Five ways to engage teenagers with Worldview Rethink

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Reading notesWe joined our church this past summer and, after a few months, were asked to teach the youth Sunday school class. We were excited to get involved but a little nervous, since we didn’t know the students very well. Because we were already familiar with the Worldview Rethink curriculum, we decided it would be a good starting point. Now, we are about halfway through. Over the weeks, we’ve learned a few things that have helped us engage our youth with the Bible.

1. Include them in the process (visual aids)

We hosted a “Tabernacle Party” at our house one Sunday evening. The youth that came helped us assemble the tabernacle model. Besides this, we’ve also had the youth help locate materials and be responsible for our “How do I teach death using a branch” that illustrates our life apart from the source of life.

2. Help every participant be comfortable

Because the curriculum is set up to include everyone, the expectations are easy and clear. Any time there is a scripture reference that is italicized, the students read aloud. We have the youth decide who goes first and in which order they’ll take turns. Sometimes it’s clockwise and, at other times, it’s counterclockwise. Sometimes it’s random. It didn’t take long for them to be comfortable with participating. It may not seem like much, but we want to include them in every way possible!

3. Make sure no one gets left behind by doing a review each week

One of the challenges we’ve faced is not having the same group each week. We don’t want anyone to be confused if we make reference to a previous lesson. So each week, we take the first ten to fifteen minutes to carefully review what we’ve covered so far. In particular, we look at how each person or generation has attempted to bridge the chasm, caused by sin, to reach God. We’ve been impressed with the comprehension of the students, even those who have missed a session. (For those who want to catch up at home, they can watch the Learn about the Bible online course.)

4. Allowing plenty of time for questions

We’ve been intrigued by the questions that have come up as we’ve gone through this course. You can gauge what is being understood, and what previous biblical knowledge they may have (or may not have!), by the kinds of questions that are being asked. For example, we hear questions such as, “So the Israelites actually packed up everything in the Tabernacle and carried it around in the wilderness? How heavy was it? How far did they have to go? How many people did it take to carry everything?” When questions come up that will be covered later, the curriculum has a built-in way of not getting too sidetracked—the clothes basket visual aid has been invaluable, really!

5. Be available outside of class to build trust and answer questions

Sometimes we just can’t cover everything or answer questions as in depth as we might like. We made sure all the kids knew how to contact us if they thought of other questions or wanted more information. Being available to them has built trust and opened the door for all kinds of conversations that we may not have had without the Worldview Rethink class as a starting point.

Working with youth has unique challenges. But, each week we are impressed with the fact that each student, whether a new believer, a student seeking answers about the Bible, or one who has been raised in church, are all learning. These materials have been the perfect beginning point for us, as we navigate our new role as leaders and get to know the youth. Since the teaching is foundational and structured, it makes the time run smoothly.

As we continue through the course, we continue to pray for each one. It’s our prayer that each one might come to have the kind of clear and powerful understanding that will enable God to use them to share his message with others.

Additional thoughts

When you are going through a Worldview Rethink study in a Sunday school setting, there are three key factors to bear in mind. First is regular attendance. For Sunday school, the students tend to drop in and out of class. Each week, you might be faced with a slightly different group and so reviewing the gospel story covered so far is very important. As a teacher, you need to encourage regular attendance and devise a plan to allow students who have missed sessions to catch up. To help students who miss certain sessions stay on track, you can inform them of the pages that was covered. This way, students can read up on what they had missed and when they join the next class, they will not be behind the other students.

Second is the amount of teaching time you have for each lesson. Sunday school sessions are often short. Before a teacher can really get going, time runs out! If you can create a solid block of teaching time each week (an hour or more), it will help the story progress faster and in a more coherent manner.

The third factor is grasping the overall picture. Often in a Sunday school setting, the teaching becomes disjointed or fractured because of sporadic attention spans and short sessions. Because Worldview Rethink explains the gospel message as a chronological historical narrative, stretching the story over too many weeks may mean that the students do not get the full picture. It’s like watching ten minutes of a movie each week for ten weeks (and missing some segments). The story gets muddled because students are missing pieces of it.

So while the opportunity to teach Worldview Rethink in Sunday school is an exciting prospect, please bear these challenges in mind. If you have questions, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or write to us at hello[at]goodseed.com.

