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Sunday School Teaching
MyBibleLesson.com is invaluable for teaching Sunday School. Churches - Why not give every student in your Sunday School a subscription?
TMCYouth.com has a series of aides for teachers and Sunday School superintendents. Check out the new chats available 24/7!
Newest ideas are on Wider World blog accessed from my home page. I’m no longer adding ideas to this page but putting them in Wider World Blog. Lots of great ideas there!
Index for this page:
**Ideas for teaching the MTV generation
**What do Christian Scientists believe?
**Engaging kids in church – from Austin TX
**Teaching little ones
**Teaching 4 year olds
**Teaching elementary ages
**Comments from a superintendent
**My favorite resources for in-depth study of Bible and Bible Lesson
Ideas for teaching the MTV generation
Kids today are used to quick moving content and participation. One successful teaching approach for all ages is to divide the 40 minutes of teaching time into 10 minute segments. Completely change gears and topics every 10 minutes.
--For example, 10 min- discuss Bible story including spiritual interpretation or message. Let kids relate this to their life. Also help kids figure out how to explain a spiritual idea to their friends using the story.
--10 min- theological topic. Pick a Christian Science concept and show where it is found in the Bible. How would kids explain this idea to their friends using Bible verses?
--10 min- topic related to their life. Take something they are facing ie sports, band, bullies, tests, jealousy, violence, parents, dating etc. giving them S&H and Bible references that they can apply.
--10 min- review and experiment. Kids forget even the best taught lessons, so spend time reviewing each week. You can use this time to experiment with different teaching techniques. Kids learn in so many ways. Try a method that you haven’t tried before. If kids usually talk, have them write. Try singing, visual props, role playing, games, journaling. Spiritual concepts are fun and engaging. One teacher had students put Velcro on back of cards of Bible characters as they discussed who the characters were. Then for weeks after, they would put characters on a Bible timeline or use visual aides while telling stories including those characters. Another teacher brought in apples (some were rotten on the inside) and had the kids cut them open. The spiritual message was that you don’t judge by what is on the outside but what is on the inside ie motives. As the kids ate the good halves they remarked that what really mattered was inside. This lesson on motives stayed with them throughout high school.
Consider spending a portion of each segment helping kids think through how to talk to their friends about the moral and spiritual concepts. This will enliven Sunday School, equip our students to share Christian Science, and encourage them to bring friends to Sunday School. Some classes have doubled in size as students brought friends.
Make sure every student has their own set of books, ie Bible and Science and Health which are the Pastor of our church. One Sunday School offered a free set of paperback books to every student and visitor the first time they visited. Many visitors came back bringing their books. Make sure each student has access to MyBibleLesson perhaps offering individual subscriptions. Encourage family Bible reading by asking parents to read the Bible Lesson at least once each week with their children. Whether this is one section a day, in the car, at bedtime, at breakfast, all at once after dinner, sitting in the parking lot before church it will unify the spiritual focus of a family to read the lesson together weekly. Many parents are not studying Christian Science. This is one way to help them discover the treasures of Christian Science.
Consider Wednesday night testimony meeting as family night. Teach kids how to give testimonies and practice giving testimonies during the 10 min review and experiment segment. Consider ways to make Wednesday meetings more kid friendly and participatory. Then encourage kids to bring their parents. Those children and teens who attend Wednesday evening regularly are more likely to demonstrate Christian Science.
Finally, Sunday School is available until age 20 but not mandatory. One student had a healing at 14, took class at 16, became a Journal listed practitioner at 18. By that time he wasn’t in the Sunday School but was a participating church member. He had learned what he needed to learn in Sunday School and was now putting it to use. He went on to become a Christian Science teacher and lecturer. Another 17 year old became the Sunday School superintendent and taught the only class. Her 14-year old cousin took over when she went to college.
What do students tell their Christian friends that Christian Scientists believe?
Religion is a hot topic among kids in school from the 4th grade through college. Every concept in Christian Science is found in the Bible. It is useful for Sunday School teachers to show students specific Bible verses describing Christian Science teachings. We do this routinely with Genesis 1, but there are so other possibilities. We are not only teaching our students; we are teaching the children of the community when we show our kids how to talk to their friends about Christian Science using the Bible. Here are a few ideas that may be helpful:
Christian Science statement of salvation - I Timothy 2:3-5
“… God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
This answers the question, who will be saved. It also tells how people are to be saved, through the knowledge of the truth. Finally it states the relation of Jesus to God and who Christ Jesus is.
