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Students at commencement

Ministry in Context

Internship Project Story: Lisa Carlson

Bible Basics & Discipleship: A 6-week curriculum for 5th and 6th grade students

Pastoral Intern Lisa Carlson, Faith Lutheran Church, Dodge Center, MN 2017-18       

Why was this project subject of interest to you?

The area of Faith Formation has always been of interest to me and helping students grow in Bible literacy opens a new world of faith exploration through the Word of God. 

Why was your context a good fit for this project?

As intern pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Dodge Center, I had agreed to teach the new 5th and 6th grade Confirmation Preparation Class for the school year. While a suitable curriculum had been chosen for the Luther’s Catechism portion of the lessons, my supervising pastor and I struggled to find something focused on Bible literacy and discipleship for this age group. 

Why might this project be of interest to your fellow interns?

Finding teaching resources can be a challenge, so encouragement and direction on how to create your own might be helpful. 

What, Who, and Where:

My internship project was the creation and implementation of a 6-week curriculum unit entitled, Bible Basics & Discipleship which was part of a year long Confirmation Preparation Class for 5th and 6th grade students at Faith Lutheran Church in Dodge Center, MN. The Confirmation Preparation Class included thirty 5th and 6th graders who met as a large group for the first fifteen minutes of the forty-five minute class time and then divided into four small groups, each with a different adult leader. 

The focus of the first three lessons of the unit was to provide a broad overview of the Bible including the organizational structure, main themes of the Old and New Testaments, and how to find scripture references in their own Bibles. Lessons four and five shifted focus to learning the practice of Lectio Divina which helped students to take a more personal and prayerful look at scripture passages and what God might be saying to them and how they might respond. Lesson six was a review and included a post-test to help students see how much they had learned in the six week unit. After the post-test, the small groups competed against each other in a Jeopardy style game with questions based on the content of the previous five weeks. 

Purpose:

The purpose of this project was to help students build Bible knowledge and skill so they would be more comfortable using their own Bibles for study or devotional reading. 

Hopes:

My hopes for this project were that as a result, the students would be more engaged with scripture, see how it could be relevant to them, and have more confidence in exploring their Bibles.

Outcomes and Transformations the Internship Context experienced:

Each student was given their own, personal Bible (if they hadn’t already received one from the church as a third grader) and asked to bring it to class each week. They liked having their own Bibles and being encouraged to make notes and underline in them as we worked through the lessons. They also liked when they were able to find a scripture reference and read the verses for themselves. 

Outcomes and Transformations you experienced:

The two lessons on Lectio Divina were especially powerful, as students engaged with the scripture we were reading and were able to talk with God about what they were learning and feeling. I have learned so much about working with this age group of students. Seeing their excitement when they understand something in the Bible is so fun! 

What “image” exists in your memory from your internship project experience?

Two images stick in my mind from my internship project experience. The first is of the thirty students spread out all over the darkened sanctuary watching a short intro and experience of Lectio Divina—you could hear a pin drop! And the second is of my small group diligently working to find a Bible verse reference and their excitement when they could do it without my help. 

How might this project experience influence your ministry in a settled ministry call?

The curriculum I developed will be usable in other ministry contexts and the knowledge I gained about making the Bible more accessible, understandable, and relevant to every age group is something I will carry forward wherever I serve.

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