Is Sunday School Boring? Change the Environment

This is the quote I saw today,

“When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” Alexander D. Meijer

Many times as ministry women and families we can easily pinpoint problems or “sins” within the lives of other people. Discernment and experience allow us to figure out why they aren’t growing spiritually — we can see maybe that it’s their home life, or it is that they are not dedicated enough to the things of God, etc. But I will propose today that maybe it is not always the plant…

I want to highlight a specific part of ministry, one where you might have a larger influence, the Sunday School class. Not all women will have that influence because I know you serve where you’re needed or where you’re gifted, maybe you’re not a Sunday School teacher. I think that the idea and many of the basic principles can apply with this theme. Apply to any situation where you’re the teacher. If your church has grown stale and the people and flowers are not blooming it can be the environment of the church as much as it could be the environment they are cultivating in their own lives.

Boring Sunday School classes create bored students. If things are not going well in your class, it may not always be the students, it may be the environment.

Minutes before I saw the quote about flowers, as I was scrolling through Facebook, an advertisement asking parents and adults “Why do 75% of children quit going to church by the age of 18?” The premise of the advertisement said that the reason was because children learn the same Sunday School lessons year after year even into junior high and high school. Their curriculum was a topical lesson series that was meant to answer common questions children have about God and spiritual matters.

The advertisement almost made me laugh because our children actually have had this happen between 3 churches we have attended in the past 3.5 years. When we were serving in ministry on staff they learned about Samuel and went through the book of Judges. When we joined the church plant the teacher curriculum was also in the book of Judges. Then, this year when we followed our pastor to a new church (it’s a special story I hope to tell down the road) guess where the Sunday School teachers were in their curriculum series!? You guessed it! Judges. And we’re talking about three different curriculums, classes, and teachers.

Our kids had mentioned they were bored and I explained there must be some important lessons for their life right in that part of the Bible. Can you see how church could have been really boring if they were not engaged in their classes with good teachers giving different life applications over the past 3.5 years? Or they only went to church on Sundays? Or what if we did not talk about spiritual things at home? You can see how that there might be a possibility of becoming bored with church if this was the case.

Changing the Environment

While I realize it’s not our jobs to “entertain” per se’ in the church, but we should be making our ministry work appropriately engaging. Sunday School is no exception, it is a significant opportunity for children to hear Bible teaching on their own age level.

Classroom Environment

  • Cleanliness of the room should be maintained.
  • Seats that allow the child to sit with their feet close to the floor. Tables that allow them to comfortably do their work or play.
  • The walls should have neat decorations that are not a distraction. Decorations should change too and compliment the purpose of your lessons and class or at the very least, the seasons.
  • You also want to have a window or the door to public walkways to allow accountability and prevent accusation, especially if you do not have a classroom helper.
  • Do the best with what you have — maybe you’re using one-size metal chairs and they’re you’re desks for filling out Sunday School papers too, or you’re in a classroom that was not really designed to be a class, then you can only fix and work with what you have.

Sunday School Teacher Environment

The receptiveness of the spiritual message of the lesson is dependent upon the teacher’s effectiveness to communicate God’s intended purpose for the lesson. The heart of the teacher is the key to competent teaching. The character of your actions before and during class also will dictate “success” in teaching.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you preparing enough in advance to study the lesson and allow God to work in your heart?
  • Have you prayed for the Sunday lesson time and the children of your class?
  • Do you have flexibility when things do not go as planned, to be able to come up with new ideas that will create interest or deal with problems?
  • What is your personality in the classroom? How do your students perceive you? Which fruits of the Spirit are you exhibiting or should you incorporate?
  • Are you engaging the children through eye contact and appreciation of their responses?
  • Do you have sins exhibited in the classroom? For example, do they see impatience or anger when you deal with difficult people and situations?

Lesson Environment

Through time often as teachers we can begin to rely on specific methods that we are familiar with and get into a routine of using the same types of methods of teaching. I’m going to encourage you to spice it up and try something new.

