3 Fun Ways to Creatively Introduce Your Exciting Lesson
For September and October, we are doing a fun little series on Creating Your Own Children's Bible Study.
Whether you're just starting out in children's ministry and have recently been handed a section of the lesson and told to "make it your own."
Whether you're a seasoned teacher who has found yourself bored with your current curriculum.
Whether you're a mom or dad who is looking to take charge and be intentional with your child's spiritual health.
Wherever you're finding yourself in this season, this is such a handy series for all of us to pay attention to! Who knows? Maybe you'll inspire your children's leader with ideas. Maybe you'll find yourself in complete awe at laying the foundation for your children to come to Christ. Maybe you'll find your ministry revived and coming to life through your own curriculum!
Wherever you are in your journey, I hope that this series proves to be a valuable one!
Previous Posts in this Series:
Ready to dive into this week's post?
One time, I was asked by a student and his dad if I would be willing to go to a WWE (concert). They didn't think I would be interested, but they had an extra ticket and for some reason, looking at me, they're like "hey, let's give that a shot!" To their surprise, I said yes. I mean, I've never watched wrestling in any form and figured it would be a fun experience. Because seriously... look at my picture in the sidebar. Do I look like someone people would peg for having been to a WWE event?
The whole spectacle was sort of what you imagine. It's 4 hours (or so) of high energy banter, "fights," lights and music. Can you imagine how confused I, a complete newbie, would have been if the event coordinators would have begun this even with soft, romantic symphony music? Instead, they began with loud, high-energy music that set the stage for what the audience could expect from the rest of the evening.
If you're wondering, I actually enjoyed myself. My little group (there were four of us) spent a lot of time laughing and we truly enjoyed ourselves. Would I go again, probably not. But I was blessed with some really fun memories to last me a lifetime!
The introduction to our lesson really is setting the stage for what our children can expect from us for the rest of the lesson. It's our opportunity to tune the atmosphere, energy levels, and expectation to the lesson that God has for us all to learn in this session. So let's talk about three adaptable ways to introduce a lesson that fits with most any energy level (serious and low key, or high energy).
Three Ways to Introduce Your Lesson:
#1- A Game. A group. A partner game. Or even a game where a few people play and the rest watch. I taught a lesson once where we talked about how Jesus followed the rules (talking about how he was fully human and fully God) and we played a game of crazy 8's. It turned into both an object lesson and a fantastic introduction to our lesson as I changed the rules to ensure my win. It frustrated my students and set the stage for teaching my students about how Jesus played by the confines (the rules) of being human. He could have changed things to suit His needs, but He didn't.
#2- An Object Lesson. This is where you liken your lesson to something tangible in an action or even a story. I had an old youth pastor who taught about sin and the beauty of forgiveness with one pitcher filled with water, one glass, and a can of soda. The dark soda represented our sin as he poured it into the glass. Then he took the pitcher filled with water and talked about how God cleans us and makes us white as snow through Jesus' sacrifice and His love. He poured the pitcher full of water into the same glass as the soda until there was no trace of soda left. It was an excellent start to the topic at hand and it got us all thinking.
#3- A Drama. You could invited actors to come and act out a script. You could use puppets to tell a story. You could even use a student or two to introduce a lesson through a drama. And there's so many different kinds of drama. Human videos, making your own movies, acting out a script live, etc. It could be a funny drama, a serious drama, one designed to get people laughing, or even one designed to give people an honest view of themselves. The best part is that it doesn't have to be an award winning script or award winning actors/actresses to get the point across. Tip: Having someone other than the normal teacher doing these really causes the students to pay attention because it's someone new.
What about those times when you have more than one idea to begin your lesson?
Keep it simple. The simplest idea is usually the easiest to remember, don’t you think?
#1- Consider the amount of time you have to complete the entire lesson. When you have more than one idea to begin, consider how much time you think the introduction should take. When considering the entire lesson’s timeframe, you also want to build in a time buffer or two for things like questions and a time for reflection.
#2- Consider the expense of the activity. Maybe it’s the amount of time to prepare for it that has you concerned. Maybe it’s the amount of supplies you’ll have to go out and buy. A lot of times when I found myself deciding between introductions, I went with the cheapest option. Why? Because, after all, we’re talking about the introduction. There are other elements (like the Bible lesson or the craft) that I felt were more important. So if I felt that the introduction would cost money, I’d rather that money go to those other elements I valued more.
#3- Consider the amount of people you’d have to have involved to accomplish the introduction. Sometimes adding more people to an element actually makes it more difficult. If it takes 60 people to accomplish your introduction (say, in a drama), that’s a lot of coordination on your part. It would be easier to choose an introduction that doesn’t require too many people. On this subject of the amount of people involved, how many kids would it take to accomplish this (if it were an activity). Take into account absences. If you’re a homeschooling mom with four kids who would do this introduction together, but three get sick. Can this activity still be accomplished with just one kid? If you’re a Sunday School teacher with 20 kids, but end up discovering that a majority of the kids don’t show up that day, can this introduction still be accomplished with the few remaining students?
#4- Consider the space. Consider both the size of the space and clean up of the space. You wouldn’t want to do an indoor food fight, due to the clean up. You also wouldn’t want to plan a drama with 60 people in it when the space only fits 20 people. You also wouldn’t want to plan a game that requires 100 kids to spread out, but isn’t actually a space that would allow the kids to spread out.
Like I said, when in doubt, keep it simple.
So how will you creatively introduce your lesson? What element will you go with? How will you set the tone for the rest of the lesson?
Once that question has been answered, we’re off to a really fun element!
Stay tuned for next week’s lesson on inspiring children with your exciting Bible Lesson!