Christian Science confession of faith – Matthew 16:16
“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
This is the story where Jesus asked his disciples who people said he was. After a few false starts, Peter finally gave this answer, which Jesus approved.
Baptism in Christian Science – Matthew 3:11
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”
The Bible speaks of two degrees of baptism here. The first is the baptism of repentance symbolized by water and is the baptism of John the Baptist. Repentance means to change one’s mind, in this case to turn away from error and to turn to God. The second degree is the baptism of the Holy Ghost symbolized by fire and is the baptism of Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost is an influx of spiritual understanding and is Divine Science. In Christian Science, we practice both degrees of baptism. But we emphasize the baptism of Christ Jesus. Jesus talked to Nicodemus about these two degrees of baptism in John 3. As Jesus told him, baptism is a rebirth not the ritual. So we don’t set people on fire to show that they have been baptized in the Holy Ghost ie spiritual understanding, and we don’t submerge them in water to show that they have repented and turned to God. Mrs. Eddy has a wonderful article explaining baptism entitled “Pond and Purpose” Misc 203. The definition of Baptism in the Glossary is also very helpful.
Other Christian Science concepts to find in the Bible: Jesus Christ, angels, heaven, hell, eternal life, healing, God is good, God is Love and other names for God, man being image of God
Every Tuesday, The Christian Science Monitor features a teaching unit appropriate for 6-12. Some of these teaching ideas are transferable to Sunday School teaching. Perhaps a fresh view or method of presentation will be just the ticket to enliven your Sunday School teaching and infuse your class with enthusiasm for spiritual ideas. Check out the archives of Kidspace for fresh ways to engage children.
Engaging kids in Church
This note was sent by Robert from Austin TX. It is unedited. He shares interesting ideas on how his church is engaging young people. As always, these ideas are not to imply that your church should do the same, simply to open thought to the possibilities.
“WAM (Wednesday Action Meeting) - it began about a year and a half ago as a sort of 'kid's Wed eve testimony service', though that was not what it was called ("Wednesday Children's meeting"), nor was it the intent (nor was it to be just another Sunday School class) - the students had requested this time together, though there was some reservation regarding their absence from our world-wide unique and vital Wed evening service. It was decided to give it a year's trial, on alternating Wednesdays (1st, 3rd and the occasional 5th) - in the beginning, different students were responsible for readings - that didn't work out so well, never knowing for certain which kids would be able to attend (school, camps, tennis tournaments, etc) - there has always been one adult/member facilitator, and about 2 months ago, the Board assigned responsibility for the meetings to Youth Com, which happens to consist of me and all the Sunday School student/members as co-chairs (7 of us). That's when the original name was scrapped, and 'WAM' came to be. We jointly decided that if we were to continue removing ourselves from our all-so-important testimony/gratitude service, even for just 2 Wednesdays a month, that we had to accomplish something of significance - 'WAM' fit that description, with 'Action' being a key element. It was at this point that we changed the format to a 'theme' oriented session. For instance, two weeks ago, the theme was 'Identity' - the kids divided into teams of 3-4 each, half researching Bound Volumes, dictionaries and such, and the other half searching through the Bible and S&H Concordance (both, on the Reading Room Computer) - after 25-30 minutes, the teams reassembled for a round-table discussion of notes, copies and findings. The facilitator pretty well stays on the sideline, offering limited advice when warranted or sought (and sometimes holding down the noise level & laughter) - Last month, the theme was 'learning how to pray for ‘Children suffering with hunger around the world' (that took up two sessions - there are 3-4 of us adults (all kids at heart) who rotate as facilitators, and when there was the suggestion to suspend WAM for the summer (due to camps and such), there was an uproar from the kids - they really love these meetings.”
Teaching little ones
I'm working with three year olds. I find that they love to "role play" the Bible stories. For example, in the story of Samuel, one child will "be" Samuel, one will be God and the other will be Eli.
G: Samuel, Samuel
Samuel runs to Eli...
S: You called me. Here I am!
E: No, no, no, go back to bed.
They love repetition, so doing the stories over and over is just fine.
