Curriculum Review – What’s in the Bible? Church Edition

What’s a testament? Why are there so many different books in the Bible? Who wrote the books in the Bible? Is the Bible a book of stories or a book of one big story?

What’s in the Bible? Church edition is a brand new curriculum for elementary age children created with the purpose of helping them see the Bible as one big story – the story of God and His people.

Beginning in Genesis and continuing through to Revelation, this 52 week media-driven curriculum gives kids the big picture story of the Bible. It helps them see that the Bible is one big story, not a bunch of unconnected stories. If you are looking for a curriculum that will take your students through the Bible in a purposeful, orderly manner, then this may be the curriculum for you.

Along with the 13 volumes of Genesis to Revelation curriculum, there are two special volumes that can be added. Four weeks of Old Testament review and 4 weeks of special Christmas curriculum designed for fewer volunteers and more guests.

Here’s a video of Phil Vischer talking about this new curriculum.

This curriculum is a unique combination of video and small group segments. Each lesson is designed in four sections. Each section includes a video lesson and group activity. The group activity includes games, discussion, and Bible study.

If you are familiar with the What’s in the Bible? DVD series, you will recognize some of the videos. The two teaching videos from each section are taken from the What’s in the Bible? DVD series. The other two videos are getting to know each other and review created for this curriculum.

Things I Like About This Curriculum

Its Focus on Biblical Literacy

I love the focus on Biblical literacy. This curriculum contains the whole narrative of the Bible, not just highlights. I also really like that repetition and reinforcement are built into the lessons and units. This curriculum was designed to give kids a big picture view of the Bible and to help them understand how it all fits together.

Its Customizability

This is a truly customizable curriculum. All material is on disc or DVD. The leader’s guides and take-home papers are available as pdf or as word documents. This means that leaders or teachers can go into the lesson guide and make changes as necessary. Customizable take-home materials allow leaders to add notes to parents about upcoming events and projects and memory verses.

I think this is a truly fantastic aspect of this curriculum and I hope other curriculum providers follow suit.

Leaders can also customize the format. It can be used in a large group/small group format or a traditional classroom format or whatever format works for your situation. The only limitation is the number of screens you have to show the videos on.

The Combination of Bible Story and Bible Skills

I really like the combination of Bible story and Bible skills in this curriculum. Each lesson, the students are encouraged to read and study their Bibles. They hears stories from the Bible and they are taught important Bible skills like how to read a reference and what a testament is and the books of the Bible and how they are organized.

 

I encourage you to check it out! Click here for free samples of What’s in the Bible? Church edition.

And for a limited time What’s in the Bible is offering 40% discount on your entire order. Visit this page for more information and for the discount code.

 

As a thank you gift for writing this review, I will be receiving a DVD and poster from What’s in the Bible?.

 

 

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Top 10 Go Fish Songs

childrens-ministry-musicIt can be hard to find good music for kids – especially when you are looking for music to use on Sunday morning. A lot of songs are just silly or are too vague and symbolic for kids.

But there is good music out there – songs that kids can understand; songs that teach kids something about God; songs that lead kids to worship.

One of the places to find great music for kids is www.gofishguys.com . As it says on their website, the Go Fish Guys offer “great music for kids that won’t drive parents bonkers.” The Go Fish Guys are a talented band that love kids and write solid, Biblical, fun songs. You can preview their songs by clicking on the music tab on their homepage.

I picked 10 songs that are great for Sunday morning. I will list the songs and why I picked them.

Here are my top 10 picks from Go Fish:

10. Lord, I Life Your Name on High
This is from the Superstar album. Go Fish did not write this song. (I remember singing this song when I was a teenager!) But they have updated it in a fresh, fun way. I like how they have incorporated “Praise Him, Praise Him” into the song. This is a great song to sing with kids! It is a song of worship for who Jesus is and what He has done. It includes the gospel and it is full of joy! This is a good bridge song for use between active songs and slower worship songs.

