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How to teach Sunday School

Jump to my newest website for a better format of the information here plus more information specifically for Sunday School and Christian youth ministry: Sunday School Lesson Connection

So you're feeling urged to teach Sunday School? Been tapped on the shoulder by the Holy Spirit to get involved? Terrified that if you sit down with a bunch of Middle Schoolers your brain will go blank? Then this web site if just for you!

For years churches have been ignoring the Middle School age kids, dumping them in with the High School group or letting them languish in the elementary age classes. "There's only a few," the elders rationalize, "As long as they're quite." You, however, have become appalled at this treatment and must help.

While Junior High ministry can be time and resource consuming that can not be used as an excuse for sidestepping the discipleship of our youth. Survey data now shows that 90% of kids make a decision to leave the church when they are in middle school.

Sunday School done properly is a time-tested, effective method of discipleship but it must be a family oriented ministry. However, due to a lack of volunteers many churches are discontinuing their programs completely. I feel that the rational that students become dependent upon the program or the adult mentor for spiritual growth is a copout. One bad result, however, is that parents have abdicated their responsibility of discipling their kids to the youth leaders.

It does require a strong commitment on the part of the teacher. Parents, teachers, and churches must accept the responsibility for our kids as the family of Christ. As a Sunday School teacher you will have a pivotal mentoring role in the lives of your students long after they graduate. This website is full of helpful ideas and youth ministry resources.

57551: Help! I"m A Volunteer Youth Worker Help! I'm A Volunteer Youth Worker
By Doug Fields / Zondervan Youth Specialties

Help! I'm a Volunteer Youth Worker! gives you the basics for successfully reaching teenagers whether you're an old hand at youth work or you've just signed on. These fifty, bite-sized suggestions are easy to remember and put into practice. They include tips on: How to build relationships with students, How to recruit and train other volunteers, How to get along with the pastor and youth director, How to model Christian love to your students, and more! If you're a professional youth worker looking for new ways to encourage and empower your volunteer youth workers, just hand them a copy of Help! I'm a Volunteer Youth Worker! And don't forget to consult the book yourself--because you're guaranteed to find great ideas for youth work that maybe even you hadn't thought of.
Remember when you were a kid. Your Sunday School teacher dressed you in you dad's white shirt, attached a giant red plastic bow and shoved you on stage in front of the whole church? You were mortified. Then why are these kids, now parents themselves, subjecting they're kids to the same abuse? Ya gotta wonder.
Middle School Ministry - Physical

Middle School Ministry

Many people run scared from the middle school youth room. But (thankfully!) there are people out there who are actually drawn to those young teens. Although often times they're not equipped to deal with the unique challenges that middle school ministry presents, or they're just not sure what to do when a room full of young teens (who are part child, but not quite adult) are running around the youth room. Finally, there's a comprehensive guide to middle school ministry, from two veterans of this unchartered territory.

Kevin and Picard1Corinthians 9:19 "Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."

Could we say "To a kid, become like kid, to win the kids?" You don't have to be cool but you must be authentic. Actually you can be yourself but meet the kids on their level. Don't insist that they meet you on yours.

Don't be afraid to be silly or outrageous: Play with them.

Ridgity in your rules: If you insist the kids act and dress in your pre-conceived ways you are doomed. Making them dress in button down shirts with ties, girls in dresses, making them call you Mr., Sir, or Mrs. will just turn them off. You must let the kids be kids.

My three rules:
1. No fighting.
2. No Farting.
3. No screaming.
4. No spit wads.

We had to add that last one after a long car trip back from Acquire the Fire. Other than that I keep it pretty loose. I don't have a dress code but I do have a stink code.

252474: Creative Teaching That Changes Lives: How to Teach Teens for Holistic Impact Creative Teaching That Changes Lives: How to Teach Teens for Holistic Impact
By Dan Lambert / Zondervan Youth Specialties

This book will help teachers in a variety of Christian youth ministry settings more effectively to plan and to teach so that their efforts will genuinely impact the lives of the teens they serve. This long-needed book will be used by professional youth workers to enhance their own practice; will equip volunteers; and will become a foundational text in college and seminary classrooms. This book is a comprehensive, research-informed text whose passion is fueled by the urgent need in youth ministry to better reach students, to inform them about God's will for their lives, and to have students experience change in their lives they can experience beyond the youth-group setting. No other text in print so fully helps youth workers teach teens holistically. This book combines adolescent development theory, educational theory, and practical applications and ideas. With this book's comprehensive outlook, teachers and youth leaders can have greater opportunities for a richer impact on students for the sake of the Gospel.
volunteerMy bodyguard: So I don't have to be "the heavy" during class I employ a volunteer like this six foot plus, contractor. He kept a lid on things while I taught. For the most part he'd just sit himself between the "unruly young'uns". You either made room or got sat on. It works well.

