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5 Summer Reads for Sunday School Teachers

Lounging in a hammock strung from the shady oak trees, sunglasses on, ice cold lemonade in one hand, and a great book in the other. This is my ideal picture of summer! Summer seems, for many of us, to be a time for sun, vacations, relaxing, and enjoying a new book. And for many teachers, it is also a time to re-focus and recharge for the coming year.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: James

Although we read more about John, his brother, and Peter, James is significant in that he was part of our Lord’s inner circle. As we will see below, James presents excellent opportunities to teach regarding miracles, jealousy among Christians, and God’s choices. This month we learn of James, called to be a fisher of men and finally martyred for his faith by Herod’s sword.

Youth and Social Justice

Repeat after me: “Having been created in the image of God, all humans are equal in value, honor, and dignity.”  It’s a statement that I go over and over again in my theology classes. It begins freshmen year, when we encounter God in Genesis muddying his hands as He shapes his beloved creation in His own image. It continues through senior year as students consider the root of ethics: all humans have a common, innate dignity, derived from their relationship with the Creator, which compels that we love one another. Any ethical system devoid of that truth fails to maintain the intrinsic dignity of humanity.

4 Tips for Faith-Focused “Screen-Free” Hours this Summer

Our new normal will not feel normal. In many states across the country, local governments are rolling out reopening plans. This all coincides with school letting out for “summer”, which feels different than it ever has before. After months of being at home completing a half year’s coursework through remote learning during a pandemic . . . what happens now?

One thing that helps us to remain grounded as worries abound is this: This is not God’s first pandemic! We follow behind the One who goes before us, and He is our ever-present help in time of need.

Your Youth Are Epic Warriors

Who am I? What does God want with me? During my youth, and perhaps even still now, those were questions I constantly considered. After all, I’m just a simple human without a grand life or thrilling adventure to speak about. Yet God has called us to be His own through baptism, made us His children, and has called us into His salvation story. How can you encourage your youth to see that, even in the monotonous, their lives are part of God’s epic story of salvation?

5 Non-Traditional Options for Teaching the Bible this Summer

Summer is almost here, and it is not starting off how we had all hoped. Everyone is scrambling trying to figure out if in-person events (from birthday parties to worship services and even summer school) will be held and, if so, how to hold them safely. Summer Sunday school can prove to be a challenge for administrators and teachers any year, but this year might be an even bigger challenge than prior years. Trying to figure out the best option for your students and their families can be difficult. So what options are there to keep your kids learning about Jesus throughout this summer? Let’s look at five non-traditional options.  

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: John

This month we spend time with John, my personal favorite. On first inspection, John is the ideal apostle. Along with Peter and James, he formed Jesus’ inner circle, who were present for some of the most important events in Jesus’ ministry. He also wrote a large portion of the New Testament and served as Mary’s adoptive son per Jesus’ mandate at the cross. Nevertheless, John had his faults, including a wrathful heart and conceit.

Communicating Your VBS Plans: Four Easy Steps

This year is proving to be unlike any other we have seen in our lifetimes. There are challenges personally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually. One challenge many of us are facing is making decisions about hosting in-person events at church, such as Vacation Bible School. Do we host our VBS in person later in the summer? Do we switch to an all-digital platform? Or is there another answer? No matter how we decide to continue our children’s ministry through VBS another question arises: how do we stay connected and communicate our plans for VBS? The solution: come up with a simple four-step plan of who, what, how, and when!

The Importance of Bedtime Stories

When I was a child, my bedtime routine always ended with a story. After dinner, my sisters and I would have about an hour to finish up anything we needed to finish and then the routine would commence. It started with the normal things: showers, hair brushing, teeth brushing, flossing, and so on. Once we were sufficiently clean, my mom would allow one of us to pick out a book from the big bookshelf in the play room, and we would sit at the kitchen table as she read to us. We knew after the story was over, that it was time to go to bed. I have many memories around that kitchen table at bedtime.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Philip

This month, we look at one of the lesser-known apostles, Philip. I have an affinity with this apostle as we share the same name. One of my personal geeky interests is philology, the study of languages. The name Philip is derived from Greek and means “one who loves horses.” the first half of the name, Phil, is related to Philadelphia and philanthropy. The second half, ip, is related to hippopotamus, which means “river horse.” Interesting? Let’s study Philip!