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Hi! We have not done John Wesley yet (It is not until year 5 of our scope and sequence). But we did host an all day birthday party for him this summer. You will find useful information in J.W. Riders from Cokesbury. It has storytelling from people in John's life, crafts from his time period like saddlebags, etc. and music from songs he wrote. One of the items was a walk through John's life. It gives directions to create different scenes and we had tape recorders set up at each station explaining the scene. It was a good investment.

Nicki

Ideas

The following info was moved here to consolidate the topic...

Brenda H.
Posted January 29, 2005

Looking for ideas on how to present the life and ministry of John Wesley, founder of Methodism. I have many resources on him but nothing to help guide me in presenting it in lively workshop rotation style to elementary children. Has anyone been successful in doing this? I do know about J.W. & Company but was not totally pleased with the presentation and didn't feel the cost justified the material.


Neil MacQueen
Posted January 29, 2005

Which book of the Bible is he in?
(said the Presbyterian)

Drama, how about creating famous vignettes from his life, including: his heart being "strangely warmed" at Aldersgate, and him doing a circuit ride. Or better yet, do a "heroes of Methodism" including Asbury the missionary, and Charles Wesley writing hymns. "Cross the Atlantic with the Moravians in the storm" (it's famous story about Wesley for you non-Methodists).

Storytelling you could reenact a camp meeting like the riders used to hold. A little fire and brimstone, and emphasis on Wesley's classic three points of doctrine.

Art...how about the UMC cross?
"What's that flame about anyway?" (It's about Wesley's warming at Aldersgate, the spirit filled 'holiness' movement he created.)

Video....gotta be a Wesley video somewhere.

<>< The Presbyterian


Kim Trimboli
Exchange Volunteer
Posted January 30, 2005

Actually, I need to look it up in my notes, but there is an old video - probably your resource center still has completely covered with dust. The movie itself is dull as dirt, but it starts off with a great claymation sequence giving the history of Methodism in about 5 minutes. I'll see if I can find the name of it.

Moderator Update: It's called "“Clayride: A Gallop Through United Methodist History” see post further down for YouTube link.

A "reformed" Methodist


cj <><
Posted January 31, 2005

At our conference center here in NY, we have a Learning Center full of resources. Anything from a Greek Bible up to puppets and videos. Check with your district to see what resources are available.
<><
cj (a displaced catholic now a UM)


Brenda H
Posted January 31, 2005

You guys are GREAT!! Especially you non and reformed Methodists!! Thanks for all the ideas and the humor!! I am sure our resource center has tons of dusty, non-used, boring videos on Wesley but would be interested in the claymation one if you can find it Kim. I am finishing our rotation for March on the events of Holy Week and used this site extensively for ideas. The one on Wesley is due for the rotation in May so was getting a head start on planning. Thanks!!


Jaymie Derden
Posted February 05, 2005

We did a three week rotation on John Wesley, based on the J W & Company curriculum -- we tweaked it quite a bit. Do you have a conference lending library? Then you could borrow it and use what you like and not have the expense.

We also had a big church-wide celebration after worship with pony rides (circuit riders), old-fashioned games, and a local retired teacher who dresses up as JW. It was really fun. The kids made birthday cupcakes (we did this on his 300th birthday celebration) in the cooking workshop, did a drama of the parsonage burning and John being "plucked like a brand from the burning, did "circuit rider" relays to learn our memory verse and made candles to talk about his heart-warming experience at Aldersgate. The older kids also made a display board about his life
in the computer lab.

Jaymie


RobinH
Posted February 07, 2005

We did a wonderful John Wesley unit for a summer rotation unit. It came from a publication called John Wesley and Company. Part of it was a "museum walkthrough" where we had posters which illustrated his life and tapes which they listened to as they "toured". In art they made horn books.
In drama -- we used a scripted drama which illustrates the story of the night the Wesley home caught fire. Includes narrator, Nurse, John Wesley, Mrs. Wesley, Wesley children, Neighbor 1, 2 and Mrs. Wesley

Cook’s Garden- became the apothecary shop for the month of July.

Leader explained what and why of a apothecary while students made soap balls and / or powder. Will give JW’s Rules for Health.

Computer room was an opportunity to teach the children about the first printing press (briefly) and then have them make their own newspaper which tells the stories of JW’s life and times.

Hope these ideas help.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

John Wesley Play

I wrote an original, historically accurate John Wesley play for our John Wesley Sunday in February 2005. Parts were played by children and adults.
Janet


This is an original play by Janet Jennings (e-mail address: prodesse@bright.net). It was used at Gay Street United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon, OH, in February 2005. Permission is hereby granted to adapt and use this script.

Meet John Wesley


NARRATOR 1: __________________________

If you go outside our church building and look around, you will see other churches. Next door is the Episcopal, across the street is the Presbyterian, and over on Main Street is the Congregational. There are many more. Did you ever wonder why ours is called the United Methodist Church? Why Methodist? It’s because of an amazing man named John Wesley.
Wesley was born in England about 300 years ago. His father was a rector, or as we would say, a pastor, of a church. The Wesley family lived in a two-story cottage with a thatched roof. A thatched roof is made of dried grass, and one winter night it caught on fire! All the family leaped out bed and ran outside to safety, but where was John, or Jacky, as they called him? Again and again his father tried to go back into the smoke-filled house to search for the boy, but had to turn away. Six-year-old Jacky woke up and found he couldn’t get out of the burning house, but he stayed calm. He pushed a dresser over to the upstairs window, and climbed up on it. Someone saw him looking out, and then some men got the idea to form a human ladder to reach him. Just minutes after he was rescued, the burning roof caved in. His mother…. but wait a minute…I think I see John Wesley coming now!

WESLEY:
(Enters from the rear using a cane, speaking as he walks, goes up to front, turns around.)
“A brand plucked from the burning!” Yes, in the words of the Bible, Zechariah 3:2, to be exact, I was a “brand plucked from the burning.” My mother was sure that God had saved me from that fire for a reason, and after that she prayed I would be faithful to God’s purpose for me.

NARRATOR 1:
I’ve heard that your mother, Susannah Wesley, was a remarkable person.

WESLEY;
Oh, my yes. Life wasn’t easy in the early 1700’s in England. My mother had 19 children and my father made very little money. I was the 15th child born. Only 10 of us grew to be adults, my two brothers, my seven sisters, and me; the others died. That was common in those days. My mother was a strong and spiritually mature woman. Oh we knew she loved us, but she was very strict with us children. She taught us as babes in the cradle to cry softly. And she taught all ten of us to read and write and do our numbers. She made sure that each of us got six hours a day of schooling and she scheduled one hour a week for a private conference with each of us. The people in Father’s church were shocked that she was teaching my sisters. You see in those days, most people thought girls didn’t need to know how to read or write.

NARRATOR 1;
The Early Learners are now going to show us the Wesley family being taught at home by their mother. (Narrator 1 returns to seat. During the next scene, Narrator 2 takes place at lectern.)

(Early Learners and teachers walk up steps to stage.)

SCENE 1: (Early Learners with one teacher portraying Susannah Wesley)
Note to participants: Feel free to change dialogue.

SUSANNAH: Now Martha (or Samuel, if a boy), I want you to read this chapter from the Bible. Mary, Emilia, Hetty, practice your handwriting. Jacky, today is June 17, your 5th birthday. Do you know what that means?
JACKY: No.
SUSANNAH; It means you are old enough today to start your education. Today you will learn the alphabet. Now repeat after me. A,B,C,D,E
JACKY: A,B,C,D,E
SUSANNAH; F, G, H,
JACKY; F, G, H
SUSANNAH; Good. By this afternoon you will be able to say all 26 letters.
All my children but one have learned the alphabet in six hours. You are wearing your best clothes because it’s your birthday and you are starting your education so you can learn to read God’s word from the Bible.

Early Learners and teachers leave stage.

NARRATOR 2: (girl)________________________________________

Susannah was such a patient and good teacher, that all three of her boys, Samuel, John, and Charles, when they turned 10 years old, were chosen to go to a boarding school in London called Charterhouse School. They didn’t have to pay; they got scholarships. It was too far away to go home for visits, even at holidays, but the Wesleys exchanged lots of letters. Do you remember those years at boarding school, Mr. Wesley?

