A new Sunday school year is upon us, and ministry leaders and volunteers are busy planning, preparing, and setting classroom schedules. There are so many options for classroom time: hands-on activities, crafts, games, birthday celebrations, singing and worship, prayer, missions focus, Bible memory work, time to simply hang out, etc. These all can be good and compelling activities. But here is something to consider:
Every study of the internal life of the churches shows that they are becoming increasingly less literate biblically.
We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs. The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.
(Albert Mohler, “The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem,” albertmohler.com)
So, what should ultimately provide the “measure” by which all of our classroom activities are assessed and then incorporated…or not incorporated into our limited classroom time?
…from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
Therefore, the first question that should be asked when developing a classroom schedule is, "How much time are we spending teaching from the Bible, guiding students to interact with the Bible, and encouraging them to respond to the Bible during our class time?" Are other good but lesser activities crowding out the essentials of biblical instruction and spiritual discussion?
In order to prioritize and maximize biblical instruction and spiritual discussion in the classroom, we have designed our curriculum resources with two indispensable “pillars”:
Large Group Lesson—Biblical teaching that instructs the mind and guides students to interact with the Word of God (20-30 minutes)
Small Group Application—Spiritual discussion that engages the students’ hearts, encouraging and guiding them to rightly respond to the biblical truths that have been taught (10-20 minutes)
No matter what curriculum you use, we believe these two pillars should consume the vast majority of a typical Sunday school hour for elementary-aged children and youth. As time allows, add other elements that focus on the Word and our response to it, such as worship through singing, prayer, Bible memory activities, missions focus, etc. Be careful and strategic if you include time spent with hands-on activities, crafts, games, birthday celebrations, etc. Consider ways to make these more Bible-focused, God-centered, and faith nurturing.
You can learn more about our two classroom pillars here: