What could be better than teaching senior high students the truth of God’s Word, using relevant object lessons, helpful worksheets, and purposeful discussion questions? The senior high curriculum produced by Regular Baptist Press aims to present Biblical truth in a way that is easily accessible to high school students. As students work through the four-year curriculum, they not only learn what the Bible says, but they also learn how to study the Bible for themselves.
The curriculum is currently halfway through a four-year revision cycle, which means fresh teaching methods, new and expanded daily Bible studies for students, and a resource CD with aids to supplement each lesson. After each quarter is revised, it is kept in stock to be used as an elective course.
Have you seen the new material yet? Let us introduce you to some of the features of our revised senior high curriculum, using the first lesson from the winter quarter on Baptist distinctives, “Importance of Identity.”
Each lesson begins with pertinent information to help the teacher prepare. The teacher can see at a glance the topic, theme, and desired student response for each lesson. He or she can also see what materials are needed as well as what needs to be assembled, copied, or cut apart before class time. Also included in the introductory material is a section called “Notes to the Teacher.” This section serves to warm up the teacher to the central point of the lesson and to give the teacher a vision for the application of the lesson.
That’s How Many?! Write the number 3,000 on the board. Distribute scraps of paper or calculators and have students divide 3,000 by the approximate number of people in their grade at school. Ask students to share their resulting numbers. Then have students picture in their minds all their classmates in one classroom at their schools. Tell them to imagine that number of students multiplied by the number they got from their division problem. Then have them imagine all those people making a decision to trust Christ as Savior at one time. Explain that this is exactly what happened on the Day of Pentecost and ask a volunteer to read Acts 2:1–7 and 41.
Interactive Bible Study Methods
Divide your class into two groups and give each group one of the following assignments:
Group 1 Assignment: Study Acts 2:1–14 and 40–47 and this week’s devotions. Use the materials provided to craft five items you would put in a time capsule to represent the events on the Day of Pentecost. Include with each item an explanation of why that item was included. Pretend that the people who will open this time capsule have no knowledge of the beginning of the church.
Group 2 Assignment: Use the materials provided to craft five items you would include in a “reverse time capsule” that would be sent back to the believers in the early church. Include with each item an explanation of why that item was included.
Give each group five 3 x 5 cards, a shoe box, Play-Doh or modeling clay, and other miscellaneous “building supplies” (e.g., toothpicks, tinfoil, cotton balls, buttons). After ten minutes, have groups place their items in their “capsules.”
Have a member from group 1 give its time capsule to the members of group 2. Allow the members of group 2 to open the capsule, display the items, and read aloud the explanations. Use the commentary and the following questions to discuss with students the beginning of the church:
What were the highlights of the Day of Pentecost when the church was started? What words would describe the atmosphere of this special day? Record students’ responses on the board.
Commentary to Aid Discussion
I. Great Beginning (Matt. 16:18; Acts 1:8; Acts 2)
The concept of the church is so common in this day and age, but this was not the case in Old Testament times and even when Christ ministered on earth. The church was a unique organization that God developed after Jesus ascended into Heaven.
Jesus introduced the concept of the church during His earthly ministry. After Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus proclaimed, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). He did not begin building His church right then, though. Before the church could be established, Jesus had to die, rise again, and ascend to Heaven.
Before His ascension, Jesus explained many things concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:1–7). The disciples didn’t understand all His teachings, but He explained that those things were under the authority of God the Father. But Jesus promised them that they would soon receive the Holy Spirit, Who would help them understand the things of God. Christ then told His followers that they would be His witnesses in “Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). After Christ’s final words, His disciples and followers watched as He ascended into Heaven. As they were looking at the sky, amazed at all they had just witnessed, two angels appeared to them and told them that Jesus would one day return in the same manner as He had departed. The followers returned to Jerusalem and spent their time in prayer as they waited for Christ’s promises to be fulfilled.
On the Day of Pentecost God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in the believers gathered in Jerusalem. This day marked the beginning of God’s church. From that day the believers “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). The church continued to grow in numbers as “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (v. 47).
Practical and Realistic Applications
From This Day Forward: Instruct students to choose one of the problem-solving ideas suggested by their classmates or to come up with one of their own. Then refer students to the In-Class worksheet in their student books (p. 8). Have them date the worksheet several years from today and instruct them to write today’s date on the blank in the letter. Encourage them to use their imaginations to conjecture what could happen in the coming years if they faithfully carried through on their problem-solving ideas. Have them fill in the rest of the letter as if they were going to include it in a time capsule. Then allow them to make an object to attach their letter to.
Ask students to share their objects and their letters with the class. Put the objects and letters into a shoe box. Close in prayer, asking God to help you and your students view your local church with the same passion and excitement that early believers had.
Post the lesson 1 Baptist identity statement on the bulletin board display: I know I recognize my Baptist identity when I contribute to the growth of my Bible-believing church.
Direct students’ attention to the lesson 2 devotions. Challenge students to come to class next week with an answer to the question, Why must a study of the Baptist distinctives begin with a study on the authority of the Bible? Encourage students to complete their devotions and bring their books to class next week.
Other Valuable Resources
• Memory verse integration
• Helpful icons
• Teaching tips and additional information in margins
• Resource CD with worksheets, PowerPoint, ideas for projects and classroom decorations
Teresa Westercamp is assistant editor for youth curriculum at Regular Baptist Press. She is a graduate of Faith Baptist Bible College with a degree in secondary education—English.