God on Mission
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This series (God on Mission) provides an overview of God’s salvation plan from Genesis to Revelation. It focuses primarily on two fundamental aspects of the gospel message:
This is the nature of the gospel message. Different backgrounds, cultures, nationalities and languages cannot disqualify anyone from sharing in God’s promises; the only qualification is that people come to him through his Son, Jesus, as he is revealed in the Bible.
Access to four sessions and coloured graphics pack. Session titles are:
Lesson 1 – A Promise for All Nations (Genesis 12:1-7, Galatians 3:6-14)
Lesson 2 – A Blessing for All Nations (Psalm 67)
Lesson 3 – A Message for All Nations (Acts 13:13-52)
Lesson 4 – A King for All Nations (Revelation 7:9-17)
Resource can be purchased at: https://www.mustard-seeds.net/product/god-on-mission
Children aged 3 – 11 years old. Small groups. Larger groups. Beginning, Enquiring.
Material presentation is very good with the layout of these resources being easy to follow and concise without unnecessary detail. The participant resources are simple but relevant for a range of ages and create little mess. Throughout the leader notes, use of symbols, colour coding and icons help to navigate through the lessons with ease, with prompts throughout where the leader is required to improvise.
Each session lists a big idea and an aim. The aims are in the format of what needs to be taught that lesson. For example, session 1’s aim is ‘To teach that God kept his promises to Abraham by sending Jesus to die on the cross so that all who trust in Jesus can be blessed.’ The big idea of each session puts the aim in to the context of the story covered and reveals God’s bigger idea.
The leader’s notes include study material for the leader to go through before they then teach the children. The belief is that leaders are only best equipped to teach others once they have applied God’s word to their own lives. The introductory information is short and easy to read otherwise on the logistics of running and interpreting the sessions; this includes symbols specific to this series. Session outlines are provided in a reader friendly manner, and include essential and optional components. Because this series is adaptable, each section includes different options for demonstrations in order to teach the main point. Overall, leader notes are easy to interpret and follow, however supply lists are not included, nor are suggested running times for each section and the teaching notes are not fully scripted to leaders need to ensure they know what they are saying.
Due to the planning and improvisation needed in this series, experienced Children’s Workers should run these sessions on mission.
A choice of activity sheets are provided depending on the two age groups and these are both relevant to the theme and age appropriate. They need to be printed prior to sessions.
Sessions are available via digital download and are in the form of pdf documents, with no internal audio or video digital files or links.
It is essential that the leader completes the study guide before teaching children so they have already applied God’s word to their own lives; there are study notes and reflection questions to do this. As this material is flexible, there are two or more options available to leaders for each building block of the session so prior to running these, leaders need to consider their context and choose appropriate games, activities and teaching models. Leaders also need to collect all materials for activities, games and demonstrations in advance; these are not listed clearly so full reading of material is essential. Otherwise, support may be needed for larger groups, especially when it comes to small group discussion time and applying material to the children’s lives.
This series has internal links to supplementary resources like graphics and activity sheets which are available in Arabic and Nepali.
Children interact with one another and the leader throughout the duration of each session by being involved in demonstrations, games, discussion time and activities. Interaction is encouraged while there is also time for children to think and pray by themselves too.
All children learn most effectively in different ways and these sessions incorporate a range of learning styles. For example, children learn by having a role in Bible telling, by answering questions, hearing stories and by doing activities which are relevant to the stories. One of the most effective teaching methods in this series involves giving children a role in demonstrating a point. Children have to consider what to do in their role, and then the leader links the metaphor of the activity to the Bible. For example, children may have to race to construct a bridge over a river and learn that the only way across is to reconstruct the broken pieces of the bridge. The leader then talks about how Jesus is the only way to God and that he fixed the way to God after people broke it.
