Sunday School Ideas Archives

Missionary Story

Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa-to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to go out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area.

This was a huge step of faith. At the village of N’dolera they were rebuffedby the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.

They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. The only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood-a tiny woman of only four feet, eight inches tall-decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And in fact, she succeeded. But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria continued to strike one member of the little band after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to go on alone.

Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina. The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another seventeen days.

Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife, and then took his children back down the mountain to the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God himself.

Within eight months both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each other. The baby was then turned over to some American missionaries, who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually brought her back to the United States at age three. This family loved the little girl and was afraid that if they tried to return to Africa, some legal obstacle might separate her from them. So they decided to stay in their home country and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. And that is how Aggie grew up in South Dakota. As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. There she met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst.

Years passed and the Hursts enjoyed a fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.

One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross-and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD.

Aggie jumped in her car and went straight to a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the article. “What does this say?” she demanded. The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to N’dolera long ago…the birth of a white baby… the death of the young mother…the one little African boy who had been led to Christ…and how, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ…the children led their parents to Christ…even the chief had become a Christian. Today there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village… All because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood.

For the Hursts’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden. There Aggie sought to find her real father. An old man now, David Flood had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family: “Never mention the name of God-because God took everything from me.”

After an emotional reunion with her half brothers and half sister, Aggie brought up the subject of seeing her father. The others hesitated. “You can talk to him,” they replied, “even though he’s very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage.”

Aggie was not to be deterred. She walked into the squalid apartment, with liquor bottles everywhere, and approached the seventy-three-year-old man lying in a rumpled bed.
“Papa?” she said tentatively. He turned and began to cry. “Aina,” he said, “I never meant to give you away.”

“It’s all right Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.”

The man instantly stiffened. The tears stopped. God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.” He turned his face back to the wall. Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted. “Papa, I’ve got a little story to tell you, and it’s a true one. You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today there are six hundred African people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life… “Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.”

The old man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades. Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together.

Aggie and her husband soon had to return to America-and within a few weeks, David Flood had gone into eternity.

A few years later, the Hursts were attending a high-level evangelism conference in London, England, where a report was given from the nation of Zaire (the former Belgian Congo). The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the gospel’s spread in his nation. Aggie could not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood.

“Yes, madam,” the man replied in French, his words then being translated into English. “It was Svea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact, to this day your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.” He embraced her in a long, sobbing hug. Then he continued, “You must come to Africa to see, because your mother is the most famous person in our history.”

In time that is exactly what Aggie Hurst and her husband did. They were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers. She even met the man who had been hired by her father many years before to carry her back down the mountain in a hammock-cradle.

The most dramatic moment, of course, was when the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s white cross for herself. She knelt in the soil to pray and give thanks. Later that day, in the church, the pastor read from John 12:24:Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He then followed with Psalm 126:5: They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

(An excerpt from Aggie Hurst, Aggie: The Inspiring Story of A Girl Without A Country [Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1986].) Permissions: Feel free to reproduce and distribute any articles written by Randy Alcorn, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this information, not protect or restrict it.

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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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Ways to Shepherd Students in Your Class

Dear Ladies,
My husband wrote these suggestions last summer when our pastor asked him to think of some ways that his Sunday school teachers could better communicate with their students. Because I thought they were such great suggestions, I wanted to share them with you.

Below are a few suggestions that I thought might help your Sunday school teachers to more effectively “shepherd” their flocks.

1. Send them cards; birthday; friendship, encouragement, etc.

2. Visit THEIR school programs.

3. Take their pictures and post them in classroom.

4. Have students go on visitation with teachers to visit other students.

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

6. Get Treasure Path to Soul Winning or take portions from Proverbs and encourage students to MEMORIZE the Scriptures. You could then allow the students to quote the Scriptures in services and reward them for their achievements.

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 them to the park for a picnic.

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.

I hope this helps!

Robert Lewis

Ten Commandments for a Sunday School Teacher

1. Thou hast a Sunday School Class and thou shalt not be untrue to thy calling by giving thyself to frivolous tasks before thy class.

2. Thou shalt not give place to any idols in thy life; neither shalt thou bow down before them nor serve them.

3. Thou must give first place to the Lord thy God if thou are to lead His little ones.

4. Thou shalt not take the name “Sunday School Teacher” lightly; for the Lord will not hold that teacher guiltless who does not serve Him with dedication.

5. Remember thy class hour and keep it holy. Six days shalt thou study and do all thy work, but the seventh is the Lord’s day. When thy study is completed, thou shalt come before the class prepared to impart the Word of God.

6. Honor thy boys and girls with thy interest, thy counsel, and thy prayers that the effect of the Lord’s work through thee may be felt long within their lives.

7. Thou shalt not kill thy students interests with inadequate preparation and prayerlessness.

8. Thou shalt not steal time from thy class by being late on Sunday morning or by neglecting those who have been absent for even one Sunday.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness by teaching more or less than the Word of God.

10. Thou shalt not covet the praise of men, for the Lord Himself shall reward thee and will repay thee 100-fold.

What Is a Sunday School Teacher?

Sunday school teachers are women or men who are kind and love to teach. They love children and understand what their students are trying to say even if their students don’t know quite how to say things.

Sunday school teachers know each of their students’ names when they see them. They enjoy spending time helping their students discover what God wants them to do with their gifts and abilities.

Sunday school teachers are the people who are always in class before their students arrive…no matter how early. They are the ones who love to show students who arrive early what a joy it is to serve the Lord by allowing their student to put song books on the chairs or pass out activity papers.

Sunday school teachers show their students how much they love God and the Bible. Their honesty about their own faults make their students sure that they can overcome their faults.

Sunday school teachers let their students find out things about God by playing games and researching things together. They also show their students how to make right choices in life by helping them find answers from the Bible. When students have questions, Sunday school teachers help their students find answers quickly.

Sunday school teachers go to the homes of their students and bring them books or pictures. They look at their students’ rooms and appreciate the cowboy pictures on their walls, their rock collections, or their doll collections.

Sunday school teachers know small details about their students…such as their dogs’ names.

Sunday school teachers are the people who stand beside the graves of children who had once been in their classes and, though their eyes are full of tears, they are glad that those students had accepted Jesus.

Sunday school teachers make their students’ parents happy because they let their children go to Sunday School.

Sunday school teachers are the ones students remember long after they have forgotten the aims of the lessons.

Sunday school teachers are part of their students lives. When students say, “That’s my teacher!” Those teachers are happy and smile.

How About Your Heart Campaign?

This is a Sunday school campaign that encourages Sunday school members to be faithful and to encourage them to invite visitors.

Directions for Campaign

1. Begin in January to make posters and place in various areas of the church that read Do Not Break the Heart of Christ–Be Faithful.

2. Campaign begins the last Sunday of January and goes through the end of February.

3. Prepare individual hearts for each Sunday school student to place on the wall. Divide hearts into five sections. Label each section according to your planned Sunday school lessons. Use your own criteria to plan lessons (Examples: Bible, Missions, Stewardship, Faithfulness, Salvation)

4. Prepare a large class heart the same way. If the class meets its goal, the individual class can place its piece on the class heart.

5. Each week of the campaign, have students place individual pieces on their wall hearts. If a student misses one Sunday, he can earn back a lost piece by bringing a visitor to Sunday school.

6. In the morning service, use the song How About Your Heart for theme song. (Song can be found on the internet)

7. You could develop this Sunday school promotion with your own ideas. Each Sunday school teacher could have a party for his class, if his class met its weekly goals.