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I. Age Group Characteristics and particulars:

A. Age Group Characteristics of the learners:

They are called by others as "young adults". The age is within 25-39.

1. Physical ability:

They normally have a good physical health. They are in the peak period of physical condition. Some of them may have some problems due to poor habits established in youth.

2. Thinking ability:

Their mechanical memory is decreasing, but the faculty to analyze is on growth. The growth takes place solely in areas related to their occupation. They are now in the period during their work habits and emotional patterns will last in the future. If they don't continue to learn, they will become stagnate and develop a limited self-concept.

3. Emotional and Interpersonal ability:

They are in a period of stabilization and settling down. They become more conservative and moderate, and "their final selves" are gradually formed. Some unsolved emotional problems may be carried from adolescence to this stage. Besides, they are under a stress to maintain a good reputation and fear making mistakes, therefore they are feeling insecure.

They must learn to adapt a variety of roles, such as a mate, a parent, and a home-maker etc. They need to develop a higher level of emotional maturity to admire their life disappointments and failure in their interpersonal relationship may cause bitterness.

Some are in courtship, some are married, and some have had one or two children.

In Hong Kong, the average marriage age is 29. The young couples have to adapt to their in-laws, new families, and their babies. They spend less time in the church.

Their careers are likely to be stable or permanent. Towards 39 years old, many will re-evaluate their career choices and ideals. Thus, they must change their job in this stage or no chance is available. Now the employers in Hong Kong tend to recruit only the people under 38, except some specialized posts. They don't have much personal time, and are very busy. They keep on learning and many people in Hong Kong incline to study for degrees, or diplomas, due to the high expectations on being promoted. The single adults have much time spent on the church and society. But this trend has been changed. They devote more time in further study in order to get a degree. They spend less time in church now. Getting satisfaction from their work is very important for them. They realize that dreams and expectations in early times may never be realized.

4. Implication for Christian Religious Education:

They may be easily drift away from the church. Some may lose their faith and develop a world view apart from Christianity. They need to know how to deepen their faith and renew their loyalty to the church. They are making a more workable life philosophy for themselves. If they are influenced by other philosophies other than Christian faith, then their lives may shift to other concerns not spiritual growth. However, they will be glad if someone can give them a hand. Young couples in Hong Kong love to separate from their families and form their own nucleus family. Therefore, they are likely to be isolated from their parents. They rely heavily on the support from their neighbor or community near them. This is why so many Christians go to nearby churches after marriage.

They demand practical religious knowledge. Discussion groups on particular problems are helpful for them.

B. Particulars of my target group in the Church:

Two thirds of church members are single, about half of them is of this age. One third of members is married with one or two children. There are many professionals and many white collar workers. Some of them are of the management level. They have diplomas, Bachelor degrees, master or doctor degrees. Many of the couples have just come back from immigrated countries. Some of these countries, like Canada, have suffered from economic recession. They don't like the economic environment in these countries, but they are fear of the Communist Party in mainland China.

 

II. Themes and Objectives:

1. Annual theme:

Help them to renew their faith and apply it to their life through the examples in the New Testament (esp. the gospels and Acts).

2. First month:

a. Unit theme

Encourage them to learn Paul's examples in dealing with difficulties in his life.

b. Objectives for four weeks

i. To encourage them to be filled with rejoice even though they are facing severe oppositions. (Scripture may be used: Acts 13:44-52)

ii. To encourage them to continue keeping their faith in adverse situations. (Scripture may be used: Acts 14:8-23).

iii. To encourage them to praise God even in difficult situations. (Scripture may be used: Acts 16:16-34).

iv. To help them to have faith in God in terrible situations. (Scripture may be used: Acts 27:14-44).

3. Second month:

a. Unit theme

Encourage them to learn Jesus' examples in dealing with difficulties in his life.

b. Objectives for four weeks

i. To encourage them to struggle in prayer when they face difficult decisions. (Scripture may be used: Luke 22:39-46)

ii. To encourage them not to be afraid when they are in danger. (Scripture may be used: Mk. 4:35-41; Mt. 8:18, 23-27; Lk 8:22-25).

iii. To encourage them to receive God's acceptance even they once forsake Him.

(Scripture may be used: Jn 21:15-19).

iv. To help them to have faith in God in terrible situations. (Scripture may be used: Mark 5:21-43).

 

III. Detailed lesson plans in the second month:

A. First Lesson:

  1. Introduction:

Objective: To encourage them to struggle in prayer when they face difficult decisions.

