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LearningCycles series A Voice Crying in the Wilderness Creative Activities for Teaching about John the Baptist

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Creative Activities for Teaching about John the Baptist
LearningCycles series
A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

The LearningCycles series offers a creative approach to faith formation based on different learning styles, appropriate for K-5th graders.  Each LearningCycles unit generally includes seven workshops: Art, Story & Games, Drama & Activity, Music, Kitchen, Movie, and Publishing.  This series works well for whole family/intergenerational catechesis and is a great basis for grandparent camps or other vacation bible schools.

John the Baptist was the voice crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the Way of the Lord.” In this unit, we have tried to cover both the basics of John’s life and ministry, as well as a brief introduction to the role of the prophet throughout history. For our purposes, we will be focusing on a prophet as one who tells God’s message, not one who foretells the future. These themes of prophecy will also be woven together with his message about preparing the way and how this ties in with the liturgical season of Advent.

John's ancient message ringing out across the centuries is just as appropriate today. In today’s busy world, life seems to become even more hectic as we approach the Christmas season, but the church calls us in another direction. In the midst of the chaotic storm of frenzied holiday preparations, the season of Advent is a haven of quiet and contemplation – a place to stop and wait and hope. John’s message to “Prepare the Way” reminds us to put aside all the non-essentials and focus on making room for the highway of our God, giving God direct access into our lives and our hearts. In this way, we can all aspire to be prophetic voices – telling God’s good news to all the world around us.

  • Art Workshop – Make candles to illustrate how prophets “shine a light” into the world that shows us the way.
  • Publishing Workshop – Examine the roles of the prophets; learn about some of the prophets found in the Bible, and look up some of the prophecies made about the coming of a Messiah.
  • Drama Workshop – Use props and engage with the five senses to enter more deeply into the story of John the Baptist.
  • Movie Workshop – Watch a movie on John the Baptist and focus specifically on what it means to be “a voice crying in the wilderness.” (Supporting DVDs can be found for sale here.)
  • Story Workshop – Learn more about John the Baptist’s message through story and games.
  • Kitchen Workshop – Make star cookies to illustrate the prophecy from Isaiah as a way to connect John’s message with that of Isaiah.
  • Music Workshop – Listen to Handel’s Messiah and illustrate the experience of hearing the song with oil pastels.

Click to find additional resources for use with this unit.

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Format: eResource
Product code: LR211
Dimensions: 8½" x 11"
Length: 40 pages
The Pastoral Center / LeaderResources
Written by Tracey E. Herzer