 

Boy puts his faith in Christ after reading “The Lamb”

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Boy, woman read The Lamb

Recently, we heard from Wesley* on our Facebook page about a story unfolding in his church.

He’d been approached by a lady in his church who was concerned for her grandchildren. Wesley described GoodSeed’s book, The Lamb, to her and the woman immediately requested four books. When she received them, she gave the books to her grandchildren and waited to hear their response.

The mother of one of these grandchildren began reading The Lamb to her son each night before bed. The father, an unbeliever, would be sitting across the room, listening in.

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“I feel confident in my salvation now”

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Classroom desks

This is the second instalment in a two-part story. Read the first installment.

A Tale of Two Brothers: Jake’s Story

Paul encouraged Timothy to not “let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV)

In the following story, Jake* has modelled for me, a 30-some year-old believer, what it means to simply trust and obey the Lord as he provides opportunities to share the gospel.

Jake’s older brother, in turn, had earlier set an example for him by leading students through a simple explanation of the gospel in the schools he attended. Now, Jake is following in his brother’s footsteps, continuing to teach fellow students.

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Reaching out in the halls of public schools

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school_hallways

This is the first installment of a two-part story. Read part two.

A tale of two brothers: Benjamin’s Story

Recently I had a phone conversation with Benjamin.* I had heard through the grapevine that he had been very active in reaching out to fellow students in public school, using one of our books, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. Benjamin graciously agreed to share his story and how God used those years in his life and in the lives of others.

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Friendship with neighbours blossoms into opportunities

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Lego and boy

When the Lord brings unsaved people into our lives, it is sometimes difficult to know when is the right time to share the gospel. This is when we must be prayerfully sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s direction. At times, it seems the Lord asks us to wait, patiently attuned to his timing. This is what the Martins* learned as they desired to minister to their new neighbours.

Bob* remembers clearly when Jessica and Chris moved in across the street a few years ago. The young couple had invited their friends and new neighbours to an open house. Bob and his wife, Martha, who view every relationship as a potential for blessing others with Christ, saw this occasion as a good opportunity to establish a relationship with these newcomers to their community.

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My grandkids actually paid attention!

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Reading a book vs electronic entertainment

Computers, televisions, video games and smart phones monopolize children’s attention these days. So accustomed are they to the allure of a glowing screen that one wonders if something as simple—something as “old fashioned”—as a book can even hold a child’s attention?

We have found that, time and again, there is still nothing quite like a parent, grandparent, or other trusted adult sitting down, opening the pages of a book and reading aloud. Even in this digital age, young imaginations are swept along into a good story. Reading is still a captivating and highly effective way for children to learn.

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Three churches reach their communities

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Small town in snowHolidays are excellent times for reaching out to a community. Many churches do this through concerts, productions and other special events. But those occasions are dependent upon members of the community being willing to darken the doorway of a church, and often, many aren’t willing.

Some time back, we received a report about three churches who wished to bless their communities in a practical way by providing them with a clear gospel presentation. We want to share their story so others might be inspired to bless their communities in a similar fashion.

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Sunday school: Teach live or watch the DVD?

Staff Writer
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ClassroomOur resources have been creatively used in a wide variety of settings ranging from self-studies to camps and small small groups. Here is one lady’s email to us with a question regarding the use of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus in Sunday school.

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I confess… I cut up “The Lamb”!

Staff Writer
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Cutting up The LambIt’s the end of summer in the northern hemisphere. While school was out and the weather warm, summer camps were in full swing. Many children attended Christian camps, backyard Bible clubs, or Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) where, in the midst of fun activities, they also got to learn the message of the Bible. For many of these children, it was the first time they heard the gospel message.

We received an email from Julia,* who taught at a VBS. She said she had to confess something to us. She wrote:

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An adoption gone wrong

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plane

When Neville* and Dominique learned of a little boy with a foster family in Central America who was up for adoption, it seemed their prayers were finally being answered. Excited to meet their soon-to-be son, they boarded a flight from their home in Quebec. Little did they know that God had other plans.

When they arrived, they went through the process but for complex reasons, the adoption fell through and there was nothing left to do but go home. They made arrangements to fly home early, all the time wondering why God had not allowed their adoption to proceed.

Dominique tells the rest of her story:

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