Children's Church, Management

Dealing with Difficult Behaviors in Church

I’m not going to lie, dealing with behaviors in church is really tough. It’s not school, and it’s only a few hours (maybe only one!) a week—so there’s no time for bad behaviors, right?

Wrong.

Other people think that church kids should be the best kids.

Also wrong.

Now, I am not saying you will for sure have difficulties. But there may be a few students who need a little extra push to help them behave appropriately.

Remember, children’s church/Sunday school is all about preparing students for their future—you want them to grow firmly in God. You can’t do that if they are yelling and screaming and rolling on the floor.

Now, hopefully, that will never happen to you. But to be honest, I have had a few who did that—do that.

And if you do too, I am here to tell you it may get better. I have two in my mind that learned a lot and got a lot better as time went on. One of them is older, and not in Children’s Church anymore. The other one still is. He still has his days, but as a whole, it has gotten much better.

So here are some tips for dealing with difficult behaviors in church. I have some other behavior management posts that you can read like this one. The others are centered on teaching music, but the concepts are all the same.

Dealing with Difficult Behaviors in Church. Tips on behavior management for children's church, sunday school, youth group, etc. Becca's Music Room



Talk to the Parents

This may seem like a “no duh” kids of thing, but it is so important. If parents don’t know what is going on, they cannot help. They have to be on board in order to help difficult behaviors in church get better.

I will admit, I was scared of this for a long time. I did not want to talk to parents. Because seriously, who wants to tell a parent that their kids was being ridiculous?

But once I did, it really helped.

I stand at the door at the end of class—that way I guard both people coming in and going out. It also means that I get a chance to talk to all of the parents. With some of my more spirited children, I give an update every week—good or bad.

One more time: good or bad.

You don’t want it to always be bad. Don’t lie, but if a child was better than last week, tell them that. Especially if you talked to them last week and the news was not good.

Remember, you and the parents are on the same side. You both want little Johnny (I don’t have any Johnny’s at church) to grow up and love Jesus and be an awesome person. I tend to use “Johnny was having a tough time today. He did xyz…. I really hope next week we can do better.”

Avoid saying things like “He ALWAYS gets out of his seat…. She NEVER listens to me.” We are not interested in always or never. We are interested in the behavior today. And remember, it’s the behavior we are addressing, not the child themselves.



Have Clear Expectations and Consequences

This is harder in a Sunday School or Children’s Church environment. You don’t want it to feel like school. you also tend to have more students moving in and out.

But if kids don’t know that something is wrong, they won’t know not to do it.

Now, I am not saying that if you get a new kid you should immediately plunge into a long explanation of what is ok/not ok. But as things come up, mention them.

For example, I take my kids to the bathroom half way through church every week. This gives them a mental break, and also has almost completely eliminated the “I have to go to the bathroom!” conversation. Every time we go, I’ll say, “We’re going to take a bathroom break. This is the only bathroom break you will get, so you need to go now. We are not running down the hallway. Please use whisper voices, so we don’t disturb other people having church. Two people in the bathroom at a time.”

Now, if I have only the kids I have had since they were two, then I’ll shorten it. But the idea being—they now know what to do. There is no excuse to not do what you are supposed to do. If I hadn’t said those things, they would run, they would talk loudly, there would be 12 people in the bathroom, etc. but since they now know what to do, it eliminates the ambiguity.

And although you think something is obviously not allowed, that does not always mean the child does.

Dealing with Difficult Behaviors in Church. Tips on behavior management for children's church, sunday school, youth group, etc. Becca's Music Room



Give Them Something to Work for

If you have never heard of PBIS, you need to look it up! It is all about getting students to do what they are supposed to by rewarding them.

This could be with food, with praise, with games, with special privileges, etc.

For a while, we would write all of the students’ names on the board. If someone was doing a good job, we would give them a point. Whoever had the most points would get to be it first in a game or we would pass out snack in that order. Whatever little reward it was, it helped. Class Dojo is an online version of this, which would be great if you tend to have the same groups of kids each week.