WESLEY;
Oh, yes, oh, yes. Of course it was hard being away from my parents and sisters at such a tender age. At school, they made us get up every morning at 5:00 AM. A lot of times we didn’t have enough food to eat. But Mother was so proud that I was learning Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Before I left home, Father sat me down and made me promise that every morning I would run three times around the school yard before breakfast. And I did it, too! In the 7 years I spent there, I never missed a day. And to this day, I can ride horseback for miles, preach sermons out in the fields, ride some more and sleep on the ground under God’s starry sky and get up ready to go the next morning at 4 AM. For fifty years I’ve ridden all over England on horseback. I think it was that boarding school life that made me strong.

NARRATOR 2;
When John was 17, he graduated from Charterhouse School. Then it was off to Oxford, also on a scholarship. His younger brother Charles joined him there a year or two later. At first the Wesley boys were like most other college students—they studied, but in their free time they played chess and backgammon and tennis, danced, and drank coffee in the coffee house---but then things changed. They became more serious. John decided to become a priest in the Church of England like his father and he and a small group started meeting in their room for serious Bible study.

The boys are going to show us how the other students reacted to this change.
All boys K-5 go up on stage. Two, representing John and Charles, carry black Bibles. Friend 1 carries a chessboard.

SCENE 2: OXFORD AND THE HOLY CLUB (all the boys in 2-3, 4-5)

Two boys, representing John and Charles, are carrying black Bibles. They enter from one side. The others come in from the other side.

FRIEND 1: Jack, Charlie, how about meeting us at the coffee house this evening? I challenge you to a game of chess.
CHARLES: Thank you, not tonight.
FRIEND 2: Why not? We haven’t seen much of you two lately.
JOHN: This is Wednesday, and we have our weekly Bible study tonight.
FRIEND 3: Weekly Bible study?
CHARLES: That’s right. We always study God’s word at 7:00 P.M. on Wednesday nights. We would like to have you join us.
FRIEND 1: No, thank you. There’s a chessboard and a cup of coffee waiting for me. Besides, I’m not interested in your “Holy Club.”
FRIEND 2: Me either. I’ve heard about your group. You’re becoming a bunch of Bible Moths if you ask me. Don’t you want to have some
fun once in a while?
JOHN; Oh, no. We meet on Wednesday exactly at 7:00. We are quite methodical about it, actually.
FRIEND 1: Methodical is right. Always doing things according to a method. Hey! That’s a good name for you—Methodists.
ALL: (As they walk away) Methodists! Methodists! Methodists! The Wesleys are Methodists!

John and his brother shrug their shoulders and walk away in the other direction.

NARRATOR 2;
Didn’t that bother you, Mr. Wesley, to be made fun of and called names?

JOHN WESLEY;
I must confess it did at first. But God played a trick on those fellows. The reason they called us “Methodists” was because we had a regular way of doing things, we always met on the same night, for example, and we always began with a prayer. I think we learned our set ways from our mother. The other students didn’t understand why we were so methodical, and they made fun of us, calling us names, and one of the names stuck. “Methodists.” (chuckles)

Narrator 2 leaves lectern and Narrator 3 begins reading.

NARRATOR 3: __________________________________
John and Charles did not just study the Bible, They tried to do what it said. After reading “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” they decided they could live on just a little money and give the rest away. In those days, people without jobs who couldn’t pay their bills were put in prison. In fact, once John Wesley’s father was put in prison for not having money to pay his bills. England did not treat its poor people well in the 1700’s. Children as young as 5 or 6 were made to work in factories instead of going to school. People starved and died of illnesses and no one seemed to care. But John and Charles tried to help. They visited prisons, started a school for poor children, and gave money to hungry and sick people.
Then one day John Wesley met a man named General Oglethorpe. Let’s listen in on that that meeting.

SCENE 3: SENT TO GEORGIA (Ernie Hamilton as General Oglethorpe and Steve Tier as John Wesley)

GENERAL OGLETHORPE: Now, here’s the plan, John. I want to set up a new colony in America in a place called Georgia. My dream is to have a place for people coming out of debtors’ prison to make a fresh start. I’m also going to open it up to people who are being persecuted for their religion in Europe. But my new colony needs a spiritual leader. I know of your work with the lower classes, and I think you would be excellent. Would you consider it?

JOHN; It’s true I am an Anglican priest, and I am interested in going to the new world with you and working in your new colony. I do believe God is calling me to be a missionary in the New World to the Indians I’ve heard about.

GENERAL OGLETHORPE; Fine. And your brother Charles. I understand he has an excellent education from Oxford and a gift for music. Do you think he could be persuaded to sign on as my personal secretary?

JOHN; I’m sure of it. I think you will find his services entirely satisfactory.

GENERAL OGLETHORPE; Excellent. Go home, make arrangements, pack your trunks. We’ll set sail for America in six months.

(Shake hands. Leave stage.)

NARRATOR 3;
So John Wesley and his brother Charles sailed to America, but things went badly there. Most of the rough and rowdy settlers didn’t have time for, or even respect for, Wesley. After two unhappy years, they gave up and sailed for home. Would you care to comment on those years, Mr. Wesley?

JOHN WESLEY:
We went to America full of enthusiasm, Charles and I. And I have a hard time telling you this…even now….but…I was a failure. Oh, the mistakes I made. I didn’t know enough about what conditions would be like in the new world. And the Indians, well, I couldn’t find a way to reach them at all. (Pulls out handerchief, pauses) I had learned a lot from my books, but I had so much to learn about life. (Shakes head, sadly.)
(Brightens up.) Painful as it was, Charles and I came to realize that God was teaching us a lesson, teaching us to be more humble.

NARRATOR 3;
But God had future plans for the Wesleys. Something had happened while they were on board the ship that changed the course of history.
A big storm came up. Everybody on board thought they were going to sink and die. The captain, the crew, the other English people were all screaming and panicking. But there was one group of men, women, and children who stayed calm. Those people were from Germany. They called themselves Moravians.

The girls in Grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 are going to show us what the Moravians did on board the ship calledThe Simmonds during that terrible storm.

Narrator 3 leaves lectern and Narrator 4 goes up.

SCENE 4: MORAVIANS ON SHIP DURING STORM (All the girls K-5)
Seated on floor of stage, rocking back and forth as if in a bad storm on board a ship.

GIRL 1: (Hands folded in prayer) Oh, God, we know that you are with us and will deliver us safely from this violent storm.

GIRL 2: (Hands folded in prayer) And if it be thy will not to deliver us safely from this storm, we give thanks for eternal life with thee.

GIRL 3: Let’s join hands and sing a hymn to help calm the little ones. (They join hands and sing “O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.”) p. 117 Hymnal

ALL: “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”

NARRATOR 4: ____________________________________

And you never forgot those people, did you, Mr. Wesley?

WESLEY:
No. I thought, Here they were just uneducated German peasants, Moravians, they were called, and they had a faith in God I didn’t have. A faith that God would take care of them through storms at sea. The captain was scared, the crew was scared, and I, a priest in the Church of England, was quaking in my boots with fear. I wanted what they had.
Well, I was very depressed for a year or two after I finally got back to England. I kept thinking about the mess I’d made of things in Georgia and about those Moravians on the ship.

NARRATOR 4:
And then after this low point in Wesley’s life, God touched John Wesley in a new way. Tell us about the exciting thing that happened, Mr. Wesley.

WESLEY:
I remember like it was yesterday. I had gone to a Bible study that night—somewhat unwillingly—but I went. It was on a street called Aldersgate and that’s why from then on I called it my Aldersgate experience. And as I sat there listening I had the strangest feeling. My heart felt strangely warmed. And—it’s hard to explain—but I felt I did accept Christ and I knew God had taken away my sins. From that day on I felt full of joy and energy for the Lord!

NARRATOR 4:
Many people didn’t know what to make of this new enthusiasm. In fact, after John preached, some churches asked him not to come back again. One by one churches closed their doors to Wesley. John had a friend named George Whitefield who was doing something unheard of in those days. He was preaching outside the churches. He invited Wesley to join him. People
were shocked. Jesus had preached to crowds outdoors, but dignified priests of the Church of England didn’t do such silly things! But Wesley did it. He began drawing large crowds, many persons who had never been inside a church building. He won many people to Christ.
Some crowds were not friendly. John went to the church where he grew up and they refused to let him in. So do you know what he did? He went out into the nearby cemetery and stood on his father’s gravestone and preached. And many lives were changed that day. Once a man came with rotten eggs in his pockets, intending to throw them at John Wesley, but a friend of Wesley’s bumped up against the man on purpose and smashed the eggs in his pocket. Did he ever smell bad! Another time someone set an angry bull loose to scare Wesley, but the bull stopped before reaching him. Once a man punched him in the jaw, but Wesley continued to preach the word of God. Wesley was not a big man; he stood 5 feet 4 inches tall and never weighed more than 126 pounds, but he was fearless when it came to preaching the word of God.
So you never had a church of your own, Mr. Wesley?

