by Yolanda Derstine
Your Sunday school class was going great! Jesus had fed the 5,000 and Jaxon was tracking right along with the story. The lesson was complete and time was up, but as you listened for the pitter patter of parental feet on the stairs you heard…NOTHING…but the pastor’s faint voice from the sanctuary. The sermon had gone long.
What should you do when you’re out of lesson material before the Sunday school session ends? Rather than allowing chaos to ensue, try these ideas.
Rehearse the truths of the Gospel. The Gospel message is just as important for the saved as for the unsaved. Use unexpected time to reinforce the Gospel. Turn to 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 and discuss it with the children. Keep a Gospel tool on hand, so that you can talk through the points with the children. If you talk about the Gospel often, have the children share it with each other.
Games are great!
We say it a lot, because it is true. Most children truly enjoy playing games. But games for the sake of games aren’t the goal. I often carried two large plastic serving spoons and a ball or plastic Easter egg in my bag. This allowed for instant relay games to help review lesson facts or a memory verse. Children form two lines opposite each other and the first child in each line get a spoon. The first child answered a question or said a verse, then carried the ball to the child opposite. Repeat until each child has had a turn. Form teams and race if there are enough children.
Rehearse the truths of the Gospel. The Gospel message is just as important for the saved as for the unsaved.
Empty moments of waiting are perfect for beginning a group letter to one of your church’s missionaries. Tell the children about the missionary and what he or she does. Find the country on the map or globe. Then pray together with the children for the missionary. Give the children paper and pens and let them write a note or draw a picture for the missionary. Mail or scan and email them to the missionary.
Moments of waiting are great for connecting with the children on a more relational level. How well do you know the children in your class? Have the children sit in a circle. Give one child a foam ball (or a piece of wadded up paper if you are in a bind). Have her tell you her favorite hobby or another personal fact, then toss it to another child who tells you his favorite hobby and so on.
Children love drama and dramatizing your lesson keeps it fresh in their minds. It’s even more fun if costumes are kept on hand. But you can use your “relay spoon” in a pinch as a microphone for a “TV reporter.” Let a child acting as a reporter interview other children acting as characters in the story.
Last-minute activities are easier with a well-equipped room, but if you don’t have a supply cabinet, keep a large tote just for such emergencies.