New Zealand Missionary Provides Children’s Bible Lessons All Over the World
by: Stafford North | April 17, 2014
by Stafford North
Mary Nelson and her husband David have been serving as missionaries in New Zealand for seventeen years. Mary does the usual things there of teaching children, providing hospitality, and visiting, encouraging, and teaching church members at the Otumoetai Church of Christ where she attends.
Mary decided several years ago, however, to give particular attention to teaching children, knowing that helping them have a good Bible knowledge is crucial for the future of the church. Having developed some lessons, she not only used them in New Zealand but shared them in print form with others in Australia and the Fiji Islands.
As interest in the lessons grew, Mary recognized that it would be difficult and expensive to continue to share these materials in hardcopy, so she decided to put them online with a nice website. She never imagined the number who would show an interest in them.
To this point she has had almost one and a half million hits and these hits continue at an average of 2,000 each day. Interestingly a spike occurs on Saturday as people are preparing to teach on Sunday. The largest number of users comes from the United States with Great Britain second, Canada as third, and Australia fourth. But users have come from more than 200 different countries.
The 170 lessons are developed as a chronological plan through Bible stories, starting with creation and moving through Noah, Abraham and his family, Joseph and Moses, then the judges and kings and finally to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and then the book of Acts to tell of the church and its spread with some lessons from the epistles.
Each lesson outline follows a simple plan: scripture reference, story overview, suggested emphasis or theme, background study for the teacher, a way to introduce the story, the story, review questions, crafts and activity ideas, and online resources. So, each lesson outline gives a teacher almost all she/he needs but gives online references in case the teacher wants to dig more deeply.
The craft activities are very carefully designed so that a teacher can do them with just familiar things from the house. Many of them do not even require paper and pen since many places around the world cannot provide these for their children’s classes.
Each lesson also has songs which the teacher can watch on video while one or two sing the song a cappella. Thus, if the song has hand movements for children to use as they sing it, the singers demonstrate the movements. The words are written at the bottom so the teacher can learn the song with the words or copy them down if necessary.
The website also has suggestions about how to plan a Bible class and how to be a good teacher. Many local churches would find the lessons here to be a very good help to their elementary and junior high programs. The lessons could be adapted for even older groups.
There are lots of good ideas at this site about teaching children and some great outlines to follow to have a good Bible class on many different topics. The address on the web is www.missionbibleclass.org. To reach Mary Nelson personally, send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.