  • Preparation of materials and supplies should be done ahead of class time.
  • Utilize visual aids – Eyes and brains are connected, if you’re engaging their eyes they will more than likely be listening. A friend suggested engaging children by using the five senses, use a number of visual aids that will help them see AND experience the lesson.
  • Use your voice – No monotone! Whisper, speak with excitement, use voices to portray characters. Read the Bible in an interesting way.
  • Plan more activities than you will think you need. Always have time fillers whether they are little simple games, conversation starters, or simple coloring sheets, etc.
  • Rotating through lessons systematically by grade levels (each age level is doing something different). Joyful Life’s curriculum has a great way of rotating the age groups through different parts of the Bible and not repeating year-to-year.

When I was teaching regularly I would write out a classroom schedule including the songs we would sing, rules and expectations I had for the students, the lesson, review games, any other activities if we ended up going through the lesson faster than expected. Preparation and planning both the inside of you and the working parts of the classroom time can be a make-or-break element to a good learning environment.

 

 

While in no way are any of these lists exhaustive, we are always in a need to liven up our skills and sharpen ourselves to effectively educate the younger generation about the truths of the Bible.  I pray and hope that there will be an idea that you can use to be able to bring life to the environment of your Sunday School class.

Advertisements

Bible Sensory Bin Idea List

Bible Sensory Bin Idea List

Sensory bins are popular right now for mothers all over the world and United States, but why not use these hands-on activities for a Sunday School class or teaching a Bible lesson?

The sensory bin can be used as a great hands-on tool for teaching a Bible lesson or reinforcing a lesson as a hands-on activity for review through play for preschoolers through elementary school. They are made of a small bin filled with a filler (rice, beans, water beads, etc.) and other toys or other age-appropriate elements that would picture the elements of the story you are teaching.  If you have never used one then I challenge you to read up on it here on my original post: Sensory Bins for Sunday School or read Sensory bins for teaching the Bible written by Annette at In All You Do. She tells you how to highlight a specific part of the Bible story you’re wanting to teach and make it into a sensory bin.

This Bible Sensory Bin Idea List comes from Bible sensory bins across the internet that will spark your mind for a little creativity in your classroom at church or at home.

Creation

Other Fun Bible Based Bins

Picture

  • Moses and the Plagues sensory bin from Something 2 Offer.
  • Check out this idea on Pinterest which is a Noah’s Ark Sensory Bin, where kids search for the animals in hay, identify them, and then put them into an ark playset.
  • There’s another Noah’s Ark Sensory bin (halfway down the page) at Pink Sneakerz Homeschool. I liked the idea of using some type of blue cloth for water in this post.
  • Bible Verse Sensory Bin – helps review Bible verses at aprilshomemaking.com.
  • Monica at Childhood Spirituality creates great Bible Box activities you can read about here. The one listed here could simply be made into a sensory bin of the Ten Lepers. You could use little figurines like she has listed or simply make your own.
  • The Parable of the Sower at Wugs and Dooey uses play-doh as the soil.
  • Resurrection Sensory Bin from my sister site Ministry Mamas.
  • Acacia in the Desert has a great list of awesome sensory bins including stories including, parting the Red Sea, the Tabernacle, the Sea of Galilee and other great teaching ideas.
  • All Play on Sunday has a variety of ideas for sensory ideas or activities that would be good for children under the age of 6.
  • My Mundane and Miraculous Life has a great sensory bin about how to talk about heaven to children in a way that they can understand.

All Play on Sunday worksheet for Bible sensory bin activities

Nativity Christmas Themed Sensory Bins

Nativity figures in a sensory bin

Happy Hooligans’ Nativity Sensory Bin

 

If you know of another great link or idea about making a Bible sensory bin please leave it in the comments!

7 Recommended King James Sunday School Curriculums

Exclusive King James Sunday School Curriculum is hard to find! I did research and asked friends what they use to be able to compile this list. I want you to know that the majority of these curriculums are written by Baptists. The other curriculums I have used before that have been doctrinally safe, so that is why I recommend these 7 Sunday School Curriculums.

