Attendance had been low. In fact, it had been so low that I began to wonder what I was doing wrong. Did I need fresh blood? My classes are small anyway with 6-8 kids per class and that is for two grade levels combined. The last several months our numbers for children’s bible classes had shrunk to sometimes as few as three kids each week. This can be discouraging for a teacher and heartbreaking when we think of our children’s souls.
Two things changed and over the past two weeks, attendance changed. I now have my 7-10 kids per class each week. Back on track. What happened? First, we hired a new preacher after a year long search. I do not believe the preacher should make this much of a difference in bible class and worship attendance, but the reality is, it does. People want stability. They want to know what they are getting each week. They want to see passion and energy from the pulpit. Our preacher is excited about God and it’s getting people back through the doors and excited too.
What was the second thing? I started emailing every parent and grandparent of an elementary student at my congregation on a weekly basis. I send them the scripture reference for our lesson, an overview of the bible story and some things to think about. I invite them to attend the adult bible class that is learning the same story on a deeper level. This has shocked me. We have had several people come because of this consistent email. I have had a couple of people tell me that when they could not make it to class or worship on a given Sunday, they printed my email and their family read the story together and discussed. Of course we want to see them, but if they cannot make it, then I am thrilled they are dedicated enough to God and their family to worship at home that week and if I can help, I am glad! We are a church and their to help one another.
If you already have a preacher/pulpit minister, then you are in great shape when it comes to stability. Now it’s time to work on communicating to families and inviting them every week. Get them excited about the topic. Show them in your communications that scripture applies to them today. If I can show families how Hezekiah, Jeremiah and Daniel apply, then you can show them too with whatever you are studying.
And finally, what should be first but often is not, PRAY! You can never underestimate the power of prayer. I am constantly shown God’s amazing power and involvement in our daily lives through prayer. There are days I even think to myself, “Wow! God is hearing me.” When my husband’s adult class shrunk it discouraged him. I prayed each week for his class to grow and gain new energy. Over the next few weeks, it happened! I did not do anything special. I let God take care of His church. (And I know it was not only my prayers, but others too. God heard us.)
Coming soon I will introduce a new course on “The Effective Children’s Bible Class” that will walk you through, step-by-step, how you can grow a bible class where kids learn who God is, grow a love for God and a desire to share him with others. I will share methods I have used to double our attendance and involvement. More on this later though!
Trying to come up with ideas for kids that they will share with friends is not an easy task. I remembered a few kids running around with cootie catchers, aka Fortune Tellers, not too long ago. They went from friend to friend playing this simple handmade game. Why recreate the wheel? If they love it, let’s find a way to use it!
After some trial and error with upside down teeth and such, I finally got it! Take a look at the video to see how you can make Bible Cootie Catchers of Jonah or Daniel in your bible classes. Inside the big fish is a praying Jonah and inside the lion is the angel that shut the lions mouth. These are perfect when you need a quick lesson and activity. I’ve prepared the bible story with printables, all ready to go when you need something in a hurry!
How do you get yours free to download with bible stories too? It’s easy! If you are a subscriber, it will be in your email box. Not a part of the RaiseKidForChrist.com family yet? No problem, subscribe here and you’ll receive your templates.
There’s always that one kid. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that distracts the rest of the class and just does not want to focus. You expect this. You prepare for this every week. But for some reason, today this child just does not seem to respond. You don’t want to yell at him/her; but you do want the kids to learn about God. What’s a teacher to do?
This happened to me last Sunday while teaching my second and third graders about the crazy prophet Ezekiel, the prophet who had to cook his bread over poop (they loved that). I had one child that decided he was going to stand up on his chair during the lesson. I’m not sure what possessed me but rather than fight it, I decided to go with it.
I said, “Alright class, who wants to stand on their chair?” Of course they all shouted out, “Me! Me! Me!” I told them they could all stand on their chairs, but they had to stay on the seat, no one could put their feet on the backs or this game was over for everyone. (The chairs are short but I still did not want them tipping over.) Now how to tie this into the lesson and make sure they were paying attention….
I instructed them to listen carefully. I was going to read a few sentences then ask them a question. If they answered correctly, they could stay standing and if wrong, they would sit until they next question. It worked amazingly well. They focused because they were doing something in bible class they thought they would never be allowed to do. They listened and they learned! What’s more, we were able to tie it back to Ezekiel. God had Ezekiel do some strange things to get people’s attention and here we were standing on chairs to help us pay attention.
Being a teacher can be hard sometimes when kids don’t fit into a little box of listening quietly, raising their hands to answer questions, and staying seated to do an activity. As teachers, we need to think outside the box. Don’t always fight what’s going on, but roll with it. You will have kids that love being in your class and they will learn more than ever.