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Reply to "Jonah Lesson Set - State Street UMC, Bristol, VA"

Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet

Cooking Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will exploring the concepts of repentance, forgiveness and obedience while making a Whale of a Pizza.


For scripture, objectives, and background- see above.

Supplies List:

  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Butter knife
  • Pastry brush
  • Rolling pin
  • Pizza crust
  • Pizza sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • One half cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • Sliced pepperoni
  • Green pepper sliced
  • 4 Cherry tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Flour for dusting work surface
  • Small can of sweet corn
  • 1 Black olive
  • Small pieces of note paper (1 for each child)
  • Pencils
  • Matches or candlelighter
  • Metal container (coffee can or aluminum pan)
  • Large glass of water
  • Paper plates

Preparation and Room Set Up:

  • Review the Background Information, Behavioral Covenant, Teaching Tips and Lesson plan.
  • Gather all necessary supplies for activities.
  • Prepare the Jonah story cards by enlarging the appropriate images from the Blankenbaker book and copy onto cardstock. Add them to the cards from the Elijah lesson. These cards will help the children grasp the “big picture” of the time of the prophets. They will also begin to sequence some of the key events that took place during the time of the divided kingdom.

ALLERGY NOTE: Be aware if any children have severely allergy to peanuts and other nuts. Check ingredient labels to make sure nuts and nut oils are not included in any cooking activities if you do.

Important Note for Cooking Workshop Leaders:
Children LOVE to cook and create various concoctions in this workshop. But occasionally the cooking activity does not have as obvious or concrete a connection with the lesson as do some of the other workshops. Help the children make that connection by intentionally discussing the way the activity relates to the lesson of the day. Discuss during preparation, eating and clean-up times.

Time Guidelines:
Welcome and Introductions 5 minutes
Bible Study 10 minutes
Whale of a Pizza 30 minutes
Reflection/Closing 5 minutes





Welcome the children and introduce yourself. Make sure everyone is wearing a nametag. Please include the shepherd in introductions. Give the children a simple one or two-sentence synopsis of what you will be doing during the workshop.

Prayer: Please begin your class with prayer each week. Pray your own or use the prayer printed below.
Father, We thank you for this day and this time we spend together learning about you. Guide us to be obedient to you. Help us to share the forgiveness you have for us with others. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen


Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Important Teacher Notes:
Each workshop includes the Bible story. One of our 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 the Background Information to help you introduce the story.

Remember that as the rotation progresses; the children will become more 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 may want to review some of the Bible notes as well. Be sure to fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you. One of the greatest advantages of this model is that 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.

Note: The pizza has to bake about 30 minutes so begin the cooking promptly as the children arrive. The Bible Study can be done while the pizza is in the oven.

Whale of a Pizza
(adapted from Bible Food Fun: A Step-By-Step Cookbook by Leslie Wright, ISBN 0-8423-3685-0)


  1. Have the children wash their hands and put on aprons.
  2. Let everyone participate.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°.
  4. Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the pizza dough into a large oval.
  5. Cut out a large fish with the butter knife.
  6. Place the crust on greased baking sheet (or cover the baking sheet with parchment paper – makes clean up MUCH easier!)
  7. Drain sweet corn well.
  8. Mix tomatoes with salt and pepper.
  9. Spread pizza sauce all over crust.
  10. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly, add extra to head and tail.
  11. Decorate the fish with sweet corn, pepperoni, green pepper and tomatoes in alternate rows from top to bottom. (to look like fish scales)
  12. Use a sliver of olive for the mouth.
  13. Use an end slice of olive for the eye.
  14. Brush the scales lightly with oil and bake following crust directions.

As you are preparing the pizza, discuss the following:

Have the children think about the past week.

  • Did you do what your parents told you to do?
  • Why or why not?
  • What is the word we use for doing what we are told? (obedience)
  • What happens if you do not do what you were told?
  • How did you feel?
  • Did you tell your parents you were sorry?
  • What happened?

Introduce the story:
(Use the story cards from the Elijah lesson to review the history of the time and to introduce Jonah to the children. Children may also color the cards during discussion or as the pizza bakes.)