KJV SS Curriculum

Glow Publications Junior Church Curriculum Guides – I have heard great things about this curriculum from a ministry friend of mine. I first became acquainted with this company through their monthly devotional booklets for teens, and now I see they also have devotional books for children. I always enjoyed the stories inside the devotional booklets because they gave great application to Biblical truths, so I am sure that their Junior Church curriculum will be great as well. Cost $1.60 for a downloadable .pdf file or a booklet for $5 to $7.50.

Regular Baptist Press – I have also used and taught some of the 2’s and 3’s curriculum for Junior Church. In my experience it has good take home papers and visual aids to help me teach. I like how the teacher’s guide helps me come up with activities to reinforce the lessons. You can find curriculum for a range of different age groups to choose from under the Sunday School tab. Make sure to look for the KJV materials, because they also sell curriculum containing other translations.  Teacher’s Guides $6.99 Teaching Resources Packet $16.99 Take home papers also available at a fairly low cost.

Striving Together Publications – 5 Different Curriculum packets are available including: Stories of Grace, The Sacrifice of Our Saviour, The Signs of Our Saviour, The Steps of Our Saviour, and The Stories of Our Saviour. Our church has used this curriculum in our summer Wednesday night program for kids and it has been easy enough for our teens to teach the kids about the Bible. Teacher’s Edition Books $16.95 and Visual Aid Packets for $34.95. Other teaching resources are available. *Note: A friend of mine mentioned that not every story in the curriculum is included in the Visual Aid Packets, so this may be something you want to keep in mind.

Bible Basics KJV Curriculum has a great range of curriculum – Preschool, Kindergarten, Beginner, Primary, Junior, Young Teen, Teen, Young Adult, and Adult. You can find this easily under Church Supplies, then Sunday School Curriculum. Teacher’s Guides range around $4.50 and Visual Aids cost around $8.50. They also have Make & Take booklets for many age groups for as low as $3.15 each. This website, The KJV Store is run by a distant cousin of mine that only sells KJV products in their online store.

Joyful Life Sunday School Curriculum – Teacher Guides cost $6.95 and Posters for teaching cost $11.50-$22.75. The Joyful Life website allows you to view many pieces of the curriculum and has a downloadable order form. If you would like to make your purchase a little more simple, visit Christianbook.com. Joyful Life also has a good choice of visual songs available to teach in your class, this curriculum is published by Abeka.

Accent Curriculum can be ordered easily from SundaySchoolDirect.com but viewed best at SundaySchool.com where you can also try sample lessons.  The Teacher’s Manuals cost about $7.45*, Teacher’s Resources book is $16.50*, and the Classroom Kit (including Teacher’s Guide) costs $28.99*. This is a curriculum that I have worked with before in Junior Church for 4 and 5 year olds. It was easy to teach the kids because the visuals and teaching suggestions are full of help for the teacher to come up with ideas, songs, or games to reinforce the lessons.  *Prices vary between the two websites.

Bible Characters Curriculum. There are 5 volumes for the Bible Character Series for $15 each. There are around 25 lessons per book that focus on a Bible person and a specific character trait associated with each lesson. There are many other options available from this ministry in Kokomo, Indiana in their Ebay store. This curriculum came highly recommended from a ministry friend in Utah that has used 4 of the volumes to teach through an entire year. She liked that it was good for 8 year olds and up because it has activity pages included. She did say when she worked with younger children she would just find a coloring page online to print that was associated with the lesson.

As  you search for the perfect curriculum for your church ministry I challenge you to get samples if you can, borrow from friends, ask questions, do your research before you take the plunge and buy. You want to find something that matches your Biblical beliefs, teaching style, and will help you be able to have the resources to teach your class whether it is big or small. My greatest recommendation is to take the time to pray and ask the Lord what materials He would like you to use. Teaching what God wants you to is the most important thing of all!

 As always, if you have any other suggestions please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you liked this article, you may also like:

SONY DSC

3 Basic Blessings - Nursery 2