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This topic and idea was originally posted in 2016 for the anniversary of 9-11. It was a question in the Teachers Lounge. We're moving it here to preserve the concept, as it would make a great "any year" recognition. You are certainly welcome to add to it.

Originally Posted by Member Sanderling:

The ELCA is asking us to recognize first responder heroes that day and it seems the perfect segue into Bible heroes in the weeks following.  Looking for fresh ideas.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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Hey Pat,

I looked up the ELCA pdf on that. Nice idea.

It was the name of that PDF which gave me the spark for the following 3 step idea...

1. Rather than just make this a "recognition of heroes day" about turning it into a question to the kids: What does God want YOU to be a "first responder" to?
And "how" should you respond to various situations?

2. Then, here's an idea about "First Responder Toolkits" that could be adapted into a presentation or demonstration, or maybe a skit or project...

First Responders have "tool kits" they carry.
(First Aid, tools, cutters, rope, fire extinguishers, etc. You might ask a First Responder to bring in items from their kit.)
What would Jesus' put in your tool kit?  (What should we be prepared with?)
How could you represent that toolkit? Make a "Jesus tool belt" ?

3. Finally, what could your kids give to First Responders to put in their actual toolkits that would support them? Off the top of my head: words of scripture/encouragement/appreciation, or perhaps even the church purchasing a tool for the local fire dept (ask the dept for suggestions).

PS...Wish the ELCA PDF had included doctors and RNs in their concept of "first responders" --and maybe your church should as well. As someone married to one, I know how often they are asked to go from 0 to 60 when emergencies present themselves. Pastors are often "first responders" too.

Hope this sparks what you need. Please post back here what you plan on doing.


  Great ideas!  I love the "first responder toolkit"--something we could add to as we look at Bible heroes in the weeks to come.  And you are correct about doctors, nurses and pastors...I suppose you could add moms and dads as well...teachers...the list goes on but it does generate food for thought about how God wants us all to be first responders.  Thanks Neil!  

Finally, a quiet night to update our heroes topic progress!  

We kicked off the unit on 9/11 with a visit from 2 local first responders.  Each brought 3 items from their "go-bag" and told how the items helped them do their job.  We latched onto this idea of "go-bag" for our upcoming Bible hero lessons (see below).

The best part was when the guests told about the training they must go through to remain current.  Of course, I jumped on that statement with how worship and Sunday School provide training for us as "Christian First Responders."  A coin-shaped badge was given to the responders offering a scripture passage along with our thanks and enough extras to share with their colleagues.  

Families were invited and hero snacks were served following the presentation which lasted about 20 minutes. Children then broke into 2 groups: preschool and elementary.  The teens went off to help pack school kits with the adults.  

A real hit of the morning were the red capes for preschoolers that will be adorned with a badge symbolizing the story and hero trait of each hero as we progress through the unit.  (We are fortunate to have an "artist in residence" this year who is designing the badges.)  

The elementary children decorated their own "go-bags" to which badges and personal choice symbols of the hero stories to be added in the coming "Heroes of the Bible" lessons.  We are fortunate to refer back to the go-bags of our guests as we fill our own go-bags this fall.  The day also gives us the opportunity to talk about how God wants us to be First Responders in our community and the world.  We are the hands and mouths for God's Work.  

We've extended our hero study to the adult Sunday School class and congregation members.  A brief devotion is provided to the adult class on the day a hero is introduced and a copy of the devotion is available in the Hospitality area for all members.

We are running a modified rotation structure with only 2 weeks per Hero story.  We will look at 5 heroes between now and the start of Advent with a culminating hero celebration family event on Nov. 20.

There is real excitement about this study of Bible heroes from teachers, children, and adults. I'm not sure if it was the timing of starting on 9/11 or the need to return to familiar stories of heroism and faith.  Whatever the reason, we are off to an enthusiastic start in our Christian Education program.  

Neil, thanks again for making the connection of first responders and go bags.  We all need to keep our Christian First Responder go-bags supplied and ready to go.  Thanks also to the rotation site for the wealth of resources available to teach Bible heroes.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

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