Don’t Pay for These Resources–Just Let me Know How they Worked
I provide the .pdf copies of all these Sunday school lessons as a resource for those out there still trying to teach Sunday school intelligently and conscientiously. I do not expect any money in exchange for them; all I ask is that, if you happen to use this material (and, I hope, modify it for your Sunday school context), that you mention to the class the source of the ideas and that you come back here and let me know that you have used the materials in the comments section. I’d like to hear your experiences, both because I love my fellow Sunday morning pedagogues and because reading your stories might help me become a better teacher. I suppose if I maintain this page enough, I’ll have Sunday school lessons on a fair chunk of the Christian Bible, so take what you need, teach well, and talk to me when you’ve finished!
Amos and the Prophets
On September 28, 2008, I began a five-week study of the conventions of biblical prophets and on the text of Amos. Beyond the obvious (and commonly articulated) warning that prophets are not always and never only prognosticators, I also wanted to explore some of the traditional/epistemological/political difficulties with prophecy, starting with Deuteronomy’s warnings to test prophets against the Torah and eventually working around to modern iterations of “Biblical prophecy” and their relationships with actual eschatological passages in the Bible. At any rate, as I write these lessons, they’ll appear here.
Jonah: A Comedy Among Prophets
The two handouts here come from a two-week stint as substitute Sunday school teacher. I always wondered whether I could actually teach the comedic elements of Jonah and make it work in Sunday school, so here’s my best try. I will teach these on July 20 and 27. If you land on this looking for children’s Sunday school lessons on Jonah, I apologize: you might just have stumbled onto one of the few teachers fool enough to try to teach Jonah to adults.
These handouts come from occasions when I’ve taught Paul’s letters in Sunday school. The Philemon lesson I used as a paradigmatic introduction to Paul’s corpus, and I’m drawing on that setup as I teach Ephesians. For the seminarians out there, I neither insist upon nor reject Pauline authorship of Ephesians in Germanic philological terms; as far as I’m concerned, the Church has held these texts to be the letters of Paul for a couple millennia, and that’s good enough for Sunday school. I intend no offense to the insisters or to the deniers. The 1 Timothy series started in medias res because our regular Sunday school teacher had some life happen after teaching chapter one. So don’t be alarmed that part one covers chapter two, part two chapter three, and so on. That’s just the way Sunday school happens sometimes. I might get ambitious and write a part zero that covers chapter one, but I might not.
Introduction to Bible Translation
I had to come up with a one-shot lesson recently, and I decided to teach about the practice of translating and editing Bibles. The handout is a bit scattered, but it should be worth the download for the translation exercise if nothing else.
The History of Christmas
In the four weeks before we leave to visit family for Christmas 2008, the Theos Seekers class (never mind the bad declension) at Athens Christian Church asked me to teach a series on the history of Christmas. I’m not fully accustomed to doing historical lessons in Sunday school, but the topic seems fun enough.
In a Sunday school series leading up to Christmas 2007, by request of the class, I taught a series on the history and development of angel-language in biblical and Christian traditions. On December 23, while I was in Indiana, Jan Westfall finished the series with a lesson on the Annunciation narratives and their angels.
Handouts from Sunday School
Links to Texts about Angels
- Celestial Hierarchy (c. 5th century)
- The Story of Cædmon and Cædmon’s Song (7th and 8th Centuries)
- The Monk’s Tale (14th century)
- Paradise Lost (17th century)
- America: A Prophecy (18th century)
- Demonology (19th century)
- A Christmas Carol (19th century)
- Angels in America (20th century)
Links to Movies about Angels and Angel-Like Critters
From the Greek word meaning roughly “one another,” these Sunday school lessons represented an experiment that I was conducting in integrating the teens and the over-forty at a congregation I served from 2003 to 2007. Each lesson is keyed to the week’s lectionary texts, and during these months the preacher preached from the main lesson text, allowing those who attended Sunday school really to immerse themselves (that’s a Campbellite pun, I realize) in a block of text each week. Unfortunately, a series of events depleted the Sunday school-attending population of that congregation to the point that I’m not sure whether it worked or not. At any rate, here are the lessons and a handout introducing the curriculum’s basic concepts.
By the end of August 2007, we had begun attending Athens Christian Church (link in left margin), and by October of the same year we were members there. (Here.) We still are.
As I noted at the top, all materials on this page are free for anyone to use and to adapt; all I ask is that you post comments here and let me know how they worked and that when you use them, you mention me as a contributor to the curriculum.