Tips Part #3 – Make Them Want To Come Back

MAKE YOUR CLASS BETTER:

“I would rather reign in a noble steed than to prod a stubborn mule”.

Reign inI would SO much rather have to tell a Sunday school teacher periodically to back it down a notch or two than to always have to constantly encourage them to do more or to make their class more exciting.

Teachers ABSOLUTELY have a role to play in attendance, not just the pastor and bus workers. Make sure your class is worth attending. Make it something kids WANT to come back to. Never forget that kids begging to come to church are a powerful motivation to parents.

Ask yourself. “If I were not a Christian, would I want to come to this Sunday School? If I were a child of a member of this church and had my way, would I want to come to this Sunday School?” Our children are made to come. We must to give them the best.

A good teacher is willing to get out of their comfort zone and learn new things to make their class more exciting. If you are only comfortable doing a certain set of things and you repeatedly fall back on those over and over your students will get bored and lose interest. Always try to get better. Never be satisfied with where you are at as a teacher.

  • Be the one that is always trying a new science experiment
  • Be the one that learns how to tie animal balloons
  • Be the one that learns how to do magic tricks
  • Be the one that learns how to do puppets
  • Be the one that the kids want to be around because they just never know what is going to happen next
  • Be the one that dresses up for Sunday School
  • Be the one that practices telling stories at HOME to make sure you can do it properly

DSC02469Don’t say, “I’m just not creative – that just isn’t me”.
IF YOU AREN’T WILLING TO AT LEAST MAKE AN EFFORT TO KEEP YOUR CLASS EXCITING EVERY WEEK YOU MIGHT THINK ABOUT FINDING ANOTHER MINISTRY!

These kids are coming from an entertainment culture and have left their video games and TV to come see you so do your best to make it worth their while. The bus workers have gone on outreach and have succeeded in getting someone to Sunday School and it is now your job to make them want to come back again!

There is NOTHING more disheartening for a bus worker than to hear that a kid doesn’t want to come back because their class was boring.

Don’t be afraid of change. Be willing to change your teaching methods, change yourself, change the decor, change your methods of visitation and follow up. When new things are presented, we are apt to draw away from them. We may even criticize and try to find reasons why not to use the new idea. People sometimes even try to get God involved in why they shouldn’t change… as in, “God wouldn’t want us to do that!”

We are not for anything that God would be against, but God is not against all new ideas and programs. Some people just don’t want to change because it would take HARD WORK. It’s just easier to teach a lesson the same way I always have because I don’t have to really study… I already know the material.
A wise and very successful pastor once said – “Once something is running so smoothly that you have no more problems, CHANGE IT IMMEDIATELY because it is dying!” This sounds a bit counterintuitive but does have a lot of truth to it.

Remember the saying, “if what you did yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today.”

LEARN FROM OTHERS:

There is a law of success that says if you do the same things that other successful people do with the same intensity that they do them, you WILL be successful yourself. I constantly talk to other church with successful children’s ministries. We share ideas and take the best from each other. There are no ego battles or protection of what is “our” idea… it is all about seeing kids saved!

webinar

Bro. James Wang from NextLevelKidMin – a GREAT resource for Children’s Ministry information!

Remember that there have been a lot of people here before you. There are many successful churches that have already been through what you are about to embark on and they are usually going to be willing to share their information with you. Successful people WANT others to be successful as well… it is usually only small-minded leaders that are afraid to let others know what they are doing. Other people can have a lot of very good ideas and there is no shame in borrowing them. Why would you want to re-create the wheel when the hard work has already been done for you?

You may have been teaching Sunday school for a long time and the last thing you feel like you need is some young kid telling you how to run your classroom. Perhaps you are young, energetic, and creative and you don’t want to do things the way things have always been done.

