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SSTN # 44 - May 26, 2006

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Bible-4-Life, Multi-aged Curriculum

1) Games Challenge?
2) Tithing Ideas
3) Day Care
4) Wed night classes?

Psalm 23 Keepsake Activity

5) 5/6th grade Class?
6) Disruptive teens
7) Tithing for 4 - 5 yr olds
8) Church Growth?
9) Ice Breaker Game

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Bible-4-Life Curriculum

Great for summer classes and very affordable. Check them out at:


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1) Games Challenge?

Hi everyone:
I'm sorry to burden you with another question.  I am being challenged by a
lot of facets of Sunday School teaching, being very new at it, and I
value your knowledge and experience very much.
My class consists of children aged 3-8.  I really don't mind having that
range - everyone seems able to find a common ground and work from there (I
have 2 unchurched kids in my class - my one from a non-Christian home etc
who comes with his Grandma is now bringing a friend!  PTL!).  My problem
has been attendance.  Big time.  I don't want to plan too small - I think
thinking big will be part of our SS program growing - and if everyone
showed up, we'd have 12 children.  So I plan for 12 every week.
The thing is, often I have only 2 children or even one.... and when there
are two, it seems there is one 8 year old and one that's just turned 3. 
One week, it was a birthday week for 3 members of our class, so I bought a
birthday cake to juxtapose birthdays with being born again, planned party
games with a born-again theme (pin the new heart on the kid etc), it all
just clicked like you wouldn't believe.
Until just one child showed up.  Not one game was suitable.  Not one
activity was a one or even 2 or 3 person activity.  I gave the talk and
explained it all and we visited... and ate as much cake as we could.
I can find lots of resources or even think up games and activities for 12
kids or six kids or even 4 kids... but I don't know any games or
activities for, say, one child plus myself or two kids plus myself.  Does
anyone have any insight or ideas that may help me?  Our sunday school
usually shuts down for the summer (they traditionally have videos or
something each week instead) and I vehemently opposed this (when is the
last time the pastor took the week off and set up a VCR for the
congregation instead?)  and am now teaching the entire summer session, but
I do need some sort of plan for the sporadic attendance.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Love Hollie

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2) Tithing Ideas

In response to your request below:  At 4-5 years old, children can be
taught that everything belongs to God and they are to remember to ask
their parents for an offering to bring each Sunday.  "Tithing" in and of
itself may prove to be over their heads.

As far as "alter call", I set aside a portion of our time for meditation
prayer, where we go around the room and each child can tell us what
he/she thanks God for.  This gets children in the habit of prayer (let
them know what prayer means) and encourages them in talking before
others.  Hope this helsp.

Take care.....jw

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3) Day Care

To Elaine in VA regarding opening a daycare,

This isn't specifically what you asked, but it's something you might
want to consider.  It's very wise, as this juncture, to get a lot of
clarification from whomever is in charge at your church regarding decor
in the classrooms.  We share our facilities with a Christian school, and
have had untold heartache because nobody set out parameters in regards
to decor when the school began.  Things that don't seem like they should
be an issue ultimately caused hard feelings because the rooms became so
overtly "school" that children who "only" spend time in the classrooms
for Bible Class felt like visitors in the church that should've felt
like "home" to them.  The tables had nametags on them that were
absolutely wonderful for the school children... but that meant that when
"John" went to Bible Class on Sunday, he was sitting at a table space
designated "Lisa" with a cute die cut and her name in glitter.  The
doors all had signs that welcomed the school kids with their names on
and the toys in the room were often a distraction during Bible class,
as those children who didn't attend preschool were so anxious to play at
the "forbidden" water/sand table, etc., a piece of equipment the Bible
Class teacher had no use for in her lesson about the Garden of Eden.

I don't say any of this to discourage you - just offering up that it's
very wise to really set forth some hard and fast parameters as you
decide how the rooms appear, who gets what space, etc... so that your
church constituency who does not make use of the daycare doesn't feel
their child's Bible Class experience has been sacrificed to letter
charts and chore charts that aren't relevant to Bible Class. I have been
actively involved in both our Christian school as a classroom teacher
and our Bible class program as a coordinator, and after 25 years of
space sharing, hindsight tells me that had we wisely set out guidelines
in the very beginning regarding these issues, we'd have had much less
arguing, posturing, and hurt feelings.  From classroom furnishings on
down, the decisions you make today will have lasting implications for
both of your church's child-centered programs.

