This spring in my English class at our home school co-op, I assigned for each of the students to read a full-length biography of someone who was a Christian missionary (such as Hudson Taylor, Gladys Aylward, William Carey or Mary Slessor), pastor (such as Charles Spurgeon), author (such as C.S. Lewis), hymn writer (such as Fanny Crosby), etc. Most of these are from YWAM's Christian Heroes Then & Now series, which most of my students prefer, or the Heroes of the Faith series, which are more complete but not as kid-friendly.
The corresponding writing assignment is to summarize each chapter in at least one paragraph. As they proceed throughout the book, they are answering most of the following questions in their paragraphs, as appropriate for their subject. Then they will compile their writing into a final report and oral presentation.
Questions for Christian Biography Reports
1. What is this person's name? Was it the same at birth as in adulthood?
2. Where and when was this person born, and under what kind of family circumstances?
3. Who were this person's parents and what were they like?
4. What was this person's childhood like?
5. What was this person's life like before he or she became a Christian?
6. What (and who) led to this person becoming a Christian?
7. Who were the mentors, coworkers, and close friends of this person? What quality of relationships did they have?
8. What were the main events of this person's life, including dates, places and other people?
9. What did this person look like as an adult? Did he or she have any physical handicaps?
10. Where did this person work? (What cities, countries, etc.)
11. What type of ministry and practical work did this person do (writing, preaching, medical, Bible translation, mercy, etc.)?
12. What was the impact of this work on his or her time period?
13. What was the focus of this person's public Christian message? Was there anything unusual or unorthodox?
14. What did this person think about the Bible, salvation, Christian growth, the Holy Spirit, baptism, music, and methods of ministry?
15. What were some notable quotes from this person? What circumstances surrounded each quote -- such as causes or reactions?
16. What personal weaknesses or temptations did this person face, how were these handled, and what kind of problems were caused?
17. What external opposition and dangers did this person face, and what was this person's response to it?
18. Who were this person's spouse(s) and children, what were they like? Was the family relationship strong or strained?
19. What organizations or trends were started based on this person's work?
20. What were the date, place, and circumstances of this person's death?
21. What is the lasting legacy of this person's work and witness?
Since many of them have been reading about foreign missionaries, I have also been giving them vocabulary and basic concepts for the major world religions and ideologies, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, atheism/agnosticism, and Judaism. I will try to post some of this later.