We can all benefit from the experience of others. It could be something as simple as sharing ideas with others over the internet or meeting with other Sunday school teachers from your church or even from other local churches. Perhaps you should also consider attending teaching seminars. Regardless of what you do, both you and your class will greatly benefit from your involvement with others. Sometimes hearing about a new idea may just be the spark you needed to regain your enthusiasm for teaching. If we’re honest with ourselves we will realize that we all go through dry periods.

Maybe you are on fire and everything is going really well with your teaching. Should you still be interested in networking with other like-minded people? ABSOLUTELY! In fact, sharing ideas with others may be one of the reasons why you are where you are in your teaching. If you have methods that work, shouldn’t you share these same ideas with other people? Together we can we can do so much more than we could ever do alone.

FOLLOW-UP:

Keep attendance records for entire bus and Sunday School program along with the numbers from each class, each bus and each street and EXAMINE THOSE RECORDS! They are your measuring tool and will let you know if you are growing or not. Use this data to identify problems and be strong enough to see your strengths AND your weaknesses!

Try to write a hand-written card for any child that miss a couple of weeks in a row. This will show them that you really do notice when they are gone. We have created some custom “we missed you cards” that have all of our information on them. We just need to fill in the child’s name along with a short handwritten note and then give it to the bus workers to hand out on their next outreach. We have found that is very difficult some mail these cards to their homes because they move so often and many times the address information that we are given is incorrect. We designed these cards ourselves and then purchased them online. Because we bought in bulk we were able to purchase them for around $.30 per card with the envelopes.

  Greeting Card - Missed You - Inside  Greeting Card - Missed You - Outside

Learn everything you can about your kids. Visit their homes, ask questions and become a friend. Learn to listen to them, not just correct them. A teacher must have LOVE.

You must visit your kids as much as possible and at least contact them once per month either in person, by phone or with a letter or card.

Visitation by TEACHERS is very important… not just by bus workers but by YOU! Also, don’t just visit the bus kids… the church kids can also use this even if it is just over the phone. You can divide the kids’ addresses up geographically or just follow the routes your bus ministry uses for simplicity.

STARTING THE CLASS OFF RIGHT:

Don’t punish the kids that are on time for the others that are not.

Try to always start on time and make the beginning of class exciting. Try to have an “icebreaker” before every class whether it be a story, illustration, illusion, or object lesson that will get the class started off on the “right foot. This will also make everyone want to be to class on time as well.

Don’t be discouraged about how many kids are NOT there every Sunday; enjoy the kids that DO COME! Make it worth their while to get up early on Sunday mornings even if it is only for one child.
One idea that will help kids get to class on time or even early is to let them know that every Sunday, if they are the first one to find a particular object hidden somewhere in the classroom, they will win a prize. Make sure you hide the object well so the kids will have to spend some time searching all over the room.

Another idea is that every child who arrives at class before the teacher receives a special treat, sticker or other type of acknowledgement. Kids love to believe they did something better than the teacher, and this additionally can help make sure the class is started on time.

Engage the kids that come before class even starts. Have a pre-class game or activity. Don’t just have them standing around being bored… and ESPECIALLY don’t have them standing around watching you SETUP! There are many things that you can do in this regard such as having a coloring page for the younger ones, a word search or crossword puzzle for the older ones (these can be created online from a variety of sources) or you can have a game of some sort. We have done several things that worked out quite well such as a little basketball hoop that they made baskets in exchange for candy, bowls that they tossed pennies into and even a bizarre game of monster golf with a huge golf club hitting beach balls into hula hoops.

Always try to have someone be a greeter at the door to your classroom. Before the class starts you likely will be busy with the pre-class activity. To make sure that every child is greeted, make sure that you always have someone standing at the door welcoming everyone that comes in. This can be an assistant or even a student that is chosen for their open, cheerful and friendly personality. A first-time visitor that is not greeted and is ignored will likely not want to come back.

KEEP YOUR CLASS EXCITING:

Never let your Sunday school get in a rut. Always be changing things up and never let the kids know what is going to happen next. Don’t be predictable.

