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

Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet!

Computer Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Uses the software Elijah and Jonah (Sunday Software).

"Elijah and Jonah" software program is now free to the supporting members of!

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 For scripture, objectives, and background- see above.

Leader Preparation:

  • Download and install the Elijah and Jonah software.
  • Print the Guide-to-Jonah-Elijah.pdf specifically the Jonah portion (pgs 3 & 4). Add it to the "Navigation Handout" shown at the end of this lesson. Make a copy of this document for each computer. Review other material in this guide.
  • Preview the software.
  • Turn on the computers and monitors. Turn sound down.
  • You may want to demonstrate how to navigate the program for the first couple of pages.

Supplies List:

  • Elijah and Jonah (by Sunday Software).

Notes for Computer Workshop Leaders:
This workshop can always use extra hands, especially for the younger children. Ask the shepherds to sit with the children at a computer station and help with navigation, reading text and discussion. At the 10:45 session, use your shepherds and the 5-6 grade helpers. You might also want to pair older students with younger ones. As much as possible, try to sit with your students as you go through the software together. The lesson is not what’s on the computer. It’s what you and the students do with what’s on the computer. Guide your students through the content, share yourself and facilitate their sharing with each other. Model your enthusiasm for the Word of God. Please make sure that children take turns at the mouse and keyboard. If necessary, use the timer in the room to help the children switch roles.

Time Guidelines:
Welcome/Introduction 5 minutes
Bible Study 10 minutes
Software exploration 30 minutes
Journal/Closing 5 minutes


Opening-Welcome and Introductions:

Gather the children together in the chairs with their Bibles. Welcome the children and introduce yourself. Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that the children have picked up their nametags. Always begin each class with introductions. Remember that workshop leaders rotate often, and the children may not know you. Please include the shepherds in introductions. Tell the children that today they will learn about one of the most well-known prophets in Israel’s history.

Opening Prayer: Please open class with prayer each week. You may pray your own prayer or use the prayer below: Dear God, We praise you and we thank you for all you do for us. Be with us today as we learn more about you. In Jesus’ name, 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 do 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 activities.

Jonah Story Cards
The Jonah Story cards can be used as a visual reminder of the different events of Jonah’s story. Several key cards from Elijah (previous rotation) are also included for review. Prepare the Jonah Story Cards by enlarging the appropriate images from the Blankenbaker book and copying onto cardstock.

Introduce the Story:
We’ve been studying prophets this summer. What is a prophet? (God’s messenger, someone very close to God) Last month we talked about the prophet Elijah. Let’s review some of what we have learned. (Use the Prophet Story Cards to review key events in Elijah’s story:

1. Samuel anoints the first king of Israel.
2. Israel worships idols.
3. Israel is divided into two kingdoms (northern – Israel, southern Judah)
4. Israel has good and bad kings.
5. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel worship idols.
6. Elijah confronts King Ahab.
7. Elijah has a contest on Mt. Carmel.
8. God sends Elisha to help Elijah.

Many years passed. God raised up another prophet for the northern kingdom of Israel. This prophet’s name was Jonah. Now at that time Assyria was a very powerful nation. They had strong armies who tried to take over lands and people. The people of Israel worried that the Assyrian army would take over their land too. The capital city of Assyria was called Ninevah. It was a huge city with great walls surrounding it. The people in Ninevah did not worship the one, true God. So, the people of Israel looked down on the people of Ninevah. They thought they were better than them. They also didn’t like them because the Assyrian army was very cruel. The people of Ninevah were their enemies.

But, God wanted to teach his people a lesson. And so he called a new prophet, named Jonah to show his people that God loves everyone – no matter where they live or what they do. Let’s find out more about the story now.

Bible Study: Grades K-3
Where would we find a story in the Bible that takes place many years before Jesus was born? (Old Testament) Let’s find the story of Jonah in our Bibles now. Help the children locate “Jonah and the Fish,” page 273-276 in the Little Kids’ Adventure Bible. Read or paraphrase the story as the children follow along in their Bibles (or use the attached excerpt from the Children’s Illustrated Bible). Be sure to point out the bold headings. Rising Kindergarteners have just received their Bibles and will need lots of help using them. Have shepherds help them and consider pairing older children with the younger ones. Use the Jonah Story Cards to help tell the story.