Text: Lk 22:39-46; Mt 26:36-46; Mk 14:32-42..

Golden Verse: Lk. 22:42.

Material: A picture of Jesus praying in Gethsemane (as real as possible).

2. For Teachers:

Exegetical Notes:

v.39 Mount of Olives is specified as Gethsemane (Mt. 26:36) and an olive grove in John (Jn. 18:1). It may be located on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives.

v.42 The cup may be the cup of suffering (Mt. 20:22-23; cf. Isa 51:17; Ezek. 23:33).

v.44 The drops of blood are "probably perspiration in large drops like blood, or possibly hematidrosis, the actual mingling of blood and sweat as in cases of extreme anguish, strain or sensitivity".

Meditations:

vv.41-42 Jesus was struggling whether to obey or not. So It is not wrong to express our true feeling to God. The problem is what are we trying to do in this process. Are we trying to give up or depend on Him? The decision we make will affect the overall results. Do you have a time when you are overwhelmed by difficulties and want to give up? What have your done in these situations? What would be your response in this particular situation, if you follows Jesus' example.

Teaching Suggestions:

The objective of this lesson is quite hard to achieve, but we will try to give the students a good start on this track. Students' responses towards difficulties must be altered. Many methods can be used.

One of them is using the role play to help to experience the feelings of the characters which will be used in the fourth lesson. There are several reasons of using it:

It compels active participation and stimulates fantasy. It generates best in-depth "feeling" of the possible real situation. It is very fun, because people like to act. It is easier to them to have a change based on the experience. It impresses the students a lot, so they will harder forget the lesson. Hence, a good role play can stick a more permanent memory in the brains of the students.

Another one is using buzz group and small prayer group. The idea to let them discuss and discover some insights from one another, then allow them to practice what have learnt (prayer in response to difficulties). We will try to combine several techniques to impress the students. Firstly, by using a picture, as real as possible, to put an image on their brains. Then, the testimony of their peer can lead them feel that it is possible for them too. The study on the biography of some famous man is using the credibility of this man to impress them. Here we are combining two approaches to "mold" the students. We are using two men, one of high credibility, the other a low credibility (measure according to their fame). A search on this effect shows the following results:

3. Pre-lesson preparation:

Give a short selected part of a biography or testimony on prayer to the students. They write down some responses to this testimony. Ask one of them to prepare to share one of this response in order to stimulate others.

4. Motivation: (5-10 mins)

Show the picture of Jesus' praying in Gesmane. Ask the question: "When you see this, what come out in your mind?" Then give them some time to answer. Then ask, "How do you feel about when you see Jesus is praying so hard?" Then give them some time to share their feeling. Then, ask them, "Do you have experienced difficulties that you struggle with prayer?" If no one responds, let the student who has prepared shares first.

As you(pl.) have experienced how prayers help to fight your problems, we will see how Jesus and xxxxx (the name of the famous man) use prayers when they face difficulties.

5. Content: (35-45 mins)

a) Introduce briefly the basic information of the text. (5 mins)

i). The structure of the text:

Introduction: Jesus' usual habit -- praying at the Mt of Olives 22:39

Jesus charged the disciples to be aware 22:40

Jesus' struggle in prayer 22:41-44

Jesus grieved about the disciples' unawareness 22:45-46

ii). The message of the text: When we face difficult decisions, we should be aware and struggle it with prayer like Jesus.

Then, divide them into small group of three to four (Buzz group). They should choose the members which they feel free to share. After the sharing, each group has a representative to give a brief report to the whole class.

b) Buzz-group (25-30 mins)

i)Guiding questions on Jesus' story: (10-15 mins)

What does Jesus think in this situation?

What is his feeling?

His responses in the Bible reveal what hidden feeling?

Jesus pours out his real struggle to God, does it bother you? Do you find Him too weak to be accepted? or it's really what you expect from Him?

If you are him, how would you react?

Why do you react in this way?

ii)Guiding questions on the famous man's experience: (10-15 mins)

What do you feel when you are playing the assigned role?

If you are him/her, how would you react?

Why do you react in this way?

What similar experience do you have? This sharing is not necessary to give a report to the class.

6. Reports: (5-10 mins)

Ask the representative of each group to give a brief report on the questions. Tell them don't repeat anything that have been said by the previous group. At the end thank the representatives, "Thank you for all your genuine sharing which indeed prove God has used prayer to help us. And Jesus' example is very helpful to us. Let's read aloud His prayer again (Lk 22:42b)."

