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Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet

Art Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

The children will each make and decorate a stuffed paper fish to serve as a reminder of how plentiful God’s grace is.

Important note for Art workshop leaders:
In the Art workshop, the Bible lesson is reinforced through creative and hands-on experiences. The children may make something that they can take home to help remind them of the monthly theme or they may work together as a team to make something for the church to display.

For scripture, objectives, and background- see above.


Preparation and Room Set-Up:

  • Review background information, teaching tips and lesson materials.
  • Gather necessary supplies
  • Cover the tables with the old tablecloths
  • Review the Music CD. Plan to play the music as the children arrive, work on their art projects and during journal time.

Supplies List:

  • Music Cd
  • Tablecloths
  • White paper cut in 2’x 2’ pieces (two for each child)
  • Newspaper or paper towels to stuff the fish
  • Stapler and staples
  • Paint (watercolors or acrylic)
  • Paint brushes
  • Water cups
  • Paint pens

Please start on time!

Time guidelines:
Welcome and introductions 5 minutes
Bible Study 15 minutes
Making stuffed fish 25 minutes
Journals/Closing 5 minutes



Presentation

Opening- Welcome and Introduction:
Welcome all children and introduce yourself. Make sure each child is wearing a nametag. Give the children a simple one or two sentence synopsis of what you will be doing during the workshop.

Opening Prayer: You may have a prayer of your own or pray something like this…
Dear Lord, We thank You for each and every day that You give us. We thank You for the ability to enjoy this beautiful world. As we learn about Jonah today, help us to think of ways that we can make this world a more beautiful place by teaching Your ways to others. Amen

Important Teacher Notes:

Each workshop begins with the Bible story. One of the primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy! If children did not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles. Shepherds should help the children locate the stories. Use the handout “Helping Children Learn to use their Bibles” and Background information to help you introduce the story.

Remember, that as the rotation progresses, the children will become familiar with the story. When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know. The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion. You can then fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background information. One of the greatest advantages of this model is that the children who come regularly learn the story in great depth.

Each lesson contains more Background Information and discussion questions than can be used in one session. Remember, children are studying this story for four weeks! Be sure to follow the time guidelines and leave ample time for the activity.

Jonah Story Cards
Use the Prophet story cards to help you tell the story of Jonah and to review the last rotation’s story of Elijah. Create the story cards by enlarging the appropriate images from the Blankenbaker book and copying onto cardstock.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Bible Study: K-3

Introduction:
Many of you have probably heard the story about a man named Jonah. You probably remember the fact that he was swallowed by a big fish. That seems hard to believe. Well, Jonah wasn’t just any man, and the fish didn’t just happen to be in the ocean where Jonah was swimming, either. Jonah was one of God’s prophets. Who can tell me what a prophet does? (speaks for God to others and sends messages for God) Jonah lived in Galilee. Jonah followed God and was a strong believer. God saw that there was a city whose people had turned away from Him. In fact, they were the enemy of Israel and Jonah’s people. They worshipped idols and felt like things on earth were more important than knowing God and following His commands. That made God very sad, because He wanted His people to know and love Him. God knows what will make His people the most happy because He created all of us. The city was named Ninevah. Ninevah was a huge city, the capital of Assyria. The king of Assyria lived there. God knew that the people there did what the king told them to do, so if Jonah could change the king’s heart then he could save the city from their evil ways. God called on Jonah to go to Ninevah and try to convince the king and his people to turn to God.

Before reading the scripture…
Ask the children to listen for a few key points in the passage. You may choose to assign each child a different one to listen for.

1. What happens to the ocean when Jonah is on the boat?
2. What do the sailors say and do?
3. How long does Jonah stay “at sea” when the ship has left him?
4. What does Jonah say to God?
5. Does Jonah follow God’s command?
6. Do the people of Ninevah follow God’s command?
7. How does Jonah feel after he delivers God’s message?
8. What is God’s response to both the people of Ninevah and to Jonah?

