While your child might get busy with schoolwork and his social life during the teenage years, you can still make his faith something to get excited about. If you are your teen’s Sunday school leader, or if you’d like to help your teen’s leader make each lesson more enjoyable, incorporate fun and engaging activities into Sunday school class. Through these activities, you can help keep him connected with his churchgoing peers while learning about faith, character building and other Christian life lessons.
1. Community Service and Charitable Work
Help your teen learn important lessons in her Sunday school class by recommending the group get involved in some hands-on service projects. Through the project, they can learn about helping others and to be grateful for the abundance with which they have been blessed. The teens can organize a food or clothing collection and make posters for the event during Sunday school class, posting the signs around the church to make other members aware of the event. Have the kids set up boxes to receive the goods, and then spend the following Sunday sorting and packing the supplies for a shelter or other charitable organization. Alternatively, have the group use its creativity to make or bake items to raise funds for a cause of its choice and host the event after the next Sunday's service. In collaboration with the service project, encourage each teen to think of one charitable act he or she can complete on his or her own before next Sunday, such as helping to tutor younger kids at school, bringing a meal to an ill neighbor or friend, or cleaning up the local park to make it safe and clean for youngsters.
2. Team Games
Make this Sunday a blast for your teen and his churchgoing friends by organizing a variety of games for the group to play that will get the teens working together and learning, too. You can play a game of Bible trivia, dividing the group into two teams and hosting a friendly competition -- an opportunity for the teens to practice winning and losing graciously. Alternatively, move the tables and chairs out of the way and create a human board game on the floor with colored poster board squares. Have the teens take turns answering questions to roll the dice and move across the game board. You can play Bible charades, having the teams take turns acting out a name, phrase or scripture, or help the group remember names and places from the Bible with a game of bingo. Fill each bingo card with different biblical places and names, write each name used on slips of paper and put them in a large jar. As you pull out each name, the teens stamp the bingo cards, trying to stamp an entire line to win.
3. Think Positively
Help your teen and her group reflect on the blessings in their lives and all of the positive characteristics of their peers. At the beginning of Sunday school, give each teen a sheet of paper filled with the names of all the other teens in the class. Have everyone write at least one positive thing beside each person's name. When they're finished, have each teen read his or her list aloud. If you'd like to keep the activity a little more anonymous, give each teen slips of paper with one classmate's name written on each one. Have the teens write a positive characteristic about the person on the slips of paper, and toss them all in a box. Now you can pull out each slip and read out all of the kind comments. Encourage the teens to look around as you read aloud to see how happy the positive comments make the other teens in the room. To get the teens thinking about how blessed they are, have each of them make a list of all the good things in their lives, from their parents and peers to their music players and baseball gloves. To make the kids think really hard, make it a friendly competition; the teen with the most items on her list wins a little prize, such as a Christian music CD, Bible bookmark or a hand-decorated T-shirt.
4. Dramatic Skits
Encourage your teen to apply the stories and lessons from the Bible to everyday life with a little discussion and some acting. Start by talking about Bible stories that address different issues that can be applicable to today, such as the forgiveness illustrated in the stories of Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers and the prodigal son, or the consequences of prideful behavior illustrated in the Tower of Babel and King Uzziah. Next, have the teens divide into smaller groups and think about scenarios in which those lessons could apply to their own lives. Give each group some time to transform the scenarios into skits, and then have the teens perform their scenarios for the whole group or for the church congregation next Sunday. Alternatively, you can accommodate kids who are more timid performing in front of a crowd by turning the skits into puppet performances to add a little humor or have the timid teens narrate the stories from behind the scenes while the bolder kids in the group act out the scenarios.
- Sunday School Ideas for New Teachers: Youth Service Project Ideas
- "On the Spot: No Prep Games for Youth Ministry"; Steve Parolini; 2007
- BibleWise: Forgiveness
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images