Do you ever feel like you teach the same stuff week after week?
Do you ever wish you could mix it up and feel excited about your Sunday School lessons again?
Well, I have a solution for that, AND…below are 5 ideas for injecting life and interest back into what you are teaching. I’ve seen every one of these ideas in action and I can tell you from first hand experience that they work, like a dandy! So read this, and then go try some of them!
1. Tell the life story of Moses (or any Bible character)
Often Sunday School lessons focus on a singular event in a character’s life. In Moses’ case we often teach a lesson on the plagues in Egypt, and maybe the Red Sea crossing, if we’re lucky. Then after 1 or 2 lessons on Moses we move on to a new character and a new story.
Instead of hopping from random story to random story in the Bible, take a few weeks and tell every age-appropriate story from one Bible character’s life.
In Moses’ case you could teach:
1. Basket Case (the baby in the basket)
2. Fire (kicked out of Egypt but called by God to go back)
3. Courtroom Showdown (Staff turns into a snake)
4. King vs. King (the plagues)
5. Deliverance (Israelites leaving Egypt / Crossing the Red Sea)
See how easy that is? That is more than a month of Sunday School lesson ideas mapped out in no time. And the best part is, for 5 weeks, you are staying on the same topic = Moses.
Teaching on the same topic for a few weeks gives the kids an opportunity to actually remember last week’s lesson and challenges them to think critically about the life of Moses and the lessons we can learn from him.
One more example…the life of Peter:
1. Fishing for Men (Jesus Calls Peter)
2. Walking on Water (Peter walks on water…kinda)
3. The Miracle of Jarius’ Daughter (Peter witnesses an amazing miracle)
4. Cockadoodle Doo (Peter Denies Jesus 3x)
5. NoBody (The empty tomb)
6. Rise Up and Walk (Peter heals the lame man at the temple)
7. You Killed Him God Raised Him (Peter preaches at the temple)
8. Crazy Dreams (Peter’s animal filled dreams)
9. The Great Prison Escape (An angel rescues Peter from prison)
10. The Extraordinary Peter (Wrap up of Peter’s life)
2 ½ months of lessons…done. And talk about exciting stories…Peter’s life is full of them!
What Bible character will you choose?
2. Theme It Up
Themes can be a life saver. If you are stuck wondering what to teach a theme can be the perfect solution.
For instance…what if you made one month’s lessons all about fishing? What if you dressed up every week like you were a fisherman, brought in some rods, reels, etc… and taught through some of the incredible fishing related stories in the Bible? There’s plenty of them!
Or during the summer, you could do a whole ‘camp’ theme with overalls and hay bails and such and teach almost anything you want. Perhaps you could teach a few lessons on being kind and treating others the way you want to be treated. That seems very ‘camp-like’ to me. Heck…go all out and build a fake log fire, turn down the lights, and use flashlights to tell the stories for a few weeks.
Themes can not only make your Sunday School lessons more interesting but they can also bring energy and excitement to your entire classroom experience that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Just think, is it more fun to walk into a room that looks like a really fun campsite or to walk into the room everyone is used to?
3. Teach Easter by Discovering the Messiah
As I write this Easter is a few Sundays away.
One of the problems I run into every year is how to teach the story of Easter in a way that even the most seasoned church kids would find interesting. Of course, some years I find it necessary to teach the stories they’ve already heard because it’s good for them, but other years I like to find a way to mix it up.
A great way to mix things up is to talk about the Old Testament prophecies made about the Messiah and then see if they were fulfilled in the New Testament. It’s like a game…is there a New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies?
Of course the answer is yes! Jesus perfectly fulfilled each and every prophecy, but discovering that every prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus along with the kids makes for a fun / interactive lesson.
If you are interested in this idea, I have a 4-week Easter curriculum called The Great Easter Hunt. Each week of the series the class reviews Old Testament prophecies and discovers their New Testament fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah. It is a fun new twist on the traditional Easter lesson.
4. Play Review Games (Wait…that’s not a lesson. I know, just hold your horses and read on…)
Review weeks are overlooked in a lot of curriculum sets I’ve used.