Help the children locate and review 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 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)

Bible Study: Grades 4-6
Jonah lived about 700 years many years before Jesus was born. Where would we find the story of Jonah in the Bible? (Old Testament) Jonah is one of the minor prophets. This means that his book is a short book of prophecy. Long books of prophecy are called major prophets. Let’s find the story of Jonah in our Bibles now. 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

Computer Exploration:

Jonah’s Story
Software: Elijah and Jonah by Sunday Software

Through all the content and play the games. Jonah’s story contrasts with Elijah’s story (that we did last month). Each story portrays unbelieving populations in different ways. Elijah is compassionate; Jonah is not. The Kings also react differently to the Word of God, brought to them by the prophets. Prayer is key in both stories to discerning God’s will.

Study notes are imbedded throughout the program. Tell the children to watch for these and pause to discuss them with their partners. Follow the handout for specific instructions.

Mini-games are also imbedded in the program. Children may play the “Smoochie Spittin’ Game” for a few minutes, but be sure that they play the ending games to review content: the matching game and the “Wormie Game.” The two “Screenshot Handouts” should be used for discussion and can be used at the end of class during Journal Reflection time.


  1. Gather children into pairs at the computer stations.
  2. Demonstrate to the children how to open the program – double click on the Elijah-Jonah desktop icon.
  3. Have children view the opening preview – (music to Jaws and spitting Jonah out) -- it’s cute!
  4. Click on Jonah (to the right).
  5. Follow the navigation handout!
  6. The story content is narrated. However, some of the notes are not and will require individual reading. Be sure to pair readers with non-readers or have adults available to help non-readers.

Bring Group together for discussion:
Review handouts together.

Reflection/Journal Time:
The last 10 minutes should be reserved for Journal and Reflection time. This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what the children have learned. Ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/pens and the journal sticker for the day. (Note: Journal questions are color-coded for each age group – purple for K-3, blue for 4-6.) Workshop leaders and shepherds should sit down with children in small groups to facilitate discussion and writing in Faith Journals. Memory verse stickers are also included for each lesson. Children may also copy the memory verse and illustrate.

Journal Questions:
K-3: Draw a picture of the prophets Jonah and Elijah. How were they the same? How were they different?
4-6: Compare Jonah and Elijah. How were they the same? How were they different?


Gather the children together. Review with them one word or concept that they learned during today’s session. (worship, one true God, run away, compassion, mercy, love are some suggestions) Encourage them to come back next week and to bring a friend, especially a friend who does not have a church home. Remind them to bring their Bibles. Ask for prayer requests and close with prayer.

Release children only to parents or by prior permission of parents after signing out on class clipboards.

Jonah Navigation Handout

Add to the material below, the directions shown in the Guide-to-Jonah-Elijah.pdf Jonah portion (pgs 3 & 4) under "General Outline & Highlights." You may wish to edit this document to fit the age of children visiting your workshop. Make a copy of the resulting document - one per computer station.

Directions: Follow the instructions below to guide you through the software. Be sure to stop and answer the questions and do the activities listed. Fill in the blanks on the worksheet.

  1. Double click on desktop icon to open program.
  2. View introduction.
  3. Click fast or medium for computer speed.
  4. Click Jonah (on the right).
  5. Listen to the narration.
  6. Click the large green arrows in the circles (near the bottom or center of the screen) to move page left or right.
  7. Click the circle with double arrows or the green triangles to advance each frame.
  8. Discuss Study Notes and fill out handouts.

Page by Page Highlights and Discussion

Page 1 - Opening Questions: Pay attention to these – they are the key questions that will be asked and answered in the program!
Who is God for or against?
Does God care about those who don’t worship him?
How are we supposed to act toward those who don’t follow God?
How far are we supposed to do to carry God’s message to others?

Page 3 – Chapter 1: The Story Begins... Add the rest of the material from the site mentioned above.


  • The Children’s Illustrated Bible, Selina Hastings, DK Publishing, 1994.
  • What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers, Frances Blankenbaker, Gospel Light, 1998.
  • Elijah and Jonah CD by Sunday Software.


A lesson from State Street UM

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability and updated links.

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