Sunday School Ideas Archives

Importance of Developing Godly Friends

Friendships are a gift from God. Good friends can help us grow in many different areas. Developing lasting friendships takes time and sacrifice.

Develop a friendship with a missionary, a pastor, or an evangelist: One good way to develop a lasting friendship is to open your home to God’s servants. Some of our greatest friends are missionaries. At different times in our home, my husband and I have enjoyed Korean and Filipino meals, and we have learned many different customs by hosting missionary friends. At other times, we have gained valuable advice from pastors and evangelists we’ve had in our home.

Develop a friendship with a child: Sometimes we forget how valuable our influence can be in a child’s life. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:33…evil communications (companionships) corrupt good manners. Today many children are growing up in families without any moral direction. When you develop a friendship with a child, you might be the very person God will use to sow seeds of faith and encouragement into the heart of a future pastor, pastor’s wife, or missionary wife.

Friendships are very important to our lives: My daughter and son-in-law moved to Texas a few years ago. After living in New England all their lives, it took some time for them to make friends in a new area. Recently, they found a church where they made some wonderful new friends. These new friends relieved their loneliness and gave them a new sense of belonging and purpose. One great thing about friends is that they can spur us onto good works. In fact, it was a good friend who inspired me to write my first book.

Someone once did a survey asking several different people of various ages to write a brief description of a good friend. Here are a few of those descriptions:

“Someone you can bare your soul to and not be afraid it will get around.”
“Someone who has ‘tactful truth’ and is not afraid to tell you.”
“One who knows you well, but still loves you.”
“A person, who understands you, appreciates your view and is loyal to you.
“Someone who enjoys being around you, accepts you for who you are, and is faithful to you when the chips are down.”

…But the definition I like the best is: A friend is a trusted confident to whom I am mutually drawn as a companion and an ally, whose love for me is not dependent on my performance, and whose influence draws me closer to God.

Consider the friendships you have developed through the years:

Casual friends: We all have casual friends. These are people that we have met at different times in our lives, but we didn’t develop lasting friendships with them.

Close Friends: Someone once said, “You only make a few close friends in your lifetime. Our close friends are the friends we have developed through ministry or work, and we desire to stay close to them because of a special bond we’ve experienced. It is these friends that we feel safe enough to share our deepest feelings. Although we don’t see them often, we always look forward to spending time with them.

Counseling Friends: Maybe there was a time in your life that you went through a deep trial or suffering, and you had a friend who counseled you and guided you through your crisis. This friend will always be special to you.

What Does It Take to Develop Lasting Friendships?

First, it takes time and patience: Developing lasting friendships can take months or years. Some people want to make temporary friends with people who have money, position, or power. Friendships built on those criterions will eventually dissolve through time.

Proverbs 19:4 Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbor.

Second, it takes love and sacrifice: Sacrificial love means giving up important things for things that are less important. A person who sacrifices his time and resources to develop a friendship is a person who truly loves. Sacrifices may be as small as sending an email, texting a message, or mailing card.

I read an illustration about a man who lost a good paying job. He was able to get a new job, but it paid much less than his previous one. At the end of the month, this man found it difficult to pay his bills. He reconnected with an old friend who had once been a missionary. This man’s friend, now a pastor of a growing church, realized his friend’s predicament and gave him money to pay his rent. This pastor’s generosity so moved this man, that he remembered thinking at the time, “I have just seen Jesus.”

Matthew 25:40 …Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Third, it takes listening and acceptance: Being a good listener is the largest part of acceptance. Proverbs 18:13 tells us that we must not answer a matter before we truly listen to what others have to say. If a friend is struggling in a certain area, he should feel safe enough with a friend to voice his thoughts without negative criticism or a judgmental opinion.

A good friend can be cheaper than therapy: A judgmental attitude slams the door shut to a friend sharing a problem. It is important not to give a friend advice before hearing all the facts of his situation. I just heard a saying this week, “Unasked for advice is seldom taken.” We all have a tendency to give our “opinions” without fully listening to a person’s problem or circumstance. There are times when our friends just need someone to listen to them without judging them or giving them advice.

