Teaching Bible Skills – The Old & New Testaments

biblical literacy

I believe that Bible skills are important. I believe that it is part of our job as children’s ministry volunteers and leaders, as Sunday School teachers to teach our kids Bible skills.

There are 2 major goals when teaching Bible skills.

#1 – That kids will become comfortable and familiar with their Bibles.

#2 – That kids will be able to navigate their Bibles.

We want kids to be comfortable and familiar with their Bibles and to be able to navigate their Bibles so that they will read their Bibles.

The purpose of teaching Bible skills is not simply knowledge or a means of keeping kids occupied. We teach Bible skills so that kids will read their Bibles!

But more than just reading their Bibles, we want kids to love the God of the Bible and choose to follow Him.

So far in this series, we have covered finding books in the Bible and understanding the reference. Now I want to talk about the Old and New Testaments.

 What is a Testament?

The word testament means covenant. A covenant is a promise. So we have the old promise and the new promise.

In 1 Corinthians 11:25, Paul writes regarding the Lord’s Supper,

“In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it in remembrance of me.”

Jesus talks about a new covenant. If there is a new covenant, there must be an old covenant. In the Old Testament, we read of Moses going up to meet with God on Mount Sinai. There a covenant was agreed between God and the people Israel. They would follow Him and He would make them His treasured possession.

God always keeps His promises. In the Bible, we read about what God has done and the promises He has made.

 The Old Testament

The Old Testament is the first part of the Bible. It has 39 books. The Old Testament tells what happened from the time God created the world until the time of the prophet Malachi (about 400 years before Jesus was born.

 The New Testament

The New Testament is the second part of the Bible. It has 27 books. The New Testament tells about the life of Jesus, the early church, and the Christian faith.

Here are some game ideas to get you started teaching kids about the Old and New Testaments.

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Is Sunday School Prep Really That Important?

childrens-ministry-yesThis past Sunday was the last Sunday School before Christmas and the week preceding it was busy! You know how it is – shopping, baking, Christmas concerts, finishing up work before the holidays, and to add another layer of awesomeness, I was sick! I had caught a nasty cold and spent a few days early in the week under a blanket.

I teach a kindergarten-Grade 1 class for Sunday School and the Bible story for that Sunday was the wise men who journeyed far to worship Jesus, the King. As I got out my curriculum to prepare I was reminded just how important preparation is for Sunday School teachers.

The curriculum publisher had chosen a fun, interactive way to tell the familiar story of the wise men seeking Jesus. They had created a game board with cards and activities. It was great! It was also very complicated. There were multiple card packs and pieces and many different activities that had to be done at the right time for the game to work. I also had to consider whether certain activities would work in my classroom (it’s very small!!) and in the time we have in the classroom (30-40 minutes).

If I hadn’t taken the time to prepare for this lesson , it would have been a disaster! Everybody is busy. If you are a Sunday School teacher, take the time during the week to prepare for your lesson. It’s worth it! God will be at work in your heart and in the hearts of your students.

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Stuck in a Volunteer Training Rut?

childrens-ministry-stuck-in-a-rutDo you have a favorite way of training your volunteers? I do. My favorite volunteer training method is a group training session. I love having everyone together! It’s a great way of fostering team spirit and it is a great way of see right away if the training topic makes sense. There is nothing wrong with having a favorite way of training. But sometimes we can get into a habit of only providing that type of training and forgetting that they are many other training methods.

Spice things up by using a variety of training methods. Here’s a list of 10 different training methods. Mix and match as you plan your volunteer training for the upcoming year.

10 Training Methods

1. Group Training

Volunteers are invited to attend a training event, usually at the church. The purpose of group training is to offer information, ideas, and encouragement to your group of volunteers as a whole or to a specific group of volunteers, like your nursery care workers or your elementary teachers. Meeting together is important. It’s promotes a team atmosphere and offers an extended learning opportunity.

2. Pop-up Training

Pop-up training is short, practical, on-the-spot training. Pop-up training works best when it’s limited to a small, specific group of volunteers. This type of training is about 2-5 minutes in length and focuses on a single issue. For example, you meet with your toddler teachers before Sunday School and provide 5 minutes of training on how to handle a temper tantrum.

3. Video Training

There are a number of different types of video training, but I am going to focus on customized video training through YouTube or vimeo. You or another leader create a short training video specifically for your volunteers and make it available to them on youtube or vimeo. This type of training is convenient for your volunteers as they can watch it at any time. It’s a good idea to put a deadline on viewing the video and to ask your volunteers to respond via email with some thoughts on the content.

