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In addition to these public lesson and idea topics below, be sure to check out the Writing Team's extra special set of lessons: Kingdom Parables ~ Seed, Leaven, Treasure, Pearl. Written for our supporting members, their lesson summaries and Bible background are open to all.

OTHER Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for the Kingdom of God - Seed, Leaven, Pearl, Treasure

Post your Sunday School lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for the Kingdom of God - Seed, Leaven, Pearl, Treasure.

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Parable of the Mustard Seed - Matthew 13:31-32
Parable of the Leaven (Yeast) - Matthew 13:33
Parable of the Treasure in the Field - Matthew 13:44
Parable of the Pearl - Matthew 13:45-46
"What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it?" Luke 13:18, Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven, etc., etc.



Lesson Starter Idea:

Create a Treasure Map to hunt for the "Treasure in the Field"

Bury a locked/sealed treasure box somewhere on the church property and create a treasure map to indicate its location.  

See notes below about what to put in the treasure box.

At the beginning of the lesson, give the kids the treasure map (x marks the spot) that indicates where something is buried.  Send them out with shovels and the map to dig up the treasure.  When they dig up the locked box, have them dust it off and bring it back to the Sunday School room.  Then tell them that they did that activity because Jesus told a parable that talked about a treasure hidden in a field. (Ask: What is a parable?  Why do you think Jesus told them?)

Together, read the verse about the treasure hidden in the field (Matthew 13:44).  Point out that Jesus doesn't tell the crowd he's teaching exactly what the treasure is.  Also, point out that we have a locked treasure box in front of us, and we don't know what's in it.  Then have a discussion about what the treasure might be--what might we value so much that we go out to sell what we have and buy a field?

Ask:

What would YOU like to find in the box?

What truly "LASTING" things would Jesus put in the box?

Also discuss why Jesus doesn't tell us what the treasure is (do we have to find it ourselves? Does God want us to spend time thinking and wondering about the treasure?)  Conclude the discussion by saying that, just like Jesus' parable, we're not going to open the box to find out what's inside...instead we're going to let someone else have the joy of discovering and wondering about the treasure inside it.  Maybe the treasure of the kingdom is a little different for each person?

Following the discussion, invite the group back outside to find a new place to bury the box.  After your group buries the box, have them create a new map for the next group to find the treasure.  The group can decide how detailed to make the treasure map (or how old/ragged they want it to look).

What could be in your buried treasure box?

Obviously you don't want the kids to be disappointed, afterall, they are kids. So you might include a bag of candies but labeled, "sweet life."  Peeps or egg candies to remind us of the resurrrection/Easter that gives us the promise of new life.    "Heavenly candy" that reminds us of our future life with God. The Bible marked "guide book to living a full and rich life."  Paper cut out marked "best friends, love, support."   A church brochure marked "supportive community that helps you grow."  etc etc.

Then include mustard seed, yeast, pearl, and a treasure map that reveals Christ.  These are all points of discussion.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
Original Post

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Good idea Sarah.
Made me think of a "Geo Caching" game someone once posted (Luanne?).

GPS Coordinates lead you to a location where a clue or riddle points to a hidden location wherein lies a box/treasure. The box had a journal you add to, and object you replace with something of your own, and info about the next location. Lots of variations.

"In Gods Kingdom, one treasure always leads to another."

Not me, maybe Cathy Walz's post about Letterboxing?

 

Letterboxing is a low tech, more artistic version of geocaching.  You use clues instead of a GPS reading.  The "prize" is usually a hand-carved stamp that you get an image of, as opposed to the trinkets that are often in geocaches.

 

Cathy

 

Luanne

Some Kingdom Parable Ideas and Resources:

1. A-V Workshop

"Matthew" DVD, this 'Visual Bible' video has the book of Matthew word for word and therefore, shows TWO of these four parables.

For A-V I'd also bring in a video camera and have the students dramatize these videos. I'd split them into four groups. Each group would have to dramatize it "straight" (Bible version) and also in a modern version (translating the pearl into some highly desirable object from today). This would also force them to think about what images Jesus might use today to help us understand the significance he was driving at when he used "leaven" and "mustard seed" in his day.

2. Cooking Workshop

Leaven is an obvious thing to use to illustrate something that's seemingly INVISIBLE yet makes something common like flour expand and get tasty. I'm also wondering what "treasure" you could bake that would have a "surprise" in the middle.

3. Bible Games Workshop

I'm thinking each of these verses could be part of a "Kingdom Olympics" competition to play after a good Bible study.



Memorize these parables!