WESLEY:
No, I was a priest all my life, but I never had my own church. I traveled from town to town on horseback with my Bible and my sermons in my saddlebags. I even read books on horseback. I went wherever the people were and preached. Many days I’d preach to the coal miners before they went into the mines at 5 AM, and then maybe I’d preach 3 or 4 more sermons that day. When enough people in a town seemed interested, I organized them into a small group and then put someone in charge. One of the gifts God gave me was the ability to organize. And people didn’t like it, but sometimes I put a woman in charge. My mother used to have Bible reading in our house when Father was gone, and she led many people to Christ, so I knew God could use women just as well as men. I called my groups Methodist Societies. They caught on and, to make a long story short, they became the Methodist Church. They begged me to come to America, but I didn’t go. Instead I sent Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke to be missionaries. I didn’t want to start a new church. My intention was to improve the Church of England. God brought about the new church. But no, I never had my own church. The world was my parish!

NARRATOR 5: __________________________________________

Traveling 5,000 miles a year, mostly on horseback, John Wesley seemed to be everywhere. He became one of the most famous men in England. In those 50 years of traveling and preaching he saw England go through the Industrial Revolution. Because of his work making life better for the poor, and helping them to stop abusing alcohol, some say he prevented a bloody revolution such as the one in France. He opened a free school for the poor, he opened a hospital clinic, and the last letter he ever wrote, at age 88, was against slavery in America. He published 400 books, including a dictionary. He wrote rules for hymn singing that you can read today in the front of our hymnal. All the Wesleys were musical, and John wrote hymns, but not as many as his brother and nephews. Did you know his brother Charles Wesley wrote 9,000 hymns? John was even fascinated by Benjamin Franklin’s experiments with electricity!

(At this point, John Wesley climbs the steps onto the stage and lies down.)

NARRATOR 5:
He fell ill in early March, 1791. Let’s join the friends of John Wesley at John’s bedside.

Final Scene: All the adults available go up on stage and gather around John Wesley lying in bed. (The bed can be folding chairs lined up.)

PERSON 1: He’s almost 88, and just last week he was preaching, still winning souls for God.
PERSON 2: Do you remember what he said on his 80th birthday? He said, “May God grant that I never live to be useless.”
PERSON 3: I don’t know where he got the strength.
PERSON 4: It was his great love for God and people that kept him going.
PERSON5: I think I’ll never forget his advice on the use of money. “Gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can, for as long as ever you can.”
PERSON 1: And that’s exactly what he did.
PERSON 2: He did so much good.
JOHN BRADFORD: Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and this heir of glory shall come in.”
WESLEY: (Sits up and speaks weakly but clearly: “THE BEST OF ALL IS—GOD IS WITH US!” Then sinks back and dies. Everyone on stage bows in prayer and stays in place while narrator finishes.)

NARRATOR 5;
And so with those words, “The best of all is—God is with us!” John Wesley died on March 4, 1791, At least 10,000 people filed past his coffin to pay their respects to this great Englishman. His funeral was held in the early morning, because they knew they could never handle the crowd that would come if they held it later in the day.
Some would say John Wesley died a poor man. All he owned when he died was one silver spoon and his well-worn saddlebags. But to the world he left (dramatic pause) the Methodist Church.
THE END


SOURCES

John Wesley’s Britain, an informational map published by the British Tourist Authority, Thames Tower, Black’s Road, London W6 9EL.

McNeer, May and Ward, Lynd. John Wesley. Abingdon Press, 1951. (from church library, Gay Street UMC.)

Tewell, Thomas K. “Stuff,” Sermon preached at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, Nov. 14, 2004.

Vickers, John A. John Wesley, Founder of Methodism. Ladybird Books Ltd., Loughborough, England, 1977. Purchased at Wesley’s Chapel in London.

Wesley and His Times, video borrowed from Media Center, East Ohio Conference, United Methodist Church.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Claim the Name

The confirmation material "Claim the Name" has a claymation video and some other helps for this idea including puzzles on UM history and videos about famous UM women, colleges, etc.(9 total) Might be a good tool for this rotation, too.

Last edited by Rotation.org Lesson Forma-teer

John Wesley

Summaries:

  • Video K-5th: Watch "John Wesley Proud Methodist" Tape and "Disney's American Legends (Johnny Appleseed)" DVD.  See this post for an alternative video suggestion.
  • Video 2nd-5th: video tape a newscast, script included.
  • Computer: Using Kid Pix 4 (or 3-D) each child draws a scene from the story (alternative suggestion: type his famous line into Cal & Marty's Scripture Memory Game).
  • Storytelling (Older Elem): John tells his story - followed by discussion.
  • *History/Science: timeline (panel) walk-through and domino's falling.
  • *Drama: hear Susanna Wesley tell her story, act out Fire Fire (script not provided).
  • *Music K-3rd: hear story pausing several times to sing a song.
  • *Music 4th-5th: similar to above

Note: *several of the lesson in this set refer to material from the curriculum called "J.W. & Company" by Daphan Flegal, Cokesbury.  This is no longer in print.

Update 2015:  It appears to have been republished in book format (assuming all material from original curriculum is included).  See this post for details.



John Wesley

Movie Lesson

K-5th Grades

Summary: Watch "John Wesley Proud Methodist" Tape and "Disney's American Legends (Johnny Appleseed)" DVD.  See this post for an alternative video suggestion.

Memory Verse:
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Objectives:

  • John Wesley was called by God.
  • John Wesley spread the good news of Jesus to all people.

Supplies:

  • John Wesley: Proud Methodist video tape
  • Disney’s American Legends DVD
  • Popcorn & popcorn containers
  • Water glasses

Lesson Plan:

Outline:

  • Arrival Activity
  • Opening
  • Memory Verse
  • John Wesley video (video tape)
  • Johnny Appleseed video (DVD)
  • Discussion
  • Joys & Concerns
  • Closing

Arrival Activity
As people enter the room, welcome them. Pass out popcorn and glasses of water.
You can have the DVD player going with one of the other stories from Disney’s American Legends, if you like.

Opening:

Begin class by praying the Lord’s Prayer with the kids. You can ask if any of them would like to begin the prayer.

(1st week) Tell the students that we are studying the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

(other weeks) Ask the students who are we studying? What do you know about him?

Memory Verse
Review the memory verse.
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Dig:


John Wesley Video

Play the John Wesley: Proud Methodist video beginning at about 13:00 in. There’s a complete fade to black after his trip to Savannah. Start after the black screen, just as he arrives back in England.

When the video is over, ask if anyone has any questions about what they saw.

Johnny Appleseed Video
Play the Johnny Appleseed story from the Disney’s American Legends DVD.

Discussion
Ask:

  • Why do you think we watched the Johnny Appleseed story today? What does it have to do with John Wesley?
  • What started Johnny Appleseed on his trip west planting apple trees? What started John Wesley in his preaching ministry?
  • What did Johnny Appleseed share? What did John Wesley share?
  • What was Johnny Appleseed’s legacy (what he left behind)? What was John Wesley’s legacy?
  • What did Johnny Appleseed take on his journey? What did John Wesley take with him as he traveled around? [Basically, J.W. only took what would fit in his saddle bags – a change of clothes, a Bible, some paper, a pen -- although he always had a book to read]. How would you feel going off on a journey with that little?

Joys and Concerns
You or the shepherd need to go around the room asking the kids to share their Joys (happy things) and their Concerns (sad things).

Closing:

Someone needs to offer a closing prayer. If that is you, then you can pray something like this:

Dear God, thank you for this chance to learn about you. Help us share your good news with others by our words and our actions. Amen.

Extras while waiting for parents to arrive
Have the students help clean up the room.