4. Conference Training

There is something energizing and exciting about attending a Children’s Ministry conference. Whether you as leader attend or you and a small group of volunteers attend, it is worth the effort every once in a while. It may not be possible for the entire team to go, but you could send one person and ask them to share what they learned with the team when they return. Also, often seminars and conferences offer video or audio online. Encourage your team to watch or listen to a specific seminar

5. Email Training

Children’s Ministry leaders can send regular training tips and ideas via email. Once a month, send out an email to your team with training tips and ideas. Be careful not to send email training too often. You don’t want to overwhelm your volunteers.

6. Book Training

When you come across a good book or magazine article, share it with your team. Encourage them to share their thoughts when they have read it.

7. One-on-One Training

This is mentoring. Grab a coffee with a volunteer and provide some one-on-one encouragement and training. With this type of training you can be very specific.

8. Shadowing

Partner a beginner with an experienced volunteer. If you have a new volunteer who has never served in Children’s Ministry before, this type of training could be valuable for them. This is training through mentoring. Partner the beginner with an experienced volunteer and training will come through observation and building a relationship with the experienced volunteer. Not all experienced volunteers will be comfortable with this type of training. Meet personally with people you think would be well suited and explain exactly what it will look like. For the beginner, it is an opportunity to watch an experienced volunteer and ask questions as they arise. It is kind of like an apprenticeship.

9. Creating a Handbook

Put together a handbook that is specific to your Children’s Ministry. It should include safety policies and procedures, discipline information, vision, purpose, and mission, as well as anything else you feel will be helpful to your team of volunteers.

10. Webinar Training

Webinars are becoming more and more popular – they are like seminars but delivered over the internet with the seminar provider being in a completely different location. Webinars can be live to a group of volunteers or volunteers can sign in to a webinar from their home computer.

 

Plan a variety of training methods. In the end, you will be able to provide more training through diversity. Offering a variety of training methods also allows you to be strategic. You an offer specific, highly practical training when you use a variety of training methods.

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5 Qualities of Good Kidmin Volunteer Training

Volunteer TrainingHave you ever gotten home from a training event and thought, “That was so good! It was fun and practical and encouraging! I can make use of what I learned right away.”

That was a good training session! Here are 5 qualities of a good kidmin volunteer training session.

1. Relevant

A good kidmin volunteer training event will include information and ideas that are relevant to each individual that attends. This is not always easy to do, but it’s so important. Oftentimes, there are entire groups of volunteers who are left out during training sessions. If you invite everyone, make sure the training is relevant to everyone. Include information and ideas for all of your volunteers.

2. Applicable/Actionable

A good training event is one where each attendee knows how to apply what they have learned. Not only that, but each attendee comes away with an action plan for using the new information. Everyone who attends should have at least one practical idea that they can implement within a couple of weeks of the training event.

3. Engaging and Fun!

Volunteer training should be fun! Enjoy being together and learning together. Plan fun games and activities. It is really important that volunteers are engaged during training sessions. It is more likely that your volunteers will be engaged when the information is relevant.

4. Digestible Within the Time You Have

Don’t try to teach more than can be reasonably understood in the time you have for training. This is an issue that I struggle with all the time. I try and cram too much into a training session. I need to accept my own advice – teach one thing! Plan your training event with a specific topic in mind. Allow time during the training for your volunteers to digest the new information; to ask questions; and to practice any news skills taught.

5. Inspiring/Positive

Be positive! Good kidmin volunteer training includes encouragement! Volunteers should be inspired to continue through tough times because they are working towards a higher goal – kids who are growing disciples!

Kidmin volunteers deserve quality training that is relevant, applicable, engaging, fun, digestible within the time allotted, and inspiring. As you plan for your next volunteer training, remember these qualities and you will end up with a great volunteer training event!

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Teaching Tip – Pray as you Prep!

A young woman praying with her hands together on white backgroun

How much of your lesson prep is spent in prayer? Prayer should be a huge part of lesson prep.It is all to easy to get focused on the details of making sure you have all the materials needed and forget to pray that God would continue to transform you and the students in your class.

Ask God to do a work in your own heart.

It is all too easy to Sunday School teachers to fall into the pattern of reading quickly through an all-too-familiar Bible story and not spending time meditating on the truth of God’s Word. All Scripture is useful says 2 Timothy 3:16. When you pray, ask God to show you something new. Ask God to open your mind and your heart to understand His Word. From your learning and growth comes something to teach the kids in your class.

Pray also for your students that God would be preparing them to learn the Bible truth.

Pray for the specific needs of your students throughout the week. As you are preparing for the lesson, pray that your students would ready to hear the lesson. Ask God to put situations and experiences into their week that would prepare them to hear and understand the Bible truth you will teach on Sunday.

Make prayer a significant part of your preparation routine when you teach Sunday School.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

 

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