7. Action: (5-10 mins)

Then say, "Then it would be best for us to exercise the privilege of using prayers to rely on God. Let's us divide into the same small group and share your difficulties with others. Then pray for them. You will have less than 10 mins. After 10 mins., one of us will close with open prayer."

B. Second Lesson:

  1. Introduction:

Objective: To encourage them not to be afraid when they are in danger.

Text: Mk. 4:35-41; Mt. 8:18, 23-27; Lk 8:22-25. A comparable example can be seen in Mt. 14:25-33; Mk 6:48-51; Jn 6:16-21.

Golden Verse: Mk. 4:40

Material:

2. For Teachers:

Exegetical Notes:

v.37 The Sea of Galilee is situated in a basin surrounded by mountains. It is particularly susceptible to sudden, violent storms. Cool air from the Mediterranean is drawn down through the narrow mountain passes and clashes with the hot, humid air lying over the lake. This phenomena is well-known among the fishermen.

Meditations:

vv38-40 The storm came in a sudden and threatened the disciples' life. Though it is well-known among the fishermen, but it came in a sudden without any warning. Knowing it will happen cannot solve the anxiety when we face it. In contra to this, Jesus seemed to be indifferent. This means the external storm doesn't necessary invoke an internal fear, but it normally does. But there are two possible ways to face them. One is to cry out in panic and lose faith in Jesus. The other is to stay calm and trust Him to solve this problem.

What difficulties have forced you to be panicking? How can you stay calm like Jesus? In what way can you learn from Him and how do you apply to your own life?

Teaching Suggestions:

In this lesson, we suggest using puppets to do the role-play. This tool allows people to express their feeling without being totally associated with themselves. Since fear is easily projected as the response of the weak. Some people tend to deny that they are fear. In addition to this, it is fun. It also encourages the participation of the students. This teaching can become a pleasant memory stick to the hearts of the students.

Fear research has confirmed that it is difficult to predict how scared a person will actually be. Fear depends on two factors. One is how terrified the event is; the other is the his view of the probability of it happening to him. In simple formula: Fear = Terror x Probability. Normally, the more severe the threat, the less likely it seems to happen. But the students are normally feared of the Communist Party in China. Many of them have already had a foreign visa. Hence, how to help them to solve the fear is a real challenge to the teacher.

3. Pre-lesson preparation:

Nothing is used in the lesson.

4. Motivation: (10-15 mins)

Open with a prayer thanking God who has given his peace to us. Say to them, "Let's do relaxation exercises." Relax with slow breathing. Then, sing the hymn with the class, "My peace." (Don't explain why you do that! It is a way to arouse curiosity.) After singing the songs, ask the question: "How do you feel before and after singing this songs?" Let them share for a while. Then, say, "It is normal for us to face burdens, fears and anxieties. They stop us to enjoy His peace. Though we want to have peace, but how can we have it? Today, we can learn how Jesus used His peace in a fearful situation."

5. Content: (35-45 mins)

a) Introduce briefly the basic information of the text. (5 mins)

i). The structure of the text:

Introduction: Jesus wanted to go over the other side. 4:35-36

Crisis: A furious squall came up suddenly 4:37

Contrasts of responses of Jesus & his disciples 4:38

Jesus' response to the sea: calmed it 4:39

Jesus' response to the disciples: blamed their disbelief 4:40

Disciples' response to Jesus: terrified & puzzled 4:41

ii). The message of the text: Don't be panic even in fearful situation. Believe in Jesus, He can solve the problems.

Then say to the class, "Let's use some puppets to do a role-play for this story. You can choose a character and puppet for yourselves. You will have 10-15 mins to prepare for this show."

b) Prepare for Puppet show (10-15 mins)

The students are asked to play the characters in the stories.

Guiding questions:

What is the atmosphere?

What does the character think in this situation?

What is his/her feeling?

His/her responses in the Bible reveal what hidden feeling?

c) Puppet show and Discussion after it : (10-15mins)

What do you feel when you are playing the assigned role?

Any new insights gained from this show?

If you are him/her, how would you react?

Why do you react in this way?

5. Action: (5-10 mins)

Say to them, "Write down the fears you facing in a dairy. Then pray for them and wait for the guide of the Lord. If you want, you can share with us in the later lessons. Let's the puppet representing Jesus say Mk. 4:40 to us."

Wait after he/she finished, then say, "Now let each of you pray silently to God. Let him calm your heart and lead your way. After 3 minutes, one of us will close with open prayer."

