"Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you'll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won't get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn't your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But YOU won't be torn out; you'll survive - but just barely." 1 Corinthians 3:9-16 (MSG)
Wow! The materials we choose to use in our Sunday School and/or Children's Church DOES matter! We are laying a foundation for our children to build upon their entire lives, from the first Toddler Class, all the way through High School. So, let me ask... >>> What Bricks and Mortar have YOU chosen to use? <<<
Let's play a little game of THIS or THAT to find out...
When you announce that it's time for the Bible Story or Message, do your kids look like
...or THAT v v v v
When it's time for worship, do you kids stand like
...or THAT >>>>>>
When it's time to play a group game or get involved in an activity, do you have some that are still looking like
...Or are they ALL like THAT? >>>>>>
First let me say that I realize there may always be some children that don't feel like getting involved for some reason or another, but it should NOT be on a normal basis.
So, if you answered "THIS" to any of the above questions, maybe it's time to take a look at some of the "Bricks and Mortar" in your classroom.
Let's dive in!
The "Bricks" of your Sunday School/Children's Church must be your Bible. This is what we are founded upon. Every lesson, every activity, every game should have a point to support your main Bible Story or Bible Lesson for the week. Always have a Bible Story or Verse included in your lesson.
The "Mortar" of your classroom should be your curriculum, which will help you to bring it all together. Again, like I mentioned above, everything you do each week, MUST have a point. Don't play games just to play games. Don't sing songs just to sing songs.
Another thing to remember....the "Mortar" (curriculum) should be adjusted and applied as needed to fit with your specific "Bricks" (Bible Story/Verse). It should be flexible, not solid like the "Bricks". Don't read your curriculum word-for-word or do exactly everything as suggested. PRAY! Seek God about how He wants you to present it to your children each week. Then, adjust accordingly to fit your needs and His direction.
OK, now that we've covered your Bricks and Mortar, let's discuss what kinds of Mortar are available...
First off, depending on the denomination of your church, you may find that you have specific curriculum required by your Pastor. So, always work with him and his desires on making a choice.
If your church does not require a specific curriculum, then make sure to do your research. You will find lots of options for Sunday School, as well as Children's Church. You will also need to decide whether you want to use Large Group or Small Group.
Let's say you currently have Sunday School with Elementary ages. Instead of having all separate classes, you could combine for opening with Large Group, then separate into Small Groups, then combine again for the main message in Small Groups. If this is new to you, feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
There are a number of Curriculums with Large Group/Small Group formats, as well as, just full length Children's Church...of course besides all the Sunday School options.
Below, I'm going to list some that we have used in the past, and give you some idea of how they all work. Hopefully, this will give you some ideas to help you move toward your goal of building your Brick and Mortar foundation. :D
1. Let's Begin with Orange 252.
Think Orange 252 Basics is a curriculum that uses Large Group and Small Group. They offer lots of fun media, as well weekly skit videos, etc. They also have a free trial, so you can see just how it works.
We actually used Orange for over a year. We decided to change because some of the content did not apply to our beliefs and standards. But if you are ok with skipping and arranging to best fit what you want your children to learn, it's a fun option. Their curriculum is purchased with an annual license, priced according to how many children you have in attendance. You can check out 252 Basics HERE.
2. Hillsong Kids BIG Curriculum
Hillsong Kids BIG is a lot like the 252 Basics above, having Large Group/Small Group options, as well as, lots of media. However, where 252 Basics is licensed based, Hillsong Kids BIG is purchased by themes of 9 lessons each.
I'm going to be completely honest....as much as we did have fun with these 2 curriculums above, we felt they were somewhat "shallow". We wanted our children to go deeper in God and His Word, not learn the same Bible stories in a fun a way. Yes, fun is good, but for our kids, we wanted something different.
However, I do want to say, that both of these have a trial option....so if you want high energy with lots of media, go ahead and check them out! :D
You can take a look at Hillsong Kids BIG Curriculum HERE!
3. Tru Fire Story
Next on the list is Tru Fire Story. I was really excited when I found this curriculum for a number of reasons. It does again have Large Group/Small Group format, but it also teaches the kids about the Fire of God's Spirit. Not many curriculums give you much time to actually have an altar call with your children, and this one does give that option, and even encourages it. This one is again on a license, but I believe it's quarterly and not annually.
You can check it out HERE.
After using Tru Fire for a little while, we had some changes in our department ages, making Large Group/Small Group format a little bit difficult, so began our search for another option.
>>> And I found the best option...the one I love the most so far...our entire staff is in LOVE with this curriculum! <<<
(((( Drum Roll Please......))))
4. This iKnow Curriculum by KidzMatter!!!
Oh my goodness...I can't say enough about this curriculum! From beginning to ending, this has gotten my vote! :D Let me explain why....
> First of all, each lesson has a central Bible Story Theme from which to build.
> Next, all games, activities, object lessons, skits, puppet skits, etc. are tied into that central Bible Story Theme....YES!...even the games! I love that!
> Also, the Bible Story is presented in whichever format for that day, but it is presented separately than the actual sermon/message. Why is this important? Because the message is then tied into that Bible Story, but more focused on APPLICATION to the children. This is SOOOO awesome! I have actually NEVER seen this before, in all my curriculum searching.
> Each lesson comes with many activities, games, object lessons...too many to use them all! So, you can pick and choose which you want to use. Also, sometimes there are crafts, sometimes there are snacks...and yep, you guessed it....tied into that day's lesson.
Literally...every week, I am excited to read through to see what is coming for that session...you never know what to expect.
"Undercover Disguises" is what we are just finishing up. Every lesson is about a character in the Bible that "disguised" as something else. For example, God disguised Himself as a Baby and came to earth. It has been great fun!
This iKnow Curriculum is purchased as a 13 week theme, with many to choose from! You can check out the main page HERE.
So there you have it! These are just some of the curriculum we have used in the past 25 years of my leading the Children's Department. Whatever you do, pray first, talk with your Pastor, and then check out what will work best for your group of kids, your staff, and your time frame. What works for me, might not work for you. ;-)
Get out your "Bricks" (Bible) and see which "Mortar" (Curriculum) will work best for you.
I'd love to hear which curriculums you have enjoyed below. Please share your ideas in the comments...always ready to hear new things!