Work on learning the memory verse. Divide the room into 3 groups. Have the first group be “Go into all the world”. Have the second group be “and proclaim the good news”. Have the third group be “to the whole creation.” Have them practice saying the memory verse by having each group say their part in turn (have them stand up when they say it and sit down when they’re done). Then reassign parts to the groups and try it again.

Cleanup
Make sure the popcorn machine is off/unplugged and old popcorn is given away or thrown out.
Pick up any trash.
Rewind the video to the beginning (or the correct starting place if the lesson will be repeated next hour or next Sunday).
Remove the DVD and video from the machines. Turn off all the equipment and lock the equipment.


Lesson written by JoOehrlein.

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

Last edited by Luanne Payne

John Wesley

Video Lesson

2nd-5th Grades

Summary: video tape a newscast, script included.

Memory Verse:
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Lesson Objectives:

  • John Wesley was the founder of Methodism.
  • John Wesley was called by God.
  • John Wesley spread the good news of Jesus to all people.

Supplies:

  • Coloring page
  • Crayons or markers
  • Copies of Script
  • Video Camera
  • TV
  • Period Costumes (optional)
  • Newscaster Costumes (optional)

Lesson Plan

Outline:

  • Arrival Activity
  • Opening
  • Memory Verse
  • Video
  • Memory Verse (optional)
  • Closing

Arrival Activity
As people enter the room, welcome them. Pass out the coloring page for them to work on as you wait for others.

Opening:

Begin by leading the kids in the Lord’s Prayer.
Have the kids introduce themselves. Introduce yourself to them!

(1st week) Tell the students that we are studying the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

(other weeks) Ask the students who are we studying? What do you know about him?

Memory Verse
Review the memory verse.
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Dig:

Video:
Cast:

  • Newscaster #1
  • Newscaster #2
  • Reporter #1
  • Neighbor
  • Reporter #2
  • Student
  • Reporter #3
  • John Wesley
  • Reporter #4
  • Vicar
  • Reporter #5
  • Woman
  • Pharmacist
  • Spokesman


If you have more students than parts, split the Newscaster #1 and Newscaster #2 parts.
If you have fewer students than parts, combine some of the reporter parts.

Note that you can treat each pair of scenes separately, so you can cut scenes if you’re running short on time.

Pass out the various parts to the students.

Note: It is possible to do this as reader's theater, without video taping and without costumes, props or scenery.

If you're going to videotape this, decide whether you will run through each scene once before videotaping or just do it all "live".

Scene 1: (news studio)
Newscaster #1: Good evening. Here’s today’s top news. England has lost an important religious leader today. John Wesley, founder of the Methodists, died today at age 87.

Newscaster #2: He is being mourned by Methodists in England, Scotland, and Ireland, as well as by Methodists in the American colonies.

Newscaster #1: In honor of the life of John Wesley and his many contributions to religious and social life here in England, we’ve pieced together news stories from different parts of his life.

Newscaster #2: We begin now in early 1709, when young John Wesley was only 5 years old.

CUT

Scene 2: (Epworth, outside burned rectory)
Reporter #1: I’m standing here outside the rectory in Epworth, where a disaster has just occurred. The rectory caught fire and burned to the ground. Officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze. The family and servants were all inside the house at the time the fire began. Luckily all escaped with their lives. I have with me now a true hero, one of the men who helped rescue one of the children. Sir, can you tell us what happened?

Neighbor: I was helping with the water bucket line when we realized there was a boy still in the house. We could see him up near the edge of the roof. Someone yelled to bring a ladder, but I knew there wasn’t enough time.

Reporter #1: What did you do?

Neighbor: I grabbed Jim, who was standing next to me in the bucket line. Jim and I ran up to the house. I stood on his shoulders and managed to just reach the boy. I snatched him from the house just before the roof fell in.

Reporter #1: Weren’t you scared?

Neighbor: All I could think of was that poor boy up there alone and afraid. I didn’t have time to be scared.

Reporter #1: Thank you for talking to us today.
Well, there you have it. A disaster and a miracle all in one. Back to you.

CUT

Scene 3:
Newscaster #1: After that miraculous start, it’s not surprising that John Wesley did great things.

Newscaster #2: He went off to Charterhouse to school and then to college in Oxford, eventually becoming a teacher there. Our story picks up in 1731.

CUT

Scene 4:
Reporter #2: I’m standing here today at a brand new school, funded by very unlikely people. The founders of this school aren’t rich men, but are Oxford fellows who have decided to live as simply as possible so that they can use the rest of their money to help people. These Oxford fellows call themselves The Holy Club.

Young man! Young man! Can I talk to you for a minute?

Student: Sir?

Reporter #2: How was your first day of school?

Student: It was good, I guess. The teacher seems nice enough and my parents are grateful to Mr. Wesley.

Reporter #2: Thank you, young man, for your comments.

CUT

Scene 5: (news studio)
Newscaster #1: But things didn’t always go well for John Wesley. We next find him in our news archives after his biggest failure.

CUT

Scene 6: (harbor)
Reporter #3: The ship from the American colonies has just arrived in the harbor. Who knows what news it will have brought? Perhaps we can even speak with some of the passengers. They’re debarking now. Sir, may I speak with you?

John Wesley: Yes?

Reporter #3: Can you tell our viewers your name, occupation, and why you were in the colonies?

John Wesley: My name is John Wesley. I’m a minister in the Church of England. I went to Georgia colony at General Oglethorpe’s request to minister to the settlers and convert the Indians.

Reporter #3: Did you convert any Indians?

John Wesley: Uh, no. They didn’t really want to come into town to church and General Oglethorpe didn’t want me going out beyond the settlement. He thought the Spanish might think we wanted their land.

Reporter #3: Ok. So, what was it like ministering to the settlers?

John Wesley: Actually, it didn’t go all that well. We had some minor disagreements on baptism, church services, the way people ought to live,…. I guess we disagreed on a lot of things. In general, they didn’t like me.

Reporter #3: So what are your plans now?

John Wesley: I’m continuing on to London. I’m a priest, so I expect I will eventually get a church and preach.

Reporter #3: Good luck, sir!

CUT

Scene 7: (news studio)
Newscaster #2: From that low point of his life, things took an upturn for John Wesley. Within a few years he was preaching to crowds all over England. We have this report from 1742.

CUT

Scene 8: (graveyard at Epworth)
Reporter #4: I’m reporting live from the cemetery in Epworth where the most astonishing thing has happened. The local vicar has denied John Wesley the chance to preach in the church, so John has begun preaching each day in the cemetery, standing on his own father’s tombstone.
I have the vicar here with me. Sir, what do you think of this?

Vicar: It’s a disgrace, I tell you, a disgrace. Preaching should only occur in the church, from the pulpit. To preach outside dishonors the Word of God.

Reporter #4: I notice, sir, that there are more people here listening to John Wesley preach outside than attended church on Sunday. Can you respond to that?

Vicar: No comment.

Reporter #4: I’ve heard John Wesley urge people many times to go to church and take communion. Do you think this religious fervor will impact your church?

Vicar: I think John Wesley is a troublemaker of the first degree!

Reporter #4: Thank you for your time, sir.

CUT

Scene 9: (news studio)
Newscaster #1: We now move to London in 1746, where John Wesley had his first headquarters at the Foundery

CUT

Scene 10: (Foundery)
Reporter #5: Today is a historic day for London. The first free clinic and pharmacy for the poor has opened in our fair city. I have several people here to talk about this event. Ma’am, let’s start with you. What’s your name?
Woman: My names Jen.

Reporter #5: And why are you here at the Foundery today?

Woman: I came to get medicine for my daughter. She has a cough and is too sick to work. I couldn’t afford medicine – we barely have enough money to live on. A place like this has been needed for a long time.

Reporter #5: And you, sir. Why are you here today?

Pharmacist: I’m the pharmacist who mixes the medicines and helps people choose the correct treatment for their illness.

Reporter #5: What made you decide to work in a place like this? Surely you could have opened up a shop of your own?

Pharmacist: I’m sure I could, but I felt God was calling me to serve him this way.

CUT

Scene 11: (news studio)
Newscaster #2: And now, we have the official statement from those who were with John Wesley at his death.

Scene 12: (outside Wesley Chapel, London, England)
Spokesman: Today, at the age of 87, John Wesley died, surrounded by family and friends. He leaves behind thousands of people who were strengthened in faith by the 42,000 sermons that he preached, as well as many preachers he has trained to carry on the Methodist tradition.