You can also do it as whole class. For example, if the whole class can earn three points, then we will play a game or go outside. They want to get the reward, and they will work for it.

On a crazy day, it also helps if you just walk around and hand out a piece of candy or one cheerio or goldfish (I know a lot of teachers that buy these large boxes off Amazon and they last forever). Don’t even stop, just hand one out and keep talking. The other kids will figure out what you want by looking at the child who is doing what they are supposed to.

I did this the other day with jellybeans. I didn’t say a word, I just handed a jellybean to a kid who was sitting nicely and listening.  A few minutes later, I handed out another. You have never seen kids sit that nicely. And seriously, it only cost me 15 jellybeans. (I actually just gave them the ones I didn’t like out of my pack…)

These are also a cheap option.

You can use some of the ideas from this post as well.



Save the Best for Last

This goes along with the last one. One of my favorite ways to control behaviors in church (and at school, for that matter) is to have a built in reward. This could be anything they like—dancing, games, crafts, etc. whatever really fun thing you are going to do (once more, that you are already going to do), do it at the end.

That ways you can remind them the whole time.

You have to listen to the lesson to play our really fun game.

You have to participate if you are going to do our songs.

I am looking for people who are going to be able to dance today.

Oh good, so-and-so looks like he wants to go outside. I can tell because he is sitting still with his eyes on me. He’s not talking or messing with people.

Try it and see the children transform before your eyes.

Note: if you do this and a child really doesn’t earn it, you need to follow through on it. Give them plenty of chances, but in the end if they cannot get themselves together, then they do not need to have the reward. They can sit and watch while you play a game.

You have to follow through. The kids notice whether you do or not. And if a child has bad behaviors in church the whole time and still get the reward, they will continue their behavior. And the others will look at that and think they don’t need to bother behaving well either.



Remember that They are Kids

I do not mean this in an excuse kind of way. It should not be “Oh, well Johnny was dong flips and broke the door, but he’s just a kid.”

No.

I mean, you have to remember what kids are like. They are energetic, they like fun, and they like to talk. Build in some time where that can happen. Build in time for dancing to get energy out. Plan for them to play games. Maybe give them talking time during a craft or have a break in the middle so that they can get do that (because their attention spans are very small).

Never use the excuse that they are just kids, but do remember that when you are planning your lessons.

You can read more about finding building your lessons around different ways to keep kids engaged here.

You can check out this book for more information and ideas:

 

So those are my best tips for controlling bad behaviors in church! It is no magic wand, but just some things to help you get through your day.

How do you handle bad behaviors in church? Let us know in the comments!



Dealing with Difficult Behaviors in Church. Tips on behavior management for children's church, sunday school, youth group, etc. Becca's Music Room



 

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Children's Church, Lessons

Free Church (Interactive!) Object Lesson: Jesus’ Forgiveness

I know you are thinking– interactive object lesson? Is that a thing? Well, it is today. This is one of the best lessons that I was able to do with my kids to help them learn about Jesus’ forgiveness in a fun way. It is super simple and very effective. It is easily adjusted depending on students’ age. The only thing I am going to say is that you need really good erasers like these.

Also read: How to Structure Children’s Church in 6 Easy Steps

Free Church (Interactive!) Object Lesson: Jesus' Forgiveness. This lesson is great for Children's Church, Sunday School, or Youth Group. Becca's Music Room.

Jesus’ Forgiveness

 

Materials:

 

Bible verses:

1 John 1:9 Free Church (Interactive!) Object Lesson: Jesus' Forgiveness. This lesson is great for Children's Church, Sunday School, or Youth Group. Becca's Music Room.