Never do any one thing in your class for longer than 10 minutes at a time. If you do so they kids will get bored because they come from a world of television where things are always changing in their attention spans are very short. If you start to feel their attention waiver switch gears and do something else but maintain the topic if possible. Here is a rough recommendation of one schedule that you can use to keep your class constantly on its toes (assuming that you have a one hour class time).

  • Ice breaker (5 minutes) 10:00 – 10:05
  • Songs (2 usually / same theme as lesson) 10:05 – 10:15
  • Small object lesson (same theme as lesson) 10:15 – 10:25
  • Short game (5 minutes / same theme as lesson) 10:25 – 10:30
  • Song / puppet show (same theme as lesson) 10:30 – 10:35
  • Main Lesson (10 minutes) 10:35 – 10:45
  • Giveaways 10:45 – 10:50

One great way of keeping your class fresh is to have four different schedules that you rotate throughout the month with the order of the activities in the class changing in each one. Each schedule would contain the same basic elements such as a game, a song, offering, an object lesson, a memory verse, song, prizes etc. but the kids never know what is coming next.

Always make sure that the classroom looks inviting, fun, exciting and colorful.

Seeing, hearing, touching, moving and experiencing are the ways kids learn. Where their eyes go, their ears follow. Grab their attention from the beginning and don’t let it go.

It is said that we retain…

  • 10% of what we read
  • 20% of what we hear
  • 30% of what we see
  • 50% of what we SEE and HEAR
  • 70% of what we SAY
  • 90% OF WHAT WE SAY AND DO!

Teach by talking to them, by showing them, by having them talk, by having them do, by having them act.

You can have the kids act out a story you are teaching… it will drive it home much more effectively than them simply hearing it from you.

Below are some things you can try to keep things fun:

If you can’t come up with an exciting object lesson on your own then go online. There are many people out there who have probably already done what you are trying to do. There are many Sunday School websites (this one!), there is Pinterest (this is not just for ladies), there are science experiment websites, craft idea websites and a whole lot more if you just look around! You can’t wait until Saturday night to do this though. You have to prepare well ahead of time to make sure that you have everything that you need to pull it off.

You can greatly enhance your lesson by dressing up as the character you are speaking about.

Every child likes to feel special. Birthdays and graduations are great times to recognize your students. Birthdays are a great way to make a child the center of attention without anyone else feeling left out. Keep a list of each child’s birthday (see attendance IS important!). On the closest Sunday to their birthday have a small celebration. You can bring cupcakes or cookies for all to share, sing to them etc. We generally give them a box of candy and a custom printed birthday card (see next paragraph for more info).

You can do something similar for graduations. Make the end of the Sunday school year extra special and something to be remembered. As the children move from one grade to another you can give each child a graduation certificate indicating the Sunday School grade has also been successfully completed.

We have custom birthday cards printed that are specific to our Sunday School program. You can get them printed in quantities of 500 for about $0.30 each with envelopes.

Greeting Card - Birthday - Inside   Greeting Card - Birthday - Outside

You can have someone make a chair cover that says happy birthday and put it on the birthday kid’s chair.

If you have an old trunk you can turn it into a treasure chest by filling it with Bibles. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Kids who forget their Bibles or don’t have one can borrow one from the treasure chest.

You may find that using candy as a reward for good behavior can detract from what you have going on so you can use coupons, Sunday School dollars that can be redeemed in your store or carnival style tickets that can be redeemed at the end of the class instead.

Dollar FrontDollar Back

For big occasions such as Easter, begin about one month ahead to make bags for each kids and add some candy to the bags each week. They get the whole bag on that special Sunday.

You can create a lollipop tree which has blow-pops stuck through holes looking like fruit on a tree. Use it for prizes. You can also up the ante by adding perks to certain suckers such as, if it has a green dot they get $5, red dot is $1.

You can have money jar full of coins… whatever they can grab with one hand they can keep (use small denominations here).

You can make small slips of paper with various rewards written on them such as one dollar, a piece of candy, etc. You insert them into empty balloons, blow them up, tie them and as the class progresses students get chosen based on their performance to pick a balloon, pop it and get the reward written on the slip of paper.

