Sunday, January 31, 2010

OT stories for small children 2

When you look at the OT stories you want to tell ask yourself some questions.

If a child were there when that story first took place . . . what would they be interacting with?

Where was it? They took a long trip through a hot sandy place . Can you recreate any part of that place? (sand to touch or wiggle your fingers & toes in, heat)

Can you make a tent and tell the story, play, sing, eat snack in a tent?

What did they wear? Can you dress up?

Why did they go? Did someone hear God talk to them? Who?

What animals went with them? (1 or 2 or lots?) photos, pretend, stuffed animals or plastic

What else did they need to take with them? What will we need? Food, drinks, a place to sleep...

Who went? (family of 4? Everyone they knew?)

Where did they go? Was it a long trip or a short trip? How many times did they need to go to sleep before they got where they were going?

What happened along the way?

Who are the characters? What made them special?

If they stayed put and didn't travel did the story happen inside or outside? What time of day was it?

What did their house look like? Did they eat or drink? What did they eat or drink?

Did they sit in chairs? On the floor? On a rug?

Did they sleep? Where did they sleep?

Were there parents, friends, brothers, sisters involved?

Were there animals or something unique or special involved?

Did someone do something good?

Did someone do something bad?

What did God say? What did God do?

What did the people say? What did the people do?

Did that make God happy or sad or mad?

Did that make the people happy, sad or mad?

As you reread the passage, recreate the story for your children, Use simple verses from the story with the parts of the story that they will understand. If you can let very little ones see pictures or pre-school & older kids pretend or act out the story. Use puppets or dolls and stuffed animals. Give yourself a time limit. The shorter the better. Better for them to complain that they want more than to complain because they're bored.

Revisit and explore the story together.

Enjoy the journey.

OT stories for small children

The first story I would tell? Creation!

(NIRV) Key phrases:

"God made"
"God said...and it was so..."
"and God said 'It was good!"

Start your story with the lights off.

Long long ago in the very beginning God made the heavens. . . [Maybe you use your laptop or flashlight to show a sky photo] "God made the earth." [earth photo]. [Maybe you use a globe. Outer space might be a little far fetched for very little ones.]

God said, Let there be light. And there was light![Turn on the lights!] God said it and it was so. God saw that the light was good and He called it "Day." [photo of day] He called the darkness "Night." [photo of night - same pic day & night] There was evening and there was morning the 1st day. [Show 1 finger] Have your kids pretend to go to sleep and wake up.

On day 2 [show 2 fingers] God said, Let there be a big space between the waters and it was so. God made the sky! [Photo] And God said, "This is good!" Can you say that? And God said, 'This is good!" Go to sleep!

Time to wake up!

On day 3 [show 3 fingers] God told the waters on the ground to move over and make room for the ground. And they did. And there was dry land. God called it "land". [Photo] He called the waters "seas". [Photo] God said, Let the land grow plants & trees [photo] with fruits and seeds [photo] And God said, [Teacher w/kids] "This is good!" Go to sleep.

Time to wake up!

On day 4 [show 4 fingers] God said, We need special lights to separate day and night. He wanted lights to show seasons and days and years. So God made the bigger light to boss the day [photo of sun] and the lesser light to boss the night [photo of moon] and he made stars [photo of stars in night sky]. And God said [Teacher & kids] "This is good!" Go to sleep!

Time to wake up!

On day 5 [show 5 fingers] God said, Fill up the waters with lots of living creatures. [photos of salt or fresh water creatures under water] Let birds fly in the sky! [photos of birds flying in the sky] God made every one and they had babies and their families filled the waters and the skies and God said, [Teacher & Kids] "This is good!" Go to sleep!

Time to wake up!

On day 6 [show 6 fingers] God said, Let the land grow all kinds of animals: wild animals [photo]. . . farm animals [photo]. . . creatures that move on the ground [photo]. Then God said, Let's make man in our likeness [photo]. Let them be boss over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the animals all over the earth.

So God made man in his own image: man & woman. [photo] God blessed them. God said, Fill the earth! [photo grown ups w/babies & children] Be boss of the fish and the birds and all the animals!

God said, I give you all the plants with seeds, all the trees that have fruit with seed for food. [photo] And to all the creatures that breathe, I give every green plant for food [photo]. And God said, [Kids] "This is good!" Go to sleep!

Time to wake up!

On day 7 [show 7 fingers] God took a rest! He rested from all his work! He blessed that special resting day and made it holy. That was the day He rested from all His work.

You can let the kids say a word for the pictures: What's this? Land! What's this? Seas. What's this? Tree.... You could ask what kind of boss God wants us to be for the creatures of the earth. Kind. Gentle. Whatever word you use in class for being nice to each other. You could let kids act out and be sun, moon, stars, plants & trees, swimming creatures, flying creatures, land creatures. And you could probably simplify this even more without losing the scripture. If you have fun with them and they have fun with you, they will remember.