Procedure:

  • Have students draw a large heart on their paper. If you’d prefer, you can print out large hearts instead.
  • Ask the students if the heart is pure. Since it is clean, the answer is yes.
  • Tell them, sometimes even when you are trying to do a good job, we mess up anyway. What is a way that we may mess up?
  • Once a student tells you a sin, tell them that sin clouds up your heart. Write the sin on the heart (big!) and have the students do the same.
  • Ask the students what might happen after that. True to connect all of the sins. For example, if the first sin they offer is stealing, then tell them you might lie to cover it up because you don’t want them to know. Then write the next sin on your heart and have students do the same.
  • Repeat these steps until the heart is full of bad things.
  • Now ask them, do you think that Jesus still loves you even with this? (Yes!) But do you think he can live in your heart with all of that stuff? (No.)
  • We need Jesus’ forgiveness sometimes. Can someone tell me what forgiveness is? How do we get it?
  • Read 1 John 1:9
Free Church (Interactive!) Object Lesson: Jesus' Forgiveness. This lesson is great for Children's Church, Sunday School, or Youth Group. Becca's Music Room.
It should look similar to this when finished with the “sins” part, but with whatever sins your students come up with.

Also read: Free Church Object Lesson for Putting God First

  • Ask them “So what do we need to do to be forgiven?” Once they say that you need to admit it and ask for it, ask them, “Why do you think that you need to say it out loud?” (Because we don’t want to hide that it happened. We have to admit it so that we are being honest.)
  • What else do you think would be a good thing to do? Guide them until they answer that you should talk to the people that you wronged.
  • Go through each of the sins on the heart and “make it right” by talking to the person you wronged, making it right, and asking for Jesus’ forgiveness. Each time, erase the sin from the heart. Have the students do this as well. (This is why you need good erasers like these!)
  • Once it is clean, ask the students if they will think it will sty like that forever. (No.)
  • Tell them: It’s probably not going to stay pure forever. Even if you try hard, you will probably mess up every once and a while. The important thing is that we try to do our best to be like Christ, and that we ask for forgiveness when we mess up—and quickly after! We don’t want to end up filling our heart with sins, because then we will have a lot of stuff to fix.
  • Give the students a few minutes (play a quick worship song) and ask them to think about something they may need to ask forgiveness for, and to pray for it. At the end, pray a general prayer over them that they will learn from this lesson and try to keep their hearts pure.

There we have it! If you need some more things to do, you can check out My Kids’ Favorite Church Games or my Pinterest page to find things to do.

There you go! What is our favorite object lesson about Jesus forgiveness? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Teaching!

Free Church (Interactive!) Object Lesson: Jesus' Forgiveness. This lesson is great for Children's Church, Sunday School, or Youth Group. Becca's Music Room.

 

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Children's Church, Lessons

Best Easter Sunday Activities for Church

I am going to be honest, I used to struggle with Easter Sunday activities so much. I never knew what lesson to do. The kids are all hyped up on sugar. It’s just kind of ridiculous.

I know you are probably sitting there thinking, Becca—you talk about Jesus raising form the dead. Easter Sunday activities are so easy.

Yes.

However.

At least at my church, most of them can tell the story of Jesus raising from the dead about as well as I can. They hear it in Sunday School, on Wednesdays, from their parents, from me, etc. You may recall I have a similar issue on Christmas (you can find one of my solutions here).

Anyway, I don’t want to tell them the exact same thing that they already know. So I try to find different ways to do the job. So here are four of my favorite Easter Sunday activities to help tell the story of Jesus raising from the dead— for kids who know the story very, very well.

Best Easter Sunday Activities for church. Great for children's church or sunday school. Includes an object lesson and some hands on fun Bible searches. Becca's Music Room

Let’s Put it in Order

This is actually a new one I am trying this year.

Have students tell you different parts of the Easter story. Ask them what they know. Make sure they do not have any questions. Make sure they hit all of the points that you are using in the game.

Before class, write parts of the Easter story on pieces of paper with the Bible verses where it occurred on them. (You are going to want to use all four of the Gospels so that students can’t just use the numbers to put them in order.) Have students put all of the pieces in the order that they occurred.

