Back to the Beginning Overview

[Back to the Beginning logo]
Sometimes you have to get down to the basics and remember how it all got started. We went back to the beginning and wrote lessons on creation, sin, salvation, faith, and the church. In Galion we used these materials in 2006 and again in 2012.
This theme is mostly complete, but I'm still working on getting it all posted online.
Elementary Preschool Teens
Monday Bible Lesson:The Beginning of Creation (The Altar to an Unknown God) Bible Lesson:Creation Bible Lesson:
Visuals: Second Lesson: Discussion:9 Questions
Memory Verse:Acts 17:24 Memory Verse (all week):Acts 17:24 (abbreviated) Memory Verse:
Missions: Missions Discussion:
Craft:Origami Inflatable Creation Box Craft: Craft:Wax-Dipped Origami Animals
Game:Animal Match-Up Relay Game:Animal Game (Pretending) Game:Animal Match-Up Relay
Snack:
Tuesday Bible Lesson:The Beginning of Sin (The Tree and the Snake) Bible Lesson:Adam and Eve Sin Bible Lesson:
Visuals: Second Lesson: Discussion:9 Questions
Memory Verse:Romans 3:22 Memory Game: Memory Verse:
Missions: Missions Discussion:
Craft: Craft:Paint By Shape Craft:Cross Wall Hanging
Game:Board Foot Walk Game:Bubbles* Game:Board Foot Walk
Snack:
Wednesday Bible Lesson:The Beginning of Salvation (The Ark and the Christ) Bible Lesson:Noah and the Flood Bible Lesson:
Visuals: Second Lesson: Discussion:8 Questions
Memory Verse:1st Corinthians 15:22 Memory Game: Memory Verse:
Missions: Missions Discussion:
Craft: Painted Ark Scene
Game:Two-By-Two Race Game:Animal Match-Up Race Game:Two-By-Two Race
Snack:
Thursday Bible Lesson:The Beginning of the Promise (Abraham's Offspring, the Woman's Seed) Bible Lesson:Abraham's Faith Bible Lesson:
Visuals: Second Lesson: Discussion:9 Questions
Memory Verse:Hebrews 11:6 Memory Game: Memory Verse:
Missions: Missions Discussion:
Craft: Abraham and the Stars Window Hanging
Game:Egg-Push Race * Game:Hot Potato * Game:Egg-Push Race *
Snack:
Friday Bible Lesson:The Beginning of the Church Bible Lesson:Beginning of the Church (Preschool Version) Bible Lesson:
Visuals: Second Lesson: Discussion:8 Questions
Memory Verse:Acts 2:32 Memory Game: Memory Verse:
Missions: Missions Discussion:
Craft: Craft: Craft:Garden Stone
Game: Game: Game:
Snack:
Substitute Indoor Games:
Decorations:

Footnote:
* - Marked items either need some work or may be replaced when we get back to this theme again (tentatively in 2018).

Acts 2:32

Friday:Acts 2:32
Bible Lesson: Beginning of the Churc: The church was begun in order to witness for God in all parts of the earth.
Memory Verse: God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Acts 2:32
Introduction: Witnesses
What's a witness? Have you ever seen a court trial? On television, or in a movie, maybe, a court scene? What does a witness do in a court room? A witness is called to do what? To tell what they saw or heard. When a witness tells what he saw or heard, that's evidence. If several witnesses saw the same thing, that's good evidence. If six different people all saw the bad guy breaking into the store, what's the jury going to do? They'll find him guilty – they know he did it, because there were six witnesses.
Explanation: Acts 2:32
[Show the card with the verse.] Let's look at today's verse. [Read it through a couple of times.]
Who was talking in this verse? Who's the “we”? Who wrote the book of Acts? [Luke did.] Luke is the author. When he says “we”, he's talking about himself, and other people who saw what he saw. What do we call those people, who saw something – in this case, people who saw Jesus after he raised from the dead? Witnesses!
How many witnesses were there, people who saw Jesus raised from the dead? John did. Peter. Mary Magdelene? All eleven of the disciples (except Judas). 1 Corinthians 15 says that he appeared to more than 500 people at one time. That's a lot of witnesses! That's a lot of people, who saw that Jesus really was alive.
Game: Popcorn
Whoever the teacher points to with the ruler/pointer/whatever has to pop up like popcorn (i.e., stand up quickly out of their seat) and say the next word of the verse. Leave the poster displayed at first, then after a while cover it up. Go through the verse this way until time expires. Make sure to point to all the children so that everyone participates, but don't go in order; jump around so that they never know when it's going to come to them.
Announcement: Verse Points
Tomorrow, when you come to Bible School, if you can say your memory verse without looking, you can earn points for your team's score. Each person who can say the verse can earn 200 points. So, if you want to help your team win more points, go home and practice your verse a few times. Don't forget the reference! On your way out the door tonight, you will be given a slip of paper with your verse on it. Don't lose it, because if you learn your verse, your team gets 200 more points!
You can say your verse for points tomorrow when you check in at the registration table.