I think much of Brother Wesley’s work can be summed up by his last words: “Best of all is God is with us.”

CUT

Scene 13: (news studio)
Newscaster #1: Well, that’s today’s news. Thank you for joining us. Tune in again at 10:00 to get the latest news, weather, and sports, here on channel 3.

CUT

Rewind the tape and watch the news!

Memory Verse (Optional)
If there’s time, have each member of the class take turns videotaping the rest of the class saying the memory verse.

Closing:

You or the shepherd need to lead the kids in Joys and Concerns. Go around the group asking each kid if they have a Joy (happy thing) they’d like to share. Then go around the group again and ask about Concerns (sad things) they’d like to share.

Someone needs to offer a closing prayer. If that is you, then you can pray something like this:

Dear God, thank you for this chance to learn about you. Help us share your good news with others by our words and our actions. Make us aware of how our lives affect others. Amen.

Extra While waiting for parents to arrive
Finish the coloring page started during arrival activities.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

John Wesley

Computer Lesson

All Elementary Ages

Summary: Using Kid Pix 4 (or 3-D) each child draws a scene from the story (alternative suggestion: type his famous line into Cal & Marty's Scripture Memory Game, see end of lesson).

Memory Verse:
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Objectives:

  • John Wesley was the founder of Methodism.
  • John Wesley was called by God.
  • John Wesley spread the good news of Jesus to all people.
  • Methodism spread to the United States around the time of the American Revolution.

Supplies:


Lesson Plan:

Outline:

  • Preparation
  • Arrival Activity
  • Opening
  • Memory Verse
  • The Story
  • Activity
  • Closing

Preparation
Turn on all the computers, monitors, and speakers.

Arrival Activity
As people enter the room, welcome them.
Ask them to start KidPix. Ask them to use any tools in the program (stamps, backgrounds, drawing, etc.) to draw a picture of a heart.

Once they’re done with that, if there’s time, they may draw anything they like.

Opening:

First, have everyone shut KidPix.

Move away from the computers, so you will have everyone’s attention.

Open class by saying the Lord’s Prayer together.

Have the kids introduce themselves. Introduce yourself to them!

Memory Verse
After the first week, ask if anyone knows the memory verse.

Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Say the memory verse and have them echo you.

Sitting in a circle, try to say one word of the memory verse per person (“Go”, “Into”, “All”, “The”, “World”….) and see how far you can get. Try several times around.

Say the memory verse together one more time.

Dig:

The Story
(1st week) Tell the students that we are studying the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

(other weeks) Ask the students who are we studying? What do you know about him? [They should know that he was the founder of Methodism. They may know he was born in England, that he was one of 19 children, that he was saved from a fire at age 5, that he was the leader of the Holy Club, that he preached outside on his father’s grave, etc.]

John Wesley’s parents were Samuel and Susanna Wesley. Samuel was a preacher in the Church of England. The family lived in England. Samuel and Susanna had 19 children, but only 10 lived. John was the 15th one of those 19.

When John was only 5 years old, their house burned down. John was trapped inside. He was rescued by two men who formed a human ladder and grabbed him from his second story room.

Later, John went away to school and college. He formed a Holy Club at college, where friends met together daily to encourage each other to read the Bible, pray, and do good things.

John became a minister like his father. In his heart, though, he wasn’t sure that he knew what God wanted.

He went to the American colony of Georgia, but didn’t get along with the others in his town and didn’t convert any Native Americans to Christianity, either. John came home a failure.

After he came home, John attended a Bible study on Aldersgate Street in London. At this Bible study, John felt his heart “strangely warmed.” At that moment, he knew God loved him.

John felt called to spread the Good News of Jesus to everyone. Many ministers didn’t want him to preach in the churches, so he preached outside under the trees, in the fields, near the mines, anywhere people were. He even preached standing on top of his father’s grave once.

John formed people into classes that met regularly for study and prayer. This was the beginning of Sunday School.

John’s ideas spread across the ocean back to America, where he had been such a failure before. The first Methodist church wasn’t in England with John, but in America.

Today, you are in a United Methodist church and a Sunday School classroom thanks to John Wesley!

Activity
Have them open up Kid Pix 4 (3-D).

Assign each computer (whether that’s 1 person or 2 people sharing) a part of the story (John’s family, saved from the fire, sad John when things don’t work, John learns God loves him, John preaching, etc.). If you have lots of kids, you can give the same part of the story to multiple computers.

Have them draw that part of the story.

As people get finished, have them walk around the room to see the different parts of John Wesley (J.W.’s) life.

Closing:

You or the shepherd need to lead the kids in Joys and Concerns. Go around the room, asking each kid to share a Joy (happy thing). Then, go back around the room and ask if they have a Concern (sad thing) they’d like to share.

Someone needs to offer a closing prayer. If that is you, then you can pray something like this:

Dear God, thank you for this chance to learn about you. Help us share your good news with others by our words and our actions. Amen.

Cleanup
Shutdown all the computers. Turn off all the monitors and speakers.


Volunteer Editor's Note:
As an alternative Computer Workshop lesson, use Cal and Marty's Scripture Memory Game (Sunday Software) [This software is FREE to supporting members! Check it out.] to have the kids edit-in and unscramble this FAMOUS QUOTE FROM JOHN WESLEY:

“Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can”

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

Last edited by Luanne Payne

John Wesley

Storytelling

Older Elementary

Summary: John tells his story - followed by discussion.

Memory Verse:
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Objectives:

  • John Wesley was the founder of Methodism.
  • John Wesley was called by God.
  • John Wesley spread the good news of Jesus to all people.
  • John Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed” after a Bible study in London.
  • Christianity involves a personal relationship between each person and God.
  • God loves each of us individually.

Supplies:

  • Coloring Page
  • Markers or crayons
  • Bibles
  • Blank paper
  • Pencils
  • J.W. & Company by Daphna Flegal published by Cokesbury. ISBN 0-687-81814-3
  • Robe for John Wesley

Lesson Plan

Outline:

  • Arrival Activity
  • Opening
  • Memory Verse
  • The Story
  • Reflection
  • Closing

Arrival Activity
As people enter the room, welcome them. Pass out the coloring page for them to color.

Opening:

Begin by saying the Lord's Prayer together.
Ask the kids to introduce themselves. Introduce yourself to them!

(1st week) Tell the students that we are studying the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. He was born more than 300 years ago, in 1703.

(other weeks) Ask the students who are we studying? What do you know about him?

Memory Verse
Review the memory verse.
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Dig:

The Story
Have a man dressed as John Wesley (a black ministerial robe will do) tell this story:

(Story clipped because it's basically the John Wesley story by Pam Buchholtz on page 35 of J.W. & Company)

Reflection:

Have the students say, “Thank you” and “Good-bye” to John Wesley

What did you learn from that story?

John had grown up knowing about God and studying the Bible. He spent years trying to be as good as he could. It wasn’t until the meeting at Aldersgate, though, that he felt like he knew God personally. He discovered the meaning of being saved by grace. What is grace? [“Grace” is God’s gift of love and salvation to us; we can’t earn it. God gives it to us because he loves us and we are his children.]

Have you ever heard the phrase "grace moment"? It's a time when you feel God’s presence or that God is acting in our lives. Can you think of a grace moment in your life?

When do you most feel God’s presence?

John Wesley was a good person who did good things before the experience at Aldersgate. How do you think that the experience changed him?

Before Aldersgate, John Wesley had head knowledge about God. After Aldersgate, he also had heart knowledge. Do you think you have more head knowledge or more heart knowledge? Why do we need head knowledge about God? Why do we need heart knowledge about God?

John Wesley was listening to writings about the book of Romans during the Aldersgate experience. Romans was written by Paul, who was a lawyer in his day. Much of his writing involves complex words and thoughts and might even be considered “legalese”. Today we’re going to look at Romans and put some of Paul’s thoughts into our own words.

Pass out Bibles, paper, & pencils. Have the students find Romans 3:21-28. Together come up with a modern language “translation” of what this passage says. (One example: Jesus has shown us a path to God that doesn’t involve following endless nit-picky rules. All Jesus’s path requires is faith in God. Now, all of us have messed up, but God’s grace makes us right again. No one can brag about the good things they do because good things do not earn us a place in heaven. We are all saved by God’s grace.)