Each week the lessons move from story to story but there is never a chance to stop for a Sunday and “reflect” on what has been taught. There’s never a chance to look back and recall what we’ve been talking about.
Which is why I think review games are so brilliant. It combines reviewing and reinforcing the material, which is good for everyone, with playing a game, which every kid loves. It’s a win win for everyone involved.
The job of a Sunday School teacher is to do more than just inform kids of information contained in the Bible. A teacher’s goal is to have the truth of the Bible guide and intstruct the kid’s lives. We want our lesson to be remembered and referenced long after we are done teaching it. So why not give the lessons an extra chance to ‘soak in’ with a review game? (It works for spelling words!)
If you haven’t ever done it before here’s what I would recommend for your review week game.
Let’s say for the sake of this conversation that you have just taught 5 weeks on the life of Moses.
During the last lesson, on week 5, announce that next week will be a class game for everyone to play. This way the kids can get excited and look forward to playing a game during the regular class time. (It was always my favorite activity…)
On game day, divide the class into 2 teams. Boys vs. girls is a pretty easy way to go (as long as it’s not severely lopsided). You don’t need perfectly even teams, just fair enough so that 8 – 10 kids can be chosen from each side.
I know what some of you are thinking right now. “My class isn’t that big…I have a TOTAL of 8 kids on a lot of Sundays.” No problem. Divide your class into 2 even teams and everyone will get to answer a few questions!
Then, bring up the first 2 contestants to the front of the room. Have them face each other and put their hands down by their side. Put a small table, if you have one, between them, or something they can tap when they know the answer. (think of how Family Feud contestants face off…that’s what you are going for)
Read (or make up on the fly) a multiple choice question about a lesson from a previous week. You might choose to ask a couple questions from each lesson, beginning with the Week 1 lesson and working your way up to Week 5. Of course, I’ve also seen this game where the questions hop around all the lessons in no particular order. So….it’s up to you!
An example might be:
God told Moses to go back to Egypt through a:
A. Dancing Frog
B. Burning Tree
C. Burning Bush
D. Talking Donkey
It’s fun to include a completely ridiculous choice in the answer because, not only is it entertaining, but it also helps kids who might find the question too difficult to easily eliminate at least one of the choices.
Once you are done reading the question, say “Go” …then whoever is first to hit the table or raise their hand, etc… gets to answer. If they get the question right their team gets a point. If they get the question wrong the other team gets a chance to answer.
Lastly, on the final question, I suggest changing the point value, so the team that is behind has a chance to win by answering the final question correctly. This is certainly up to you, but it keeps things interesting for everyone until the very end.
Why not try a review game one Sunday and see how it goes? I know from experience that kids love review game weeks and it’s a great way to reinforce the lessons they’ve been taught.
5. Bring in a guest speaker
Some of the most memorable weeks for me growing up in Sunday School were the weekends that were totally different from all the rest.
One easy way to really mix things up is to find people in your community who would be willing to stop by on a Sunday morning and share what they do for a living with your class.
For instance, if you have a local farmer, how fun would it be for him to bring a sheep in on the day you have a lesson about the parable of the lost sheep? (Luke 15:1-7)
How about bringing in a doctor on the day you talk about leprosy? (Luke 17:11-19) I’m certainly not suggesting the doctor go into painful and gruesome detail about diseases, but even just comparing medicine today (lots of treatment options) with medicine in the first century (you were banned from society and forced to live outside the city and beg for food) is remarkable to learn about.
One more idea…ask a farmer, or even just a green thumb in your church to come visit and talk about soil and what is required for plants to grow. Then, tell Jesus’ parable of 4 kinds of soil (Mark 4:1-12).
Even something as “simple” as inviting an outsider into your classroom for a Sunday can grab kids interest like you wouldn’t imagine. The guests don’t have be dynamic speakers or Bible teachers for that matter. If they can spend a few minutes talking to the kids about what they do and then you follow that up with a brief lesson, that will be a Sunday the kids will remember for a long time.
Have you ever taught a Sunday School lesson that you felt really worked? Let me know in the comments below. I read every one of them and would love to hear and then share your ideas!
Thanks for doing what you do to love kids and teach them the Word of God. You rock!Share this post: