April 17Ė May 15, 2005



Scripture:Book of Jonah


Memory Verse: ďBut you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.ĒPsalm 86:15 NRSV


Offering:Haven House which provides a multitude of programs that have helped thousands of young people and their families overcome problems and become productive members of the community.



        Even if we donít understand Godís purpose, we should still obey.

        God will not give up on you even if you disobey.

        God is merciful and slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love.

        God has power over all of nature.

        Jonah was a reluctant prophet and had trouble accepting Godís mercy and love for his enemies.



The children will be able to name or list ways in which God shows power over nature and mercy in the story of Jonah after watching the video.



Welcome and Introductions:

1.     Greet the children and introduce yourself.Wear your nametag. Make sure the children are wearing nametags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.


2.     Explain the purpose of this workshop. We are going to watch a video about the story of Jonah.While you are watching I want you to look for examples of Godís power and mercy.


Scripture/Bible Story:

Review the Bible story. Find the book of Jonah in the Old Testament.Tell the children our lesson is on the whole book of Jonah, but since weíre going to see a video of the whole book, I am going to read aloud a shortened summary of it.


Summary of Jonah (based on the CEV)

Jonah Runs from the LORD
One day the LORD told Jonah to go to the great city of Nineveh and say to the people that lived there, "The LORD has seen your sins, in other words, your very bad behavior. You are doomed!" Instead, Jonah ran from the LORD. He went to a seaport and bought a ticket on a ship that was going to Spain which was about as far from Nineveh as he could go. Then he got on the ship and sailed away to escape.

But the LORD made a strong wind blow, and such a bad storm came up that the ship was about to be broken to pieces. The sailors were frightened, they did not follow the LORD, but they all started praying to different false gods.All this time, Jonah was down below deck, sound asleep. The ship's captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep at a time like this? Get up and pray to your God! Maybe he will have pity on us and keep us from drowning."God showed the sailors that it was Jonah that had caused all the trouble. The sailors started asking Jonah, "Are you the one who brought all this trouble on us? What business are you in? Where do you come from? What is your country? Who are your people?"
Jonah answered, "I'm a Hebrew, and I worship the LORD God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land."When the sailors heard this, they were frightened, because Jonah had already told them he was running from the LORD. Then they said, "Do you know what you have done?"The storm kept getting worse, until finally the sailors asked him, "What should we do with you to make the sea calm down?"
Jonah told them, "Throw me into the sea, and it will calm down. I'm the cause of this terrible storm."

The sailors didnít want to throw Jonah overboard because they were afraid that the LORD would drown them for killing Jonah, so the sailors tried their best to row to the shore. But they could not do it, and the storm kept getting worse every minute. So they prayed to the LORD, "Please don't let us drown for taking this man's life.Ē Then they threw Jonah overboard, and the sea calmed down. The sailors were so terrified that they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made all kinds of promises.

The LORD sent a big fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.

From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the LORD his God.In his prayer, he thanked the LORD for rescuing him from the sea by sending the fish.Then Jonah said he would keep his promise to the LORD because the LORD is the one with power to save.

The LORD commanded the fish to vomit up Jonah on the shore. And it did.

Jonah Goes to Nineveh
Once again the LORD told Jonah to go to that great city of Nineveh and preach his message of doom.
Jonah obeyed the LORD and went to Nineveh. The city was so big that it took three days just to walk through it. After walking for a day, Jonah warned the people, "Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed!"
They believed God's message and did things to show God they were sorry.Even the king believed.He told his people to pray to the LORD God with all your heart and stop being sinful and cruel. He said that maybe God would change his mind and have mercy on Nineveh, so the people wouldn't be destroyed.
When God saw that the people had stopped doing evil things, he had pity and did not destroy them as he had planned.

Jonah Gets Angry at the LORD
Jonah was really upset and angry. So he prayed:
Our LORD, I knew from the very beginning that you wouldn't destroy Nineveh. That's why I left my own country and headed for Spain. You are a kind and merciful God, and you are very patient. You always show love, and you don't like to punish anyone.
Now let me die! I'd be better off dead.

The LORD replied, "What right do you have to be angry?"

Jonah left Nineveh and made a shelter to protect himself from the sun. He sat under the shelter, waiting to see what would happen to Nineveh.The LORD gave Jonah a vine to shade him from the sun and then sent a worm to eat the vine. During the day the LORD sent a scorching wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head, making him feel faint. Jonah was ready to die, and he shouted, "I wish I were dead!"

But the LORD asked, "Jonah, do you have the right to be angry about the vine?"
"Yes, I do," he answered, "and I'm angry enough to die."

But the LORD said:
You are concerned about a vine that you did not plant or take care of, a vine that grew up in one night and died the next. In that city of Nineveh there are more than a hundred twenty thousand people who cannot tell right from wrong. Don't you think I should be concerned about that big city?



  1. Pass out power/mercy worksheets and pencils or letters.Tell children that during the video, every time they hear or see an example of Godís power over nature they should write it down in the power column and every time they hear or see and example of Godís mercy they should write it down in the mercy column.You may need to say a word or two about what mercy is first (i.e. mercy is showing kindness even when someone does not deserve it)
  2. Turn off the lights and begin the video. Itís about 30 minutes.When the video is over turn the lights on.Have children compare their lists(examples of power over nature might include: storm, wind, sea, plant, animals in Nineveh, sun, worm; examples of mercy might include: saving the sailors, saving Jonah from drowning, saving Jonah from the whale, saving the Ninevites)
  3. Distribute their journal sheets and have the Shepherd to provide the pens or pencils so

they can complete the sheet.


For 4th and 5th grade children:Use sheet with power and mercy columns to record answers.


For 1st-3rd grade children: Instead of the paper with power and mercy columns to record their answers, give each child a letter M and a letter P.Whenever they hear or see examples of Godís power over nature, hold up the letter P, examples of mercy, hold up the letter M.It would probably be a good idea for the shepherds and you to have the paper letters, too, in case the children need a little prompting.You may want to list ideas on a chart as children raise their letters so you can read through the list together at the end of the movie.


Reflection Time:

At 10:35 a.m. ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a sticker or some memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the story or activity.


Prompts for journal writing: In the story, Jonah kept disobeying God and making mistakes.God kept trying to get Jonah to do the right thing.Think about a time when you made a mistake or disobeyed God or your parents.Draw a picture of it.Then write a sentence or two telling what you should have done instead.

At 10:45 ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer.



Prayer:Dear God, We know we make mistakes and sometimes disobey like Jonah. Help us to remember your power, mercy, and steadfast love as we strive to obey Your commandments.Amen


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up popcorn before they leave Holywood.  Wait until after class to pile up the beanbag chairs. The kids tend to throw them. Wipe out popcorn machine thoroughly, do not use water.Close/lock the door and turn off the lights.


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.     Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.

2.     Prepare a closing prayer.

3.     Review the video so you are familiar with the story.

4.     Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.



Supply List

       Video will be given to you at the Workshop Leadersí Bible Study.

       Power/Mercy column sheet (4th and 5th grades)

       Paper letters ďMĒ and ďPĒ (1st, 2nd and 3rd grades)

       Journal pages will also be provided at the Bible study or the first Sunday of the rotation.

       Stickers if you want to put them on the journal pages.



       Lori Houck, Faith Quest Curriculum Writersí Bible Study

       The Story of Jonah and the Whale, Sony Wonder 1996 VHS, 30 minutes