How to Incorporate Gospel-Centered Object Lessons to Your VBS

 

God is good to provide so many opportunities for VBS to impact little lives and big ones throughout the summer…and the rest of the year too. One of the biggest blessings of VBS is that it is an opportunity for the gospel to be shared. Check out this article for more encouragement regarding VBS and the gospel!

Just think. You have been given the opportunity to share the best news of hope with the kids and possibly even the parents that you come in contact with through VBS.

Some publishing companies get this…and some don’t. Sometimes you can follow your prepackaged material and have awesome gospel connections. But many times you can’t. Often a Bible story or lesson is reduced to a story with a moral. This isn’t all bad. But it does miss an opportunity to encourage yourself and the kids you are teaching with the truth and the hope of the gospel.

At VBS you can’t afford to miss opportunities like this. You have new students in your church and in your class. You may only have ONE DAY with that student. Make sure that he leaves having heard that they have HOPE through Jesus!

Here are three simple steps that you can use to incorporate the gospel into any prepackaged lesson. Be sure to read to the end to get a printable with 5 more ways to share the gospel at VBS!
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The Divided Kingdom of Israel Object Lesson

 

How important is a nation’s leader to the spiritual well being of his nation? In this Divided Kingdom of Israel Object Lesson, explore that question and the examples of kings, prophets, and the people.

Focus Scripture: 1 Kings 11:28 – 12:16 {Events towards the end of this lesson come from 1 Kings 14 – 2 Chronicles. Many interesting things happen during the divided kingdom, including adventures of the prophets.}

Materials: Dominoes; table on which to build domino train {Try to use the type with straight sides. I used ceramic tiles and they didn’t work as well.}

Geography: Israel, Judah

Background: IF Solomon walked with God faithfully and was obedient, THEN God would establish his throne forever. BUT IF Solomon and his descendants turn from the Lord and worship idols THEN God will cut off Israel from the land and reject the temple and Israel will be a name of ridicule. Continue reading

Solomon Asks for Wisdom Object Lesson

 

Education is important. But what good is knowing how to do something when you make poor choices? In this Solomon Asks for Wisdom Object Lesson kids learn what wisdom is and how to get it. It’s not that hard, yet it means going to The Source of wisdom and not doing things OUR way.

Solomon WisdomScripture Focus: 1 Kings 3:1-15

Materials: a pair of eye glasses (not sunglasses); graduation hat and/or robe {Dress up so you look “wise”.}

Geography: Israel, Solomon’s kingdom

Background: King Saul made selfish, disobedient decisions, and Samuel told Saul that God had rejected him as king. Once Saul died, then David was king of Judah for 7.5 years, then he became king of Israel for 33.5 years. During his reign, Jerusalem became the capital and Israel became a GREAT NATION. The tabernacle was brought to Jerusalem, as well as, the ark of the covenant. God was with David, who had a whole heart for God. David became great and was given victory after victory. David was a man after God’s own heart. Even in the midst of horrible sin, David accepted his shortcomings and the consequences he knew he deserved. Continue reading

Anointing King David Object Lesson

 

Many children think that if they act good on the outside, then it doesn’t matter what’s going on in their hearts on the inside. But God cares quite a bit about the heart. In this Anointing King David object lesson, children will learn that God sees their hearts and they have to decide what they want Him to see.

Scripture Focus: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Materials: Candy box filled with yucky treats (onions, stinky socks, banana peels…); a clear candy or cookie jar; yummy treats (optional)

{I bought a Whitman’s Sampler for the box and Heller and StraussTutti Frutti candies for the fruit shaped candy and glass jar. I spent more money on this object lesson than I normally do, but when I found the candy jar, I couldn’t resist!! It worked pefectly!}

Geography: Israel, David’s kingdom

Background: The people of Israel told Samuel that they wanted a king so they could be like “all of the other nations.” Saul, who was literally a head taller than everyone else, had been given the keys to a kingdom. He had the opportunity to lead the people of God and help Israel become a great nation. Instead he would have the kingdom ripped from his grasp. He made selfish, disobedient decisions, and Samuel told Saul that God had rejected him as king. Continue reading

Samuel, the Ark, and the Philistines Object Lesson

 

Samuel, the ark, and the Philistines Object LessonDo you ever blow the dice before a game? Does your favorite team rub a rock before charging down a hill to play football? What habits of “luckiness” exist around you? In this Samuel, the Ark, and the Philistines Object Lesson children will learn that God is not a good luck charm and that blessings come from obedience.