Jonah lived a very long time before Jesus was born. Where do you think we would find the story in the Bible, Old Testament or New Testament? (Old Testament) Let’s find his story in our Bibles now. Help the children turn to “Jonah and the Fish” on page 273 of the Little Kids’ Adventure Bible. This story is too long to be read in its entirety. Paraphrase the scripture or use the attached story from the Illustrated Children’s Bible to tell the story. Be sure to point out the title and memory verse in the children’s Bibles. Have them locate and read the following note:

Little Kids’ Adventure Bible:
Life in Bible Times: Jonah’s Trip, page 273

Memory Verse: Each rotation we encourage the children to memorize one verse. Locate the verse and review with the children at this time. Have children with Bible bookmarks place their red ribbon bookmark here. Children with their own Bibles should highlight the verse with the Bible highlighters. Please do not mark in the classroom Bibles.
“When I was in trouble, I called out to you. And you answered me.” Jonah 2:2 (page 275)

Discussion Questions:

  • What is a prophet? (someone who speaks for God, God’s messenger)
  • What did God tell Jonah to do? (go to Ninevah to preach to the people there)
  • Why did Jonah run away? (he didn’t want to do what God asked)
  • How did Jonah feel about the people of Ninevah? (didn’t like them, they were his enemies)
  • How did God feel about the people of Ninevah? (loved them, wanted to save them)
  • What happened to Jonah? (thrown overboard, swallowed by giant fish)
  • I wonder what Jonah thought about while inside that great fish?
  • What did Jonah do inside the fish? (prayed in thanksgiving to God, promised to obey)
  • What happened after Jonah preached in Ninevah? (people repented, God showed them mercy)
  • Did God give up on Jonah when he ran away, and go choose someone else to preach His word? (No, God kept trying to show Jonah how He should behave and what he should do)
  • Did God give up on the people of Ninevah when Jonah didn’t want to go talk to them?
  • What can we learn about God from this story? (God loves everyone, grace, mercy, forgiveness)
  • How can we show people around us that we forgive them? (give them a second chance at being a friend)

There’s a word You should all remember…GRACE…It means that God loves and protects us without us doing anything. It is a wonderful gift that He gives each and every one of us.

How do we tell and show others about the good news of God’s grace and love?
How can we show others who are different than us that we are all God’s people?

Bible Study - Grades 4-5:

Introduction:
Many of you have probably heard the story about a man named Jonah. You probably remember that he was swallowed by a big fish. That seems hard to believe. Well, Jonah wasn’t just any man, and the fish didn’t just happen to be in the ocean where Jonah was swimming, either. Jonah was one of God’s prophets. Who can tell me what a prophet does? (speaks for God to others and sends messages for God) Jonah lived a very long time before Jesus was born. Jonah lived in Galilee. Jonah followed God and was a strong believer. God saw that there was a city whose people had turned away from Him. In fact, they were the enemy of Israel and Jonah’s people. They worshipped idols and felt like things on earth were more important than knowing God and following His commands. That made God very sad, because He wanted His people to know and love Him. God knows what will make His people the most happy because He created all of us. The city was named Ninevah. Ninevah was the capital of Assyria, the most powerful nation at that time. The Assyrians were known for their cruelty and harsh treatment of prisoners and other nations. God called on Jonah to go to Ninevah and try to convince the king and his people to turn to God. How would you feel if God asked you to go and spend time with someone who had treated you terribly? Let’s find out what Jonah does…

Jonah lived many years before Jesus was born during the time of the divided kingdom. He prophesied in the northern kingdom, Israel. Where do you think we would find the story in the Bible? The book of Jonah is a very short book. It is found in the Prophets section of the Old Testament. There are two divisions of books of Prophets: major prophets and minor prophets. Minor prophets are short books, Major prophets are longer books – it has nothing to do with the importance of the prophet’s message. Jonah is a minor prophet because the book is short – only 4 chapters long. Even though the book is short, God’s message in it is very BIG!

Help the children locate Jonah in their Bibles. Children with Bible bookmarks can use their green ribbon bookmark to locate the books of prophecy and move forward from there.

This book is too long to be read in its entirety. Paraphrase the scripture using the bold headings to direct the children to the different parts of Jonah’s story. Basically there are four key parts:

1. God calls Jonah; Jonah disobeys.
2. Jonah submits.
3. Jonah completes his mission.
4. Jonah’s motives are contrasted with God’s motives.