This series focuses on God’s mission through Abraham and is designed to be adaptable for use with mixed groups aged 3 - 11 years old or for more specific aged groups. The resource colour-codes the material for younger children (3 -7 years) in blue, and older children (7 -11 years) in green, with black being a standard colour used for content applicable for the whole age range. There is also flexibility in this series to use one of the sessions as an all-age service to get the whole church thinking about mission and a 50-minute running order is provided, although leaders would need to spend time adapting the content for this different context. As this resource is flexible with ages, all sections include two or more ideas of what to do so leaders need to decide prior to running sessions what they will include. Supplies are not clearly listed, so leaders need to read through to ensure they have everything, with the majority of resources found in standard craft cupboards. This series can be used in small or large groups and is part 1 of a four part series which can be completed after this series. The other parts available are: part 2 ‘Jesus on Mission’, part 3 ‘The Apostles on Mission’ and part 4 ‘The Church on Mission’. These are all purchasable individually from TnT Ministries.
Children most effectively and directly apply material during the section on ‘discuss and apply’. During this time, children can either stay in one large group or split off with small group leaders where they answer questions about the story, about the world and about their own lives. There are different options for younger and older children and this is then followed by completing activity sheets which are relevant to the story, and praying about what has been discovered.
Approximately 10 - 15 minutes are spent on the main teaching, with other sections reinforcing the message. For example, by then discussing and applying the message and praying.
Biblical material is presented in more exciting ways than just reading the Bible. In most cases, the children are given roles during the telling of the story to keep them engaged and thinking about how their role links to the story. For older children, there are optional study questions to ask them after the main teaching demonstration.
As this series looks at God’s mission to save people, there are questions which apply his plan of salvation to children’s everyday lives. For example, children may be asked ‘How can we become a part of Abraham’s family?’ or ‘Is it important to tell people what we know about Jesus?’ Application is heavily based on mission, with children of older ages being asked more complicated questions.
This series explicitly states that it teaches mission (throughout all four parts) under two key assumptions: inclusivity and exclusivity. Inclusivity is the assumption that God’s desire is that everyone comes to know him, and exclusivity is the assumption that God’s salvation comes through Jesus alone.
Children are encouraged towards whole life discipleship by learning valuable tools to help them in their faith and in talking to others about Jesus. These include: prayer, reading the Bible, memory verses and learning the important message that once they have accepted Jesus in their lives, they then have a duty and are empowered to tell other people about him.
For children who don’t know Jesus, there is potential for growth in learning about God’s plan of salvation and how he kept his promises to people in the Old Testament who trusted and were faithful to him, for example, Abraham. For children who attend church more regularly, there are challenges offered for them to understand they have a role to help God’s plan of salvation too; and questions are more complex for the older children who attend. Children learn that Jesus is for everyone of all nations and languages and that they can help make him known. They are asked questions like ‘How is Jesus the final part of God’s rescue plan which started with Abraham?’ and ‘How can we be a part of other people learning about Jesus?”
This series and the following three parts focus brilliantly on God’s purposes and how he fulfils them in the Old Testament, New Testament and in our lives today. Children learn about how he fulfilled his promises through Jesus Christ and that they can trust him because he does what he says he will. They then learn that they have a role to play in helping to fulfil God’s plan by talking to others about Jesus too.
Throughout the introductory section, teaching section and discussion section, children discuss real life issues in order to relate these to the message they have learnt and what God has to say about them. For example, they may talk about difficulties they face in life, and then make the link that these are due to sin but that God has a plan for sin. The resource allows children to take the initiative to think of their own issues when relevant, which can be linked to the main point.
This resource is heavily focused on evangelism throughout. There are constant challenges to children on how to tell people about Jesus in age- appropriate ways and lots of questions for them to consider how they may do this in their own communities and abroad.
Children are encouraged throughout to be involved in their own communities both in mission and by good deeds. They learn that Jesus is good news for all nations so anyone who accepts that can joyfully pass it on. For example, all children are asked if they know any people from different nationalities who aren’t yet part of God’s family. This is followed by asking them how these people can join this family. These questions combine encouragement of personal evangelism and thinking of ways to have a positive community involvement.
Children consider and pray for people in other countries as they learn Jesus cares about all nationalities. They pray for countries which do not know Jesus and are encouraged to think about issues other places may have.
This series is part 1 of 4 from TnT Ministries and although this part does not focus on global mission, part 4 ‘The Church on Mission’ explores the continuing work of the church to reach every generation throughout the world with the good news about Jesus. Having said this, each part motivates entire church communities to think and pray about mission by making the first session of the series adaptable for an all-age service. There is a recommended 50minute service layout for this session provided.