Focus Scripture: 1 Samuel 3-6

Materials: a “lucky” item, like a rabbit’s foot, or a ball cap

{The Bible Atlas and Companion is a fantastic resource. It has beautiful maps; and for this lesson there is a map and a picture of the ark of the covenant.}

Geography: Shiloh, Ebenezer, Ashdod, Gath, Ekron, Beth Shemesh

Background: During the years of the judges, there was great sin and darkness. Once Joshua died there was no leadership, no king, and no government. Each tribe did it’s own thing. The people fell into gross idolatry and gross immorality to the point that “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” BUT God did not forget His promise to Abraham and He was at work through a young Moabite lady named Ruth. Through Ruth, God would bring about a king and THE King.

The Israelites had the tabernacle where the priests and levites ministered to God. But even there, God’s voice was silent because of the amount of sin in the land.

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The Book of Judges Object Lesson

 

The cycle of sin. What is it and how do we deal with it? This Book of Judges Object Lesson explains the cycle of sin and compares the Israelites’ cycle with our own.

JudgesScripture Focus: Judges 2:7-23

Materials: Paper plate (see images for labeling); Scissors; Print out 3-4 M.C. Escher pictures. I copied the image and then pasted it into a Word document. Because of copyright, I cannot give you those images. {This link takes you to the Escher Gallery.}

Geography: Israel

Background: Joshua and the Israelites were to take the Promised Land by entering westward over the Jordan River and then dividing the land in half. Then there would be a southern campaign and then a northern campaign to conquer all of the cities and peoples. Before he died, Joshua gave the nation a farewell address. He told the people to finish conquering the Canaanites. And to remember everything that they had seen the Lord do for them. He encouraged them to be strong and to obey the Lord. And then he warned the people to get rid of the idols in the land. In conclusion, Joshua challenged the people to choose: “Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord.Continue reading

Christian Parenting: The Remnant of Righteousness

 

I did not win the prize for Christian parenting this week. How about you? I lost my temper…again. I forgot to do morning devotionals with my kids…again. And I’m sitting here typing this on my computer instead of dealing with some relationship squabbles among my kids.

menant of righteousnessSome days it is easier to hide from the world than adult.

I wonder if Moses and Joshua felt that way when dealing with the Israelites? I bet they did. Moses struck a rock out of frustration one day instead of speaking to it as God told him to. He probably wanted to crawl into a hole after that.

Joshua? I think he focused on winning battles instead of dealing with people.

I find it encouraging to know that the men and women of the Bible had issues.

And WOW does the Book of Judges show us the sin issues of humanity!

Once Joshua and the elders died, the people turned away from God. All it took was one generation of not teaching the children about the Lord and BOOM, and the next generation did not know God.

One generation. Let that sink in… Continue reading

Follow Jesus Object Lesson

 

How do we follow Jesus? We look for the signs! God has given us several tools so that we can hear His voice and have a personal relationship with Him. Unfortunately, there are lots of things that can distract us. Our job is to discern what is distracting us and focus on the voice of God.

Scripture Focus: Begin your lesson by reading this verse straight from the Bible. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV

* If you are doing this lesson with older students, you may want to discuss this verse in depth. Today’s society thinks there are lots of ways to get connected to God. You could make a list of them and discuss why they are actually not the true way to connect to God. This may take a bit of research and knowledge of world religions. If you choose to use this lesson at the beginning of a unit on following Jesus, this will give you more time to research.

Materials:

  • Things that represent drawing closer to Jesus {bibles, memory verse cards, church bulletins, hymnals, Bible journals, pictures from Bible stories, etc.}
  • Things that might represent drawing away from Jesus. {These things don’t have to be inherently evil, just things that might draw our attention away from God if we let them—pretend money, technology items, different kinds of music, popular magazines, candy, clothing, or anything else that could distract a child.}
  • A Jesus Sign–This can be “Jesus” written on a piece of paper or even a picture.

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Joshua Takes Command Object Lesson

 

joshuaFEAR. You can’t see it, but you can sure see the effects of it. In this Joshua Takes Command Object Lesson, use a simple science experiment to help children understand that God asks us to make hard decisions and that He is with us wherever we go.

Scripture Focus: Joshua 1 and 5: 13-15

Materials: Wide candle, lighter, glass beaker or measuring cup, white vinegar, baking soda {CLICK HERE for a video showing you how to do this science experiment.}

Geography: Israel, Jordan River

Background: As a consequence of their choice to not go into the land, the Hebrews would be required to wander the desert for 40 years. All of the Israelites would die, and their children would be the ones to receive the blessing of the Promise Land. All would die, except for 2 men: Caleb and Joshua. Continue reading

The Twelve Spies and the Wandering Object Lesson

 

We like to exaggerate situations at times. We claim we cannot do something because the task seems huge and daunting. This Twelve Spies and the Wandering Object Lesson will help our children to understand that with Jesus we have already won the victory even if life seems hard.