Hebrews 11:6

Thursday:Hebrews 11:6
Bible Lesson: The Beginning of the Promise: We should have faith like Abraham.
Memory Verse: Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him, Hebrews 11:6
Explanation: Hebrews 11:6
[Needed]
Explanation: Hebrews 11:6
Let's look at today's memory verse. [Show the verse and read it aloud.]
What's faith, anyhow? What does it mean to have faith in God? The rest of the verse talks about it. Look, it says right here, “anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” What did [name of volunteer] have to believe about the chair? That it was there? That it would hold [him/her] up? What do we have to believe about God? That he's there? That he's real? What else? That he rewards those who earnestly seek him. What does that mean?
What does it mean to seek God? [Accept a couple of answers from the children.] Sure, you're trying to find out about God, trying to find God. What does it mean to do something earnestly? It means you're not just playing around, you're really trying to do something, really working at it. If you're earnestly seeking God, you really want know God, and know about him. The verse says we have to believe that God rewards those who earnestly seek him. What's a reward? [Accept a couple of answers from the children.]
Game: Hot Potato
Read the verse through a couple of times, as a group, then introduce an object that you call a potato. Explain that each person must say the next word of the verse, before they can pass on the hot potato. Run through the verse one time for practice, passing the potato around, then introduce the timer.
The goal for each child is to avoid having the potato when the timer goes off, but you have to say the next word of the verse before you can pass the potato on to the next person. (At the end of the verse, say the reference, and then the next person starts at the beginning again.) Use short times on the timer and run through the verse as many times this way as possible. (If the group is too large, split it up with a potato for each group; you can still have just one timer.) Leave the card with the verse displayed until you think the kids know the verse, then try removing it. If someone has trouble with a word, you can help them after a few seconds.
Announcement: Verse Points
Tomorrow, when you come to Bible School, if you can say your memory verse without looking, you can earn points for your team's score. Each person who can say the verse can earn 200 points. So, if you want to help your team win more points, go home and practice your verse a few times. Don't forget the reference! On your way out the door tonight, you will be given a slip of paper with your verse on it. Don't lose it, because if you learn your verse, your team gets 200 more points!
You can say your verse for points tomorrow when you check in at the registration table.

1st Corinthians 15:22

Wednesday:1st Corinthians 15:22
Bible Lesson: The Beginning of Salvation: Sin brings a penalty. Jesus paid our penalty so that we can be saved.
Memory Verse: For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive, 1st Corinthians 15:22
Introduction: Analogies
Let's play a comparing game! A sock is to a foot as a glove is to a... [Let the children say hand.] Good. Now, a harder one: A jet plane is to air as a submarine is to... [Let the children say water.] Good! Okay, how about this one: Drink is to punch as throw is to... [Let the children suggest some possibilities, and then suggest ball if they don't come up with that.] Okay, now let's try one that goes along with our verse: Adam is to die as Jesus is to... [Let them try, and then give the answer: live.] Let's read the verse together and see how we got that answer...
Explanation: 1st Corinthians 15:22
[Show the verse and read it aloud.]
Why does it say that all die in Adam? How did Adam bring death into the world? Adam sinned, in the Garden of Eden – Adam and Eve were the first sinners. What happened when they sinned? What did God say would happen, if they ate the fruit? (“You will surely die.”) Are Adam and Eve alive today? Why not? (They died.) God took them out of the Garden, when they sinned, so they couldn't eat the fruit from the Tree of Life, and live forever. So they died, because they sinned.
Were Adam and Eve the only people who ever sinned? (No.) The Bible tells us that we all have sin in our lives, we all want to do bad things sometimes, because Adam and Eve are our ancestors – we're their great great great... grandchildren, after all these years. So we inherit their sin; Adam and Eve sinned then, and we still sin today, because we come from them, and we have their sin nature, the part of us that wants to sin. Because everybody sins, everybody has to die. But look at the end of the verse: in Christ, all will be made alive. We can get eternal life, from believing in Jesus.
Game: Faster and Slower
Let's all say the verse together. [Do this.] Now, let's see if we can say it faster. [Do this.] That was pretty fast, but can we do it even faster? [Do so.] Great. Now let's see if we can say it slower. [Do it.] Wonderful. I bet you can go slower than that. Let's say each word really slowly... [Do that.]
Who thinks they know the verse now? Do you know it well enough to say it without looking at the card? Can I have a volunteer? [Have a volunteer (or two or three, time permitting) say the verse.] Now let's see if we can all say it together, without looking. [Hide the card and say the verse. If time is left over, do it faster and slower without looking, forward, backwards, et cetera.]
Announcement: Verse Points
Tomorrow, when you come to Bible School, if you can say your memory verse without looking, you can earn points for your team's score. Each person who can say the verse can earn 200 points. So, if you want to help your team win more points, go home and practice your verse a few times. Don't forget the reference! On your way out the door tonight, you will be given a slip of paper with your verse on it. Don't lose it, because if you learn your verse, your team gets 200 more points!
You can say your verse for points tomorrow when you check in at the registration table.

Romans 3:22

Tuesday:Romans 3:22
Bible Lesson: The Beginning of Sin: We are sinful and require salvation.
Memory Verse: This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, Romans 3:22
Introduction: Sin
Today we learned how Adam and Eve brought sin into the world. Did sin stop with Adam and Eve? (No.) We still have sin with us today, don't we? We need to have our sin taken away. We need to be made righteous. What does righteous mean? It means you don't have sin in your life. Does that mean we don't sin? Does it mean we've never sinned? Is there anybody here who's never sinned? So how can we be righteous?
Explanation: Reference
[Hold up the card with the verse and read Romans 3:22]
So, how can we be righteous? Where does righteousness come from? The verse says it comes from God. God gives us righteousness. Can we be righteous on our own? No. We need God's righteousness. How do we get it? What does the verse say? It comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. What does that mean? Is righteousness just for good people? (No.) Is it just for people who go to a certain church? (No.) Is it just for people who like Ohio State? (No.) Righteousness comes to all who believe in Jesus Christ. That's how we become righteous – through faith. What do we have to believe about Jesus Christ? We have to believe that he is God. Why is it that believing on Jesus can get us righteousness? Where did he get it? He already had it, because he was God. God doesn't sin, does he? Jesus was already righteous, because he was God, and God is without sin.
Learning Activity: Sign Language
Tell the children that you're going to learn sign language for this verse. Explain that sign language is what deaf and mute people use to communicate. Show the children the sign language as you say the verse through one or two times, then teach them the sign language for each word individually, and help them do the sign for that word until they can do it. When you've done all the words, start putting them together. Make sure you and the children are saying each word out loud while signing it. Put longer and longer strings of words together until eventually the children can say and sign the whole verse.
Announcement: Verse Points
Tomorrow, when you come to Bible School, if you can say your memory verse without looking, you can earn points for your team's score. Each person who can say the verse can earn 200 points. So, if you want to help your team win more points, go home and practice your verse a few times. Don't forget the reference! On your way out the door tonight, you will be given a slip of paper with your verse on it. Don't lose it, because if you learn your verse, your team gets 200 more points!
You can say your verse for points tomorrow when you check in at the registration table.