God made the heavens and the earth and all the living things there.
And God said, "THIS IS GOOD!"

Friday, January 29, 2010

This is a really interesting website:

The thing that's neat about it (if you explore the site) is that you can pick an issue, pick how much time (as little as 1 minute), pick who you want to work with (alone, a group of friends or church, an organization), pick where and they will give you ideas. ex. Preventing Bullying, 1 minute, Alone, here - Make a poster and hang it in your library.

Lots of ideas at many levels of involvement, information about different causes with the understanding that there may be different legitimate viewpoints and levels of passion. Check it out!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Still Adding to this post

Not sure if I ever posted these way back when...if not have some fun exploring, reading & prayerfully pondering. I challenge you to really take the time to search and read and ponder the material on these sites and any sites they're linked to. Not only are these experienced-servants-of-God-who-work-closely-with-children pondering Faith, Children, Practice, and the Kingdom of God but many are working with children at risk.

the site for the Child Theology Movement and better yet, ChildFaith

The Center for Children & Theology There are scripture booklets near the bottom if you scroll down far enough and one on stillness...interesting tools...

You'll find this on the site but in case you miss it...(Listening to the Child Blog)

Prevette Research

Overseas Ministries Study Center

Children's Spirituality: Christian Perspective

Don Ratcliff & resources

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kids & Stewardship

Stewardship -from

a steward

-manages someone else's property or finances.

-manages someone else's household, shopping, feeding & managing servants

- responsible for a specific table in a restaurant to wait on guests, feed them, see to their needs, wants, comfort

- (on a ship) manages those who serve others or waits on guests, feeds them, sees to their needs, wants, comfort

-supervises a group at a given function or event

- a flight attendant

-navy personnel who attend to officer's quarters & mess

-a keeper, a guardian, an overseer

Is a steward the same as a servant? Is stewardship the same as service?

What have you been given to steward? And your children? What have they been given to steward?

Does God steward? What does He steward? How does He steward? What about Jesus? The Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit steward? What about Adam & Eve? What were they given to steward? What have God's children been given to steward?

If you want a word study you can find "steward" in the KJV, NIV, NAS
You can find "stewardship" in the KJV and NAS.

If you read a passage like Luke 16:1-15
you can read the story and see what the story tells you OR you can go back and look specifically to see what the story tells you about stewardship. In one or two simple sentences, what will you tell a child about stewardship? Better yet, how do we show it? As a person. As a parent. As a teacher. As a family. As a faith community....

Make a list of what you've been given in one column and how you've managed it in the other. When you hand it back to Father/Son/Holy Spirit...not the list but the goods...what will He say?

Emergent Conversations in Denominations

As usual, I'm a little behind the times on this one if you look at the dates the articles on the sites here were originally posted. But the other day, I came upon an Emergent blogger from the Church of Christ. Then I found an rather large Emergent network in the Presbyterian church. Artisan is an Evangelical Covenant Church. Being the curious creature that I am I went looking at other denominations wondering if every denomination has an Emergent contingency. If so, does that make what's happening something different than just a "conversation" or a "movement?"

So here is an interesting list of "Emergent" cohorts, statements, conversations, or blogs (disclaimer: that may or may not be representative of individual denominations) for those of you who may be wrestling with this. I'm sure there are more. Some are individual bloggers, some are networks within denominations. Some are strong, what I would consider very well-written, clear observations about those who call themselves "Emergent". Check a denomination's website or just search the name of the denomination + Emergent church and see what you find. If you feel drawn to a particular denomination but also feel strongly about some of the areas that Emergent churches seem to focus on, this gives you a chance to investigate, ask questions, network a little or make contacts.


This guy is an individual blogger with 3+ posts specifically wrestling with similarities and differences between the emergent church & the Church of Christ from his perspective.

Evangelical Covenant Church - scroll down to the end of the article. (Artisan is an ECC church.)

Anglicans & Episcopalians. The way I understand it, Anglicans and Episcopals are different but you will find both here. (When you get there, scroll down)


one Baptist perspective (Ed Stetzer, Baptist Press) and another (William Lloyd Allen at Mercer).

this very recent conference included Catholic participants. I'd venture to guess this is just a beginning.

an interesting video from the Ooze with Phyllis Tickle* + comments.

some resources from Ryan Bolger, a professor at Fuller Theological. (Darren Rowse in Melbourne Austrailia) which I think was or is a House Church movt blog. This was the initial blog post. Again, you'll have to search for the follow up post.

Non-denominational and autonomous churches, from my experience, are a mixed bag like anything else even if they love Jesus, the Word, and each other depending on the people, internal leadership model, outside networking, involvement in the greater community. Apologies, but my comfort level with non-denomination/autonomous models (in general) is less now than it was 30 years ago.

Does being associated with (or breaking away from) long-established Christian denominations give a movement or "conversation" more or less credibility? Not sure. What do you think? Our choices as adults ultimately impact our children.

