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Grab Bag Application

Most churches purchase some type of Sunday school curriculum which provides their teachers with an organized, laid out plan of what they will teach Sunday after Sunday. However, if youíve ever had to teach without curriculum, and you always have to come up with your own lesson plan week after week, no matter how educated you are, how knowledgeable or theologically trained, there are going to be those times when your mind draws a blank as to what to teach. If you find yourself in this situation (or even if you donít), Grab Bag Application is a really good substitute.

Scavenge your home and dollar store for random, interesting objects, and place them in a ďgrab bag.Ē When itís lesson time, have your class members reach down into the bag and draw out an item. Explain to them that they will have a designated amount of time (i.e. 5, 10 or 15 minutes) to develop one or more biblical/spiritual applications using the object they drew out. At the end of the planning time, they will be asked to show their object to the rest of the class and give a one to two minute presentation about the application(s) they come up with.

Suggestions: Structure the assignment to fit your class members. For example, if you know your introverted members will get stressed out over this assignment and will be very uncomfortable presenting in front of the class by themselves, then consider letting the class members pair up by 2s, 3s or more, and elect a primary presenter. This would also be appropriate if you have a very large group.

Also, depending on your class size, have concordances available so that the class members can use them to look up verses and assist them in developing their applications. Your primarily role in this lesson is to serve as facilitator. Circulate throughout the room and determine if each individual/team is on task, or if theyíre having problems coming up with an application. Be prepared to help those who are absolutely stumped, so be sure not to put any object in the grab bag for which you personally canít think of an application. If there is at least one object left in the bag, you might want to consider drawing it out and make a biblical/spiritual application to provide your class members an example of what youíre asking of them.

After each individual/team completes their presentation, ask the rest of the class members if they have additional comments or applications to make about the object that wasnít already mentioned. This gives everyone an opportunity to contribute their thoughts on all the objects.

I hope your experience using this exercise is as fulfilling as mine. While your initial motive in using this lesson might be to give yourself a break from a lot of studying, donít be surprised if you are blessed and blown away from the applications your class members come up with, and the comments they make.

Alternate Plan: The first time I used this lesson format was for a Wednesday night youth Bible study. The church was just a few blocks away from a real dollar store (every item $1), so I loaded the teens on one of the church buses and drove them to the dollar store. I told them they had five minutes to find one object for which they would make a biblical/spiritual application when we returned to the church, and I paid for all of the objects. They were allowed to team up with a friend or several friends if they wished, especially if more than one object was needed to make their application. You might also want to consider this if you have a large block of time (i.e. youth lock-in) for a Bible study and really want to involve your youth. Wrap up your Bible study with a final biblical/spiritual application of your own.

 

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