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.

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Church Puppet Skits Round-Up

Welcome to the Church Puppet Skits Round-Up! Children’s ministries in churches still regularly use puppets as one of their teaching tools to teach Biblical principles about the Bible to children (and even adults who are helping in those ministries)!  Here in this Round-Up you’ll find free skits and scripts as well as those you can buy. Each has a link where you can find the skits online.

If you have puppets in your storage closet from years gone by then think about pulling them out and bringing a new aspect to your Sunday School or Junior Church ministry again. It’s always good to rotate and revive the teaching methods you use to add interest and gain the attention of your students. Keep it fun and lively! Use people who will have time to practice (even if they just read the skit) and those who will have voices to make the characters come alive. Worried about not having a stage? A quick Google search will help you find out how to create your own low-cost puppet stage. Here is a link on how to make a portable puppet stage with PVC.  Puppeteering is a method of teaching people who can teach great Bible principles or even memory verses in a fun way.

Please enjoy this resource! Please remember to use these skits according to your preferences and adjust them to how you need to use them for your puppet ministry’s audience. If there is a skit in any of these lists that is not according to your liking just simply move on and find something that you do like and can use! I was not able to screen every single skit for correct doctrine or situational appropriateness so please make sure that you take the time to look into each one for yourself.

Church Puppet Skit Round-Up

Free Puppet Skits

Jason’s Puppet Skits – Jason has written a good amount of skits that are available now for free. Including Fruits of the Spirit, Heroes of the Bible, Life Issues, Special Occasions and more.

Bible Puppet Skits – wide variety by Garden of Praise.

First Baptist Church of Elgin, Texas has a variety of puppet skits for their program called Kingdom Kids.

Ripples Ministry – Puppet Scripts that are longer (about 15 minutes) with multiple puppets.

Fishers of Kids – Small amount of skits and some ideas about things you can do differently with puppets (Mr. Sin, Hand, etc.)

Puppet Resources has lots of free puppet skits. The great thing about this website is that it has a search engine you can search age, topic, number of puppets, etc. for what you’re looking for.

Kids Sunday School – Free skits (in green) for children that can be adapted for puppets.

Sunday School Network – 17 skits, some featuring a funny pink flamingo named Gabby.

Jesse Joyner has a free puppet script about Eddie the Explorer and Larry the Lizard.

World Ministry Resources has another good list of free puppet skits (some also included in this list).

Danielle’s Place Bible Puppet Skits -Free skits are available but more skits and other resources are offered through their yearly membership.

Wrangler Church has puppet scripts available for a variety of different number of puppets, themes, and scriptures.

Skits O Mania has all types of skits! There are 20 free puppet skits available.

 

Puppet Skits for Purchase*

Ann Shorb has created Skits for Fun and Learning (15 skits) that are for sale on her website.

Here is a list of puppet skit books that you can find on Amazon. There are a good 3number of choices to choose from both in book form and in e-book at various price points.

Search e-Bay for “church puppet skits” and you might some great deals on puppet scripts that other people are selling.

Bring Them In Ministries has some puppet script books that are available for sale. Prices range from $10-$20. There are a variety of script types: mission themes, holiday, Bible stories, etc.

*This round-up NOT contain affiliate links.

If you liked this Round-Up you might like our Sermon Notes Round-Up for Kids!

Sermon Notes Round-Up for Kids

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!