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Teaching Parables: The Wedding Feast and the Great Banquet

In polite society, we are raised with table manners: don’t hum or sing, keep your elbows off the table, place your napkin in your lap, don’t burp aloud (although this is allowed in some cultures as a compliment to the chef), don’t reach over another person’s plate. There are rules for seating at a dinner party as well, and Jesus makes reference to these in this month’s parables of the wedding feast and the great banquet.

Teaching Preschoolers God’s Truth about Hard Issues

Preschoolers often have big questions. To them, their questions aren’t so big. As they encounter new experiences that range from scraping a knee to a death in the family, they are simply trying to make sense of the world around them. However, to the adult of whom the question is asked, who has more life experience and understanding, the answer may seem very complicated. So, we wonder: How in the world am I going to explain this?

Making Goals for Your Youth Ministry

The end of summer and the start of a new school year is a time of great transition. Youth are about to begin new classes and are meeting their teachers for the year. Some may be starting to participate in activities and sports. It’s a whirlwind season. It is a time that feels much like January 1; new goals are formed and strides toward them are being made.

Teaching Parables: The Rich Fool

There is a beguiling temptation to read Jesus’ parable of the rich man’s meditation as nothing more than an admonition against wealth: “Flee from the comforts of this life, for death is coming, and cometh soon!” Instead, the Holy Spirit leads our weary souls to a something more profound: a Gospel-oriented meaning where we find freedom from fear and the peace of Christ.

The Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:1321)

Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Teaching Parables: Teaching the Rich Man and Lazarus

This parable teaches the importance of viewing others as people who Jesus loves and wants to save, through the work of the Holy Spirit. It warns against valuing property above people. Interestingly, however, a great deal of what this parable has to offer Sunday School teachers is what it doesn’t teach. We’ll explore the central meaning of the parable in more detail, as well as the theological pitfalls and how to avoid them.

VBS Volunteers Who Make a Lifelong Impact

Mr. Vedder was my VBS crew leader when I was eleven. He seemed super old—except when he smiled. He had a smile that seemed to break his whole face open, and light shone through! He had a loud, hearty laugh, and his laugh made me laugh too.

Supporting Youth Who Have Non-Christian Parents

When I started going to church at age 16, church was practically a foreign landscape to me. Having been raised by non-Christian, non-churchgoing parents, I didn’t really know what to expect, and I was terrified of somehow embarrassing myself in that “Christian judgment zone.”

Effective Youth Ministry Is Personal

When I was a seventh grade student, a friend from middle school brought me to church for the first time. My family had an adversarial relationship with God, and church was really far down on their list of preferred Sunday activities. I walked onto the campus of a small Lutheran church and into a family I was not expecting.

Five Roles of the Church Youth Leader

This post is adapted from Connected for Life: Essential Guide to Youth Ministry and was written by A. J. Mastic.

Maybe serving in youth ministry is a new journey for you. Perhaps you trained for this—or maybe you’re a new volunteer and you’re wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into! No matter how you got to this point, what’s important is that as you take your first steps in youth ministry, you do so with an awareness of not only your skills, but your roles. Am I a teacher? chaperone? dodgeball referee? friend? mentor? A good understanding of your roles will help define your work and the nature of your relationships with the youth.

Teaching Parables: The Laborers in the Vineyard

The parable of the laborers in the vineyard may at first seem obscure. There are multiple layers; but this fact makes the parable all the more useful for teaching in the Sunday School classroom and beyond. As you prepare to present this parable in the classroom, keep in mind that Jesus is on His way to the cross. He wants His hearers to understand that salvation and the Church—that is, the Body of all Christians in heaven and earth—is founded on the forgiveness of sins, which He will provide at Calvary. What’s more, Jesus engages the rich young man in Matthew 19 who asks, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (v. 16).

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:13–16)