On JWL I try and give a brightly coloured, clear image for each character or story, if you chose to use that image or a different one, it doesn’t matter, but having a visual link will help the children identify with the characters strengths, weaknesses and importantly their journey through the story and their encounter with God.

Here is a mini directory of ways you can extend the use of the hero character through the lesson.

…continue reading

Define (planning kid ministry 02)

Define (planning kid ministry 02)
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

This is the second part in planning kids ministry sessions, the first part on Planning effectively can be found here.

Generally speaking you have 2 choices if you don’t plan – you can wing it, or hope the just add water style material gives you all the answers. after a couple of weeks of falling short of expectations you’ll come to realise that the planning of a given ministry lesson makes a huge difference.

 
So assuming you have been realistic in your planning, we now need to define the major aims of a given lesson. Even if you have pre-written material you need to do this. If you don’t know rough answers to these questions you may end up following the form of a given lesson and compromised the content. …continue reading

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