Why I Stole a 1st Place Ribbon from a Child in Sunday School

Imagine the scene: a jumping-jack contest in Sunday school with the teacher pitted against a first grade student. The student easily wins the contest, but the teacher claims the beautiful 1st Place ribbon for herself. The children break out in LOUD disapproval: “That’s wrong. You didn’t win. That’s not fair!” Righteous indignation spews from a group of 30 children over a stolen award. What kind of teacher does this? Continue Reading…

Making the Most of Classroom Worship

For many children, one of their favorite activities of the Sunday school hour is singing. Loud, happy, energetic singing maybe even accompanied by musical instruments, clapping, jumping, and other visibly active expressions. However, as much as I delight in watching a roomful of 6- and 7-years-olds jubilantly sing songs of praise to God in the classroom, I am reminded of these important words from worship leader and song writer Bob Kauflin: Continue Reading…

Spiritual Benefits of Active Learning

One of the God-given means for influencing the heart and the will is to encourage students to be active participants in the learning process. Most people would agree that active participation by students creates a positive learning experience. Most of us could even give reasons why this is so:

  • Participation makes the lessons more interesting, aids in holding the attention of potential wandering minds, and minimizes boredom.
  • Involvement maximizes the possibility that concepts are retained over a longer period of time.
  • Discovering truth rather than just hearing it provides a greater potential for truths to be internalized. The critical thinking skills involved in discovery can not only inform the mind, but also offer a more profound impression on the heart.

Continue Reading…

Help for Reaching the Hearts of Your Students

Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge.
(Proverbs 23:12)

Each Truth78 curricula lesson is built upon two foundational pillars: the Large Group Lesson which emphasizes instructing the mind with God’s Word, followed by the Small Group Application which focuses on engaging the students’ hearts and wills in response to God’s Word.  Both are vitally important in nurturing faith. Continue Reading…

Dads, is Family Discipleship on Your Calendar?

Christian dads, everything we do should be marked with intentionality—even how we take dominion over our schedules.

Using data analysis, our smartphones and smartwatches can monitor all kinds of details of our lives: our health, our money, our media consumption, and more. My phone often informs me about my schedule. “You have a full day tomorrow that starts early,” it says.

TimeSpent is an app that goes further. Inspired by the late Peter Drucker, who coached leaders to “know thy time,” it helps users complete the exercise Drucker recommended of keeping a log of their time in order to determine what they are doing over the course of 24-hour time periods.

What would such a tool show about your life? What would it indicate about your work, your exercise, or your leisure time? More importantly, what would it indicate about your life as a Christian dad? Continue Reading…

Are You Gripped by the Truths You Teach?

I can vividly remember the incident even though it happened years ago. I had just finished preparing for Sunday’s lesson. It involved teaching just one basic truth to my first grade class: God is eternal. The visuals, props, and lesson notes were ready. The Scriptures being taught were all carefully marked in my Bible. I had rehearsed the lesson several times. I was confident – I’ve got this! And then I was completely undone as I reread the key verse for the lesson:

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90:2).

Continue Reading…

Four Reasons to Use a Printed Bible When Teaching Children and Youth

Before advocating for teaching children and youth primarily from a printed Bible, I want to fully affirm that the following are true whether we teach the Bible from a digital device or from a traditional printed book:

  • The Bible is “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)
  • The Bible is inerrant and completely trustworthy.
  • The Bible is the full canon of Scripture—all 66 books—given to us in written form.
  • The Bible is characterized by its absolute authority, clarity, sufficiency, and necessity.

The medium we use does not change or alter the above truths. However, there is something we should not lose sight of: The medium we use cannot be completely disassociated from the message. Continue Reading…

Take Heart, Trouble’s Coming

The title of this post is my effort to offer a word of encouragement and hope for those who are at the start of another season of ministry with children and youth. The rest of this post is for those who are having difficulty finding encouragement and hope in the title.

I am taking my cues from the Lord Jesus, whose final words for His disciples span chapters 14-16 in gospel of John. One clear message of this discourse is that trouble is coming. Continue Reading…

Preparing Your Children for Sunday School: Little Things Make a Big Difference

The first few weeks of the new Sunday school year can be somewhat chaotic, especially if you’re in a church with large classes or multi-aged classes. Some children adapt very well to the new surroundings while others struggle. Thankfully, parents, a little effort can go a long way toward preparing your children for class. Continue Reading…

The Joy of Being Equipped and Trained for the Classroom

Have you ever experienced the following as a children’s ministry volunteer: a few weeks before class begins you are handed a curriculum, assigned a classroom, and then left to figure out the rest by yourself? I have; and felt completely unprepared and discouraged – it was going to be a LONG year! If you’ve had this experience, you know this approach is not conducive to either the volunteer, or the students, flourishing in the classroom. Yes, it’s possible to overcome the challenges created by a lack of training, but it doesn’t have to be this way; nor should it be the norm. Continue Reading…

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