Discuss what the passage means. John Wesley did good things both before Aldersgate and after. Our church helps people today through Mobile Meals, Cooperative Urban Parish, Child SHARE, World Neighbors, etc. Why?

Divide the students into groups and have each group do one of the following passages (multiple groups can do the same passages):
Romans 12:1-2
Romans 12:9-21

After they’re done, have them share the original verses and their translation. Discuss the following questions.

Romans 12:1-2
How can we present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God? What does that mean about how we treat our families and friends?
How do we renew our minds to remind ourselves of God’s way? How can we tell that we need renewing?

Romans 12:9-21
What’s the hardest thing in this list for you to do?
Which one do you see others not doing most often?
What would things be like if people really lived like this?

Closing
Have the kids sit in a circle and go around the circle asking each kid if they have a Joy (happy thing) they'd like to share. Go around again, asking if they have a Concern (sad thing) they'd like to share.

Someone needs to offer a closing prayer. If that is you, then you can pray something like this:

Dear God, thank you for this chance to learn about you. Help us share your good news with others by our words and our actions. Let us grow in both heart knowledge and head knowledge of you in this upcoming week. Amen.

Extra While waiting for parents to arrive
Have them sit in a circle. Practice saying the memory verse several times as a group. Then, go around the circle, each person saying just one word of the memory verse.

Cleanup
Put up Bibles, paper, pencils, markers, and extra coloring pages.

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

Last edited by Luanne Payne

John Wesley

History/Science Lesson

Summary: timeline (panel) walk-through and domino's falling.

Memory Verse:
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Objectives:

  • John Wesley was the founder of Methodism.
  • John Wesley was called by God.
  • John Wesley spread the good news of Jesus to all people.
  • John Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed” after a Bible study in London.
  • Christianity involves a personal relationship between each person and God.
  • God loves each of us individually.

Supplies:

  • Coloring page
  • Crayons or markers
  • Panels for the “Walk with Wesley” (described on pages 198-199 of J.W & Company -- We used the Intro, Panel 1, Panel 3, Panel 4, Panel 5, Panel 9, and Panel 12, renumbered, of course as Intro + Panels 1-6)
  • Dominos
  • J.W. & Company by Daphna Flegal published by Cokesbury. ISBN 0-687-81814-3

Lesson Plan

Outline:

  • Arrival Activity
  • Opening
  • Memory Verse
  • Walk With Wesley
  • Reflection
  • Science Lab
  • Closing

Arrival Activity
As people enter the room, welcome them. Pass out the coloring page for them to work on as you wait for others.

Opening:

Begin by saying the Lord's Prayer together.

Have the kids introduce themselves. Be sure to introduce yourself!

(1st week) Tell the students that we are studying the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

(other weeks) Ask the students who are we studying? What do you know about him?

Memory Verse
Review the memory verse.
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Dig:


Walk with Wesley

(You can set the panels up at different spots around the room, or set them up on alternate ends of the room (odds on one end/evens on the other), changing the panel that shows while the children are looking at the next panel.) Letting the students move a little between the panels will make the story seem shorter and keep them from getting as antsy.

(We use the "Walk with Wesley" from pages 200-203 in J.W. & Company
We used the Intro, Panel 1, Panel 3, Panel 4, Panel 5, Panel 9, and Panel 12, renumbered, of course as Intro + Panels 1-6)

Reflection:

What did you hear during the Walk with Wesley that you didn’t already know?

What sorts of things does our church do that continues Wesley’s ministry of working with the poor, the prisoners, and the children?

How do you think our church tries to reach people who don’t know about the good news of Jesus?

Science demonstration
Put out a set or two of dominos on each table. Have the students set them up in patterns where knocking over one domino will start a chain reaction of dominos falling over.

How are these dominos like what we’re studying? [anything about one person affecting another person – John Wesley affecting people through his preaching, class system reinforcing daily walk, circuit riders sharing faith, etc.]

John Wesley influenced a lot of people directly through his preaching, and more people indirectly through the preachers he sent throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, and the American colonies. What people have that kind of influence today?

What kind of influence do you have on the people around you? How can you influence others for good?

For 4th-5th graders:
Have you ever let someone influence you to do something you didn’t think was right? How did you feel afterwards?

When people think of you, do you think they can tell you are a Christian? Why or why not? Does your answer bother you?

Closing:
Ask the shepherds if they have anything they’d like to do or say.

Either you or the shepherds need to lead the kids in Joys and Concerns. Go around the room asking each child to share a Joy (happy thing). Go back around asking each child if they have a Concern (sad thing) to share.

Someone needs to offer a closing prayer. If that is you, then you can pray something like this:

Dear God, thank you for this chance to learn about you. Help us share your good news with others by our words and our actions. Amen.

Extra While waiting for parents to arrive
Finish the coloring page started during arrival activities.

Cleanup
Pick up dominos.
Put away the panels.

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

Last edited by Luanne Payne

John Wesley

Drama Lesson

Summary: hear Susanna Wesley tell her story, act out Fire Fire (script not provided).

Memory Verse:
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Objectives:

  • John Wesley was the founder of Methodism.
  • John Wesley was called by God.
  • John Wesley spread the good news of Jesus to all people.

Supplies:

  • Blankets or large pieces of fabric
  • Chair, stool, or box to stand on
  • Red, orange, or yellow crepe paper
  • CD player
  • Music CD w/ lullaby, frantic hurried music (we used Flight of the Bumblebee), and Hallelujah Chorus
  • Copies of script for older kids
  • J.W. & Company by Daphna Flegal, published by Cokesbury, ISBN 0-687-81814-3

Lesson Plan

Outline:

  • Arrival Activity
  • Opening
  • Memory Verse
  • The Story
  • Warm-Ups
  • Fire! Fire!
  • Reflection
  • Joys & Concerns
  • Closing

Arrival Activity
As people enter the room, welcome them. Pass out the arrival activity (a word find or coloring page) for them to work on as you wait for others.

Opening:

Begin class by saying the Lord’s Prayer together.
Ask the kids to introduce themselves. Be sure to tell them your name!

(1st week) Tell the students that we are studying the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. He was born around 300 years ago in 1703.

(other weeks) Ask the students who are we studying? What do you know about him?

Memory Verse
Review the memory verse.
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Have the students make up motions (as a group) to the memory verse. (Think of motions for the phrases “Go”, “all the world”, “proclaim”, “good news” “whole creation”) The motions can be simple hand motions or more complex whole body movements. Practice them together.

Dig:


The Story

Have a woman dressed as Susanna Wesley (an apron or long skirt will do) tell this story:

Good morning. I’m Susanna Wesley. Today I want to tell you about one of the scariest moments in my life. The children had all gone to bed. We had 8 children at the time. I was sick and my two oldest daughters were with me. Hetty was by herself in one bedroom and the other 5 children were together with Bettie, their nurse and our maid.

We’re not really sure what happened next, but somehow the house where we lived caught fire. We were all in a panic. Hetty knew it first and ran to tell her father, Samuel. He told me and the girls and ran upstairs to the nursery. Bettie carried out Charles and 3 children followed her. He helped them outside and over a fence to safety.

I got caught by the flames. It took me 3 times to get out the front door – once I was even completely knocked down by the flames. When I did get out, I was so burned and covered with soot, that Samuel, my own husband, didn’t even recognize me when he saw me.

We heard my son, John, calling “Help me!” but neither of us could get back in the house to rescue him.

We gave up hope and prayed to God to accept John’s soul.

John, however, did not give up, even though he was all alone in a burning house and was only 5 years old. He climbed on a chest and out the window. Two neighbor men saw him. One climbed on the other’s shoulders and John leapt into their arms just as the roof collapsed.

He was safe! We had given him up for dead and he was alive!

Samuel was so happy that all the children made it out that he said, “Come, neighbors, let us kneel down; let us give thanks to God. He has given me all my eight children. Let the house go; I am rich enough.”

I told John that it was a miracle he was alive, that God must have a special purpose for him. John was like a “brand plucked from the burning”.

As the years passed, I was proven right. John grew up to share the good news of Jesus with people all over England, and the people he preached to have spread the good news across the entire world.