Find the right book game. Give each student a hymnal, a S + H and
a Bible. Place the books in front of them. Work so that they will know the "real" words (names of the books) and the descriptions. They hold up the right book when the teacher gives the name or the description. Later, they will be "the teacher".
a. Find the hymnal - - book with songs
b. Find the Bible -- book with stories
c. Find the Science and Health -- the book of Love--trace the Circle of Love, what is inside? (Cross and Crown). Say the words - heal the sick, etc.
a. How many Gods do we have? (One)
b. How many animals or each kind went in the ark? (Two)
c. How many sons did Noah have? (Three)
d. How many legs did each animal have? (Four)
e. What Commandment is "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother"?
f. How many days did God work to make the world? (Six and the next
day He rested.)
g. How many names for God did Mrs. Eddy call the synonymns? (Seven, Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth and Love)
Teaching 4 year olds:
From Ohio - I've been trying to use just the Science and Health and the Bible with the four year olds. Today I brought in a pile of Bibles, big, small, all colors and showed them the Old and New Testaments and then they learned "hold fast that which is good." I do the phrases with actions--clapping, stamp your feet, etc. Repetition is so important with this age group.
I've found that Sentinel articles for children from the 70's are just great. I'm making little scrapbooks for the children to take home and one set for the Reading Room for when children come to visit. I’m not using the scrapbooks in Sunday School (although some of the ideas can be woven into the Sunday School lessons). The books are really for at-home use.
Teaching elementary ages:
From Pennsylvania - For the ages 5-7 group, I've purchased small mirrors at a dollar store and written "I'm God's reflection" on the glass with craft paint. I then got different colors of poster paper (so it's stiff) and cut small strips with one of the seven synonyms for God written on each one. The children had a good time gluing the strips along the curve of the mirror!
For this age group, I've also made 'cups of Love'. You get a plastic cup and fill it with folded strips of paper that have quotes from that week's Bible Lesson (one's the younger children can understand easily). I glued a small envelope on the outside of the cup so that the opening is facing out, and I wrote "Cup of Love" on the envelope. The children take it home and pull one strip out every morning. They have their parent read it to them, and then place it in the envelope (so they don't pick it again). I occasionally refresh their quotes.
I also brought in construction paper and had the children pick out two different colors. The one sheet, they cut out a big heart. The other sheet, they traced their hand and cut it out. Then they glued down their middle and ring finger so it says "I love you" in sign language. They glue this hand in the middle of the heart and on the 3 fingers that are standing up, write (one word on each finger) - Father, Mother, God - then under the hand write "loving me".
For Mother's Day, they decorated the outside of cards (colored printing paper) and on the inside, I had printed Mother quotes from MBE's writings. Then they filled little, tulle heart-shaped bags from a party store with candy kisses to give to their mom's.
For the children in the age group 8-10, I often make puzzles at puzzlemaker.com for them to do - word searches, secret codes, cross-words --all on Bible Lesson / S&H topics.
These are concepts for us to work on during the week and share on Sunday
Have you ever been challenged by children in the younger classes not being well-behaved or even out of control?
One Sunday School teacher was frustrated and unhappy, but she stuck with it and prayed.
Here is the result of her prayer:
“I wanted to share a kind of break through with our littlest class. The teacher picked up the theme of "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," and made for the girls brown construction paper "treasure chests." She then cut out lots of little pink hearts and had them write (they are both able to write their letters) what their treasures are. This seems to work well. We are all grateful!”
”Our bulletin board includes 2 posters which say: (1) "What is right is not always popular" and (2) "What is popular is not always right" and a poster with a school of colored fish swimming diagonally is in the middle. I have fish cut out of construction paper which mirror the fish on the poster.
I've asked everyone to consider identifying:
Resources for in-depth study for Sunday School teachers, Readers and parents
Key Study Bible KJV Gives Strong’s definitions from original Hebrew and Greek but the best part is the lexicon or word discussion. Often shines spiritual light on familiar words. Blessed – makarios, grace – charis are examples.
NIV Study Bible Basic commentary; shows where similar verses are found in the Bible; maps; lists of healings, prophecies etc;
E-Sword.net Website with free download of Bible commentaries, Bible translations, and other Bible references easy to find and use.
Biblegateway.com Website with 21 translations in English, 7 translations in Spanish, and dozens of other languages
Nave’s Topical Bible Search the Bible using themes and story connections.
Vine’s Dictionary Available in print and on various websites. Excellent discussion of original words with definitions.
PCStudy Bible Downloadable program with Bible dictionaries, commentaries, translations, maps, etc.
I’d love to add your ideas for Sunday School teaching to this page.
Last update: Feb 3, 2008
Bible verse of the day:
Are you interested in learning more about Christian Science? Feel free to contact me and ask for a class application.