 

C. Third Lesson:

  1. Introduction:

Objective: To encourage them to receive God's acceptance even they once forsake Him.

Text: Jn. 21:15-19

Golden Verse: Jn. 21:16

Material: A short film or slide show (theme: How God uses a repented Christians.)

2. For Teachers:

Exegetical Notes:

vv.15-17 The Greek word for "love" in Jesus' first two questions is different from that in his third question and in all Peter's answers. Jesus used" you love" (agapas), but Peter answered "I love" (philo). Since stylistic variations are common in John, and no distinction between these words appears elsewhere in the Gospel. But some scholars suggest that this passage may imply deliberate variations with special emphasis. The first word refers to a love in which the entire personality , including the will, is involved. The later one refers to spontaneous natural affection or fondness in which emotion plays a more permanent role than will. However, this difference is somewhat arbitrary; since Jesus may speak to Peter in Aramaic, in which only one word for "love".

Meditations:

vv.15-17 When Peter faced Jesus whom he had denied for three times, Peter felt guilty and shame. It may be our feeling when we have done something that are inhonorable to God. Something that God will not happy about, or even we commit sins. When we have sinned against Him, we normally feel uneasy to face God. But Jesus asked Peter do he love Him. When Peter gave a positive response, He assigned a job to Peter. It means Jesus accept Peter, in spite of his denial! Would we accept Jesus' acceptance in days of depression or sinful life.

Teaching Suggestions:

In this lesson, we will some visual aids. Using film or slide show can put a visual story in the mind of the students.

3. Pre-lesson preparation:

Except the setting of the machine, no pre-lesson exercise is recommended.

4. Motivation: (5 mins)

Ask the question: "What will happen to a Christian who has abandoned God, but repent later?" After they share some ideas, then say, "let's see a real case."

5. Slide Show: (15-20 mins)

After the show, ask them to share their feeling. Then say, " We know that God has accepted him (the character of the film). let's see how Jesus accept Peter too!"

6. Content: (20-25 mins)

a) Introduce briefly the basic information of the text. (5 mins)

i). The structure of the text:

Jesus spoke to Peter the first time 21:15

Jesus spoke to Peter the second time 21:16 Jesus spoke to Peter the third time

and prophesied on the future of Peter 21:17-19

ii). The message of the text: We can receive God's acceptance even they once forsake Him.

b) Discussion: (5-10mins)

Guiding questions:

What is the atmosphere?

What does Peter / Jesus think in this situation?

What is his feeling?

His responses in the Bible reveal what hidden feeling?

If you are Peter, how would you react?

Why do you react in this way?

Do you have similar experience?

5. Action: (5-10 mins)

"Now let's each of you pray silently to God about our own feeling. Let's us receive His acceptance, if we confess our sins to Him." After 3 minutes, I will close with open prayer." (N.B. In your prayer, include the God's promise to forgive and accept us. e.g. 1 Jn. 1:9.)

 

D. Fourth Lesson:

  1. Introduction:

Objective: To help them to have faith in God in terrible situations.

Text: Mark 5:21-43; Mt. 9:18-26; Lk 8:41-56.

Golden Verse: Mk. 5:36

2. For Teachers:

Exegetical Notes:

v.22 Jairus was the elected ruler of the local synagogue. He was responsible for supervising worship, running the weekly school, and caring for the building. Many synagogue rulers had close relationship with the Pharisees.

v.25-34 Her continual bleeding may have been a menstrual or uterine disorder which has made her ritually unclean (Leviticus 15:25-27). She should live outside the city, and tells others she is unclean before she enters a crowd.

Meditations:

v.36 Jairus' crisis forced to lose faith in Jesus, he was in a terrible situation that can easily to become self-pity about himself. Jesus knew his heart, He comforted and encouraged him, "Don't be afraid. Just trust me." He didn't blame him, but assured him of His power. Have you had similar experience? How do you respond at that time? Will there be any difference if you face a similar one again? What we you respond now if you face a difficult situation like that?

Teaching Suggestions:

Many methods can be used. One of them is using the role play to help to experience the feelings of the characters. There are several reasons of using it:

It compels active participation and stimulates fantasy. It generates best in-depth "feeling" of the possible real situation. It is very fun, because people like to act. It is easier to them to have a change based on the experience. It impresses the students a lot, so they will harder forget the lesson. Hence, a good role play can stick a more permanent memory in the brains of the students.

3. Pre-lesson preparation:

Talk to the students and try to understand their life situation especially the problems in which they do not have enough faith to overcome. Ask one of them to prepare to share one of the experience that he or she overcome by the help of Jesus.

4. Motivation: (5-10 mins)

Ask the question: "Do you have experienced a special problem that you do not have enough faith to overcome, but finally Jesus helps you to solve it?" If no one responds, let the student who has prepared shares first.

As you(pl.) have experienced Jesus can solve our problems, we will see one example how Jesus helps people.

5. Content: (35-45 mins)

a) Introduce briefly the basic information of the text. (5 mins)

i). The structure of the text: "Sandwich style"

Jesus went to Jairus' home to heal his daughter 5:21-24

Jesus was delayed by a woman and he healed her 5:25-34

Jesus heard his daughter was dead and he resurrected her 5:35-43

ii). The message of the text: we must have faith in Jesus even though in extremely difficult situations. He can solve the "unsolvable problems."

Then, use role-play to dig deeply into the texts. Each of them is assigned a role. Request them to grasp the possible feelings of the characters. Give them 20 minutes to prepare for that. (20 mins)

b) Role-play (10-15 mins)

The students are asked to play the characters in the stories.

Guiding questions:

What is the atmosphere?

What does the character think in this situation?

What is his/her feeling?

His/her responses in the Bible reveal what hidden feeling?

c) Discussion: (10-15mins)

What do you feel when you are playing the assigned role?

If you are him/her, how would you react?

Why do you react in this way?

5. Action: (5-10 mins)

Say to them, "Write down the problems you facing in a dairy. Then pray for them and wait for the guide of the Lord. Make a plan of action when you gain the insights. Actualize your plan. If you want, you can share with us in the later lessons.

"Now let each of you pray silently to God. Let him calm your heart and lead your way. After 3 minutes, one of us will close with open prayer."

 

IV. Evaluation List:

As a teacher of the Sunday School, we would like to know our progress in the teaching skills. Here we suggest several self-evaluation questions for your own benefits. May the Lord use you as the tool of His blessing! May your teaching become the precious experience for your life and your student's life.

1. Do your pre-lesson activities motivate the students?

2. Do you see God's hand is changing the student's life?

3. Do you see a positive attitude towards the study and application of His words?

4. Do your class show a loving and acceptance atmosphere?

5. Do you follow an orderly program?

6. Do you prepare your lesson carefully?

7. Do you learn from the Bible before you teach the message?

8. Do you use enough teaching aids?

9. Have all your teaching activities helped the study?

10. Do your students have a thanksgiving heart?

11. Do you have follow-up plans for the applications of the lessons?

12. Are the space and air-condition of your classroom suitable?

13. Do you or your students always come late?

14. Do you and your students show mutual love and acceptance?

15. Do your students change their attitudes or behaviors?

16. Can you and your students share openly about their doubts in faith and problems in their lives?

17. Do your co-workers work happily with you?

Reference:

New Life Teaching Manual -- Teacher's handbook. Chinese ed.

HK: Lutheran South East Asia X'n Ed., 1980.

Anastasi, Anne. Fields of Applied Psychology. 2nd ed. Tokyo: McGraw-Hill, 1979.

CUStudent U. Hong Kong Education Perspective. HK: Wide Angle, 1982.

Douglas, Alban. 100 Bible Lessons (Part 1) Lessons 1-50. Hong Kong: Bellman, 1992.

Gilbert, W. K. ed. Age group Characteristic. HK: Lutheran South East Asia X'n Ed., 1980.

Griffin, EM The Mind Changers. Wheaton: Tyndale, 1987.

Hilgard, E. R. et. al. Introduction to Psychology. tr. by Yeung Kwok Shu et. al.

Taipei: Kwai Kwun, 1985.

Hill, W. F. Learning. Scranton: Chandler, 1971.

Lawrence R. Creative Bible Teaching. tr. by Esther Su.

Taipei: China Evangelical Seminary Press, 1970.

Martinson, Cora. 101 Games. HK: Taosheng, 1982.

Mednick, S. A. et. al. Learning. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1973.

Redse, Arne. An Introduction to Church Teaching. Hong Kong: Taosheng, 1993.

Smith, G. F. & Byrne, D. Instructor's Manual to Accompany. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1982.

Setiawani, M. G. Group Dynamics. HK: Christian Communications Ltd., 1990.

Wang, C. C. Called to teach. Touliu: Conservative Baptist Press, 1978.

Yip, Jen Wah. New Comprehensive Guide to Psychology. HK: Shan Lak, ?.