Why You Should Be Talking About Animals in Your Lessons


In my Bible reading last week, I came across an interesting verse about Solomon.  Look what it says about Him. 

He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish. 1 Kings 4:33

Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, took the time to learn about animals, birds and fish.  He could talk extensively about them.  He knew it was a topic that would interest people. 

Fast forward to today.  People still have an interest in animals.  Kids love animals and enjoy learning about them and talking about them. 

Jesus talked about animals when He taught.  He used sheep as an example in his teachings.  A wolf. A lion.  Dogs.  Beasts of the field.  Snakes.  Creatures that move along the ground.  Creatures of the sea. Ravens.  Bears.  Cows.  Just to name a few.

Jesus knew that most people have a natural interest in animals and so He used animals in His illustrations.

Kids love animals. They love to go to the zoo.  They love to have animals for pets.  They love to watch movies and television shows that have animals in them.  They love to study about animals at school.

If you want to connect with kids, talking about animals in your lessons is important.  Noah's ark is one of the most beloved stories in the Bible.  It is obviously filled with animals. 

A great example of someone using animals in their storytelling was Walt Disney.  He knew that people connect with animals.  Look what he said.  

Next to his own most intimate self-concerns, man is most fascinated by creatures of the animal kingdom. They have been close to his interest and his fate from time beyond the Ark.

A big part of Walt's success involved animals.  That's why one of the Disney Parks is called "Animal Kingdom."  You will also see that animals are a huge part of Disney through their movies, theme park rides, shows, characters and products.

In fact, Disney started with a small mouse called Mickey. Many of their most beloved characters are based on animals. Donald is a duck, Goofy is a dog, Simba is a lion, Chip & Dale are chipmunks, Eeyore is a donkey, Dumbo is an elephant, Peter is a rabbit and Bambi is a deer.

I would encourage you to use animals on a regular basis in your teaching.  

This past weekend, I taught the pre-teen class at my home church.  We were talking about obeying God. I asked the kids to think about some animals that are good at obeying. Two of the kids said their German Shepherd dogs obeyed well.  I shared with the kids that German Shepherds are often police dogs.  Some of them even have their own badge number.  They are trained to obey their master.  As followers of Jesus, we should obey Jesus.  He is our Master.  

Use animal sounds.

Use pictures of animals.

Bring live animals if you can.  

One of my all-time favorite lesson series was a series we created called “Animals of the Bible.” Each week we looked at a different animal in the Bible and the story that surrounded it. And each week we had that animal live in the service.

The first week the lesson was about the rooster who crowed three times when Peter denied Jesus. We had a live rooster there. The second week was about the pig that the prodigal son feed when he ran away. We had a live pig there. The third week we told the story of Elijah going to heaven in a chariot that was pulled by horses of fire. We had a live horse there.

The final week was the grand finale. The lesson was about Daniel and the Lion’s Den. When the kids walked into the room that day there was a large cage that was covered. When we got to the part where Daniel was being thrown into the lion’s den, we took the cover off and yes...you guessed it...there was a full-sized, real lion in the cage. The lion let out a roar and the kids were blown away. That was a lesson they will never forget. We had arranged for a local zoo to bring the lion in and of course made sure everything was safe and secure.

I also created a teaching series with animals called “Amazing Animals.” We partnered with a legend of the animal world, Jack Hanna, and the Columbus Zoo. Jack attends the church where I served when he is in Florida so we were able to go to the Columbus Zoo and film lesson videos that featured Jack showing the kids six different animals. We were able to use the animals to teach spiritual truth and the kids absolutely loved the lessons.

Below is a video clip from the series.  If you'd like to see more about using this series, click here.