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Teaching Parables: The Barren Fig Tree

Continuing our yearlong journey through Jesus’ parables, let’s consider the barren fig tree as a lesson topic. I’ll examine the content and major themes of this parable from a Law and Gospel perspective, present a few teaching ideas, and suggest a couple of songs that complement the lesson.

How to Answer Kids’ Hard Questions about the Faith

I was helping a friend by driving her daughter home from school one day. My friend’s daughter is in kindergarten. She was telling me about her teacher, who was about to go on maternity leave. “Hmm . . . I never really thought about how the baby comes out. How does it come out?”

Teaching Parables: Build Your House on the Rock

Jesus is the master teacher. Through parables, He repeatedly made the Kingdom of Heaven accessible to everyone, connecting spiritual truths with concrete elements of human life. Matthew 7:24–27, the parable of building your house on the rock, is a wonderful example of Jesus explaining spiritual matters in everyday terms.

Activities for Teaching Advent Hymns to Children

The Christmas season brings lots of joy and cheer as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. One of my favorite parts of Advent is the hymns. Advent hymns are some of the most recognizable and well-known hymns, but they can be hard to remember because they are sung only during this time of year. Plus, hymns can be confusing if one is not aware of the Scripture and concepts behind it. That’s why it can be a good idea to create lessons based on the hymns that will be sung this season. Here are ways to teach and discuss four Advent hymns to help your youth understand what they will be singing about.

Intentional Advent Celebrations with Families

How can your church intentionally engage with families this Advent season? This is already a high-volume, overly scheduled time of year. Even so, I would argue that the need for community relationships has never been greater.

Advent is coming! Advent is coming!

Advent is coming! Advent is coming!

Two Lesson Plans That Teach about God’s Overflowing Gifts

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5)

Around Thanksgiving, we think about being thankful to God for family, friends, and food. But how can we illustrate the lesson of God’s bountiful gifts in new ways? Having something visual and tangible can make things more understandable to children of all ages—and even to adults.

A Thanksgiving Experiment

As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us are already creating our lists. We are focused and detail-oriented, thoughtful and precise. Wait! To be sure you and I are on the same page—I’m not talking about the Thanksgiving dinner shopping list or the Christmas wish list! No, right now I am pondering the list of all of the blessings God is showering on each of us in daily life.

Reusing and Reinforcing VBS Lessons throughout the Year

It’s hard to believe that only a few short months ago, we were hosting VBS and watching children learn to praise the Lord. Now that we’re no longer in that season and we’re looking towards next year’s Vacation Bible School, the stories, lessons, and songs from this past year seem so far away.

What if we brought them back?

Reinforcing VBS lessons is crucial at this point in the year. By bringing back lessons from VBS into your youth ministry, you will be able to go further with teaching your youth about God’s promises.

Thanking God for Preschool Leaders!

Consider the scene: Goldfish crackers, a tub of largely mismatched (read: broken) crayons, a half-used container of partially dried hand wipes, and the unmistakable smell of something vaguely sour. . . . Do you see it? What kind of space am I describing? No, NOT Pastor’s office! I’m talking about the preschool room of Sunday school kiddos at your church!