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Workshop Lesson Ideas

The Creeds

Summary of Lesson Ideas:

  • Art Idea: participants will then have the opportunity to express what they believe by designing and creating their own symbol of faith.
  • A/V Idea: participants become roving news reporters taping an exposes called, “Where do you Stand?”
  • Bible Skills and Games Idea: Create a simple gameboard in the shape of a cross, participants move around the four ends of the cross, then land in the center.  At each place they must answer a creed question.
  • Movement/Rap Idea: participants will create movements to express each phrase of the creed or write a rap that shares their contemporary perspective of the creed.
  • Computer Idea: rewrite the Apostle's Creed.
  • Newspaper Editor Idea: write stories explaining the Apostle's Creed.
  • Music Idea: look at church hymnal for songs on faith and what their message is.

Goals for the Unit:

By the end of this unit, the students will be able to:

  • Understand and be able to explain what a creed is.
  • Recognize there are eleven different “creeds” as part of our church’s history and are found in our Book of Confessions.
  • Understand that creeds may take on different forms (i.e. hymns, statements, and symbols).
  • Understand that we used creeds at different times in history to explain where we stood or what we believed as people of faith.

References and Background Information:
One of the best books I have found that explains the creeds is Jack Rogers’ Presbyterian Creeds: A Guide to The Book of Confessions. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY. Copyright 1991). The first two chapters explains in detail the importance of the creeds within our tradition as Presbyterians. It also gives complete explanations of each creed and confession within our Book of Confessions. If you have the opportunity to get a hold of this book before this unit, you will be well prepared for your workshop. This book would also make a wonderful text for an adult education class.

But what is a creed? Well, tell me, in what do you believe? Do you believe the world is flat or round? Do you believe guns are good or bad? Do you believe we as the church should focus more on winning converts or working for peace and justice? Where do you stand? What do you believe? What is most important in your life? That is a creed!

The word creed comes from the Greek word Credo, which means, “I believe.” So when I express what I believe to be true, that is my creed! The sky is blue! Grass is green! I love my family! Jesus is lord of my life!

Have you heard the Shema? I bet you have. It can be found in Deuteronomy 6:4. The Israelites knew they were “the people the Lord brought up from the land of Egypt.” The Shema reads:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
When the Hebrew people are asked, “Who are we?” they respond: “We are the people whom the LORD delivered from Egypt. The LORD our God is one God.”

Within the Christian church, we can trace the first Christian confession of faith to Matthew 16:13 when Peter declares, “You are the Christ . . .” and in 1 Corinthians 12:3 this declaration becomes, “Jesus is Lord.” Our creeds today grew out of these brief declarations to well organized paragraphs.

The church became split with many different ideas about what a Christian was, so councils were formed to make clear what the foundations of our faith are. The first was the Old Roman Symbol. The origin date is unclear, maybe somewhere around AD 190. After looking at this statement, it is clear that is was the beginning of our current Apostles’ Creed. The old roman statement read:

I believe in God the Father Almighty; and in Christ Jesus, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.

Who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and buried, on the third day he rose again from the dead, ascended to heaven, sits on the right hand of the Father, from where he will come to judge the living and the dead; and in the Holy Spirit, the holy church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the flesh.

As you may read in Jack Rogers’ book, the Nicene Creed was the first great statement that put people into place. It developed the first boundary in which Christians are able to play. As long as you stay in these bounds, your part of the larger Christian church.

Just as the Nicene creed was developed out of great schisms within the Christian Faith, so too, do almost all of the other statements of faith bring folks back into the playground.

So, from ones personal statement, “Jesus is my Lord,” we have developed larger statements, explaining where we, as a church community, stand within the workings of society. Our Creeds are important documents that tell the world who we are and were and on what foundation we stand.




The Creeds

Art Lesson Idea

Summary of Lesson Idea: participants will then have the opportunity to express what they believe by designing and creating their own symbol of faith.

Objectives:

In this lesson we will explore different symbols that have been used throughout Christian history to express what people believed. The participants will then have the opportunity to express what they believe by designing and creating their own symbol of faith


Presentation

Opening:

Begin the morning with all the participants gathered together on the floor or in chairs (away from the art tables). Show the class different symbols that have been used in the past to express what someone believed. There are many different symbols from our church history, you may want to pick ones that are most visible in your own congregation. Ask the participants if they know what the symbol is. Then ask if they know what it means. Explain to the class how these symbols where used. You can get some background info on this from page 233 in the UCC Confirmation curriculum called, Confirming Our Faith.

