Children’s Ministries’ purpose is to build a spiritual foundation in each child that will last a lifetime. The two most important components of the Sunday School hour are building faith-filled relationships with the children and sharing the Bible story. The Children’s Ministry team writes our own curriculum and uses a variety of activities to bring clarity to the scripture and strengthen its impact on children’s lives.
“My hope and prayer is that this will be a place that they will remember fondly as they grow older. I know that I will.”
– Jill Young, 5th grade Sunday School Teacher
The Rotation Model
Our 3rd-5th Grade Sunday School uses a rotation model. Think of it as a 6-week Bible study. We take one focus—a scripture or Bible story, and dig deep into it through six different angles in six different classrooms, each called a rotation. Our six rotations are Art, Cooking, Culture, Games, Science and Service. As the children explore each rotation during the six weeks, they begin to put the smaller details and the big picture together, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of scripture.
Let’s explore our Calling the Disciples unit together.
Jesus Calls Less than Perfect People.
The disciples were all different but they had one thing in common – all of them were less than perfect. They all made mistakes. We read the story of Saul’s conversion. Paul teaches us that we do not need to be perfect to do amazing things with God. Paul had a shield – a Bible and a sword to represent the 13 books in the New Testament that he wrote and he called the word of God the “sword of the spirit.” The children created their own shields out of tin that represented who they are as followers of Jesus.
Jesus, Our Teacher – Following His Plan as Disciples.
As Jesus began his ministry, he called his team, the disciples, to follow him, to know him, to learn from him, to practice with him, then to go take his love and word out into the world. We have that same recipe to follow. This recipe is the Bible. In Matthew 5, 6 and 7, Jesus gives us many ingredients to help us turnover our life to God. So, what did we make in our cooking class? A turnover! The children chose between apple or chocolate chip.
Fascinating Facts about Jesus’ First Twelve Disciples.
We learned about the twelve disciples, their culture during that time period and compared it to our culture today. We did some activities to learn their names and who they were, then listened to rhymes and a rap to memorize the twelve, and why Jesus called them disciples, then apostles. Can you name the twelve apostles?
The First Disciples were Ordinary Fisherman.
Andrew, Peter, James and John were ordinary fisherman. They were ordinary people, just like you and me. Through our experiments of a Bubbling Lava Lamp (oil, water, food coloring and Alka-Seltzer combined in a test tube) and expanding Ivory soap, we learned that basic ingredients, when combined, can change into something awesome. Through Jesus, he can expand our hearts and minds so we can do extraordinary things.
Ways to Follow Jesus at Home and School.
Jesus calls us, his disciples, to put him first in our lives and to be the ones to pass on the Good News of Jesus Christ. We played games like “Pass It On” with ping pong balls, pails and straws, that challenged us. Just like these games, we drop the ball in our lives and don’t always put Jesus first. Often, we must choose between doing what Jesus wants for us and doing what we want to do. Yet, our faithful response is to always have the courage to keep trying. “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
Ways to Share Jesus’ Story with Others.
We read how Philip helped an Ethiopian learn about Jesus. How do children all around the world share Jesus’ story with others? We learned from 21 children from 10 different countries how they share Jesus with others. Two friends from United Kingdom and Bahamas both said they share Jesus by inviting family and friends to church. So, we made a craft stick puzzle invitation to share with others.
Together, over these six weeks, we explored Jesus’ first twelve disciples, who they were and what they did as they followed Jesus. We grew in our knowledge of scripture as our recipe for living, and we focused on ways that we can faithfully serve Jesus by passing on the Good News of Jesus to others. Together, all of these rotations helped us dig deeper into what it means for us to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
“Throughout this year, there have been many moments where I have witnessed the children connect spiritually. Not only connect with me but with the whole classroom. This is sort of like the formation of a team—God’s team if you will. The classroom rotation has played a vital part in this transformation. Friendships have been formed as well as relationships between the Shepherds, Teachers and Volunteers. There have been some real shining moments where I have walked out of there reflecting back that the children have taught me more than I have taught them. The confidence and joy that this position has given me is a lot like the true sense of the word Shepherd. One who watches over a group so that it stays safe and unified.”
-Brooks Elliott, Sunday School Shepherd