How do you get 30+ kids from varying spiritual backgrounds on the same page when it comes to studying the Bible during your church ministry?
You engage them in the process! Today I am reviewing a product that I was very excited to find, the New Testament Overview curriculum from Grapevine Studies.
I love teaching kids, and have worked in childrens ministries for about 8 years now. In our current church, I help run our AWANA program which consists of roughly 30-40 kids ages preschool to 6th grade.
Recently, we had been struggling with reaching some of the kids in our club during counsel time – when the older age groups would get together for Bible study and devotion.
Some of our kids grew up studying God’s Word and reading it with their parents. Other kids had never opened a Bible. During counsel time, it was hard to keep everyone’s attention and to not spend the entire time answering basic questions.
Teaching About The Bible Through A Story/Timeline
I had a talk with our pastor and he allowed me to do some looking around for a possible curriculum that could serve as a nice introduction to the Bible for our kids.
It was hard to find something that would fit the wide range of needs we had:
- Multiple age groups (K-6th grade together during lessons)
- Engaging and hands-on
- Interesting to kids who had read the Bible and those who hadn’t
I read a few reviews from fellow bloggers about Grapevine Studies and decided to try them out.
Let me tell you – Grapevine’s easy to use, flexible Bible studies have met every single one of our ministry needs!
How We Use Stick Figuring In AWANA
We purchased the New Testament Overview for levels 1-2 (teacher book). I chose the downloadable ebook so that we could print out the lesson for each week, in case one person could not teach every time.
The lessons are set up in several units – with a review and timeline overview at the end of each unit. The lessons include a timeline overview, the stick pictures you and your students will draw, an outline of the Bible story, and suggestions for review, memory verses, and Scripture references.
We use the curriculum a little differently since we have time constraints and not every child is present for each lesson. Each clubber gets a spiral notebook that serves as their New Testament Timeline. We keep the timelines at the church until the end of the year, that way they can take home a complete overview of the New Testament and show their families!
The only materials the teacher needs is a white board, dry erase markers, a Bible, and the lesson plan.
At first, I thought the lessons were going to be way too simple. They were general overviews of the characters and stories from the Bible. However, that is the genius of the Grapevine Studies.
They have stripped much of the flash and pizazz away that most childrens ministry resources rely on and have created a simple to use, fun to teach, and amazingly captivating method of getting kids to enjoy Scripture.
The Benefits Of Grapevine Studies
The number one benefit that I can attest to about these studies is that our AWANA kids love it!
Here are some examples of their work:
We set up two ground rules when it came to our lessons:
- They had to be listening.
- They could draw whatever they wanted, as long as it pertained to the Bible story.
Each child is free to embellish on the basic stick figures as much as they please. This really helps them to make the story stick in their mind.
We have a couple of special needs children and kids who otherwise wouldn’t really sit still and pay attention to a Bible story. The stick figuring (which really does seem a lot like notebooking doesn’t it?) gives them a creative outlet rather than disturbing the session.
No need to train teachers – Most adults would feel comfortable leading these lessons after looking over the teacher book. You simply show them how to make the stick figures and how to go over the Bible points in the lesson and they are ready to go!
Flexibility - We love having the option of digging deeper or focusing in on questions the kids may have. You can take these lessons and do so much more with them!
Lasting effectiveness – The lessons and stories are sticking with our kids week after week. They are actively involved in the story telling through answering questions and drawing their own versions. And unlike most take home papers and crafts that get thrown away, their timeline notebooks will be something they can treasure for a long time.
The Grapevine Studies company is one that I can personally recommend. Their studies are awesome, and their customer service is amazing. If you have questions about ordering or using the curriculum, they are available to help you out. I can’t speak highly enough of these Bible studies for your church, homeschool, and family.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. This review does contain affiliate links.