You can place a clothespin or a sticker on every child as they come in and if they do something that they shouldn’t have done you simply remove it from. At the end of class everyone that still has the clothespin or sticker gets an extra reward of some kind.

You can have a goofy puppet come out of nowhere and start messing with the class. We have one called Mr. Quackers who talks in a New York Bronx accent. He tells really pathetic jokes and demands laughter. If he doesn’t get it he leaves and doesn’t give away any candy but if the laughter is to his liking he is very generous. The kids always love when he comes out.

Funny hats, teeth, glasses and masks on the teachers AND the students are always winners although you need to be very careful when putting hats or other items on the children’s head as lice is a very real danger.

Change your voice constantly while you are teaching. Never speak in the same dull monotone for any length of time or you will completely lose the attention of your class.

USE a LOT of visuals.

Change the chairs and table arrangement from time to time.

Have a different way of entering the class, or maybe a different door

Keep changing the way you start the lesson. (Sometimes use music, a story, a question, etc.)

Have a guest teacher or bring the pastor to the class.

Have a random party that teaches a lesson (Christmas is a great time for a birthday party for Jesus).

You could have a student do part of the lesson. (When using students, remember that no one wants to be embarrassed. Always have them practice their part of the lesson.)

Award everyone by thinking of deserving awards to present to each student in your Sunday School class (no matter how much of a challenge some of them have been)! Print up certificates and present them at a special awards ceremony, which could be during the regular Sunday School hour, at your annual Christmas party, or at a banquet you prepare just for the purpose. Be creative in thinking up awards – “Most Serious Bible Student,” “Number One Bible Verse Memorizer,” “Most Enthusiastic,” and so forth, depending on your students.

Write the name of each child in your class on a popsicle stick. If the color runs on them, cover with glue and let dry. Every week as the children enter the classroom, they will move the stick with their name on it to a separate container. This way you know who is in the class. You can also use them to:

  • Draw names for answering questions.
  • Decide who gets to sit in the “special” chair or to divide kids up into teams.
  • Decide who gets to do a classroom job (erasing dry erase board, etc.).
  • MANY other things

Buy or create small ribbons that can be handed out for class participation, successfully reciting Bible passages, attendance or many other reasons. You’ll be amazed to see how long the kids will keep the ribbons and how they will use them to decorate their Bible book covers. Make the ribbons unique and the kids will want to collect all of them. Kids are competitive by nature and will want to see who can collect the most ribbons. Ribbons are almost as good as trophies. The kids love them and will show their prizes to others. This is an effective way to keep children interested in coming back to Sunday school, encourages participation, and enhances the visibility of your Sunday school class to kids who may or may not be currently attending your church or Sunday school.

Give carnival style tickets away (from the rolls where you give them a piece and keep the other)for simply attending and additional ones for good behavior and then use them for random giveaways throughout the class time and at the end.

Have a treasure chest with odds and ends in it and allow people selected for their good behavior (perhaps you can use the tickets mentioned previously) to come up and rummage through it and select one item.

FIRST TIME VISITORS:

A really good idea for making a visitor feel welcome is to give them a little welcome packet or basket upon their first visit. It does not have to be expensive and can contain some of the following: candy, a brochure about your church and Sunday school, a pencil, a bookmark, and other little odds and ends. In our case we would add a few dollars for our Sunday school store (more info coming on this soon) It is probably best to give this to them as they are leaving so they don’t lose or destroy it before they get it home. Another perk of doing this is so they do not spend the Sunday school dollars on their first visit but must come back a second time to spend them.

It is important to introduce the visitor to the class and ask that everyone give him or her a warm welcome. As you help the visiting child find a seat, introduce the child to a regularly attending student who can make the new student feel welcome and help him or her become acquainted with some of the other students.

