Across the country, schools at all grade levels have successfully started another school year. Fall is just around the corner and, as September turns to October, this is typically a time for Sunday School classes to go back in session.
Today’s Sunday School, especially for children, looks much different from what you probably experienced as a child. If it hasn’t progressed much at your church, your facility is, as they say, “behind the times.” Just as with regular classroom settings, Sunday School teachers are utilizing a variety of teaching methods, technologies and interactive programs to keep children tuned in, attentive and interested in the learning process.
As Jim Wideman wrote in his book, Children’s Ministry in the 21st Century, “The biggest problem I see with so many churches is that they can’t look ahead for looking behind….Forget the past and look forward to what’s ahead. We need to quit looking at the way we’ve always done things and consider instead what’ll launch us into current and future cultures. Let’s concentrate on what tomorrow’s church will look like and effectively train kids now so they can take their place in that church.”
The idea is to immerse young minds now so they not only learn important Christian principles and Biblical teachings, but that they become lifelong church goers, no matter where their life path may take them in the future.
Sunday School Activity Ideas for Children
Some suggested Sunday School activities for children could include breaking up teaching methods by using a variety of delivery methods such as video, music, games, online technology, puppet shows, crafts (especially for the younger children) and hands-on activities. You could involve kids in helping to create a puppet show or make a video about a Bible lesson or story. Perhaps that same lesson could be broken down into learning stations, with each station offering a different activity to do. Check out http://www.greatgroupgames.com/sunday-school-games.htm for a list of games broken down by doing the games for lessons or for bonding experiences.
Get children involved in trivia while teaching them Bible lessons. Perhaps create a permanent trivia corner with questions that change each week to reflect that week’s lesson. Other areas, depending upon the amount of space you have at your Sunday School, could include a reading nook, a puzzle table, a crafts corner, an interactive learning game area, etc.
Sunday School Activity Ideas for Adults
With regard to adult Sunday School activities, perhaps consider bringing in material from other faith curriculums on timeless topics that apply across religions. For example, on subjects such as living intentionally, identity in Christ or making prayer a priority. People across many Christian faith variations still face these common struggles and questions. This approach could give an alternative perspective. One such place would be obtaining adult learning materials from the Regular Baptist Press to use at your Methodist, Episcopalian or nondenominational church. Have a themed series or a popular guest speaker occasionally to break up the routine.
Consider having a quarterly or biannual brainstorming session with your group to see what they would like to do. Are there religious principles or questions they would like to delve into more? Is there a particular section of the Bible a few would like to study more closely? Depending on the size and overall feel of your group, it’s up to you to decide if this should be an open discussion group or by way of anonymous suggestions. It’s whatever will be most comfortable for members of your Sunday School. Sometimes, one or two members have strong voices and can monopolize discussion time. In those instances, you may prefer to pass out uniform slips of paper, offer a brief opening explanation, perhaps list a few questions for them to ponder on a chalkboard or whiteboard and let them tell you about their religious concerns and questions.
Creating an Inviting Sunday School Space
You’ll want to be sure to create an interactive, flexible and open, comfortable space for adults. One week, activity tables and folding chairs may be needed. Another week, having open space to break into small discussion groups might be the order of the day. Be sure to have it feel open and inviting. Adults don’t want to feel like they are being crammed back into a tight schoolspace. They want room to take notes, have their Bibles or other reference materials open, room for their belongings, a cup of coffee, etc. These things are important when considering table sizes to order or how many chairs to sit at each table.
For Sunday School areas for children, open spaces are again a popular favorite. This has the feel of a blank canvas to handle the variety of needs that will surely come up–like reenactments, puppet shows, plays, interactive games, etc. Some churches are making this into a themed area. Perhaps this is the chance to bring the Garden of Eden to life with wall murals and the like. Or create your own version of Noah’s Ark. It’s a rare opportunity to come in and create some artistic wall murals and similar items.
If you like the idea of work stations, a small investment of adjustable tables or folding tables and chairs could make this much easier to implement. At Advantage Church Chairs, we think you will be amazed by the selection of colors and materials now available in folding chairs. We even have padded folding chairs and folding chair carts and caddies to help with storage and moving chairs to other areas for multi-use. If it’s time to update or make some changes in your adult or children’s Sunday School areas, contact Advantage Church Chairs. We can help you update your furnishings and make your space more flexible and multi-purpose. You can find us online at advantagechurchchairs.com and by calling 1 (855) 294-0532.