Dig:

The PC(USA) seal is also a multi-part symbol which is fun to explore and explain. See if your participants can pick out all the parts of the Presbyterian Seal (Cross). For an explanation of the PC(USA) seal, go to http://oga.pcusa.org/section/s...k/stated-clerk/seal/
Talk with the participants about how they can use symbols to express their faith. What would be most important for someone to know about what they believe as a Christian. Start working on how they can visually express their symbols.

In groups or individually (maybe he younger children would work better in groups with an adult assisting them, and the older children could work more independently), have the children design a symbol that expresses their thought’s of the Christian faith. Have available all mediums as you don’t want to limit their creativity.

Reflection:

Leave 10 to 15 minutes at the end of the class time to clean up and circle up. Invite the participants to share their symbols and the meanings behind them.

Close with a word of pray, thanking God that we have them freedom to express our faith.

NOTE: Pre arrange with the powers that be to display these symbols and their meanings in the Northex or other well traveled area in the church.




The Creeds

A/V Lesson Idea

Summary of Lesson Idea: participants become roving news reporters taping an exposes called, “Where do you Stand?”

Objectives:

To learn where different people stand. To recognize that we all have our own faith, but they are all grounded and rooted in our historical confessions of faith.


Presentation


Opening:

Begin the morning with introducing the unit. Ask if the know what a creed is, explain how creeds are statements of where people stand, what they believe to be true.

Dig:

After everyone understands these points introduce them to the mornings activity. Usually, they would spend the time in the A-V workshop watching a movie and eating popcorn. We will be a little more active this morning. As if all your participants were news reporters, have them do an expose called, “Where do you Stand?” Arm them with questions and a camcorder and set them free about the church. If you have adult classes going on, you may want to warn them of possible interruptions. You may want to have different groups do different exposes or segments for a whole “newscast.” Maybe assign a couple of young people to be the news anchors. After each group has gotten enough “footage,” bring them all together for their special “eyewitness news broadcast.” Have the anchors introduce each segment, then show the tape.

After the broadcast, invite the participants to discuss what it means to have something to believe in and even though we all have different ways of expressing our faith, we can still be together in the same faith community to share the love of Christ.

Close with a short prayer thanking God that we have the ability and freedom to believe what we do.




The Apostles’ Creed

Bible Skills and Games Lesson Idea

Summary of Lesson Idea: participants will create a simple gameboard in the shape of a cross, participants move around the four ends of the cross, then land in the center.  At each place they must answer a creed question.

Objectives:

The objective of this workshop is to give the participants the opportunity to learn what a creed/confession of faith is, how they come to be, and why they are important for us today. The participants will also learn the different parts of the Apostles’ Creed.


Presentation

The Object:
For each player's team to make it all the way around the cross, answering each the four questions before ending at the finish square in the center of the cross.

Number of players:
You may have as many players playing as you would like. If you have a larger class, you may want to either divide into teams or have multiple games going at once. In order to keep the game moving along, it is probably a good idea to have no more than 4 or 5 pawns per game board.

Who goes first:
Each player/team will roll the die to see who has the highest roll. The highest roll plays first. Play will continue in an clockwise pattern.

The Game Board & Pawn (game piece):
The game board may be copied as is or enlarged onto 11x17 sized paper. You may also want to transfer the game board onto a bed sheet or poster board by making a transparency of the game board to project from and overhead projector.

You can use many different objects for your game pieces. I recommend using something that can be marked in such a way that will identify each question answered. To make it easy, you can use heavy (card stock) paper cut into small squares as follows:

The Move:
Each player or team will take turns rolling a single die. They are to move forward the number of spaces represented on the die. You must use the whole count of the die, even to end the game on the finish square. You can move any direction after landing on an inner section, however
once you’ve committed to a forward movement, you cannot move backwards (backtrack) until you reach another inner section.

Miscellaneous Rules:
When the need for new rules arise, make them up and right them down in the space below.

The Creeds Game
(continued)

When landing on the four pictured spaces, the player must answer the questions as they relate to the square.