Brenda in Nebraska

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4) Wed night classes?

We are trying to start-up Wed night classes to get everyone involved in
coming to church during the week.  We want it to be fun, while learning
about the bible also it will be on a small budget.  Any ideas are

God Bless, Beth

--from SSTN: Hi Beth: All of the "Bible-4-Life" series work great for
midweek classes and are very affordable. You can find them at:

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Psalm 23 Keepsake Activity

Learn more in the "Easy Make N' Take Downloads" section at:


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5) 5/6th Grade?

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has dealt with feeling that 5th
graders are getting a little too old to hold their attention with
most K-5th grade curriculums and that 6th graders are on the young side to
be put with 7th/8th ministry. 

I believe this age group (5th/6th) graders are in a real transitional
stage of their life and we can serve them better by targeting 5th/6th
graders to prepare them spiritually for what they are going to begin
dealing with in the elementary/middle school transition rather than
keeping them with K-5th grade.
Two years ago I started a 5th/6th grade mid-week ministry for that exact
purpose.   I believe this age group could benefit from having connections
with middle school leaders.
I am trying to find some printed information that documents my thoughts
that 5th/6th graders have more age specific needs and are stuck between
elementary school and adolscence.  I believe this is a perfect time to
begin forming relationships with the middle school youth leaders to help
make next year's transition easier rather than keeping K-5th grades
together for mid-week ministry and trying to keep their attention
Any help you can provide I would greatly appreciate it!
Holland, MI

--from SSTN: Hi Linda:
Having raised my own children and having taught this age group for many
years, I can attest to the fact that this is a transitional time in
children's lives. In fact, many publishers produce curriculum just for
this age group. Even the public schools, at least here locally, place 6th
graders in Middle school, yet they keep them mostly separated from the
older population because of their maturity level.
Sarah Keith <><

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6) Disruptive teens

>Anyone have any tips on disruptive teens in the Sunday School Class.  I
>so happy they are attending (even if coerced by parents) and walk that
>fine line of wanting to make class enjoyable and of course Biblically
>based, and not offend them by calling them out with their behavior.  Most
>of the time it is just constant talking among the couple of friends that
>sit together. Any new suggestions from experienced teen ministry leaders?

I've found that when working with talkative teens it's helpful to find out
what they're talking about. (They're often surprised that I even want to
know, since many teens feel that the only person who will really listen to
them is another teen, hence the talking amongst themselves.)Very often
we are able to include at least some of it in the discussion for that
day's lesson. Other times, especially if it's a problem they're facing or
there's a current issue they're concerned about, I simply throw my
'prepared' lesson out the window, so to speak, and address whatever they
need to talk about in such a way that I can help them look at it from a
spiritual perspective, seeing what the Bible has to say on the subject.

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7) Tithing for 4 - 5 yr olds

Using real money is one way to get their attention.  You might give them
each 10 pennies and tell them that it's your money, but you're going to
let them use it, you just want them to give you back one of the pennies. 
Have them count the pennies and let them keep the remaining 9 if they
want.  (Obviously, this works best in a small to mid-size class!)  Explain
that this is what we do when we tithe, that we give God back part of His
money.  Then put the children's tithe pennies in the offering during
You can also just let them count and/or see different denominations
of coins or bills, especially in groups of 10, so they can visualize what
10% means.   To emphasize the idea of giving you might arrange to have the
children help take the offering during church.
Hope that helps,

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8) Church Growth?

Hi People,
I have been so blessed by this group. I had just started teaching sunday
school at my church when i stumbled upon this network and since then it
has greatly impacted my ministry starting from the useful tips to the free
resources i cant thank you all enough. I owe my profound appreciation to
the person who thought of putting this network together in the first
place. God bless you. You are a blessing to me. Teaching in a small church
here in Nigeria can be challeneging particularly when it comes to finding
resources to make sunday school fun for the kids i teach. Thanks Debbie
for the suggestion on churches sending used stuff to those who need them.
That would be very helpful but being faraway in Nigeria will make it
difficult for me to benefit from the materials.
I would like to have your suggestions on church growth. My church has been
in Abuja for five years and we havent grown much. We would like to see a
growth especially among youths. It almost feels like we are not impacting
anyone at all.

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9) Ice Breaker Game

Pass out a list of 10 famous Bible parents ...

to read the rest of this game idea, go to the games section at
http://www.SundaySchoolNetwork.com  , then click over to the Ice Breaker

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