One way to make a great first impression is to write a hand-written card for each new kid or family thanking them for coming to your class.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEACHERS:

There is an incredible power in doing the same thing over and over again. We see this power especially exhibited in things like finances, exercise or learning an instrument but it is also VERY true for teaching Sunday School. The teachers that are continually trying to improve themselves, always trying to be creative, always looking for new ideas and praying for their classes are the ones that are remembered forever.

Some people are very good at explosive effort – at HUGE amounts of work in isolated instances. These kind of people are very impressive and tend to gain a lot of attention. Then there are those that habitually, consistently do what they are supposed to do whether they feel like it or not. They aren’t necessarily doing heroic activities each time but they are always doing the RIGHT thing. They teach their class every single Sunday, they are always on time and always prepared. These are the truly great ones. These are the teachers that are remembered forever and these are the teachers that I want on my staff at all times. I would much rather have someone that consistently good than someone who only periodically is great.

There was a study on successful people and the deciding factor and difference in what separated successful people from people that were not was simply that, SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO, WHETHER THEY FEEL LIKE IT OR NOT!

Truly successfully Sunday School teachers or bus workers:

  • PREPARE PROPERLY whether they feel like it or not
  • PRAY FOR THEIR KIDS whether they feel like it or not
  • SHOW UP ON TIME whether they feel like it or not
  • ARE CREATIVE, EXCITED AND FRIENDLY whether they feel like it or not

You may not feel like you are make progress or making a difference but YOU ARE. You may invest a LOT of time into a particular child and then they move away. You may have someone get the Holy Ghost and be baptized, start to become a bus worker and then their parents divorce and you never see them again (this happened to us). BUT YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

God only knows what is truly happening in their lives and how they will be affected in the future. There are many stories of kids that many years later came back to God and credit their Sunday school teaching. In all of the years that passed they never forgot what they were taught as a young child.

Like the Bible says, one planteth, another watereth but God giveth the increase.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GREAT TEACHER:

If you want to be used – MAKE YOURSELF TRULY AVAILABLE. Some people say, “God, if you want me to do something, lay it upon my pastor’s heart. Have him come to me and ask me to do it.”

Don’t wait for God, the pastor or the superintendent to ask you to do things. Offer your help and THEN make sure you are there to help the second it is needed. You should almost make it appear like, ‘they are going to get my help whether they want it or not.’

The most important characteristic of a Sunday School teacher is BEING RELIABLE AND DEPENDABLE!

  • ALWAYS be on time! A teacher is always early and is at their class at least 15-30 minutes before the first kids start arriving.
  • Make sure your room is neat and clean before class timebecause you never know who has borrowed something from the room or used the room for some other purpose.
  • Don’t ever let the kids see you setting up the classunless they are there ridiculously early
  • Setup the night before if you can: You will usually forget something. If you do it the night before you can still bring what you forgot the next morning

Be consistent: Never make it guesswork as to whether you are going to be there or not.

Find substitutes AHEAD of when you need them so when you cannot be there, you already have someone lined up. Don’t just text the Sunday School superintendent that you can’t make it but instead send them the name of the person already in place to cover for you. Make sure ahead of time that they are approved by the pastor and Sunday School director.

Be dependable: If you get assigned to do something, do it FAR BETTER than expected. Don’t just get by. If you are assigned a game, make it the best game you can and make it tie into the main lesson theme. If you are doing the lesson spend the time needed, prepare ahead of time and make it memorable.

A teacher cannot be afraid of hard work. You must understand that teaching is more than one hour a week and will take many hours of preparation, prayer, and visitation to make the class what God would have it to be.

Plan AHEAD: Don’t start planning on Saturday night but start right after Sunday school is over and everything is fresh on your mind. If you wait until later in the week you will forget much of what happened.

A well prepared lesson will correct MANY discipline problems!

Don’t let even one lesson just go by. Often a teacher will think, “I know this lesson” and consequently will not prepare. Don’t let this happen to you! You may only get one shot at some of these kids.