One of the first verses I first learned in my counseling training was: Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

John 8 gives us a wonderful example of this in the story of the woman taken in adultery. Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.” Jesus does not expect us to accept or approve of sin; but like Him, we must show His love to our friends without condemning them.

Fourth, it takes encouragement and spiritual edification: Friends either drive us away from the Lord or draw us into a deeper walk with Him.

God’s goal for our lives after we first get saved is our spiritual growth and sanctification. As God begins to mold and transform us, He may begin to take away our old friends because He doesn’t want us to have friends who will be a negative influence in our lives. Many times, it is our old friends who will try to hinder us in our spiritual walk with the Lord.

We need to make friends with other Christians who are godly and Spirit-filled. These are the friends who will help us grow in the Lord.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

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Sunday School Teacher’s Ideas

I was looking through my files this week and came across some great notes I took when I was in college. Hope these notes help you.

1. Provoke your student’s interest
• Use a variety of methods in teaching
• Use the cleverest way possible to present lessons.
• Use drama to make story effective (Jesus girded Himself with a towel and washed the feet of His disciples)
• Don’t read from manual or book
• Make your material exciting
• Use object lessons (Jesus did) He showed Himself as the Bread of Life, As the Good Shepherd…

2. Get ideas by exploring books
• Visual Aid Encyclopedia, Eleanor Done, Regal Books
• Roy Garn, The Magical Power of Emotional Appeal
• Ethel Barret, Storytelling Made Easy
• Marie Chapman, Yelling for Help
• Herman Hornell, Kregal; Teaching Techniques of Jesus
• Howard Hendricks, The Seven Laws of Teaching
• Cheryl Fawcett, Understanding People: Ministry To All Stages of Life

3. Don’t use the same method all the time…”Variety is Spice of Life”. Use things that:
• Create an interest and a desire to know.
• Create a need for the Bible to have real value for their lives.
• Teach them how they can forgive others when they have offended them.
• Teach them how their tongues can keep them from getting me into trouble and how to get victory in their lives.
• Develop within them a curiosity about their souls, their purpose of life, and their lives beyond death.
• Teach them how to praise and encourage others.
• Teach them the dangers of being critical of others.

4. Teacher must realize how important their teaching techniques and personalities are. (Example: Jerry was a student who had not really been interested in Sunday school until promotion day…he got a new teacher who showed a real interest in him and the class. Because of this new teacher, the student began getting excited about the Lord, His Word, and his service for the Lord.)

• Rewards are important…Jesus offered heaven…Paul pressed on toward the prize.
• Don’t use the same old method year after year. (We remember 10% of what we hear, 50% of what we see, 70% of what we say, and 90% of what we do).
• Send “Take home papers” with the students.
• Ask thought provoking questions.
• Tell part of the details of the story without telling the characters in the story.
• Use a recorded version, complete with sound effects.
• Sometimes taste can be introduced like a food in the story (pomegranates, figs).
• Continued story (call on one student to continue, then he calls on another).
• Nose; fragrance of God’s flowers; distinguish them from artificial ones.

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2019 Goals for Sunday School Teachers

2019 is a new year. As teachers, it’s important to shepherd the students you have in your classes. Let’s do our very best this year to keep in contact with visitors and those who attend every week.

Here are a few suggestions to help you shepherd your students.

1. Send them birthday, friendship, and encouragement cards.

2. Visit their school programs.

3. Take their pictures and post them in classroom.

4. Take them on visitation with you.

5. Have a birthday party once a month and celebrate the ones who have a birthday that month. Parties can be at church, at home, or at pizza parlor.

6. Help students MEMORIZE Scriptures. Reward them for their achievements and announce their achievements in services.

8. Call them each week just to keep in touch with them.

9. Ask them to help straighten up your class area before and/or after class; reward them for their efforts.

10. Remember Time = LOVE.

11. Take one at a time to McDonalds to get to know about him and his interests.

12. Let the achievers decorate your class room as a reward/incentive.

Sunday School teachers have the opportunity to be the GREATEST INFLUENCE in a child’s life outside of their own parents. Remember you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.