<<Have the students say, “Thank you” and “Good-bye” to Susanna Wesley>>

Warm Ups
We’re going to practice parts of the story to music. First, I’ll play a lullaby and you will all be asleep. The next music will be the fire music and you will frantically look for a way out of the house. The last music will be after John is rescued and everyone is happy. Let’s practice these one at a time.

Start the music for the lullaby. Wait until everyone is doing their best impression of sleep. Skip to the next track on the CD. Make sure everyone gets up and frantically looks for a way out. Skip to the next track on the CD. Have everyone show how happy they are to be rescued.

Repeat the sequence several times until the students can repeat their actions and know what each piece of music means in the story.

Fire! Fire!
Hand out the scripts and take volunteers for the different parts.

Notes:
To involve more students:
Break the narrator part up and use a separate reader each time. Break Neighbor 1 & 2 parts up into up to 4 parts. Have other non-speaking neighbors watching the fire. Have some students wave red/orange/yellow crepe paper to represent the flames.

OR

Use 2 separate casts and perform the play 2 times.

For classes with fewer students: Combine Neighbor 1 & 2 parts. Combine Mr. Wesley & Mrs. Wesley parts. Use “invisible” Wesley children.

For non-readers, narrate the whole play, letting the kids mime the play.

(Script from pages 87-89 in J.W. & Company)

Reflection:

  • How do you think John Wesley felt when he found himself alone in a burning house?
  • How do you think his parents felt when they discovered him missing? After the rescue?
  • Do you consider his rescue a miracle?
  • John’s parents thought John’s rescue was a sign from God that God had something important planned for John. How do you think that made John feel? [special, scared, worried about living up to it, important, etc.]
  • It took a long time before John discovered God’s plan for his life. The fire occurred when he was 5 and he didn’t start his outdoor preaching until he was in his 30s. After 25+ years, do you think he still felt that God had something important planned for him?
  • How do you think we discover God’s plans for our lives?
  • John’s rescuers were his neighbors. How can you make a difference in the life of people around you?
  • Can you think of anyone in the Bible who was chosen by God at a young age? [John the Baptist, Samuel, David]


Joys and Concerns
Either you or the shpeherd needs to lead the kids in Joys and Concerns. We normally go around the room asking each child whether they have a Joy (happy thing) they want to share. Then we go back around and give everyone a chance to share Concerns (sad things).

Closing
Someone needs to offer a closing prayer. If that is you, then you can pray something like this:
Dear God, thank you for this chance to learn about you. Help us share your good news with others by our words and our actions. Teach us the way to discover your plan for our lives. Amen.

Extra while waiting for parents to arrive
Have them sit in a circle. Practice saying the memory verse several times as a group. Then, go around the circle, each person saying the memory verse in a specified way (robot, sad, happy, angry, etc.).

Cleanup
Put any costumes and props back in their proper places. Collect all scripts and stack them neatly to the side of the room.

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

Last edited by Luanne Payne

John Wesley

Music Lesson

K-3rd Grades

Summary: hear story pausing several times to sing a song.

Memory Verse:
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Objectives:

  • John Wesley was the founder of Methodism.
  • John Wesley was called by God.
  • John Wesley spread the good news of Jesus to all people.
  • Methodism spread to the United States around the time of the American Revolution.
  • The first American Methodist preachers were circuit riders.
  • Camp meetings led many people to Jesus.

Supplies:

  • CD with music
  • Slides with words for the songs
  • Bibles
  • J.W. & Company by Daphna Flegal, published by Cokesbury

Lesson Plan:

Outline:

  • Arrival Activity
  • Opening
  • Memory Verse
  • The Story
  • Closing

Arrival Activity
As people enter the room, welcome them.
Have the CD playing the music for this lesson as everyone arrives.

Opening:

Open by leading the kids in the Lord’s Prayer.
Have the kids introduce themselves. Introduce yourself to them, too.

(1st week) Tell the students that we are studying the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

(other weeks) Ask the students who are we studying? What do you know about him?

Memory Verse
Review the memory verse.
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Dig:


The Story

John Wesley was a man who lived in England in the 1700s. John Wesley felt he was called by God to tell others about Jesus and help people in need. He started a religious movement called Methodism. The United Methodist Church is founded on John Wesley’s ideas.

John Wesley was born in 1703 in Epworth, England. His father was an Anglican priest. His mother, Susanna, a strong, intelligent woman, raised their family in a tradition of Christian service and worship.

One night when John was young, their house caught fire. All the other people in the house escaped, but John was trapped in the children’s attic bedroom. Some neighbors managed to rescue him just in time. His family was ecstatic and gave thanks to God.

Song: Hallelu/Praise the Lord (Divide into 2 groups: 1 for the Hallelus and 1 for the Praise the Lords. Have each group stand when it is their “turn” to sing and then be seated when it is the other group’s turn.)

His mother thereafter thought him especially set apart by God – “a brand plucked from the burning.”

In 1714, at age 11, John was sent away to school in London and later, at 17, to Christ Church College, Oxford. There he proved to be an excellent student, particularly gifted in languages and theology.

When he was 23, he was appointed a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. In 1728, at age 25, Wesley was ordained a priest of the Church of England.

Shortly after his ordination, John joined his brother Charles and other Oxford students who had formed a religious society called the Holy Club. Each member of the Holy Club did these things: Got up early; read the Bible; prayed; didn’t waste time. Fellow students nicknamed the club members “methodists” because the members had a method to everything they did. The Holy Club members felt that their methods helped them be more like what God wanted them to be.

The Holy Club members felt called to help others. They visited prisons to read Scripture and pray with the prisoners. The members of the Holy Club also used their own money to buy food, clothing, and medicines for people who were in need.

In 1735, John went on a mission trip to the colony of Georgia in North America. The mission was not a success. John began to question his faith. He felt like he had fallen short of what God wanted him to do. He had a lot of knowledge about God, but he didn’t feel close to God in his heart.

Song: Lord I Want to Be A Christian

After John came back to London, he went to a Bible study meeting on Aldersgate Street in London. At that meeting, John said, “I felt my heart strangely warmed.” He felt God’s love. He felt that God was sending him to tell everyone about God’s love.

Song: Go Into All the World (from God's Great Gallery – Cokesbury VBS 2002)

John began preaching outside of the churches. Many people came to hear him preaching, especially the people who were poor. John started riding his horse from place to place. He preached two or three times every day, seven days a week. He carried a saddlebag with books and food. He would preach in the fields, in the mines, and near factories. He averaged 15 sermons a week and travelled 4500 miles a year, mostly on horseback. John Wesley felt that the world was his parish.

Song: Big House (from Sing & Shout Songs for Children’s Ministry Volume 1) (teach motions)

John and his brother Charles took the good news about Jesus to people who were not welcome inside the churches. They went to hospitals, workhouses, and prisons. John was the first person to open a place where poor people could come to get free medicines. He hired a doctor and a pharmacist to help people who could not pay for medicines or doctor visits.

John also organized Methodist Societies. These were class meetings or small groups that met to share their faith and help each live as Christians. The Societies usually met in people’s homes. You could compare these societies with today’s Sunday Schools.

To help spread the good news about Jesus, John’s brother Charles wrote many songs. He usually only wrote the words. He used music from popular tunes that people already knew. You probably know several of his songs: O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing, A Charge to Keep I Have, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and Christ the Lord is Risen Today are all written by Charles Wesley.

The Methodist movement crossed the sea from England to the American colonies. Circuit riders traveled on horseback from town to town telling others the good news about Jesus. Thomas Coke was sent to America after the American Revolution. He became the first American bishop. Thomas Coke ordained another man, Francis Asbury. Francis Asbury traveled 275,000 miles, mostly on horseback, to tell people the good news about Jesus.

Francis Asbury set up the early American church into circuits. Each circuit was made up of several towns. A preacher traveled the circuit from town to town. It was often more than a month before the preacher returned to the same town.

It was hard to be a circuit rider. He traveled on his horse carrying everything he owned in his saddlebags. He often slept on the ground, even in the rain and snow.

Song: Circuit Riders (from J.W. & Company) (teach motions)

Camp meetings were times for many people to come together for worship and fellowship. Camp meetings usually were held once or twice a year. Sometimes as many as one thousand people would come to the meetings. Families would set up camp and stay for five to ten days. People would meet together for hours at a time. The best preacher in the area would preach and people would sing hymns. Hundreds of people would become Christians at the camp meetings. The camp meetings included lots of singing, as well as preaching. The songs they sang included ones written by the Wesleys.

