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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.  

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.

Reminding Children of God’s Faithfulness through Prayer

My friend’s son is having a hard time with this unique time of isolation. He’s frustrated, angry, sad, and scared. He misses his friends, his school, his Sunday School teachers, and going to the park. Every day in the morning, at meals, and before bed, his mother encourages him to pray for the emotions he is having and for the struggles going on in his little mind. Children are called to participate in the kingdom of God. They are not excluded from Jesus and His ministry.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Matthew

This month, we learn a bit about Matthew, one of the Gospel writers. We begin with introductory key verses regarding his work and calling by Jesus, followed by teaching regarding the apostle, and finally, ideas for presenting Matthew in the Sunday School classroom.  

Creating Routine for Your Teenagers

Our teenagers are not immune to the stress caused by the ongoing shutdowns due to the coronavirus. High school seniors have seen much of their culminating experiences canceled or postponed, and all of our students who have been “in the groove” of the year have had their routines disrupted.