9. Jesus Loves Me
This is a classic Sunday School song – but the truth it proclaims is the same for each generation. The Go Fish Guys have taken this well-known song and made it new and fresh. This song is found on their Superstar album. Although Jesus Loves Me has classically been a preschool song, I wouldn’t hesitate to sing this with kids up to grade 6. They have added a bridge and some other fun elements. This is a good bridge song for use between active songs and slower worship songs.

8. I’ll Do My Best
This is a good commitment song. It is from their first album Splash. It speaks of giving our best to God. There are four verses: I will love, serve, and praise God. It is easy for kids to learn. There is a lot of repetition. It’s sung as a prayer.

7. Glory
This is an active song from the Kids Music album. It is a song about giving all the glory to God. This song reminds us of God’s love, grace, glory! Talk with your kids about what it means to give glory to God.

6. My God
This is an active song that kids will love! It’s an updated version of “My God is so Big.” Again, the Go Fish Guys have taken a classically preschool song and made it a song that all kids will love singing. The chorus is the words to the original song and the verses talk about the things that God has done. The second verse is a clear gospel focus. This is a fun song of praise highlighting our big God who can do anything!

5. Joy to the World
There are a couple Christmas songs on this list and this is the first. Joy to the World is a favorite Christmas carol and this version will quickly become a favorite with your kids! It is upbeat and full of joy! Because it is a hymn, some of the lyrics will require explanation. A new verse [or bridge] has been added.

4. It’s About the Cross
This is the second Christmas song on this list. I absolutely love this song! This song talks about all the things we love about Christmas, including celebrating the birth of Jesus. But it reminds us that it doesn’t end there. It’s about the cross. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)  This is a slower song that calls us to worship Jesus as our mighty Savior!

3. My Father’s World
This is an upbeat, active version of the hymn, “My Father’s World.” There is a definite rock and roll sound. It might not suit everyone. As a hymn it will have words and phrases that need explanation [ex. All nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.] But don’t let that stop you from using this song with kids. The truth is important for kids to know – God made this world and it belongs to Him. “The Lord is King. Let the heavens ring. God reigns. Let the earth be glad!” There is a chorus added that highlights the fact that everything has been created by Him and for Him.

2. Sweet Song of Salvation/I Love to Tell the Story
This fun upbeat song is a combination of the hymn “I Love to Tell the Story,” and the song “Sweet Song of Salvation.” It is a definite favorite during kids’ worship at our church! There are words and phrases that will require explanation. This song is about telling others the story of Jesus and His death and resurrection. Everyone needs to hear about Jesus and the salvation He offers.

1. Praise Your Name
I think this is my new favorite Go Fish song. It is a bridge song to use between active songs and slower worship songs. It is sung directly to God. It is a clear, simple song of praise. The chorus says, “All I want to do is praise your name.” The verses talk about what God is like: You are holy, righteous, faithful, and sovereign. Every good thing comes from God. “No one can compare to You. You are my God. And I will ever praise You.”

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Book Review – Rock-Solid Kids by Larry Fowler

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24

What attracted me most to this book was the tag line on the front cover – “Giving Children a Biblical Foundation for Life.”childrens-ministry-rock-solid-kids

Biblical literacy is very important to me so I was interested to see what the book had to say about it.

In the introduction, Larry Fowler outlines the purpose and format of his 142 page book.  “Those involved in children’s ministry must also build on the right foundation—and that is the primary concern of this book…Each chapter of this book starts with a Scripture passage—a ‘rock’ for your foundation. The Scripture passage specifically refers to children or ministering to them. Each chapter contains a thorough discussion of implications and applications. Together, the eight core chapters will give you eight ‘foundational rocks’—fundamental principles from God’s Word upon which to build your ministry.”

Larry Fowler discusses the importance of children’s ministry, the responsibility for children’s ministry, the content of children’s ministry, and the pattern for children’s ministry. He highlights a warning about ministering to children, allowing children to serve, the message for children’s ministry, and the opportunity of children’s ministry.

I loved this book! I would highly recommend it.