Symbols of Faith:
You will need to make up cards with different symbols of the Christian faith on one side. Search the internet for graphics (symbols - listed below).

You may also want to use some symbols that are secular (ie. yin/yang, heart).

Choose symbols appropriate for the age group you are with. Some symbols you may want to use:

  • Alpha-Omega
  • Butterfly
  • Cross (many different types)
  • Descending Hand
  • ICHTHUS (fish).
  • Lamb
  • lamp or candle
  • Lion
  • Rainbow
  • Shell


Discuss the difference between a symbol and a sign (a stop sign vs. a dove).

My Symbol:
Have paper and markers available. At this point, the players are to design a symbol, or use one they like best (which ever works best for the age group or experience of players). They must draw their symbol and explain the meaning behind it.

Creeds & Confessions:
The players are to pick a card from a stack and answer the question found on the underside. Be sure to use questions that are appropriate for the age group you are with.
Some questions you may want to use:

  • What is a Creed?
  • Why do we say a creed or confession (statement) of faith when we are in worship?
  • Why do we have creeds and confessions of faith?
  • What’s the oldest creed still in use today?
  • What’s the creed we use most often in our worship? (Can you recite it?)
  • Where do creeds and confessions come from? (Who writes them?)


What I Believe:
Using a large sheet of newsprint or butcher paper, have each player or team write a statement regarding what they believe. Post the sheet for all the church to see.



The Apostles’ Creed

Movement or Rap Lesson Idea

Summary of Lesson Idea: participants will create movements to express each phrase of the creed or write a rap that shares their contemporary perspective of the creed.

Objectives:

In this workshop, the participants will explore the deeper meaning of the Apostles’ Creed by creating movements to express each phrase of the creed or writing a rap that shares their contemporary perspective of the creed.


Presentation


Opening:

Begin the session by having the participants gather in a circle to explain what is so important about having creeds or statements of our faith. Ask how many have ever heard of the apostles’ creed, or can recite the creed by heart.

Explain to the class they are going to create movements that are designed to express the meaning of each phrase of the Apostles’ Creed. (You may want to use the Nicene Creed or segments of another creed that is more familiar to your congregation.) This exercise will mean that each phrase of the creed will be explained in detail so the participants will be able to create a movement – or tableau to express the meaning. If you have enough children, you may want to split them into groups and give each group one or two phrases on which to focus.

After each phrase is developed, put it all together with the participants. As each movement is shown, have the participants explain the meaning and how it fits to the phrase.

Alternative Activity: If you have some rather rhythmic children, you may want to have them develop a rap that will explain what each part of the creed means to them. Have some hip-hop costumes and props available to help produce a mood. You will want to have some pre-recorded (without lyrics) rap music cued up for them to “feel” the beat as they “sing” their song.

Pre-arrange an opportunity for your class to lead the congregation in their creation during worship.




The Apostles’ Creed

Computer Lesson Idea

Use one of the writing programs you have for children such as Kid Works Deluxe or Kid Pix 4 (or 3D) and have groups of participants “re-write” the Apostles’ Creed into their own language. Or have them write a new creed or statement of faith that focus’s on a particular section of the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed or other statement that is most familiar to your congregation.




The Apostles’ Creed

Newspaper Editor Lesson Idea

Lesson Idea:
This could be combined with the a-v workshop. Give different assignments to the different classes. One class can use tape recorders to interview members of the church, asking them questions about what the Apostles’ Creed means to them and other questions. Another class can write a story explaining how the Apostles’ Creed came to be, or the Nicene Creed (of course some research would need to be done – or the children could just make something up). Yet another class could draw cartoons to go in the newspaper. It would be best for the participants to have been through the Bible Skills and Games Workshop prior to this one. Produce that paper at the end of the unit to put in with the church’s newsletter or hand out at Sunday worship.




The Creeds

Music Lesson Idea

Lesson Idea:  Look in your church’s hymnal for songs and hymns that express our faith, that say what we believe. Have the participants work in groups to look at these hymns and songs. See if they can figure out what the messages are. You can also bring in some recording of contemporary songs – both secular and Christian, see if the participants can figure out what they’re about. Explain to the class that we have many different ways of expressing our faith.

Note: rhondab is the volunteer poster for this lesson set, not the author.


Lesson ideas from St. Elmo's Choir.

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

Last edited by Luanne Payne
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