Follow the Leader
Ros Johnson, Marjorie Rogers et al, Go Teach Publications LTD, 2012

£10.00 (Approx)
3
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Holiday Bible Club for 5s-11s. Based on the life of Peter. Follow the Leader focuses on incidents in the Gospels which show how Peter began to follow the Lord Jesus Christ,

  • On the Lake – Peter confesses his sin to Jesus.
  • In the Town – Peter sees Jesus bring a dead girl back to life.
  • Up the Mountain – The transfiguration of Jesus.
  • In the Courtyard – Peter is with Jesus in Gethsemane and after Jesus’ arrest, denies knowing him.
  • On the Beach – The risen Jesus meets some disciples at the lake and reinstates Peter.

What do you get?

Leader’s book with five sessions and a family event, photocopiable resources, visual aids pack, CD-ROM with visual aids and printable resources, and a Mary Jones CD-ROM about the formation of the Bible Society.

Run the Race (sports theme, based on Acts) and In the Beginning (based on Genesis) also available from the same publishers.

Who is it for?

Children’s groups aged 5-11 years old (some activities split into 3 age levels). Designed as a holiday club, but could be run as weekly sessions.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    A4 leaders’ book has a clear contents’ page, overview page and headings throughout. There is a lot of information on each double page spread with various formats. Visual aids are relevant and colourful and can be accessed via the CD or the resource pack.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Each session includes a teaching aim for the leaders and a response aim for the children. The sessions are based on the life of Peter and the incidents in the Gospels which show how Peter followed Jesus.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Leader’s notes have guidance on how to run the holiday club layout and an introduction to explain the focus on Peter. Each sub-section is explained, and ideas for each sub-section are displayed together - e.g. memory verses are on one page rather than on the session page they are relevant to. There are leader’s preparation notes and context on each passage to aid understanding for the leader. There are simple instructions for running each section with: what to do, what to say and what materials are needed. The layout is not chronological so leaders may find themselves jumping about a bit to get all the information and activities for one session.

    Who could lead it?

    As an evangelistic resource, the main leader needs to agree with the concept of evangelism through large community events. Other than that, due to the background context and information given, any Christian adult passionate about bringing children closer to Jesus could lead these sessions with the support of their church and small group leaders if there are lots of participants. The resource clearly directs the leader on what to do and say. For the Family Event, it may be beneficial to ask a church leader to do the talk as they will be more familiar with teaching adults and will have a deeper understanding of the Christian faith for any questions which arise from parents or carers.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    Resources consist of activity pages and quizzes to complete and craft or memory verse ideas for children to take home. The activity sheets are separated into different levels of difficulty so leaders need to split the group appropriately for this.

    How good is any digital material?

    The CD-ROM contains pictures, interactive memory verses and printable activity pages and resources. All good and relevant to the theme of creation. The Mary Jones CD-ROM contains a PowerPoint presentation on the story of the Bible Society as well as scripts and printable resources.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    As a holiday Bible club resource, there is quite a bit of preparation involved. Leaders will need to ensure the church is on board with the idea and advertise the club to relevant places. There needs to be assurance of space and helpers for sessions as well as materials gathered for crafts, setting the scene and games which are being incorporated. Leaders will need to ensure they have read all the introductory and preparation material so they are familiar with the layout and have shared this with any helpers. Preparation is likely to take longer with the more participants who come along, and leaders need to ensure they are adhering to local guidelines on health and safety and working with children. The family event at the end of the 5 sessions will also need some input from leaders familiar with adult teaching and engagement.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Yes but mostly to external sites which explain how to do certain crafts.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Very well from start to finish. Children interact with leaders and peers throughout via crafts, activities and games. There is good interaction during the Bible time too where children learn by being a part of the story themselves - whether this is by answering questions or being a helper in the story.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Very well. Leaders are given suggestions of how to learn different memory verses. Children learn by hearing about the story, answering questions both verbally and on activity sheets and by doing crafts and games relevant to the theme.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    The resource is intended to be run as an outreach holiday Bible club with each session running for about 2 hours (although this is not stated). It could be run over a series of weeks also. The assumption is that most attendees will not have accepted Jesus and the theology is that most children are not saved so leaders may need to be in agreement with this to get the most out of the resource. Some instructions are clearly defined for the leader, for example the Bible teaching time clearly guides the leader on what to say, do and ask. Other instructions allow flexibility and adaptability, for example what games, crafts or songs are picked. There are five sessions plus one family event which can be run as frequently as the leader would like. There is instruction on how to decorate the space available so leaders will need time and resources to set the theme. The resource is for ages 5-11 year olds with mostly all-age interaction, but some activities are split up into learning levels. Although there are CD-ROMs included, these are not essential if there is no computer available as most of the visual aids are also available in the visual aids book which comes with the leader manual.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Children apply the material via activity sheets, learning memory verses and answering questions in the talks. The resource is not intended as a discovery of discipleship but as discovery of Jesus Christ. For this reason, application is more to do with understanding who Jesus is, rather than putting his instruction in to action in our own lives.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    The main ‘teaching the children’ block takes approximately 20 minutes and is solely focused on the session passage and the learning from it.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Biblical material is presented in the ‘teaching the children’ section by interactive story times. Children come together and answer questions, listen, watch and learn a memory verse. Leaders are presented with background information on passages as part of their preparation to know the context of what they are teaching. Children then use what they have learnt to complete crafts, puzzles and quizzes.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    There are multiple application prompts in each ‘Teaching the Children’ section where children can apply what the leader has taught to their own lives. This is lightly done, as the resource works under the assumption that most children present won’t have accepted Jesus into their lives yet.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    This resource regards most children as unsaved so the emphasis is for it to be used as an evangelistic or outreach tool.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    This evangelistic Holiday Bible Club is not intended as a discovery of discipleship, but rather of Jesus Christ himself, with the emphasis being very much on the leader in the story rather than the follower. The resource works under the belief that as we find out more about Christ, we find out more about ourselves and our short comings in relation to him. There is however clarification on understanding Jesus and why closeness to him is important.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    This holiday club aims to help children learn who Jesus is, as facts about him are revealed. Children realise their own sinfulness and need for repentance and faith in God through Jesus. They learn that this needs to happen before they can live a life of obedience and service to God as their leader.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    The emphasis on this resource is to learn who Christ is and to learn to trust him. In session 5, children learn how Christ can bring joyful fellowship, provision and the opportunity for challenging service. Children learn that Jesus was the ultimate leader and that God’s purpose is for us to follow his example.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    As this resource is intended for evangelistic use, it links everyday life or events with things which happened in Jesus’ time to help children relate to them. For example, in one session, children are asked if they have ever climbed a mountain and what it was like. Was it hard? Was it cold? What happened? They then go on to learn about the time Peter went up a mountain with Jesus and what happened on that day.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Not a focus for the participants but evangelism is a purpose of the use of this resource in the first place. During the Family Event, there is an opportunity for all attendees to hear Peter’s message in the temple and learn about the consequences of the crowd rejecting him. Children and adults are given a chance in this event to repent the sin of rejecting Jesus.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    All children are welcome to come along to this holiday club and adults to the family event. Community involvement is inherent to the setup of this holiday club as it aims to be inclusive to all community members.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a focus.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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