Unlike many other sayings, THESE from the lips of Jesus have strong visuals which convey the meaning of what he was trying to teach about the Kingdom. Each will continue to unfold new meaning as well.

What these verses do NOT explain, however, is what the the Kingdom of God IS, or WHY you'd want to possess it (buy the field, so to speak, or care that it grew into a large bush). This is something the Bible study portion of the lesson needs to focus on. Jesus' metaphors only explain what the Kingdom is LIKE, not exactly what is IS.

Mustard Seed and Leaven:

Luke: 13:18 He said therefore, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches." 20 And again he said, "To what should I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."

Pearl and Treasure:

Matthew 13:44-52
44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

The following activity creates a new parable using parts of the seed and yeast parables, and results in a "dough-bird-seed" feeder that the kids can make and take home. In addition to revealing insights about the Kingdom of God, it is designed to help students understand how parables work and can be understood.

Notes to the Teacher:

The first two Kingdom parables about seed and yeast are similar in that they both "grow" something. The seed becomes a tree where birds can make their nests. The yeast grows the bread, making it larger, and tastier. Both parables have someone performing an action: sowing, kneading.

By creating a new parable, and discussing it's potential meanings, I am demonstrating to my kids how to explore what a parable is, and can be understood in different ways --depending on the way we look at them.  This is why Jesus taught in parable, to give us a visual image that continues to reveal new insights "to those with ears."

Lesson Steps


1. Begin mixing the dough

2. Set the dough aside to rise in a warm place for about 10 minutes.

3. Read and discuss the scriptures aloud.

4. Debrief what they just heard. See how much they can remember (and reinforce their memory) by asking them to remember as much as they can about the four parables. Write their answers on the board in four areas, one for each parable.

Say: Today, we're going to combine the first two parables about seed, birds, and yeast --and make our own new Kingdom Parable.

Our Parable: "the Kingdom of God is like someone who makes a bird seed feeder to feed birds."

When we say that, what are we saying the Kingdom of God is like?   Some possible meanings: The Kingdom is a place where birds are fed. The Kingdom happens when you work at feeding others.  The Kingdom is wherever God's food is offered to others.

doughseed5. Roll the dough in the birdseed.

Things to consider:  What shape could we make our feeder in? A cross? A fish?   Instead of rolling in the seed, what symbols or words could we press into the dough ball using seed that would say something about the Kingdom of God?

Keep your bread ball no thicker than an inch. Do not make the bread shape too thin or it will break. The thicker the piece, the longer it will take to dry. 

Punch a small hole in it where you will later attach a piece of yarn to hang the feeder.

6. Put the dough-seed in the oven for about 7 minutes at low temp (200 degrees) to hasten drying. You do not want to cook the seed. The feeder may need to finish drying outside of the oven (i.e. go stale). 

7. While the dough-feeder is in the oven, work with your students to answer the following questions about the new parable: "The Kingdom of God is like a person who makes a bird seed feeder to feed birds."  

  • Who is the person in our parable?  Is it us? Or is it God?  (it could be both)
  • Who are the birds that need fed in our world?  
  • What is the seed-food that people need the most in their lives?   (peace, faith, forgiveness, love, comfort)
  • Birdseed feeders are meant to be hung where birds are hungry. Where are the places in our lives, and in our world where people are hungry for.... (peace, faith, forgiveness...etc)

8. Remove the Bread-Birdseed feeders from the oven and let them cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then attach yarn for hanging.   During the cool-down, read the parables again and talk about the similarities between the parables of mustard seed and yeast.  Both are small, but grow and do wonderful things. Both are sown or worked-in by someone. Both provide something we need to live (shelter/protection/bread). You can also have them create a 'tag' to attach to their yarn with the new parable wording on it. 


Bread-Birdseed-Feeder Ingredients

Getting the ingredients perfect is not necessary. We also don't care if the dough rises much, if at all. The bread and yeast are merely references to the parable. Yes, there are a hundred other ways to make a bird feeder, but this one brings in the bread-yeast connection to help our students remember the parable. 

Birdseed Dough Ingredients:  (enough to make 7-9 bird feeders)

1/4 cup milk
5 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons butter
1 package active dry yeast (plus however much warm water the yeast package calls for)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups wheat flour 
Nonstick cooking spray (o prevent the bread from sticking to the bowl or pan)
Bag of bird seed

Other:
A tray for the seed
A tray for the oven
Mixing bowl and utensils
Yarn and scissors
A small stick or straw to punch holes in the dough for the yarn
Plastic bags to carry the bird feeders home.

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