Acts 17:24

Monday:Acts 17:24
Bible Lesson: The Beginning of Creation: God created the world and deserves our worship.
Memory Verse: The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands, Acts 17:24
Introduction: Creation
Today we learned about how God made the world, and most of the story is found in Genesis, in the Old Testament. But the New Testament talks about it some too.
Explanation: Acts 17:24
[Show the verse and read it aloud.]
There is only one God, but the Bible likes to tell different things about who God is, when it tells different things that he did. When it calls him the God who made the world, it's talking about something he did – the creation story that we learned about earlier. From God's creation, we know about his power.
When the Bible calls God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, it means that he is the one who is in charge of everything that happens – both here on earth, and also in heaven. It means he's the master.
When it says that he does not live in temples made by hands, what's it talking about? Does it mean God isn't with us when we're in church, worshiping him? (No.) Does it mean he wasn't with the people of Israel, when they worshiped him in the temple? (No.) It means that God is not just in one place, and he's not only there, just because of us. God is, like the verse says, the one who created everything, and is the master in charge of everything. He's God whether we come to church and worship him or not.
So, if God is the same powerful creator whether we worship him or not, why does he want us to worship him? Is it because God gets more power if we worship him? (No, he has all the power anyway.) God wants us to worship him, because it's good for us.
Game: Clapping
Demonstrate for the children how to clap once for each syllable while talking. Do this while saying the verse through one time, with the reference. Now have the children do it with you. Repeat two or three times, until the children can clap and say the verse more-or-less together in what passes for unison. Encourage them that they're doing well, but let's see if we can do even better at staying together and all saying each word at the same time, and all clapping at the same times. Repeat until they get it right, or time runs out. Optionally, after a few times through, divide the children into two groups, and alternate the two groups in a competition to see which group can stay together better.
Announcement: Verse Points
Tomorrow, when you come to Bible School, if you can say your memory verse without looking, you can earn points for your team's score. Each person who can say the verse can earn 200 points. So, if you want to help your team win more points, go home and practice your verse a few times. Don't forget the reference! On your way out the door tonight, you will be given a slip of paper with your verse on it. Don't lose it, because if you learn your verse, your team gets 200 more points!
You can say your verse for points tomorrow when you check in at the registration table.

God's Sheep (Theme Overview; updated, 2013)

[God's Sheep logo]
Sheep are all over the place in the Bible, used as examples and illustrations for a variety of things in both testaments. They're also cute and make for easy decorations, so naturally we had to use them for a Bible School theme. The lessons we take from this theme talk about sin, salvation, obedience, security, and the church. In Galion this was our theme in 2007 and again in 2013.
This theme is mostly complete.
Elementary Preschool Teens
Monday Bible Lesson:Going Astray: Moses and the Rock Bible Lesson:Moses and the Rock: Obey God Bible Lesson:Going Astray: Moses and the Rock
Visuals:Available 2013
Sheep Lesson:We All Sin* Discussion:6 Questions 2013
Memory Verse:Isaiah 53:6 (Follow the Shepherd) Memory Verse (all week):John 10:14 (Explanation) Memory Verse:Isaiah 53:6
Missions:Feeding the Sheep 2013 Missions Discussion:7 Questions 2013
Craft:Shadow Box Craft:Sheep Bank Craft:Vase Candle
Game: Pass the Sheep
Snack: Popcorn: Sheep Going Astray 2013
Tuesday Bible Lesson:Lamb of God (Isaac and the Ram) Bible Lesson:Praising God (David the Shepherd) Bible Lesson:Isaac and the Lamb (teen version)
Visuals:Available 2013
Sheep Lesson:Thanking the Creator* Discussion:6 Questions 2013
Memory Verse:Romans 4:25 (Every Other Word) Memory Game:Follow the Shepherd Memory Verse:Romans 4:25
Missions:Where the People Are 2013 Missions Discussion:7 Questions 2013
Craft:Ram in the Thicket Craft:Watercolor (David playing the harp for his sheep) Craft:Cloth Painting (ram in the thicket, or Abraham and Isaac)
Game:Sheep Gate Tag Game:Sheep Gate Tag Game:Marshmallow Ram 2013
Snack: Sheep and Cross Cookies: Taking Our Place 2013
Wednesday Bible Lesson:Stolen Sheep: Saul and the Spoils regular version or skit version Bible Lesson:Baa, baa, baa! (Saul and the Sheep) Bible Lesson:Stolen Sheep (teen version)
Sheep Lesson:Obey the Shepherd* Discussion:6 Questions 2013
Memory Verse:1st Samuel 15:22 (Divide and Conquer) Memory Game:Clapping Memory Verse:1st Samuel 15:22
Missions:Lost Sheep of Israel 2013 Missions Discussion:7 Questions 2013
Craft:Obedience Bookmark Craft:Pull-Through Filmstrip Craft:Obedience Bookmark
Game: Sheep Golf
Snack: Donuts: Obey God 2013
Thursday Bible Lesson:Sheep Security: The Good Shepherd Bible Lesson:Jesus Loves Children (Let the children come) Bible Lesson:Good Shepherd (teen version)
Visuals:Available 2013
Sheep Lesson:The Shepherd Knows His Sheep* Discussion:6 Questions 2013
Memory Verse:1st John 10:28 (Show Your Card) Memory Game:Hot Potato Memory Verse:John 10:28
Missions:Unwatched Flocks 2013 Missions Discussion:7 Questions 2013
Craft:Plate Masks* (sheep, bear, or lion) Craft:Sheep Plate Masks Craft:Soap Molding
Game: Sheep Maze
Snack: Jell-O Jigglers: The Good Shepherd 2013
Friday Bible Lesson:Shepherded Sheep: Leading and Following Bible Lesson:God Loves Us: The 99 and the 1* Bible Lesson:Shepherded Sheep (teen version)
Visuals:Available 2013
Sheep Lesson:Jesus Wants to Be Your Shepherd* Discussion:6 Questions 2013
Memory Verse:Ephesians 2:10 (Simon) Memory Game:Simon Memory Verse:Ephesians 2:10
Missions:A Shepherd's Priorities 2013 Missions Discussion:6 Questions 2013
Craft:Noodle Mosaic (Follow God) Craft:Chalk Drawing (sheep) Craft:[needed]
Game:Sheep Chin Relay Game:Sheep Relay Game:Sheep Chin Relay
Snack: Salad: Feed My Sheep 2013
* - Items marked with an asterisk are incomplete or otherwise need work.
Substitute Indoor Games:
Decorations:

God's Sheep Preschool Memory Verse

Preschool Memory Verse:God's Sheep
All Week: Jesus said, I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. John 10:14
Monday: Explanation
[Show the verse and read it aloud.]
What kind of shepherd is Jesus? Is he the kind that's out in a grassy field, taking care of fluffy white sheep? (No.) That's not what he meant. What kind of sheep does Jesus have? People who follow Jesus are his sheep. People who trust Jesus, and let him take away their sins are his sheep. If we believe in Jesus, he is our shepherd.
[Lead the children in saying the verse fifty bazillion times.] If you come to Bible School tomorrow and can say the verse at the beginning, you'll get a prize! So you should go home and practice saying your verse.
[Review the explanation from Monday.]
Game: Follow the Shepherd
We're going to play a game called Follow the Shepherd. I'll be the shepherd, and all of you get to be the sheep and follow me around the room. Whatever I do, you do. So if I take big steps, you take big steps. If I swing my arms wide, you swing your arms wide. If I say a word from the memory verse, you say it too, but if you say a word I didn't say, you're out and have to sit out until the end of the round. When we get through the whole verse, we'll start a new round and everybody's back in.
[Lead the children in saying the verse a hillion jillion times.] If you come to Bible School tomorrow and can say the verse at the beginning, you'll get a prize! So you should go home and practice saying your verse.
[Review the explanation from Monday.]
Game: Clapping
[Say a word of the verse, and clap once. Say two words, and clap twice. Continue saying words and clapping all the way through the verse. Add a word and a clap each time, until you have the whole verse. When it gets to be too many claps to count, just clap a whole bunch of times.]
[Now go back, and you prompt the children with the words to say, and they say the words, and then you clap together. Start with one word, and one clap, and progress from there. If necessary, go back to the beginning and start with one word again. Continue until the children can say and clap the whole verse.]
[Lead the children in saying the verse entirely too many times.] If you come to Bible School tomorrow and can say the verse at the beginning, you'll get a prize! So you should go home and practice saying your verse.
[Briefly review the explanation from Monday.]
Game: Hot Potato
[Seat the children in a circle and practice saying the verse together. Now introduce an item (which you call a potato, even if it's actually a tye-died stuffed weasel). Each person must say the next word of the verse, before he can pass the potato to the next person around the circle. Whoever gets to say the last word of the verse wins, and everybody claps. Then you start over with a different child and go through the verse again until everybody gets to win at least once.]
[Lead the children in saying the verse a whole lotta times.] If you come to Bible School tomorrow and can say the verse at the beginning, you'll get a prize! So you should go home and practice saying your verse.
[Briefly review the explanation from Monday.]
Game: Simon
The teacher says one word (the first word of the verse), and the whole group repeats it. If they get it right, the teacher repeats it again, adding one more word, and the group repeats that. Add another word each time through the verse until you have the whole verse or the children miss a word. If they miss, you start over with one word again. Each time, the teacher says the words first, and the group repeats.
[Lead the children in saying the verse as many times as you have time for.]

God's Sheep Visuals: Shepherded Sheep (Leading and Following)

God's Sheep Visuals: Sheep Security (The Good Shepherd)

God's Sheep Visuals: Lamb of God (Isaac and the Ram)

God's Sheep Visuals: Going Astray (Moses and the Rock)

Having had a closer look at Google's storage limits, and the scanned file sizes, I have concluded that it is reasonable to post this year's visuals in full. We printed these visuals on overhead transparencies and projected them up on the screen that way. (This puts the visuals directly in the hands of the teacher, who does not need to know how to work a computer projection system; anyone can figure out an overhead.) However, it would also be possible to print them on paper or to project them using a computer projection system.

