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All Aboard The YM360 Plus Bus | A 52-week Youth Ministry Strategy
All Aboard The YM360 Plus Bus | A 52-week Youth Ministry Strategy
Felt-Board Gospel: Connecting the Old Testament to Jesus

Felt-Board Gospel: Connecting the Old Testament to Jesus

Are you old enough to remember learning from a “felt” or “flannel” board at church? In case you don’t have that tucked away as a core memory, here’s how Sunday morning used to go. The leader would teach by using the felt board. Flat characters, buildings, and objects would magically appear on the board. If you were lucky, you might get to “help” move them around as the story was told. If you have no idea what a felt board is, google it! I can’t tell you how many Bible stories I learned from the felt board. They are the foundational stories of everything I’ve learned from the Bible. And I’m convinced my life would be different without learning those stories. 

Which ones do you remember? Most of my core memories are stories from the Old Testament.

Daniel and the Lion’s Den

Moses and the Burning Bush

David and the Goliath

I’m sure you get the picture! What’s so important about those stories, especially the Old Testament ones? They are the key stories on which to build the Gospel of Jesus Christ for your students. They are more than children’s stories. They are God’s Story.

One thing I’ve learned over the past years is that students don’t have the same core memories that I have surrounding these felt-board stories. In fact, if they decided to follow Jesus later than elementary school, where many of these stories are taught, they may not even know these stories! And how are they supposed to know them if we don’t teach them? Can I propose something to you? These stories lie at the heart of discipleship. Why? Because when you know the backstory, suddenly, things become more real. You not only understand that Jesus died on the cross for you, but you realize EVERYTHING before the cross points to that pivotal moment in time! Do your students know these felt board Old Testament stories? Do they know the Gospel begins in Genesis, not Matthew?  

I’ll never forget my class of middle schoolers discovering why and how Esther’s story was connected to Jesus’ story. When they started connecting the dots, lightbulbs started going off. The story went from Esther choosing to save her people, the Jews, to them realizing her choice saved Jesus, who was also a Jew. That day, they learned how Esther’s story points to the cross, and they still talk about it now, five years later! Once they discovered that connection, they could start pointing out other connections. Suddenly, the Old Testament wasn’t as boring anymore!

I saw three perspective shifts in my students once they started realizing how the Old Testament points to Jesus.

  1. They begin to understand that life isn’t all about them. Their world grows larger.
  2. They learn they can do hard things (a lot of those stories were about teens!)
  3. They begin to grasp the depth of love our God has for them that started WAY before they were born.

It’s incredible what can be learned when going back to those basic, felt-board Old Testament stories. Not only do students learn Gospel stories through them, but they also learn a little about themselves!

Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:

  • Do you already show your students how these Old Testament stories point to the Gospel? How do you do it?
  • How have you seen your students’ perspectives shift as they saw how the Old Testament points to Jesus?

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