Children's Sunday school lessons - the 3 essentials
Perhaps this year you have the blessing of children in your congregation for the first time, or perhaps you have been asked to take over the kids work, either way if you feel you are drowning in the fast flowing tide of resources, instructions and manuals on how to do kids ministry then I want to give you a moment to put all that aside and return to the three essentials.
Consider why you are there?
Lets start by being clear on what we are NOT there to do...
- You are not there to produce a Disney cruse experience for the children,
- You are not there to be their entertainer
- You are not there because you must be there
- You are not there as a way of giving the adults a quieter service
You are there because you believe something so powerful and true you want to share it with the younger generation. You believe it's important to teach a child this truth and that it will change their lives both today and in the future.
When we hold true to this fact and this principle we can put our own skills and the facilities and the budget to one side and realise that the central message is much more important than all of those.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
(2 Timothy 3:14-15 Holy Bible ESV)
Let your actions speak!
If our actions speak of love, if our actions speak of genuine interest and compassion then the children will listen. You can have the best equipped and decorated area, the latest greatest all bells and whistles material, but if you don't show love to these children you may as well be back home. Christianity is a religion of relationship, a religion of grace, a religion of abundant and undeserved love, while we can tell the bible stories and draw out the message, it is this love that will bring the children ultimately to a personal relationship with Jesus.
Put your plans and programs aside and look at each of your children as a wonderfully God created gift to your church. Think not of how they can serve the church but how the church can love them. They will come to serve in their own time.Think not how you can teach, instruct or train them, but how you can express God's grace towards them.
Bring God firmly into the picture
Now before you shoot me down, it's really easy to tell a bible story, give a moral instruction, create a few minutes of 'fun' atmosphere and make something without God ever being mentioned. find a way of making God the centre of the proceedings and opening the door for him to come into your time. You could do this through prayer, through symbolism, or though a responsive action. When God comes in sometimes he reveals a much more important reason why the children are there.
- You may want to use WWJD as a place to start discussions.
- You may want to take a moment to be silent and light a candle.
- You may want to have a dedicated time of prayer at the beginning.
- You may want to use a finger labyrinth or prayer stones that can be held.
- You may want to compose actions to accompany a weekly prayer.
This is God's time and not our own, his greater plan not our small schedules, his broken children we minister to, and his power that will transform their lives.