God's Sheep Decorations: Sheepfold on the Stage

Okay, I don't have a very good photo of this, because we didn't decorate the stage until after the Sunday service, just a few hours before Bible School started, and I had taken the decoration photos previously and was in kind of a hurry to get the last few things done. So I'm just going to post the picture I've got, and you'll have to let your imagination fill in the gaps. The sheepfold walls were made in kind of a hurry this year, so they're flat rectangular boxes with a few "stones" painted in hastily. (We did much better six years ago, using wads of newspaper covered with paper mache to give the walls shape and then painting in the stones better. But I didn't have a digital camera yet then, so no photos of that, sorry.) The sheep are "lawn sheep" that Sarah picked up at a garage sale. Anyway, here's the picture:

God's Sheep Decorations: Three-Panel Isaac and the Ram Set

Just inside our building's front entrance, there are some indoor windows, between the foyer and the auditorium. I'm not sure why. (I wasn't around yet when the building was built.) Perhaps they were meant to block sound so that foyer noise doesn't disturb people in the auditorium, or vice versa. If so, they fail. Perhaps they're just meant to be an interesting visual design feature. Whatever their intended purpose, we've decided that for Bible School week their purpose is to house a three-panel scene that goes with one of the lessons. This gives us one really nice decoration where absolutely everyone who walks in the door can see it (umm, unless a blind person comes, I guess; if that had happened, I suppose we'd have taken them up to the stage and let them feel the lawn sheep we had set up there -- I may have a photo of those sitting around here somewhere; if so, I'll try to post it tomorrow). As with the wall decorations, we get these things onto posterboard using the overhead projection method, and then we paint them and outline it all with markers.

This year our three-panel scene depicted Abraham, Isaac, and the ram caught in the thicket.

God's Sheep Decorations: Sheep on the Walls

When we did this theme six years ago, we printed out a lot of black-and-white sheep images, cut them out, and laminated them before sticking them on the walls. Being laminated, they're well preserved, so this year we just got them out and stuck them up again.

In the hallway, we put up a green plastic tablecloth, to represent grass, and stuck a bunch of sheep to that. (It's all just stuck to the wall using Sticky Tack or BlueTack or Handi-Tack or some such -- I get the different brands confused; we typically just buy whichever brand the store we're at happens to have.) In other locations, we just put the sheep directly on the wall, in some cases with paper grass for added effect. We put some in the main room...
Some in the preschool room...
Some in the teen room...
By the stairs...
Here and there...
Sheep everywhere...
(Yes, that green metal cabinet is probably exactly as old as its color makes you think it is.) Oh, and while the mural on the nursery wall wasn't done specifically for Bible School, it does have sheep in it, plus a shepherd, so I'm counting it.
Incidentally, the mural was created by the same person who has been doing our lesson visuals, and we do have visuals for four of the God's Sheep lessons. I'm planning to post those, or at least thumbnails of them, probably some time next week.

God's Sheep Decorations: Bulletin Boards

Here are the bulletin boards we did. The first one is in the main area...

And here's the one in the preschool room:

God's Sheep Decorations: Comic Strip for Teen Room Walls

I think I've previously explained how we, who do not have the artistic talent to free-hand draw everything, get things onto posterboard: we trace line drawings (from coloring books or the internet) onto overhead transparencies, using wet erase markers. Then we use an overhead to project the drawing onto a bulletin board, where the posterboard is stuck up with thumbtacks. We use pencil to trace the projected lines onto the posterboard, then we take them down and lay them on tables and paint them with poster paints. People with all levels of artistic skill starting from try to color mostly inside the lines can participate. Once the paint dries we take black magic markers and draw in the outlines, which helps to cover up the sloppy edges and also makes everything look better.
For the teen room walls, we did up this series of five comic strips, one of which goes with each day's lesson.

A Shepherd's Priorities: Teen Discussion Questions for Missions Lesson, Day Five, God's Sheep

Friday:A Shepherd's Priorities
Bible Lesson: Shepherded Sheep (Leading and Following)
Missions Concepts: Missionaries must teach the Bible, not cultural norms.
Missions Examples: Craig and Sara Noyes
Bible Passages: Acts 20:27-32; 2nd Timothy 2:2; Galatians 1:6-9, 2:1-5; Proverbs 30:5-6; Deuteronomy 12:32
  1. Can you think of some things people traditionally think missionaries should do?
    Which of these things are really important?
  2. What are some practical things Craig and Sara will need to do at first when they arrive on the mission field?
  3. Why is it important for people to have copies of the Bible in their own language?
  4. Once the Bible is translated into a people's language, isn't that enough?
    Why can't they figure everything out for themselves from that point on?
  5. We tend to take our own cultural background for granted and assume that it's normal. How can missionaries tell the difference between necessary things that the people need to be taught and unnecessary American cultural baggage that would just weigh them down?
  6. What would be the harm in having people in other countries do church the way we do it here? Why shouldn't we go ahead and teach them to install stained glass and steeples and pianos?
    If it works for us, wouldn't it work just as well for them?
If you need hints to answer some of the questions, look up the listed scripture passages.

Unwatched Flocks: Teen Discussion Questions for Missions Lesson, Day Four, God's Sheep

Thursday:Unwatched Flocks
Bible Lesson: Sheep Security (The Good Shepherd)
Missions Concepts: Missionaries train local pastors.
Missions Examples: India: Orissa
Bible Passages: 2nd Timothy 2:2, 1st Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9
  1. Can you think of some specific dangers that a church would suffer if they don't have a pastor?
  2. What kinds of things does a man need to learn before he can be a pastor?
  3. Are there other requirements? Can just anyone be a pastor, if they study the right things?
  4. If there are already a number of new churches without pastors, and not enough men training to be pastors for all of them, should missionaries stop evangelizing new areas for a while? Why or why not?
  5. Does the Bible actually tell us to train pastors?
  6. Where did our pastor receive his training? How can we know if it was good enough?
  7. Why don't men from India just come to America and attend school here to train to be pastors?

If you need hints to answer some of the questions, look up the listed scripture passages.

Lost Sheep of Israel: Discussion Questions for Teen Missions Lessons, Day Three, God's Sheep

Wednesday:Lost Sheep of Israel
Bible Lesson: Stolen Sheep: Saul and the Spoils
Missions Concepts: Missionaries can and should take the Good News to anyone.
Missions Examples: Jeff Kran
Bible Passages: Matthew 15:21-28, Romans 9-11 (especially 9:8, 15, 27, and 32; 10:1-3 and 8-15; 11:1-6, 13-14, 19-21, 23, and 25-27), Galatians 2:11-5:12, Acts 1:8, Acts 15, Romans 3
  1. What did Jesus mean when he said he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel (Mat. 15:24)? Does this mean Gentiles cannot be saved?
  2. Why does the Bible compare people to sheep? What is similar about them?
  3. How does a missionary find people who need to know about Jesus? How can he tell which people need to hear the good news?
  4. In the early days of the church, most of the people in the church were Jews. Today, most of the people in the church are Gentiles. How and why do you suppose this could have changed?
  5. What kind of impact can a people's cultural background have on how a missionary might need to present the good news to them?
  6. One of the ten commandments is to keep the Sabbath day holy. Why doesn't the Christian church observe this?
  7. If they still need to hear the good news, does knowledge of the Old Testament give the Jews any advantage at all?
If you need hints to answer some of the questions, look up the listed scripture passages.

Where the People Are: Discussion Questions for Teen Missions Lesson, Day Two, God's Sheep

Tuesday:Where the People Are
Bible Lesson: Lamb of God (Isaac and the Ram)
Missions Concepts: A missionary goes wherever there are people who need to hear the good news.
Missions Examples: Craig and Sara Noyes
Bible Passages: John 10, Acts 16:6-15, Matthew 28:18-20, Isaiah 52, Romans 10:8-15
  1. Why don't we need foreign missionaries to come to Galion from other countries and minister to us?
  2. Why aren't there any full-time missionaries at the research stations in Antarctica?
  3. Why is it important for people to have copies of the Bible in their own language?
  4. Why is it important for every local church to have a pastor from their own language and culture?
  5. What are some things you would need to do before you could translate the Bible into a language that doesn't already have a Bible translation?
  6. Sometimes missionaries say that they feel lead by the Holy Spirit to go to a certain place.
    Is there any support in the Bible for this?
  7. Do missionaries really need to be sent out by churches? Can't they just go on their own? Why?
If you need hints to answer some of the questions, look up the listed scripture passages.

Feeding the Sheep: Discussion Questions for Teen Missions Lesson, Day One, God's Sheep

Monday:Feeding the Sheep
Bible Lesson: Straying Sheep: Everyone has sinned, and sin has a penalty.
Missions Concepts: A missionary must teach God's word.
Missions Examples: India: Paul Rajan
Bible Passages: Psalm 23; John 21:15-18; Numbers 27:12-21; Jeremiah 23, Matthew 2:6, 9:16; Psalm 100; Isaiah 40:9-11; Jeremiah 3:15; 2nd Samuel 5:2; Acts 20:27-31; Jude:12
  1. How is the teaching of God's word similar to feeding? What do these two activities, one physical and one spiritual, have in common?
  2. What is the difference between a pastor and a missionary?
  3. Why would Paul Rajan ask a group of people if anyone had ever come to tell them about God?
  4. Why do people need someone to teach them about God?
  5. Is it better for the people to have a foreign missionary teach them, or a local pastor who is one of them? Why?
  6. How does God feel about shepherds who don't take proper care of the flock? What about pastors who teach people the wrong things?
If you need hints to answer some of the questions, look up the listed scripture passages.

A Shepherd's Priorities (God's Sheep Missions 2013, Day Five)

Friday:A Shepherd's Priorities
Bible Lesson: Shepherded Sheep: The church needs leaders. We must follow Jesus, and we must follow our leaders.
Memory Verse: Ephesians 2:10
Missions Concepts: Missionaries must teach the Bible, not cultural norms.
Missions Examples: Craig and Sara Noyes
Bible Passages: 1st Corinthians 2:1-16

Introduction: Sheep
What's the most important thing for a shepherd to do? Dye the sheep's wool? Tie ribbons and bows around their necks? What about teaching the sheep to bark? [No.]

The most important thing is making sure the sheep have enough grass to eat.

Main Point: Teaching the Right Stuff
It's like that for missionaries too. Some people think missionaries need to help the people all build nice houses, build them a big beautiful church building with a steeple and stained glass, teach people in other countries to be more like Americans, and all kinds of other things. Some of those things might actually be good things to do, sometimes – but they're never as important as the main thing missionaries are supposed to do: they have to feed the sheep.

Missionaries have to teach the Bible. That's the most important thing.

Example: Craig and Sara Noyes
We said on Monday that Pastor Craig and Sara Noyes are going to training to learn how to do missions work among people who have never heard about Jesus before. When they finish their training and arrive where they're going, they'll have a lot of things to do. They will need to find a place to live, learn the language, get to know the people and understand how they do things there, find food to eat, ... They'll be busy. But they will have to always remember why they are there: to tell the people about Jesus and how they can have their sins forgiven. That's the most important thing.

They'll probably do other stuff too. They might teach some of the people to read, so that when they get the Bible translated, the people will be able to read the Bible for themselves. But teaching people to read, by itself, isn't missions, and it's not why Craig and Sara are going. The main point is to teach the people about God.

Counter-example: Early American Indian Missions
When missionaries from Europe came to the American Indians, sometimes they forgot why they were here, and they taught the people the wrong things. They taught them to speak English, and told them not to speak their own language any more. They made some of them cut their hair the European way, instead of the way they were used to. They made them wear boots instead of moccasins. Then, when the Indians looked the way the missionaries wanted them to look, they finally remembered to teach them a few Bible verses. Was that the right way to do missions? [No.]

If they had remembered what missions is all about, they wouldn't have bothered with boots and special haircuts at all. Those things aren't important.

Instead, good missionaries would have worked mostly on teaching the people what the Bible says – especially the good news about how Jesus died for them so their sins could be forgiven. That is what missions is supposed to be all about.


Conclusion: Good Missions
That's what Craig and Sara Noyes will do. They won't care what color of clothes the people wear, how they cook their food and do their laundry, or what time of day they meet together to pray, or what day of the week. They just want to teach them the Bible and see them become God's sheep.

Invitation: Missions
Invite any children who want to do missions work to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Unwatched Flocks (God's Sheep Missions 2013, Day Four)

Thursday:Title
Bible Lesson: Sheep Security: Jesus is the good shepherd and always looks after his sheep. (The Good Shepherd)
Memory Verse: John 10:28
Missions Concepts: Missionaries train local pastors.
Missions Examples: Orissa
Bible Passages: 2nd Timothy 2:2

Introduction: Sheep
We've been talking this week about sheep and shepherds. The shepherd is the person who takes care of the sheep, leads them to good grass and to water, protects them from wild animals and other dangers, and so on.

What would happen to a group of sheep if they didn't have a shepherd? They might get hungry. They might get lost. Some of the sheep might be hurt, or even killed. A wolf or a lion might eat some of the poor sheep.

Main Point: The Need for Pastors
It's bad for a church not to have any pastor to look out for them. How can the people learn the Bible if nobody teaches it to them? They can try to study on their own, but there are all kinds of things that can go wrong. Without a pastor, there's nobody to make sure the people are getting good teaching, nobody to protect them from false teachers who would tell them wrong things about God, nobody to bring them back into the fold if they wander off.

Every flock of sheep needs a shepherd, and every church needs a pastor.

Example: Orissa
In India, there are Christian believers with no local pastor in their town. Missionaries from other cities came and told them a little about Jesus, and then the people who they told went to their friends and neighbors and told more people, so now there's a group of believers, but they need a pastor. The missionaries can't stay in all the different towns, because there aren't enough of the missionaries to go around. They need more shepherds.

Some of the new Christians in India want to be pastors, but they don't know how. They need to know more of the Bible. They need to know how to study the Bible. They need to know how to lead and protect a church.

So now the missionaries are teaching men how to be pastors. They teach them how to study the Bible, how to teach it, and how to look out for a church – all the things a pastor needs to do.

Conclusion:
When missionaries first go to an area, like Craig and Sara Noyes are planning to do, they have to be the shepherd themselves – they have to teach the people, and lead people to Christ, and start churches.

But the job isn't done as soon as they have sheep. The sheep need shepherds. A missionary's job isn't finished until there are local pastors who can lead the new churches. Part of missionaries' job is to train these local pastors, so they can shepherd the new flock. Only then do the missionaries move on to another place.

Invitation: Missions
Invite any children who are interested in doing missions work someday to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Lost Sheep of Israel (God's Sheep Missions 2013, Day Three)

Wednesday:Lost Sheep of Israel
Bible Lesson: Stolen Sheep: We should obey God's instruction. (Saul and the Spoils)
Memory Verse: 1st Samuel 15:22
Missions Concepts: Missionaries can and should take the Good News to anyone.
Missions Examples: Jeff Kran
Bible Passages: Romans 9-11 (especially 9:8, 15, 27, and 32; 10:1-3 and 8-15; 11:1-6, 13-14, 19-21, 23, and 25-27), Galatians 2:11-5:12, Acts 1:8

Introduction: Sheep
This week, we've been talking about sheep and shepherds. Did you know that there are different kinds of sheep? There are black sheep, white sheep, bighorn sheep, sheep with different kinds of wool, ... all different kinds of sheep. But they're all sheep, and they all need to eat, and they all need a shepherd to look after them and lead them to grass.

The Bible compares people to sheep. Just like sheep, there are all kinds of people. People come from different places, speak different languages, look different, and know different things. Some of the people are God's sheep, who believe in Jesus and follow him, and some are not his sheep; but all the people need Jesus, the good shepherd, and they all need someone who will teach them about Jesus and lead them to follow God.

Main Point: The Good News is for Jews and Gentiles
The Bible says that the good news about Jesus is for Jews and Gentiles. A Jew is a person who comes from Jacob's family – Israel. A Gentile is someone who does not come from Jacob's family. Most of us here are Gentiles, and we need a shepherd. (Fortunately, we have one. We said on Sunday night that Pastor Jeff is our shepherd here.) But we Gentiles aren't the only ones. Jews need a shepherd too. They also need someone to teach them about Jesus.

Example: Jeff Kran
Pastor Jeff Kran is a missionary to the Jewish people. He leads Bible studies, and he teaches in churches, but mostly he just goes to places where there are Jews who need to hear about Jesus, and he talks to them. Sometimes he gets a chance to tell them about Jesus right away. Sometimes he talks about other things and gets to know them, hoping to tell them about Jesus later.

Many times Pastor Kran goes to places where he knows there are Jews who do not know that Jesus paid for their sins. Jews already know that they have sinned (that everyone has sinned) because they have the Hebrew Bible – the part of the Bible that we call the Old Testament. Their Bible tells them many things that God wants people to do, and it tells them that if they don't do it, if they mess up even one little time, God will be angry with them and punish them. Jews know about their sin and God's punishment, but they need to know about God's forgiveness: that Jesus died on the cross for them, to take their punishment, so they can be forgiven. Jeff Kran wants to tell the Jews that if they follow Jesus, he can forgive them, and they can live forever with him in heaven.

Conclusion: The Gospel is for Everyone
Everyone needs to hear this good news. Jews, Gentiles, tall people, short people, old, young, black, white, Asian, American, ... Everybody needs Jesus to forgive their sin. So everybody needs someone to tell them. Everybody needs a shepherd.