*Phyllis Tickle's book for children

1/25/10 Emerging Spirit (an arm of the the United Church of Canada)

2/17/10 Emergent Pentacostal they also include some of denominations above. Not sure if the websites are the same.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

for parents and those who work with parents & children

"Spiritual Lives All Their Own" an article by David Ratcliff from Christianity Today.

"The Myth of the Perfect Parent" by Leslie Leyland Fields also from Christianity Today

Points of Reference

Pick a passage from one of Paul's epistles that's rich with OT reference and imagery.

Imagine, if you will, Paul fervently sharing with his audience.

Paul ministered to Gentiles but his background was Hebrew and he drew from OT image & story.

Imagine that every OT reference that he makes is more than just a verse to reference but that each point of reference is a rich story memory for his audience - something that stretches back generation after generation with rich sensory associations. And these generations have heard and told these stories over and over and over since they were small children: stories about their ancestors, their history, their culture, their life and God with them there. Even the rules they keep in their homes and in their community, rules they've kept for generations, reflect the presence of God with them there and keeping a home and community they can share with a holy God & Father.

My point? The listeners need points of reference other than isolated verses to cross-reference. Pastors work hard at trying to find things/ideas people can relate to. Churches often do "object" lessons with children (children's sermons) and the adults love it. Adults get "more out of the children's message" than the sermon but many of these "object lessons" are still more abstract than children connect with. And more often than not kids end up being there for adult entertainment ie. we laugh at them and we can always justify our behavior (at the expense of the children). A discussion for another time.

But perhaps its one example (ok, 2 examples) of how considering "the child in our midst" helps us connect with God - or helps God connect with us.

Random side note:

Understand that should you decide to take new approaches to learning with your kids that there's an adjustment period for teachers, children, parents and the larger community. Give it some time before you decide whether something new is "working" or not. Or introduce the "new" in little bits & pieces. If it works, keep it. If it doesn't, throw it out. Just don't throw the Baby out with the bath.

Monday, January 18, 2010

the communion story

Every year I plan to stop blogging but somehow manage to start a book right before the end of the year that I promise to post about and end up going another year. I made sure I didn't do that this year. I almost made it to the end of the January.

Then, according to my site meter, someone came searching for "communion crafts for kids". The temptation was too great.

Different churches and denominations have different perspectives on Communion but what if you go back to the stories in scripture? What if you ponder the story and not the theology? You have the gospels. You have Paul's epistles - lots of opportunity to ponder the words and ideas in the context of the story God gave us.

Which gospel will you chose? Why? Which images from Paul?

If children had been there, what would they see, hear, taste, touch, smell? What would impress them? What would they remember? You can argue about more "spiritual" or less “spiritual” but what non-abstract points of reference does a child have for the story?

For older kids you have a dinner, followers of Jesus, people relationships & interaction, a last supper before someone leaves and dies, memories from the interactions that took place between these people before the dinner. For younger children you have the concretes of the story itself - a very special dinner that Jesus hosted for his friends. For teens & adults you might draw in more cultural/historical context or you can let the story stand. You have the words that Jesus spoke.

There are similarities and differences between Matt 26, Mark 14, Lu 22. Which version of the story will you use? What about the passage from John 6 where Jesus talks about being the Bread of Life and people leave? Did Jesus' disciples know it would be their last supper? What about their friend who walked out? What about Peter? John? the others?

There are affirmations and denials in all four versions of this first communion story in the scriptures. Then of course you have Paul: 1 Cor 10-11* where we hear words like "judgment", "worthy", "unworthy". . . and look! Paul references Old Testament stories and story images! It may be that looking at all the stories together that we come to understand what "worthy" and "unworthy" means to our Lord. Will these images of "worthy" and "unworthy" impact children differently than they impact us as adults?

When the stories impact us the way God intends do we still need activities? What is the "doing" response that God is looking for? What can you DO with children to help them remember what Jesus said and did at the Last Supper?

We've made communion a sacrament. In a sense (no offense intended), we've made First Communion an initiation rite. In some churches Baptism is in a sense (no offense intended), an initiation rite. Looking at those stories, was that God's intention?

God has given us stories about Jesus' Last Supper, Jesus’ Baptism and John baptizing in the scriptures. Is it a sacrilege to pretend, to play-act these stories in order to better understand them or to better know the God who gave them to us or to better understand how they apply to us?

What makes the story memorable? If you go the way of crafts or activities, what will your kids think of to help them remember God's story and help them find their place with Him there?

What if we tell the stories attached to the sacraments we keep, the way we tell the Christmas story at Christmas time and the Easter Story at Easter time? Not just a couple of verses, but the stories?

I challenge you to let your children interact with the stories of communion in the scriptures, the stories of baptism with water, baptism in the Holy Spirit and see what God will do.

*giving you both chapters may be overkill but for context and OT stories