This summer we’ve been learning about prophets. What is a prophet? (God’s messenger) Let’s think back to the time of the prophets. Samuel, the boy who heard God’s voice calling him in the middle of the night, was the last of the Judges (the rulers of Israel). Then the people decided they wanted to be like other nations and have a king for a leader. So Samuel anointed Saul to be the first king of Israel. Next came King David, the greatest king of Israel and then Solomon who built the Temple. But after King Solomon, things started to fall apart for Israel. The nation of Israel was divided into two parts – the northern kingdom called Israel and the southern kingdom called Judah. Then a series of good and bad kings were in charge. What do you remember about the bad king from our last rotation? (King Ahab – married to Queen Jezebel, worshiped idols, tried to stamp out worship of the one, true God). What was the number one sin of the people? (they broke the first two commandments – they worshiped other gods and idols) When things got really bad, God sent his prophets to try to get the people to return to him, to stop making and worshiping idols and to put God first in their lives again. Sometimes God had other messages for his prophets. In the case of the prophet Jonah, God wanted to teach his people about how much God loves everyone – even the people who didn’t live in Israel.

Jonah lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during a time when things were going pretty well. The people of Israel were looking forward to a time when God would restore their kingdom and make them a great nation again, while punishing all the people who didn’t follow God’s ways. But God had a different message for the people of Israel. Let’s see what God had in mind….

Bible Study: Grades: K-3

Where would we find the story of a prophet who lived many years before Jesus? (Old Testament)
Help the children locate the story “Jonah and the Fish” on page 273-276 in the Little Kids’ Adventure Bible. This story is too long to be read in its entirety. Paraphrase the scripture or use the attached excerpt to tell the story.

Read and discuss the following Bible notes:
Little Kids’ Adventure Bible:
Life in Bible Times: Jonah’s Trip, page 273
Life in Bible Times: Cargo Ships, page 274

Memory Verse: Each rotation we encourage the children to memorize one verse. Locate the verse and review it with the children at this time. Children with Bible bookmarks can use their red ribbon to mark the memory verse. Have the children with their own Bibles highlight the verse with the 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)


Bible Study: Grades 4-5

Where would we find the story of a prophet who lived many years before Jesus? (Old Testament) Jonah is a book of Old Testament prophets. Because it is a short book, it is called a Minor Prophet. The longer Prophet books are called Major Prophets.

Help the children locate Jonah in their Bibles. Children with Bible bookmarks can use their yellow Prophet bookmark to find the beginning of the Prophets and move forward from there. This story is too long to be read in its entirety. Paraphrase the scripture using the headings listed in the children’s Bibles or use the attached excerpt to tell the story.

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 it with the children at this time. Children with their own Bibles should use the Bible highlighters to highlight the memory verse. 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


  • 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?

After the pizza has finished baking and is cool, serve it and discuss the following:

  • 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)
  • What can we learn about God from this story? (God loves everyone, grace, mercy, forgiveness)
  • How do we show forgiveness in our lives?
  • How do we tell others about the good news of God’s grace and love?
  • How can we change our attitude toward others who are different than us or who are not easy to love?

Reflection/Journal Time:
Use the following closing activity instead of journals for this session.


Gather the children and give each one a piece of note paper and pencil. Encourage the children to think about something they have done for which they would like God’s forgiveness. Remind them that this should be something they sincerely wish to change. Tell the children that no one will read their papers. They may want to fold their papers for privacy.

Wait quietly as the children work. Or do the activity along with the children. Have children come up one at a time with their papers. Light a match and burn each of the children’s papers in the metal can. Add only one paper at a time, allowing it to burn before adding the next. Have large glass of water on hand in case flames become too large.

Give each child an opportunity to burn or destroy their statements of sin.

Then say: The Lord is merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. We can be confident of God’s forgiveness and love.

Close with the Lord’s Prayer.

(Activity adapted from New Invitation Bible Studies, Abingdon Press, Summer 1997.)

A lesson from State Street UMC


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