Invitation: Missions
Invite any children who want to do missions work to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Updated: Little Lamb Lessons, God's Sheep Snacks

The Little Lamb auxiliary lessons for preschool have been significantly improved and updated:


We've also enhanced and updated the God's Sheep snacks. All five days now have a scripted lesson tie-in:

Where the People Are (God's Sheep Missions 2013, Day Two)

Tuesday:Where the People Are
Bible Lesson: Lamb of God: Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, so that we don't have to. (Isaac and the Ram)
Memory Verse: Romans 4:25
Missions Concepts: A missionary goes wherever there are people who need to hear the good news.
Missions Examples: Craig and Sara Noyes
Bible Passages: John 10, Acts 16:6-15, Matthew 28:18-20, Isaiah 52, Romans 10:8-15

Introduction: Sheep
We said yesterday that a shepherd is a person who takes care of sheep. So what would a shepherd be if he didn't have any sheep? [Nothing. No shepherd at all.] A person who wants to be a shepherd has to have sheep. You can't just make sheep, out of fluff and paper mache. You have to go where there are some sheep. You can start with just a few, but if you aren't around any sheep at all, you can't be a shepherd.

Review:
Yesterday, when we talked about pastors and missionaries, we said that people are like sheep, and the shepherds have to teach them God's word, which is like feeding them.

Main Point: Where the People Are
But where do they find sheep? Wherever there are people who need to hear about God, that's where missionaries have to go, because that's where they will find their sheep.

Do we have foreign missionaries here in Galion? Do we need missionaries to come from far away and teach us about God? [No.] We have churches and pastors here, and many Christians. There are, of course, other people here who need to hear about God and need to follow Jesus, but we don't need foreign missionaries to come and tell them, because we have people here who can tell them. We can tell them. We can tell our own friends about Jesus, and we can invite them to Bible School and to church, so that they can hear more. So we don't need foreign missionaries.

But some places don't already have Christians. They speak another language, and they don't have the Bible in their own language yet. They don't have local pastors. So who is going to tell them about Jesus? They need missionaries to come and tell them.

Example: Craig and Sara Noyes
Pastor Craig Noyes and his wife Sara want to go someplace where there are people who have never heard about Jesus at all, people who can't even get the Bible in their own language, because nobody has translated the Bible's words over into their language yet.

Here, we speak English. Can you get the Bible in English? Sure, no problem. The Bible was translated into English hundreds of years ago. You can get the Bible in English, Spanish, French, lots of different languages – but not quite all of them.

Pastor Craig Noyes and his wife Sara want to go where the people have never had a copy of the Bible in their language, to people who have never had missionaries come and teach them about God. They want to go to people who have never had a shepherd.

Conclusion:
If you wanted to go, would you know how? Would you know what you'd need to take, how to learn their language, how to translate the Bible for them, and how to teach them about Jesus? Pastor Craig has already studied the Bible. He could teach us, if we needed a pastor here. But he still needs to learn how to do the missions work in places where there is no electricity, no restaurant, and no internet, where he doesn't know the language and there's no Bible in that language.

This fall, when you go back to school, Craig and Sara Noyes will go to the Missionary Training Center. They're going to take classes there for a year and a half to learn all about how to do the missions work they want to do. They need to learn how they can go where the people are – the people who have never heard about Jesus, because there's no one to tell them, people who can't read the Bible for themselves because there isn't a Bible in their language.

Invitation: Missions
Invite any children who are interested in doing missions work to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

Feeding the Sheep (God's Sheep Missions 2013, Day One)

Monday:Feeding the Sheep
Bible Lesson: Straying Sheep: Everyone has sinned. Sin has a penalty. (Moses and the Rock)
Memory Verse: Isaiah 53:6
Missions Concepts: A missionary must teach God's word.
Missions Examples: India: Paul Rajan
Bible Passages: Psalm 23; John 21:15-18; Numbers 27:12-21; Jeremiah 23, Matthew 2:6, 9:16; Psalm 100; Isaiah 40:9-11; Jeremiah 3:15; 2nd Samuel 5:2; Acts 20:27-28; Jude:12

Introduction: Sheep
All week at Bible School we're going to be talking about sheep. Who knows what you call a person who takes care of sheep? [A shepherd.] One of the things a shepherd has to do to take good care of his sheep is to make sure they have enough to eat. If the shepherd keeps his sheep in one place, they eat up all the grass there, and then what? They need new grass every day. The shepherd has to lead the sheep to more grass.

Main Point: Teaching the Bible
The Bible says that people need a shepherd, just like sheep do. Except, our shepherds don't find us grass to eat. Yuck. We can find our own food anyway. But our shepherds have to feed us in a different way: they feed us God's word. We call these shepherds pastors and missionaries. They teach us the Bible. We can feed our own bodies, but our shepherds help feed our souls.

Pastor Jeff is our shepherd here in this church, in Galion; but people in other places need to hear God's teaching too.

Example: India
For example, there are people in India who need to hear God's message. That's why we have pastors and missionaries in India, to teach people there about God.

One group of people in India lives in houses built for them by the government. They used to live in the mountains. When Paul Rajan, a pastor and missionary in India, asked one of them if anyone had ever come to talk to his people about God. He said No. These people need someone to tell them the truth about the only true God.

Pastor Rajan would like to teach them about God, but he has his own church to look out for, in Coimbatore, and there are also many other places in India where people need Bible teachers. There are 327 adults and 161 children in a place called Golamunda, where some men Pastor Paul knows are trying to start a church. There are 103 adults and 24 children in an area called Semala, where a man named Nehemiah lives, and there are 53 adults and 36 children in a place called Umarcot, where a man named Joseph is starting a church. All of these people need someone to teach them the Bible. The missionaries in India have a lot of work to do, teaching the Bible to all those people!

Conclusion: Shepherds Must Feed Their Sheep
If God's people are like sheep, and the people who teach them are like shepherds, and the Bible is like food for their souls, then teaching the Bible is just as important as a shepherd leading his flock of sheep to good grass. It's the most important thing pastors and missionaries do.

Invitation: Missions
Invite any children who want to do missions work to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.