I often get frustrated with the Sunday school curriculum we use at church.
My biggest point of contention is that the lessons are rather boring.
What I mean by that is that the lessons are designed to communicate facts and figures but in no way are they designed to inspire kids to action. The lessons are written as an “information transfer” and not as an “inspirational message”.
Here are a few problems I see with today’s Bible lessons:
1. The facts are treated as critical to the lesson
When I read the Sunday School lessons provided in the curriculum I end up reading a series of facts laid out in paragraph form.
For instance, one of the lessons said…
And the kids what did Noah build…?
He built an ARK!
I realize that example may sound trivial but the idea is the same. The lessons provided are designed to teach kids that the name of Noah’s vessel was “the ark” and that there were two of every animal on this ark.
While those are both important pieces of information they should not be the highlight of the lesson.
Whether or not kids leave Sunday morning knowing that Noah’s boat was called an ark will not change their lives.
The idea that teaching the Bible to kids is about getting them to remember the facts of the story is just plain wrong.
As crazy as this sounds, I honestly don’t care if kids can’t recite all the facts of the lesson correctly. Those peices of information are not the most important thing we as teachers are trying to communicate.
2. The lessons have no real life examples
One of the teaching methods that I’ve seen work over and over again is when you can relate a Bible concept to a contemporary situation.
For instance, when we talked in church about God not upbraiding us when we ask for wisdom, I compared that to the idea of asking your dad for money.
Many kids have borrowed from the “bank of dad” so it seemed like a perfect example. If I ask my dad for money too many times he will eventually upbraid me for it.
With this example we already begin to understand what this difficult word means. Even without much explanation I bet you have a pretty good guess. And above all…now it makes more sense when we read it in the Bible.
With this “real life” example the kids can feel the idea of being upbraided. It’s not longer just a big Sunday School word.
My point is that the lessons in the curriculum should provide 21st-century examples of the concepts being taught.
Its boring for the kids to listen to a teacher simply say, “you can ask God for wisdom.”
It is far more interesting when you think about asking dad for money and then relate that to how God treats us when we ask Him for wisdom.
This is just one example but it illustrates what I believe is missing from much of today’s Sunday School curriculum. I want 21st-century examples and illustrations of the concepts being taught.
Since they aren’t provided I end up spending part of my week trying to come up with some.
3. The object lessons are less than desirable
Here’s the deal…an object lesson is more than just holding up an object and comparing it to something you are talking about.
Holding up an apple in class when you talk about the Garden of Eden really doesn’t make for a good object lesson.
My favorite object lessons are the ones where I distinctly remember the kids moving towards me so they could see what was about to happen.
For instance, one time we were talking about trusting God and I demonstrated trust by having a kid walk on eggs. That my friend is an object lesson. Half the room was worried they would have egg all over them by the time we were finished.
An object lesson needs a wow factor. I would almost go so far as to say that object lesson needs an element of danger, but that’s a little much to ask from every single object lesson.
Suffice it to say…a good indication of your level of success is how much the kids are eagerly wondering whether or not your demonstration is going to be successful.
At the end of the day….
I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old teacher here because I certainly am not.
What I am, is passionate about teaching God’s Word and the stuff that doesn’t work needs to go. Hopefully I’m just helping that process a little!Share this post: