Connecting Development and Deeper Faith
Many teachers spend a huge amount of time studying child-development experts such as Goldman, Stonehouse, and Piaget, along with their theories of developmental education and stages of moral development. When it comes to Sunday school, the idea is to create lessons that while they are rich in Bible depth, they are also appealing and applicable to kids according to their ability to receive information and act on it. In other words, the goal is that kids actually remember the lesson you teach and you see a change in their actions because of it!
A Lesson From Kid-Jesus
Remember when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover? At the end of the celebration, Mary and Joseph started the journey home with a caravan of family and friends. They arrived at the Hebrew version of Motel 6 when Jesus’ parents realized that he was MISSING. They lost God!
Three days later they located him in Jerusalem in the temple. Luke tells the story in his writing: “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:46-47).
Jesus listened. Jesus asked questions. Jesus, through his questions, was causing teachers to challenge their beliefs. A child was teaching the teachers. Kid-Jesus was the coolest.
Explore Faith Together
This event illustrates how important a role children play in their faith discovery — and in ours. Give kids opportunities to grow their faith by exploring it together with them.
- Encourage kids to ask questions. And don’t pretend to always know the answer. Why did God give dogs tails?
- Open your mind and learn from your kids. Sometimes the most profound and surprising insights come from young minds because they see things in a much more concrete, simple way.
- Make faith exploration an element of your class. Ask open-ended questions. Challenge kids to exercise their faith. Stretch kids beyond what even they think they can do.
R.E.A.L. learning is a learning philosophy, which also happens to be a nifty acronym, that can help you remember the important aspects to Sunday school that works. Your lessons should be