In his chapter on the content of children’s ministry, Fowler discusses the battle for balance. He discusses Biblical truth and application. I agree that a balance between these is really important. Start with Scripture and follow with application. He talked about Biblical truth, application, and relevance. He defined relevance as being how closely the biblical truth applies to a person’s life.

Although I agree wholeheartedly with the need for balance in our teaching, I did not agree with what he said about relevance. I think we need to be very careful about how we discuss relevance in relation to the Word of God. The Word of God is always relevant; we just may not see it. “The teacher’s task in application is to recognize and communicate Scripture’s relevance, rather than to make it relevant.” (Walton, Bailey, and Williford; Teach the Text)

I wonder if I just misunderstood Fowler’s use of the term relevant in this situation. I do agree with his ‘foundation rock’ for this chapter: “Scripture is the foundation of our content; relevance follows.”

My favorite chapter was chapter 7—A Clear Focus: The Message for Children’s Ministry.

“From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15

Fowler clearly defines what the gospel is and how we should share it with children. I appreciated his discussion about how we call children to respond to the gospel. “If we understand what the Bible says, then we won’t need a formula. Children, and everyone else, are saved by God’s grace through faith.

He goes on to say, “As presenters of the gospel message, we must focus children’s faith on the person and the work of Christ on the cross. Faith must be in Jesus’ death and resurrection…as presenters we have a responsibility to be as clear and biblically accurate as possible…So what do we do? Repeat the gospel over and over again. Reinforce it regularly. Let your awe of it show through.”

Building a children’s ministry on the foundation of God’s Word is vital and it can be done, whether you are starting from scratch or have been involved in children’s ministry for years. I recommend this book for parents, children’s ministry leaders and volunteers. I was encouraged when I read it and I think you will be too!

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Highly Recommended Christmas Pageant

It’s that time of year to start planning for the annual Christmas pageant. If you are looking for something that is easy and doesn’t require a huge cast but is focused in the true meaning of Christmas, then I highly recommend “The Christmas County Spelling Bee.”

Here’s the description offered on the package:

Wonderful Counselor. Prince of Peace. Everlasting Father. Even a brief reflection on the names of Jesus brings power and strength to our faith. Dove award-winning writer Celeste Clydesdale has centered her newest Christmas musical, The Christmas County Spelling Bee, entirely around this theme. Set within the narrative of a lively spelling bee, this warm musical consists of nine delightful new songs, as well as the Michael W. Smith classic, “Emmanuel.” As the musical unfolds, the contestants learn more about the character and nature of our Savior.
Worshipful, bright and enjoyable, The Christmas County Spelling Bee will engage the hearts of your kids and congregation this Christmas as it reminds us that “Jesus is the only name that saves.”

Our church performed this musical last year and I was so impressed with the focus on Jesus given in all the songs and the spoken parts. This musical is set during a spelling bee and every word the children are asked to spell is one of the names of Jesus. The kids had a lot of fun performing this musical.

One gentleman approached me after the musical and told me that he had attended many Christmas pageants and musicals in his life and he has never seen a better one than this. It was gospel-focused and centered on Jesus and led those attending to worship.

Check out “The Christmas County Spelling Bee” and encourage your kids to find out more about Jesus – the only name that saves!

More information about this musical can be found at www.wordmusic.com
This musical can be purchased through your local Christian Bookstore or at amazon.ca

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Looking for Christmas Curriculum?

 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Christmas is about Jesus, the One sent by the Father to save us from our sins. It is critical that our children learn the truth about Christmas. Christmas is a time of joy, of celebration, of hope. Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with our kids.

If you are looking for fun, energetic, joyful Christmas curriculum that focuses on sharing the gospel with your kids, check out “The Gift of Advent” from the Go-Fish Guys.

The Go-Fish Guys have made a name for themselves in children’s ministry circles for producing high-quality, fun, exciting, gospel-focused children’s music and now curriculum.

This video is a brief description of their brand-new Christmas curriculum.

This video is one of the songs included in the curriculum which underscores the focus on gospel truth.

For more information check out go-fish resources.

Let’s celebrate with our kids this Christmas the awesome, joyful truth that Jesus came to rescue us!

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