Put on the Armor of God
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In Ephesians 6, Paul gives us the image of the full Armor of God. Using different stories throughout the Bible, along with funny skits about a knight and his armour bearer, kids will see each piece of armour at work. They will also complete their own miniature set of armour using the craft activities in each lesson.
Instant downloadable access to an 8 week series on the armour of God. Includes all facilitating resources such as skits, memory verses, leader notes and artwork. Access and purchase is available here. Session titles include:
Children aged 6 – 12 years old
Material is clearly laid out with explicit headings and subheadings. Each page contains its own section so that it is easy to play around with the running order. Sessions include an overview, memory verse, skit, large and small group games, a sermon, small group discussion, craft and more. Instructions are clear and easy to follow for each sessions content, but there are limited instructions for set up so leaders need to ensure that their context is appropriately prepared and supported by helpers. This series covers the armour of God and aims to teach children about the different pieces of armour and how to use them.
An objective is listed at the beginning of each session which states what children should be able to do at the end of the session. There is also a ‘bottom line’ which summarises the main message. For example, when learning about the ‘belt of truth’ the bottom line is that ‘God’s truth is our guide in life’.
Leader’s notes are very easy to read and instructions are easy to implement. Each building block of the session is presented on its own page allowing the running order to be easily adapted if preferable. Layout is chronological otherwise and there is a good amount of information to allow for a comprehensive session without excessive information.
Children’s Workers or small group leaders are best placed to run these weekly sessions due to coordination of the different building blocks; plus insight into the target age group will be beneficial for dealing with their questions. Leader’s need to feel confident with large group teaching although the lessons do provide comprehensive instruction on what to cover and say during the talks.
Participant resources are primarily in the form of colouring sheets (an example is available here) and printable resources which are provided at the end of each session’s guidance. They are cheap, relevant and easy to complete. For example, children colour in different parts of the armour of God and then stick them to a character. Children also take home memory verses and parent sheets so that mums and dads can reinforce learning at home.
All material is available online and easy to access or print if needed. Note that pages for children’s activities will need to be printed each week. There are no videos or other digital material to access for this series.
Preparation should not take too long but will vary depending on group size and context. Leaders need to ensure they have all extra materials listed at the beginning of each building block to the session, and that they have adequate support and roles filled, e.g. characters for the skits. There are some different options listed depending on whether your age group is closer to 6 years old or 12 years old so leaders need to run through and decide what questions or activities they want to incorporate (this is not extensive, there are two main sections where you can chose option 1 or 2). Colouring sheets and print outs need to be ready in advance and leaders can choose which Bible version they want to use for the talks too. Generally speaking, planning should not take more than 2 hours per session.
All sessions available by digital downloads with some colouring sheets too. All available here plus some free sessions to trial too.
There is a good mix of interaction in this series both between each child and the leader and between the children themselves. Children interact with the leader during the talk, memory verse and small group discussion time; this is mostly in the format of answering questions the leader may ask. Children interact with each other most during small group time, games and crafts which allows them to have fun together as well as learn how the activities they are doing relates to God’s armour.
Children learn through a range of approaches including: watching skits, listening to a short talk, making crafts, playing games and asking and answering questions. There is a good amount of variation without there being too many options available which would complicate planning for the leader.
This series runs for 8 sessions with each one taking approximately 1 hour. Leaders can adapt time frames as fitting to context. The material can be run with both small or large groups and offers adaptions in this respect throughout each lesson. The series is also adaptable to age, with the target audience being 6 - 12 years old. The running order is easy to shuffle around if needed and all paper resources are available by digital download. Leaders will need to collate other resources for games etc. Planning is relatively short for each session, taking around 2 hours for each week but in larger groups extra help may be needed to facilitate, particularly for the skits included. This low cost, easy planning series would fit easily in to the context of weekly Sunday schools, after school groups, lunch groups or weekly small groups. Perfect for leaders wanting to focus on the armour of God, the only downside being an initial cost of £72 to get access.
Children gently apply material together during small group time and the main talk. Application is primarily by answering and asking questions and by completing review sheets. There are a few questions listed for the leaders to ask but these are limited so each leader may want to add in their own thoughts and application questions too.
The main teaching includes readings and explanations from the leader. This section lasts between 10-20 minutes depending on time allocated for questions and responses from children too.
Biblical material is presented by reading directly from the Bible and leaders then explaining what they have read. A skit leads them in to the teaching and there are questions asked to children throughout the mini sermon. Each sermon has the layout: intro, main point, drive it home. Children then use what they have learnt to answer questions in small groups.
Small group discussion questions allow children to apply what they have learnt to their ideas about Jesus and what each piece of armour means in their lives. For example, children are asked, ‘How does knowing the truth keep us from sin?’ which opens up discussion in small groups about how God’s truth can be applied to their lives. Leaders help to facilitate these conversations.
No specific theological perspective which would make this resource exclusive to any one denomination.
Children are encouraged towards whole life discipleship throughout this series by learning the concept of the armour of God making us ready to take on evil and injustice. For example they learn that the helmet covers their heads in battle; the salvation that comes only from Jesus, protects us completely and makes us strong in him. Luke 23:31-43. Children also learn the practical tools which enable them to stay close to God, by learning about the power of prayer in the penultimate session.
Children grow in their faith by applying the metaphors of the armour of God to their lives. This goes beyond learning about nice stories in the Old Testament and progresses their faith to a point of understanding that the armour of God can be applied characteristically and practically. For example, when learning about the shield of faith children learn, through the power of our faith in God, we can defend against any attack that comes at us. Judges 7:1-22 (story of Gideon).
The Bible often illustrates the Christian life as a battle against sin and Satan. We are soldiers of Christ in a spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4; 2 Timothy 2:3, 4). Children learn that the apostle Paul encourages them to “put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (verse 11). They learn that they have a part to play in taking God’s side in this great battle of good and evil, and implementing his armour in to their lives.
Each talk links the main topic to a real life issue or experience children may have faced. For example, have they ever faced a scary or difficult time? In learning about the sword of the spirit, children learn that when they fill their minds and hearts with the Word of God, they can overcome any challenge or temptation.
This series gently focusses on evangelism on the session on ‘shoes of peace’. Children examine Acts 13:1-5 when the church sends Barnabas and Saul and are taught that every step they take should bring peace and bring readiness to share the good news of Jesus with others.
Gently touches on community involvement by covering personal evangelism and sharing the good news with neighbours in the session on the shoes of peace.
Not a main focus for this series.
Not a main focus for this series but mentioned through some of the stories covered of people in the Bible who went out to teach about Jesus, and through general coverage of the Apostle Paul’s writing.