Song: O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing (from J.W. & Company)

Closing
You or the shepherd need to lead the kids in Joys and Concerns. Go around the group asking each kid if they have a Joy (happy thing) they want to share. Then, go around again and ask for Concerns (sad things).

Someone needs to offer a closing prayer. If that is you, then you can pray something like this:

Dear God, thank you for this chance to learn about you. Help us share your good news with others by our words and our actions. Amen.

Extras While waiting for parents to arrive
Sing the Books of the New Testament song.

Work on learning the memory verse. Sit in a circle. Pass a bean bag around the circle. Each person says the next word in the verse when they get the bean bag. After going around the circle several times, start tossing the bean bag across the circle instead of always to the next person.

Cleanup
Make sure all instruments are put away in the closet and that the sound system and slide projector are turned off.




John Wesley

Music Lesson

4th-5th Grades

Summary: hear story pausing several times to sing a song.

Memory Verse:
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Objectives:

  • John Wesley was the founder of Methodism.
  • John Wesley was called by God.
  • John Wesley spread the good news of Jesus to all people.
  • John & Charles Wesley used songs to teach about Jesus

Supplies:

  • CD with music
  • Slides with words for the songs
  • Bibles
  • Clipboards
  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • J.W. & Company by Daphna Flegal, published by Cokesbury

Lesson Plan:

Outline:

  • Arrival Activity
  • Opening
  • Memory Verse
  • The Story
  • Activity
  • Closing


Arrival Activity
Have the music playing as the kids arrive.

Opening:

Begin class by leading the kids in saying the Lord’s Prayer.
Have the kids introduce themselves. Introduce yourself to them!

(1st week) Tell the students that we are studying the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

(other weeks) Ask the students who are we studying? What do you know about him?

Memory Verse
Review the memory verse.
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Dig:

The Story
John Wesley was a man who lived in England in the 1700s. John Wesley felt he was called by God to tell others about Jesus and help people in need. He started a religious movement called Methodism. The United Methodist Church is founded on John Wesley’s ideas.

John Wesley was born in 1703 in Epworth, England. His father was an Anglican priest. His mother, Susanna, a strong, intelligent woman, raised their family in a tradition of Christian service and worship.

One night when John was young, their house caught fire. All the other people in the house escaped, but John was trapped in the children’s attic bedroom. Some neighbors managed to rescue him just in time. His family was ecstatic and gave thanks to God.

Song: Hallelu/Praise the Lord (Divide into 2 groups: 1 for the Hallelujahs and 1 for the Praise the Lords. Have each group stand when it is their “turn” to sing and then be seated when it is the other group’s turn.)

His mother thereafter thought him especially set apart by God – “a brand plucked from the burning.”

In 1714, at age 11, John was sent away to school in London and later, at 17, to Christ Church College, Oxford. There he proved to be an excellent student, particularly gifted in languages and theology.

When he was 23, he was appointed a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. In 1728, at age 25, Wesley was ordained a priest of the Church of England.

Shortly after his ordination, John joined his brother Charles and other Oxford students who had formed a religious society called the Holy Club. Each member of the Holy Club did these things: Got up early; read the Bible; prayed; didn’t waste time. Fellow students nicknamed the club members “methodists” because the members had a method to everything they did. The Holy Club members felt that their methods helped them be more like what God wanted them to be.

The Holy Club members felt called to help others. They visited prisons to read Scripture and pray with the prisoners. The members of the Holy Club also used their own money to buy food, clothing, and medicines for people who were in need.

In 1735, John went on a mission trip to the colony of Georgia in North America. The mission was not a success. John began to question his faith. He felt like he had fallen short of what God wanted him to do. He had a lot of knowledge about God, but he didn’t feel close to God in his heart.

Song: Lord I Want to Be A Christian

After John came back to London, he went to a Bible study meeting on Aldersgate Street in London. At that meeting, John said, “I felt my heart strangely warmed.” He felt God’s love. He felt that God was sending him to tell everyone about God’s love.

Song: Go Into All the World (from God's Great Gallery – Cokesbury VBS 2002)

John began preaching outside of the churches. Many people came to hear him preaching, especially the people who were poor. John started riding his horse from place to place. He preached two or three times every day, seven days a week. He carried a saddlebag with books and food. He would preach in the fields, in the mines, and near factories. He averaged 15 sermons a week and travelled 4500 miles a year, mostly on horseback. John Wesley felt that the world was his parish.

Song: Big House (from Sing & Shout Songs for Children’s Ministry Volume 1) (teach motions)

John and his brother Charles took the good news about Jesus to people who were not welcome inside the churches. They went to hospitals, workhouses, and prisons. John was the first person to open a place where poor people could come to get free medicines. He hired a doctor and a pharmacist to help people who could not pay for medicines or doctor visits.

John also organized Methodist Societies. These were class meetings or small groups that met to share their faith and help each live as Christians. The Societies usually met in people’s homes. You could compare these societies with today’s Sunday Schools.

To help spread the good news about Jesus, John’s brother Charles wrote many songs. He usually only wrote the words. He used music from popular tunes that people already knew. You probably know several of his songs: O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing, A Charge to Keep I Have, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and Christ the Lord is Risen Today are all written by Charles Wesley.

Activity
New Songs to Old Tunes
(Intro from top of page 84 in J.W. & Company)

Display the slide with the new songs to old tunes (from page 85 in J.W. & Company). Go over some of the songs.

Pass out the clipboards (with paper), pencils, and Bibles.
Divide the students into group of 2-4 people. Have each group try to write a song to a familiar tune. They can use a Bible verse or Bible story.

Give them the suggested topics & tunes from page 84 in J.W. & Company, noting that they are welcome to use more contemporary songs.

If students have difficulty getting started, you can put topics on folded sheets of paper and have each group draw one slip of paper.

Have the students share the songs they’ve written (they don’t have to sing them – they can just read the words and say what tune they used)

Closing:

You or the shepherd need to lead the kids in Joys and Concerns. Go around the group asking each kid if they have a Joy (happy thing) they want to share. Then, go around again and ask for Concerns (sad things).

Someone needs to offer a closing prayer. If that is you, then you can pray something like this:

Dear God, thank you for this chance to learn about you. Help us share your good news with others by our words and our actions. Amen.

Extras While waiting for parents to arrive
Sing the Books of the New Testament song.

Work on learning the memory verse. Sit in a circle. Pass a bean bag around the circle. Each person says the next word in the verse when they get the bean bag. After going around the circle several times, start tossing the bean bag across the circle instead of always to the next person.

Cleanup
Make sure all instruments are put away in the closet and that the sound system and slide projector are turned off.
Pick up any papers, pencils, & clipboards.

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

Last edited by Luanne Payne

J.W. & Company (Ride into FUNtastic Adventures with John Wesley and the Circuit Riders).

by Daphna Flegal, (loose leaf) Dec. 1997, Cokesbury item #X818325

Sounds like curriculum - out of stock at Cokesbury (likely is discontinued)

Last edited by Luanne Payne

What happened to J.W. & Company??

 

J.W. & Company was once a curriculum in a 3 ring binding that is now out of print, but appears that Abingdon Press has just re-released it into a book (with reproducibles) called:

 Book cover: Journey with J.W.

Journey with J.W.

John Wesley's Ride Through Methodist History 

 

by Daphna Lee Flegal, Abingdon Press, March 17, 2015, 9781501805066.

 

Publisher description:

 

"Children will experience life in the times of John Wesley and the circuit riders.

 

Easy-to-follow directions for crafts, games, and music; scripts for historical dramas and Bible stories; ideas for setting up interest centers; and ways to utilize the gifts and talents of the adults in your congregation area also included.

 

Children will learn about the United Methodist heritage and how it has shaped who we are as people of faith, that God inspired John Wesley and other early leaders of our church to spread the good news about Jesus throughout the world, and that God continues to call us to tell the world about Jesus today!"

 



 

 

Video Ideas on John Wesley

 Video: Torchlighers - The John Wesley Story

Vision Video does carry different adult video's on John Wesley, but they also carry the animated "Torchlighter" series that has one called "The John Wesley Story" age range recommended "Tweens" (30 mins).

 

Luanne

 

 

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  • Book: Journey with J.W.
  • video: The John Wesley Story
Last edited by CreativeCarol

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