There is such a difference in the behavior of your classroom from when you are confidently prepared and have prayed for your class as opposed to when you sketchily put something together at the last minute and come in bringing your leftovers. It is not only about how you feel, it is the blessings of God on your class. The kids are somehow able to pick up that you are truly ready to teach and have taken the time to get ready for them.

I have found that even if I gave a subpar teaching performance that if I was prepared somehow the class still went smoothly. Every mistake somehow turned into something good with the kids paying more attention and responding better than when I may have even performed better with less preparation.

Do not underestimate God’s blessing on you and your class when you put the time in preparation.

Each week immediately following your class, evaluate your performance :

  • What did I do well?
  • What did I do poorly
  • How can I improve next week?

Also evaluate your attitude and behavior:

  • Did you talk too much?
  • Did you seem like a know it all?
  • Did you throw your weight around?
  • Did you listen courteously?
  • Were you rude to others?
  • Did you interrupt others?
  • Did you laugh at others suggestions?
  • Did you hog all the credit for the work of others?
  • Did you brag?

A good teacher wants to get better EVERY single week. They know that they NEVER know it all and always strive to learn more.

A great teacher show the kids they care by first of all, learning their names.

We started using nametags a few months ago and it has made a big difference. Now, each of the teachers can call on a child by name instead of just pointing at them or identifying them by perhaps the color of their shirt or some other equally ineffective method. We use our attendance software to generate a list of names of all of the kids that have attended in the last three weeks and use that list to make our nametags.

A great teacher sets a schedule of events for each Sunday and sticks to it as much as possible allowing of course for God to move (see recommended schedule of class activities above).

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS:

Don’t become a one-man-band. No one person has all the answers or talent. The more you try to do everything yourself, the more you will find yourself making mistakes, getting stressed out and no longer enjoying yourself. You will also tend to make those around you rely on you to the point that they are no longer effective at all, will not think for themselves and will only do what you specifically ask them to do and nothing more.

Never let your church kids be aloof from the bus kids or visitors. Encourage them to sit together, play together and become friends. Talk to your church kids separately about including the bus kids into their groups.

Practice everything before you do it live. This goes for songs, object lessons, games, lessons and anything else that you do. You will be very surprised at how many things can go wrong if you don’t try them out ahead of time.

Try and get one main point over in the lesson. Don’t crowd the lesson with a lot of information that is not needed.

Always try and be in control of your class. Everyone will respect a teacher that stays in control of the class. This is your classroom—YOU ARE IN CONTROL! A prepared lesson is a must to help control an undisciplined class. If you are not prepared, not only do you know it, but the class also knows it. They will intimidate you and no doubt be bored to the point of acting up. HYPERLINK to discipline page.

Teachers must ALWAYS smile.

You need to both have a plan and set goals. Make your goals attainable but something that you have to work hard at to achieve. Set goals for attendance numbers, for someone to get the Holy Ghost in your class (assuming that no one has to this point), for someone to be baptized in Jesus name from your class etc.

We only have one hour per week. Make it as good as it can possibly be. These kids and God need nothing less than 100%.

Be a part of every planning session that your Sunday school program puts together and give your input in an effort to make the program better. If you can’t be bothered to attend then don’t complain about what others decide in your absence.

Sometimes you have to spend some of your own money to get Sunday School stuff. Don’t be a cheapskate and ask the church to reimburse you every time you buy something silly and small. This does not mean that I am discouraging you from buying silly and small things just that it is okay to invest some of your own money into your ministry. This is typically not a problem if you are passionate about what you do. There are plenty of very inexpensive places to buy things from such as the dollar store, the thrift store, school supply places and online.

Try to have every activity that the class does tie into the main topic. Every game, every song, every object lesson and even the snack can contribute toward the furtherance of the theme. Such as, if you are teaching about Jonah and the whale you might give gold fish crackers to the kids as a snack.

You DO learn by failure – it is called EXPERIENCE.

Many of these kids have had little or no teaching during their upbringing about how to be a true man or woman. They may not understand fully about integrity, honesty, self-control, generosity and many other character traits that we take for granted. We need to take it upon ourselves to teach these along with the plan of salvation.