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I remember when we were living in Rhode Island, I planned some pretty intense Christmas plays. The nice thing about it, we had a Christian school, and we could practice every afternoon for several months. It took much  planning, hard work, and commitment for me and the children. Most smaller churches don’t have the resources or time to this.

Don’t feel that you must have months to plan and rehearse a children’s program to be a blessing to your church. Here are a few suggestions to help you plan a simple children’s program.

  • Keep it simple.
  • Don’t be too intense with the children…have fun with them.
  • For very young children, use a few inexpensive musical instruments like bells, drums, etc.
  • Begin your program by letting the children enter the auditorium carrying battery operated candles and singing a Christmas Carol.
  • Have an adult or teen narrate the Christmas story by reading it from Matthew or Luke.
  • Use power point slides as the children sing.
  • Download some of the Christmas Carols from a Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. Use the picture on the sound tract as a slide and play the music as the people are entering the auditorium.
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A book may impart generalized knowledge but only your personal interest expressed in home visitation will enable you to know the individual pupils.  As you visit acquire facts for the following interest’s inventory. Record these carefully and note the progress from time to time:

Name
Address
Date of birth
School attended
What grade student is in?
What are his favorite subjects?
What subjects does he dislike?
Does he have a hobby? What?
How much time is spent on that hobby?
What type of reading does he enjoy?
What are his sports interests?
What other activities is he involved in?
What is his favorite portion of the Bible?

Parents in some of those homes you visit may seem indifferent to the child’s spiritual condition. They may never come to church at all. The teaching that meets the life’s need will have a carry over into the home. “Gracie isn’t selfish like she used to be.” This makes her mother wonder if being a Christian does make a person different. Jerry returned a dollar bill he saw his brother drop when he took a credit card out of his billfold. The time was when Jerry would have stuffed the dollar into his own pocket. A surprised brother is more ready to listen when Jerry talks church.

Remember discipline problems are usually a sign of boredom. You need to know each child’s particular problem. Jimmy thinks he’s ugly and no one loves him. Sally has alcoholic parents, Frankie always acts up! Why?

How do you measure up to the qualifications of a Sunday School teacher? You must:
Have a college president education
Have the executive ability of a financier
Have the humility of a church deacon
Have the adaptability of a chameleon
Have the hope of a confirmed optimist
Have the courage of a war hero
Have the wisdom of a serpent
Have the gentleness of a dove
Have the patience of Job
Have the grace that will able to approach the Lord’s throne
Have the persistence of the devil
Have the power of the Holy Spirit

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Individual Character Traits of All Ages

When teaching Sunday school  to various ages, it is always helpful to know individual characteristic traits.

Nursery child (Ages 2-3)

One minute they listen, two minutes they yawn, three minutes they wiggle, four minutes they’re gone. The nursery child learns that God is a real person who loves him and takes care of him. He learns to talk to God in simple natural expressions of love and trust. He learns that the Bible is the book that tells us about God and Jesus. He learns to respect the Bible, to take care of it, to enjoy its stories. He learns to say he’s sorry when he does wrong. He learns that God wants him to take care of himself and control himself. He finds security in obeying parents and pleasing them. He learns to accept times when he can’t have his own way.

Beginner child (Ages 4-5)

He learns that God loves others as well as himself. He learns that he is God’s helper, and he is important to God.  He learns that Jesus is God’s son.  He learns that the church is God’s house.  He learns that the Bible is God’s book, which he loves and obeys.  He sees Bible stories as they relate to life’s  situations. He learns to make friends with his own age level.  He learns to show respect to those who will lead and teach him.  He develops good habits which are a foundation for a strong Christian life.

