Summer is an amazing time in ministry with children to offer something new during Sunday school. This summer, why not combine learning about the Bible with building intergenerational relationships? It’s called “The Church’s Got Talent.”
This fun, faith-based, friendship-building program invites adults in the congregation to share with children their hobbies and talents. Each week adults will:
share a little about themselves
read a Scripture verse related to their hobby or talent
tell kids about their hobby or talent
share a story, examples, or demonstration
lead a related activity with children
The beauty of “The Church’s Got Talent” is that new friendships are formed as adults, especially older adults, serve in ministry with children. By sharing about themselves and inviting children into their lives through their hobby and talent, these adults are forming important, life-giving, faith-building relationships.
“The Church’s Got Talent” is a program for everyone in your congregation. You will find great joy in discovering the hidden hobbies and talents within your church and using those as a springboard to build friendships between young and old.
If you get stuck on a Scripture reference, please reach out to your pastor for ideas. Also, try looking at it from a different perspective, like how does this hobby or talent serve God or bring joy to others, or does it requires qualities like discipline, knowledge, and creativity, and then search the Scriptures for verses reflective of those aspects. For example, connecting golf with Colossians 3:23 because the adult leader often played in golf fundraisers for missions — playing golf with a heart for the Lord.
While I was at Duke Divinity School, I studied the great theologians of the Christian faith — Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and Wesley. But when I started to reread beloved books from my childhood like Horton Hears a Who and Green Eggs and Ham to my children, I discovered another great theologian — Theodor Geisel better known, perhaps, as Dr. Seuss!
And, I’m not alone. James Kemp is a United Methodist pastor and author who wrote an adult study that finds parallels between the actions of cats in hats, Grinches, Snitches, Sneetches, and other Creachas and lessons found in Scripture. I loved his book The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss! I wanted to create a similar study for children to help them see this beloved children’s author as a teacher of faith, too.
This 13-week, children will explore several Dr. Seuss favorites to learn a lesson about following the way of Jesus Christ. This series is written for a one-room schoolhouse model with children between the 1st and 5th grade.
Easter Sunday is a great opportunity to build excitement for upcoming programs. To draw attention to Faith Builders, our summer Sunday school program for children K-5th grade, we are hosting a “Guess How Many Bricks” competition in the main entry to our building. Combined with activity books and crayons handed out to every child on Easter (another one on Mother’s Day), we are sure to catch the attention of members and guests alike!
In January, I came across David Henderson’s incredible idea and lesson sequence to combine Bible stories with LEGO builds called “Faith Builders.” I loved the idea of engaging children through interactive lessons using something they already enjoy: LEGO bricks! But I knew I needed a more fully developed resource to make this work in ministry with children. So, I expanded on Henderson’s work to develop lesson plans for a one-room, 13-week fun, Bible-based program for classes with children ages 5 to 12 called “Faith Builders 2.0.”
Whether children in a combined class are age 4, 12, or anything in between, these 13 interactive lessons will help kids experience the wonder and adventure of the Bible. Each lesson has minimal preparation and includes a fun LEGO build. Lesson reproducibles compiled from public domain sites are also available to ease preparation and provide leaders with extra time activities (of course, kids could always build more with LEGO bricks!). With step-by-step instructions, it’s easy to teach children about God’s Word through creative play with LEGO bricks. Their lives will never be the same!
Live Lent was a huge success at my church’s annual Kids’ Spring Retreat! Seeing it in action gave me a better sense of how easy this program is for churches of any size to use. The one place I noted for improvement was in the Cooking Workshop, which needed an extra activity to keep the kiddos from getting restless while their pretzels were baking. And what better than an activity geared to share what they learned with the whole congregation?! Now, the lesson plan includes a fun prayer pretzel reminder craft to assemble to give out on Sunday morning, at an outreach event, or any other time. You can download the updated Cooking Workshop lesson plan with printable tags to complete your Live Lent program.
Lent is a special season in the life of the church that helps us prepare for the celebration of Easter Sunday. Understanding and living the practices of Lent can be difficult for many adults, let alone children. Live Lent is a 4-part curriculum designed to help engage children to live lent by learning more about traditional practices and may be downloaded as a PDF.
In four sessions, which may be offered as a half day Lenten Retreat or over the course of four weeks in Sunday school or at a mid-week program, children will discover the rich traditions of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and burying the alleluia, as well as the scope of practicing Lent. Each lesson includes a hands on activity to further engage children in multi-sensory learning.