Teach out of your Bible – Have your notes inside but let them see the Bible

A teacher must learn to take criticism. Temper is what gets most of us in trouble; pride is what keeps us there.

Teach the subjects that are pertinent to your age group. For example a youth class is interested in the opposite gender. Therefore teach dating, manners, communications, how to dress, how to deal with peer pressure and about the future.

A class name is a fun thing and helps to bring the class together. People identify with a name. (A contest is an exciting way to get a name for the class.

If you are not already taking attendance you need to really think about doing so beginning immediately. This helps in many ways such as giving you a list of names to pray over, finding out where they live so you can visit them, finding out their birthdays so you can celebrate it with them, warning you of attendance problems before it goes too far AND the simple act of writing down the information can help you connect with that child and will make it much easier for you to remember their name in the future. It will even help you remember the family relationships of the kids such as who is whose sibling etc.

If you have a bus ministry you do not have to have redundancy here so if possible use the same attendance lists between the buses and the classes. There is a lot of software out there for church attendance that can be tweaked for Sunday school. Our church is using Servant Keeper and through a lot of trial and effort we have finally succeeded in making it usable for our buses and Sunday school classes. We use it to track attendance and to generate name-tags (more info on this coming soon).

Ask for prayer requests in class. You can even setup a prayer request box and hand out slips of paper for the kids to write them on. They can put them in the box and you can pray for them later or the whole class can do so together.

Go into class expecting exciting things to happen

Talk to the parents about their kids and ask if there is anything you can do for them. Ask if they have any needs we can pray about.

Purchase many of the EXACT same type of Bible and hand one out to each child at the beginning of class. You will find that some kids who cannot find a scripture in the Bible will feel out of place say you can call out that the first person who finds the scripture has to call out the page number! It can be exciting for those who know their Bible and less stress for those who do not.

Here is a fun way to form teams. While you can always just count them… off 1, 2, 3 etc if you have the time it can a lot of fun to make it a fun event. Write the numbers 1, 2 or 3 (depending on how many teams you need) on slips of paper and then have each child pick one slip of paper from a bag. Tell them to be careful not to show anyone else the number written on it. Then have all the kids get up and shake the hand of someone else the exact number of times shown on their slip of paper. The object is for each kid to find someone else who has the same number by shaking hands the same number of times. The fun is when one kid wants to stop shaking before the other, which is a sign that they are not a match. As kids find someone with the same number, have them stay together and find someone else who belongs to their team by shaking hands. Eventually, individual teams will be formed. Example: To form 3 teams with twelve kids (4 to a team) you will write four 1s, four 2s, and four 3s on slips of paper. Options: Instead of shaking hands, try clapping hands, snapping fingers, or high fives.

BUILD A SUNDAY SCHOOL STORE:

One of the more exciting things that we have done is to open a Sunday school store. We created a custom dollar bill which is in reality a tract and an advertisement for our church and Sunday school.

Dollar Front Dollar Back

We have a small room set aside where we keep a variety of enticing objects ranging from chips and candy all the way up to basketballs and MP3 players. The kids earn the dollars by simply attending Sunday school, bringing their Bible, bringing a friend, bringing an offering and by participating in class activities. The teachers get extra dollars to give out at their discretion for rewards.

Before class begins and afterward before the buses leave, the kids have an opportunity to spend these dollars and also on a rotating schedule once every three weeks each class is dismissed to the store to spend their dollars by themselves. We do not collect these dollars for them or put them in a “bank account” but allow them to take them home with them. If one gets lost it is then an advertisement leading back to our church because all of our information is on it.

We have filled the store with inexpensive objects that we buy on sale or are given to us as donations. I have also found that you can get some really neat things from attending industry expos where my work occasionally sends me. I fill bag after bag with all of the giveaway trinkets and immediately put them in the store for the kids to purchase. It has worked out quite well.

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