Primary child (Ages 6,7,8) Grades 1-3

He has growing muscles.  He finds that God is the creator of the world and the power that holds it together. God is pleased when we do right and ready to forgive us when we do wrong.  He sees God’s power and love at work.  He enjoys Bible stories and finds in them a message for him. He understands that his actions influence others, learns that Christians share and help each other, and understands that becoming a Christian brings responsibilities. He recognizes his need for forgiveness of sin and for living a life that pleases God. He recognizes that he is part of His family, and under God he has responsibility for his conduct.

Junior child (Ages 9-11) Grades 4-6

He learns by doing (James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves). This is a good verse for a Junior.  He gains a deeper understanding of the cross and God’s work for him there.  He is at the prime age to sense personal sin and his need for a Savior.  He understands God’s purpose in sending Christ.  He begins to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He begins to see the Bible as a panoramic story of God working with His people.  He understands Bible map study and geography. He enjoys using the Bible to read, memorize, and study. He begins to learn how we got our Bible. He learns to compete with others, and still feel  friendly toward them.  He finds that Christian behavior has many shades. He learns to cope with undesirable attitudes common at this age.  He understands that it is important to make right choices in life. He develops strong trust in God’s guidance. He identifies easily with heroes and patterns his life after them.

Intermediate child (Ages 13-15)

He is confused, thoughtful and introspective, questioning, gang conscience, day dreaming, full of questions and doubt.  He realizes his responsibility to God for his decisions and actions. He is ready for a deeper commitment of his life to God and to seek God’s guidance for his life. He sees the Bible as God’s revelation to man.  He learns to forgive instead of strike back. He learns to serve instead of be served.  He learns to overcome problems rather than run from them.  He learns to seek reasons from the actions of others. He learns to live with ethical problems and handle them as a Christian. He begins to compose a self-portrait of who he is.  He begins to face doubts. He begins to think of vocation.  He begins to think of choosing a mate.

Young people (Ages 17-25)

He is facing the future, college, homes, and mates.  He seeks life’s answers to his questions about God.  God becomes his guide in choices of vocation, college dates, grades, getting along with others.  He develops habits of Bible reading and study.  He applies Bible truths to his own life.  He probes the deeper meaning in Bible doctrine. He realizes he depends much on others and others depend much on him, especially as a Christian. He seeks God’s help in choosing friends, dates, and group actions. He is concerned about preparation for Christian vocation and marriage. He wants to know himself and God as much as he can. He faces adult responsibilities and relies on God for help.

Adult (Ages 26 and up)

He is working to build houses and careers. Some are divorced and alcoholics.  Many are pleasure mad.  He searches the Bible for answers to everyday problems. He seeks God’s guidance through His Word for home,  business, and everyday activities. He understands his responsibility to God in his Christian life in building his home and conducting his business in community affairs.  He faces the need to withstand the pressures which would cause him to put God after home and business.

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Definition of a Sunday School Teacher

A teacher is a lady or man with soft smiley eyes and a mouth that turns up at the ends. You are not afraid of teacher.

A teacher is always a person that is in class when you get there no matter how early. Those early times give you a chance to tell what happened to you last week. You get to show teacher that you like him by helping him get the classroom ready. He lets you put song books on the chairs and erase the chalkboard. A teacher is someone who likes kids. He rumples your hair sometimes, and if you’re a boy, he visits with you before class instead of visiting with the other teachers. He knows what you’re trying to say when you don’t know quite how to say it. He listens and understands. He knows your name when he sees you in the grocery store.

A teacher is a lady or man with special eyes to see what you can do though you haven’t done it yet. He doesn’t mind spending time helping you discover what God wants you to do with the abilities He gives you. Although you can’t really disappoint a teacher because he doesn’t expect you to be more than you can be…but he doesn’t let you get by doing a job the easiest way.

A teacher is a person you want to be like. You can tell he loves God and the Bible but that he doesn’t always behave just like God says. His honesty about it makes you sure God can help overcome your own faults, because teacher tells you how God helped him.

