I organized a wonderful visual teaching of the parable of the seeds to our “New Youth” group–(grades 5 & 6, and some 7th graders). I asked them one day what was something they had a hard time understanding during the church service on Sunday that maybe we could study-and most said when parables about seeds are talked about, they didn’t quite get it. So, one day, I brought 4 oblong planter-pots (about 2 ft long-the size is so that with a group of, 12, for example, each one can have room to plant something in at least one of the pots, getting everyone involved) to our Wednesday night service. One of pots contained large rocks across it that were all the same size–which represented a “pathway.” The 2nd contained med size rocks across the entire bottom, then filled the rest of the height with soil, which represented the seeds being scattered onto the rocks that eventually withered away because the roots were not deep enough. The 3rd contained dirt with a mix of weeds, rocks, sticks, etc that I had dug out of my yard, which represented the thorny soil that robbed the desire to know God and begin to worship other things. The 4th contained “good soil” with nutrients-which of course represented “good soil!” I also brought along a bag of sunflower seeds (the planting kind–not the eating kind!), a bottle of miracle growing liquid, and a watering can. We went outside, and started w/the 1st pot, the “pathway”–as we scattered the seeds, and went on down to each pot. As we went along, we stopped after each pot, and the youth reflected on each parable that each pot represented, and what it meant while I read Jesus’ explanation of what each one meant.
Just several days later the seeds began to grow! Of course pot “1” did not (the seeds “disappeared!”); pot “2” began to grow, and after 2 weeks the 2 inch plants began to die (wither)! Pot “3” grew also, but those 2 inch plants began to get “choked out” by the weeds that were still alive!–and pot “4” was full of abundant 6-7 inch plants that looked perfectly healthy! (oh, we added a little miracle grow at the beginning to pot 4 to show that God’s miracles are always happening!) This was such a visual experience for the kids, and they really did learn what these parables meant! Plus, we get together to water the plants every week and talk about the scriptures they each represent! It was inexpensive, and productive! And the kids absolutely loved doing it!