Sunday School: You want your class to be as little like a school classroom as you can. More like hanging out.See my page on Youth Facilities In addition: No need to raise hands to speak, get a snack if you want. See my page on using rewards with more about teaching style.

When the class grew over twenty kids I actually used a PA system to amplify my voice so I didn't have to shout over the kids. We'd pass the mic around for them to read Bible verses. That just made it even more fun.

435645: The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer
By Jonathan R. McKee & Thomas W. McKee / Group Publishing

Father and son, Jonathan & Thomas McKee, team up to paint a picture of the kind of people who volunteer these days, far different than even 10 years ago. They help you to learn effective recruiting methods, the new management style necessary to keep on track, and finally, the new type of leadership methodology that will mobilize your work force. Also included are sample forms needed for your volunteer program.

Discipline in class: See my article "Respect the kids"

Never yell at the kids. Yelling may be the easiest way to express your displeasure with a students behavior and it may at times be effective, but, the net result is that all the kids who witness this will lose respect for you and you'll have a harder time getting their cooperation later.

The Love and Logic books have great tips for teachers as well as parents.

Jesus said: “If you love me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15) He wasn't saying, "If you want to prove you love me, do what I say." He was saying, Because you love me you'll want to do what I teach." Apply this to your teaching methods. If your kids love you, they will cooperate. Get your kids to love you then you'll have very few problems. See also "Piercing Preteen Armor"

732292: Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry
By Jim Burns & Mike DeVries

The most powerful force in a young person's life is his family. That's why youth experts Jim Burns and Mike DeVries have written this book, which provides youth workers with everything they need to partner with parents to help them disciple their own children. This fresh approach to youth ministry has biblical roots in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, where believers are mandated to pass their family's faith legacy to the next generations. This book helps youth workers understand their unique role in helping families succeed. It provides an overview of family-based youth ministry which focuses on equipping, encouraging and networking youth workers and parents so they can nurture the spiritual growth of their children. It's also packed with practical ideas--devotion, discussion starters, small-group parenting curriculum, family retreats, parent retreats, games, forums and more--to help youth workers implement this awesome ministry in their church. This is a breakthrough book that will guide youth workers as they reach parents and their children with the message of Christ's love and grace!

Encourage Parents To Get In The Game:

I've actually seen parents knees go weak as they've walked towards the Youth Building. They hear the commotion, they're legs get wobbly, they turn and stager away in fear. It doesn't have to be that way. Suck it up and walk in the door. Approach the kids in a friendly manner and they will reciprocate. The rewards ar huge. You'll make an everlasting difference in they're lives.

832432: Family-Based Youth Ministry Revised and Expanded Family-Based Youth Ministry Revised and Expanded
By Mark DeVries / Inter-varsity Press

In a culture that worships youth even as it abandons its young, this book gets adults, families and congregations involved. If you are disappointed with the results from the glitzy programs and entertaining activities you've used with your church's young people, then this is the book for you. Family-Based Youth Ministry is a multigenerational approach that takes seriously the job of discipling teens and building mature believers. This revised and updated edition continues to hold out its bold challenge: Young people belong in the life of their church, and the church belongs in the lives of its youth. Now featured is free curriculum for use with youth and young adults together.
Group Magazine

Connecting with other Sunday School volunteers:

Find answers, encouragement, and camaraderie with other Youth volunteers, pastors, and leaders at Group's forum of which I am the moderator.

E-mail me with questions if you want. It's just me: direct answerers from a regular person like you.

Buy tools from Simply Youth Ministry - simplifying ministry and saving you time!teach Sunday School

Teaching Sunday school is still a great method to disciple teens but it must be part of a greater family based youth ministry.

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