Scripture Focus: Numbers 13

Materials: toy plastic insects

Geography: locate Kadesh (Paran) and Canaan

Background: The Israelites were given freedom from Egypt by the miraculous hand of God. God gave the Israelites some rules called the Ten Commandments. These Commandments would be The Law that everyone in the nation would follow. These laws were given to the people by God to protect them, to set them apart from the other nations, and to teach them how to live for God.

By the time the Hebrews reached Mt. Sinai, they had seen many wonders by God. They were beginning to see God fulfill His promises to Abraham. A nation was beginning to form. A great nation needs rules and they now had the Ten Commandments, as well as many other laws and regulations. God had given Moses the directions to build the tabernacle and the priesthood was set up through the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron. Continue reading

Fruit of the Spirit Fruit Salad Object Lesson

 

What would life be like if there were no love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self control? It would be awful! Join us as we “taste” the fruits of the spirit and see just how good they are!

Scripture Focus:But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galations 5:22-23 ESV

Materials: A variety of 9 fruits (already cut into bite size pieces), bowls, spoons, and a piece of rotten fruit (You can easily make a banana go rotten if you don’t have anything else.)

Background: The Apostle Paul was writing to the church in Galatia to teach them how to keep in step with the Spirit. He had warned them against things to look out for. Now he was teaching them about things to focus on. He wanted the people to know what it looks like to walk with Christ. Continue reading

Moses and The Law Object Lesson

 

With a GPS, these days it can be difficult to get lost. However, relying on technology that *could* be incorrect might steer you in the wrong direction. This Moses and the Law object lesson teaches children the purpose of the law and what Jesus expects from those who follow Him.

ten commandments object lessons

Scripture Focus: Exodus 20

Materials: Road map

Geography: locate Egypt, Israel, and the Red Sea

Background: The Israelites were forced into slavery and God raised up Moses to be The Deliverer. Pharaoh’s heart had been hardened even after nine horrible nationwide plagues that destroyed Egypt’s economy and way of life. But Pharaoh’s heart still would not allow the people of Israel to leave his nation. The tenth and final plague caused a cry to be heard throughout Egypt as God killed the first born of all Egypt and passed over the homes with the blood of the lamb on the doors. Continue reading

Blanket of Comfort Object Lesson

 

 

Use a blanket in this object lesson to teach that the Holy Spirit will wrap us in comfort whenever we face difficult times in life.

Holy Spirit Object Lesson

Scripture Focus: John 14

Materials: Blanket and/or stuffed animal

{Hold up the blanket. Say:}

When you look around you have probably seen toddlers carrying around a blanket or stuffed animal wherever they go.

  • Why do they carry these things around?  (Allow for responses.)

Most toddlers feel safer with their favorite blanket or bear. Older people say that those items are a comfort item.  If the toddler loses his or her blanket or bear they may become sad and begin to cry.

Some adults have comforting things as well. Usually this is in the form of food, such as chocolate, or a dish such as macaroni and cheese.

  • Do you have something that is a comfort to you? It could be a bear or blanket or even something else. (Allow for responses.)
  • Have you ever lost your special item? (Allow for responses.)
  • How did you feel when you could not find it? (Allow for responses.)

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The Passover Object Lesson

 

Why is Jesus sometimes called the Passover lamb? This Passover Object lesson will explore the main events of this horrific incident in history as one nation is destroyed while another is born.

passover object lesson

Scripture Focus: Exodus 11-12

Materials: None

Geography: locate Canaan, Egypt, and Goshen

Background:
Joseph had set the seventy-ish member family up in the beautiful land of Goshen, which was THE prized land of Egypt. However, pharaohs came and went, and then there were leaders who did not know Joseph. The Israelites were forced into slavery and God raised up Moses to be The Deliverer. Pharaoh’s heart had been hardened even after nine horrible nationwide plagues that destroyed Egypt’s economy and way of life. But Pharaoh’s heart still would not allow the people of Israel to leave his nation. Continue reading

Attitude Apple Object Lesson

 

Scripture Focus: Matthew 23

Materials: apple {Before the lesson cut a small hole and soak it in food dye of several different colors mixed together so it turns all brown and yucky inside.}

Bible object lesson

{Hold up the apple. Say:}

Everybody loves apples. 

Here in the United States we have an entire tall tale based around a man who spent his entire life planting apple trees all around the country. There are dozens of different kinds of apples you can buy at the grocery store.

Look at this apple here. Doesn’t it look awesome to eat? It’s amazing and pretty, it’s got that perfect shine to it.

{Cut apple.}

But, if we cut into the apple and look inside, we see it doesn’t look so pretty on the inside.

Do you want to eat it? I certainly don’t want to eat it.

This apple isn’t so appealing now is it? Continue reading