A teacher isn’t fooled when you look him right in the eye, but you don’t really hear what he says. He doesn’t talk all the time. He lets you find out things about God by having plays and games and looking up stuff together.

A teacher lets you like learning.

A teacher is great when it comes to helping you decide what is right to do. You know he knows about God’s book. When he is teaching, he has it right there in his hands. He finds stories and verses in it without much hunting. You are sure he can find answers in it for you.

A teacher comes to your house, even if you haven’t been sick, and brings you a book or a picture. He looks at your room and likes the cowboy pictures on the wall or those stones or dolls you collect. He knows your dog’s name and maybe tells the class about him.

A teacher is one who can stand beside the grave of a kid from the class who died and be glad inside while he cries outside because he led the kid to Jesus and knows he is in heaven and happier now. He makes the kids’ parents glad they let him go to Sunday School.

A teacher is the one you remember long, long after you forgot the aims of the lessons. A teacher is part of you. He belongs to you. When you say, “That’s my teacher!” You grin.

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Jelly Bean Story

 Little jelly beans, tell a story true
A tale of our Father’s love –
Just for you and me.
Green is for the waving palms
Red is for His precious blood
Black is for the sin He washed from your soul and mine
White is for our hearts now clean from sin
Purple’s for the sadness of His family and friends
And Yellow is for the glory of the day He rose again.
Now you’ve heard the story, you know what each color means.
The story of our Father’s love told by some jelly beans.
So every morning take a bean, they’re really very yummy.
Something for the soul, you see, and something for the tummy.

If you need coloring pages and stories for Resurrection Sunday check out http://ministry-to-children.com/childrens-ministry-links-for-easter/. This is a great resource for Sunday School lessons, coloring pages, video clips, etc.

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• Pay attention to the time you have to prepare. If you are planning a complicated play, don’t wait until November or December to begin practicing.
• With smaller children, keep your performance simple by narrating the program yourself. Parents and church members love to watch children perform no matter how elementary the program.
• For a fun touch, let your angels wear battery operated halos or carry battery operated candles.
• Use your teens as much as you can. (They are full of ideas, and sometimes younger children will listen to them better)
• Let small children use inexpensive musical instruments when singing carols. (2 years old can play
Toddler Glockenspeils or Rhythm Instruments such as blocks. If they are 3 years or older, they could play children’s Xylophones or use Kids’ Maracas. (If a child doesn’t have an instrument to play, let him hold a battery operated candle)

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Teacher Appreciation Day

Consider having a special day to promote attendance by recognizing all teachers. (Public school, Christian school, University, etc) You could plan this day for the spring or fall.

• Announce two or three weeks in advance that the church will have a Teacher-Appreciation Sunday.
• Encourage everyone to invite a teacher for that day.
• On the special day, have all the visiting teachers sit in a reserved section. (The person who invites a teacher could sit in that section with him)
• Pastor could speak briefly about the appreciation the church has for the teachers and how difficult their jobs might be.
• Have each teacher stand, give his name and the department and class he teaches. As the teacher stands, have someone ready to present the teacher with a wrapped gift. (Gifts should be of a spiritual benefit to teachers such as a Bible, a one-volume commentary of the Bible, a Bible dictionary, or a picture with a spiritual theme)
• Pastor could then offer a prayer of dedication and thanksgiving for all the teachers.

Quotes about Teachers

Matthew 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

A great teacher is a great artist; his medium is not canvas, but the human soul.

A Good Teacher is like a candle; it consumes itself to light the way for others.

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.     ~Dan Rather

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.    ~ William A. Ward

One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.    ~ Forest Witcraft

When God created teachers, He gave us special friends to help us understand His world and truly comprehend the beauty and the wonder of everything we see, and become a better person with each discovery.

God understood our thirst for knowledge, and our need to be led by someone wiser;  He needed a heart of compassion, of encouragement and patience; Someone who would accept the challenge regardless of the opposition; Someone who could see potential and believe in the best in others… So He made teachers     ~ Unknown

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