Does this scenario sound familiar?
It’s Sunday and parents all over are gathering their kids together to take them to church. But the kids are resisting. It’s finally discovered that they don’t want to go to church because they think it’s boring. They claim everything about it is boring – the songs, the lesson, the activities. They just don’t want to go.
As a parent, it’s disheartening to hear your kids don’t want to go to church. As a children’s ministry leader, it’s discouraging to realize your hard work isn’t striking the right chord with your Sunday School kids.
As a children’s ministry leader, what do you do? If your church invests in Sunday school curriculum, many times there are ideas within the curriculum for making classes more interesting and engaging. You can also supplement the curriculum by researching ideas for involving kids in services. For now, here are a few ways to engage your kids on a Sunday morning.
Here’s an experiment: next time you read through one of the gospels, try to count how many times Jesus asks people questions. The number will definitely surprise you. Jesus is always asking people questions, not because he doesn’t know the answers, but because he is a master teacher. One of the best ways to ensure that teaching kids about Jesus doesn’t get boring is to follow Jesus’ lead!
When teaching a lesson, it’s always good to ask kids questions that will require them to recall what you have been talking about. For example, if you are teaching David and Goliath, ask questions that will help reinforce the lesson. Why is David out on the battlefield? How big was Goliath? What resources did David have to fight him?
You can also ask questions that will make them think and apply the lesson to their everyday life. For example, you can ask them about things in their lives that that might be a Goliath to them.
Kids enjoy sharing and talking. Provide them with a forum to talk through things in their life that might be bothering them or keeping their faith from flourishing. A big part of teaching kids faith is showing them how to apply scripture to their lives.
Showing how the stories in the Bible touch down in the everyday will help make scripture come to life in their minds and hearts.
Involve Them in the Lesson
When teaching Bible stories for kids, one of the most effective ways to keep them engaged is to get them involved in teaching. What are some ways you can involve them?
- Ask them to act out the lesson
- Ask them (ahead of class) to present the lesson to the class instead of you
- Designate a particular time for the following and ask different students to do it, using a different kid every week:
- Bible Reading
When you involve kids in the planning and executing of a class or service, you are helping them feel ownership of the class. When they feel ownership, they will pay more attention and their enjoyment will greatly increase.
One of the most fun ways to involve kids is through their involvement in Christmas and Easter pageants. Not only does this give them an opportunity to perform in front of their parents and entire church, but it also provides a venue to explore their different talents.
Some people may think that a pageant only gives opportunities to certain kids, but if you are strategic, every kid can have an opportunity to shine in areas where they are gifted. They may even find a talent they didn’t realize before.
So, how can you be strategic? Think of all the different areas that will be needed in a pageant:
- Stage hands
There may be more areas where you can involve your kids, but these are just a few. Ask your students what interests them. To ensure everyone’s involvement is optimal, make sure each student gets the opportunity to work in the area of their interest. This may result in many wanting to do the same thing. If this is the case, ask older kids to fill in the less desirable slots. The intent is to help kids enjoy learning about Jesus and the beauty of his story.
As kids get older, you can begin involving them in ways that help and minister to others. Some of these areas might be in taking up the offering during the service or being a greeter/usher. Explaining to your kids that these are important areas of responsibility will make them feel they are bringing value to the service. If possible, provide them with training where you can emphasize the importance of the role.
Involving kids in church services changes them from being spectators to being participants – and it’s always much better when you can be a participant. By involving them, you are engaging them and developing them at the same time. The more kids are involved, the more everyone in the church will benefit, both now and in the future.