Read and discuss the following Bible notes:
NiRV Adventure Bible:
LIfe in Bible Times: Jonah’s Trip, page 1073
Life in Bible Times: Cargo Ships, page 1074
Let’s Live It: Jonah’s Vine, page 1075

Memory Verse: Each rotation we encourage the children to memorize one verse. Locate the verse and review with the children at this time. Have children with their own Bibles highlight the verse with the Bible highlighters.
“When I was in trouble, I called out to you. And you answered me.” Jonah 2:2

Discussion Questions:

  • What is a prophet? (someone who speaks for God, God’s messenger)
  • What did God tell Jonah to do? (go to Ninevah to preach to the people there)
  • Why did Jonah run away? (he didn’t want to do what God asked)
  • How did Jonah feel about the people of Ninevah? (didn’t like them, they were his enemies)
  • How did God feel about the people of Ninevah? (loved them, wanted to save them)
  • What happened to Jonah? (thrown overboard, swallowed by giant fish)
  • I wonder what Jonah thought about while inside that great fish?
  • What did Jonah do inside the fish? (prayed in thanksgiving to God, promised to obey)
  • What happened after Jonah preached in Ninevah? (people repented, God showed them mercy)
  • How did Jonah feel about that? (angry)
  • Did God give up on Jonah when he ran away, and go choose someone else to preach His word? (No, God kept trying to show Jonah how He should behave and what he should do)
  • Did God give up on the people of Ninevah when Jonah didn’t want to go talk to them?
  • Did Jonah please God because he did what God asked him to do, but didn’t show compassion to the Ninevites? (No…God was pleased with the Ninevites because they had changed their hearts and their actions, but Jonah needed to change his heart toward the Ninevites to completey please God)
  • Did God get angry with Jonah when Jonah got angry? (No, He simply used the plant, something that Jonah could relate to, to teach Jonah a lesson)
  • Where was God throughout the story? (everywhere…there wasn’t anywhere to hide form God)
  • How do we show forgiveness in our lives?

There’s a word you should all remember…GRACE…It means that God loves and protects us without us doing anything. It is a wonderful gift that He gives each and every one of us.

  • What can we learn about God from this story? (God loves everyone, grace, mercy, forgiveness)
  • How do we tell and show others about the good news of God’s grace and love?
  • How can we show others who are different than us that we are all God’s people?
  • How can we change our attitude toward others who are different than us or who are not easy to get along with?
  • How can we show people around us that we forgive them? (give them a second chance at being a friend)

Jonah’s Stuffed Fish
Each child will make a stuffed paper fish and decorate it by painting it and writing the memory verse on one or both sides.

Supplies Needed:

  • White paper cut in 2’x 2’ pieces (two for each child)
  • Newspaper or paper towels to stuff the fish
  • Stapler and staples
  • Paint (watercolors or acrylic)
  • Paint brushes
  • Water cups
  • Paint pens

Preparation:

  1. Cover all tables with old tablecloths.
  2. Write the memory verse on the board.
  3. Set out supplies.
  4. Cut out the fish for the K-3 graders and staple together, leaving one side open for them to stuff the fish.

Directions: Complete steps #1-3 before class for K-3!

  1. Draw an outline of a fish on a piece of paper approx. 2’ long x 1’ high.
  2. Place another piece of paper under and cut both fish out so that the edges line up.
  3. Have the children write the memory verse on one side of the fish, and a word or two that describes what they learned from the story on the other.
  4. Staple the edges together with approx. a .5 inch border all around the fish, leaving one side open.
  5. Crumple the newspaper or paper towels into small balls and stuff the fish.
  6. Staple the remaining edge together.
  7. Allow the children to decorate the fish with watercolor paints or acrylic paints.

Journal Questions:
Grades K-3: Write the word GRACE. God loves us no matter what we do or how we mess up.
Grades 4-6: Make an acrostic poem from the word GRACE.
(Acrostics: Using each letter in the word GRACE, have the children come up with descriptions of what grace is. You may want to do this as a class and have the children write down the community acrostic poem. Then children may want to create their own.

For example: G - God’s love
R – reaches everyone
A – always is with us
C – can’t earn it, it’s free!
E – everywhere we go!

Clean up: Gather all supplies and encourage each child to clean his/her own work area.

Closing:

Gather the children together before leaving. Review the meaning of grace. Ask for prayer requests and pray together.

Dear Lord, We are so glad to know that You will never leave us. You are always by our side. Even when we make mistakes, You love us unconditionally, and want us to try again. May we always remember Jonah and the grace and compassion You showed the people of Ninevah. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Release children only to parents or by prior permission of parents. Make sure parents sign their children out on the classroom clipboards.


Resources:

The Children’s Illustrated Bible, Selina Hastings, DK Publishing, 1994.

What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers, Frances Blankenbaker, Gospel Light, 1998.


 

A lesson from State Street UMC

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

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