Have students work in groups. If you have mixed age groups (like I do) make sure that you pair younger students with older students so that it will be more even. Someone in the group needs to be able to read. You could also do it without the references and just tell them that everything is in John. Or Matthew. Or whichever one you pick.

Also read: Free Church Lesson for Putting God First

Resurrection Rolls

This is pretty much the most wonderful object lesson EVER. One of my friends found it years ago and wanted to do it, and we have used it every single year since. You can find the original here.

Basically, you use a marshmallow (the big ones! I use these) to represent Jesus (because he is pure). Tell the students that he died for their sins. When he died, they put a bunch of stuff on his body so it would smell better.

Roll the marshmallow in melted butter and then in cinnamon-sugar mix. They put his body in a tomb, so you wrap it up in a crescent roll. Make sure it is sealed tight. Put the rolls in the oven (with a teenager to watch them!) until cooked. Have students bite into them and ask them what they find—the marshmallow will be gone. Because Jesus conquered the grave and rose again.

Just be careful because they might say, “He melted!”

Tip: Use aluminum foil on the pans so that it doesn’t stick to them. Trust me, when the marshmallow gets stuck to the pan, there is no getting it off.

The other article has all of the details (it’s where I found it!), so give it a read before you do it.

Bible Verse Egg Hunt

Have students hunt for Easter eggs. (Click the picture above or here to get them at a decent price on Amazon) In each one, put a Bible verse.

Depending on the group, the verses could be about different things. I have done this with verses about love, verses about the Easter story, etc. This year we are going to read prophesies of Christ—so verses that predict Jesus or that predict him dying and raising again. Have students hunt for the eggs.

Have each student read their verse out loud (you can write it on there or have them find it in their Bibles) and talk about what it means.

I am going with prophesies this year because I want the students to see the God knew exactly what was going to happen and had a plan the whole time. That is the main goal for this year.

Here is the one I am using. It is not the prettiest, but it does the trick! (You do not have to use all of the verses): Prophesies of Christ

Also read: My Kid’s Favorite Church Games

Egg Hunt

And of course, you can always just do an egg hunt. Not as educational, but it is fun.

Best Easter Sunday Activities for church. Great for children's church or sunday school. Includes an object lesson and some hands on fun Bible searches. Becca's Music Room

 

So those are my top four! We will be doing at least three of them this year (I am not sure about the normal egg hunt).

Of course, we always spend some extra time dancing to help us burn off the energy of the morning’s candy!

Don’t forget to subscribe or follow my Pinterest page for more posts!

What are your favorite Easter Sunday activities? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Best Easter Sunday Activities for church. Great for children's church or sunday school. Includes an object lesson and some hands on fun Bible searches. Becca's Music Room

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Children's Church, Lessons

Free Church Lesson: Using Talents for God– Music

Music! Music is one of my favorite things. I am a music teacher—I went to college for Music Education and specialized in voice. I currently teach elementary music (hence: why the blog’s name is Becca’s Music Room), which I love most of the time.

So I was really excited to talk to my kids about ways we can use music for God.

Now, some of you may not agree with me on all of the points. I have been singing in choirs since middle school. I have taken piano lessons. I have given recitals where I have sung opera and art songs and oratorios.

Some of those songs were about God. And a lot were not.

And you know what? During all of those instances, I feel like I am praising God. Sometimes even more so than in church on Sunday.

It is something about music that makes me feel connected to God, even when I am singing about French birds (no, I am not making that up). I truly believe that God honors the dedication and practice. He pours out his presence and his spirit of creativity on us.

I don’t sing on Sundays because I teach Children’s Church, but I still honor God with music.

I do it every day when I teach school, even though I do not say his name or sing songs that have to do with him. But I am still honoring God with my talents because I am showing his love to the kids and teaching them about music.

So I went into teaching this lesson with that in mind. You can be a worship leader and honor God with your talents. You can play trumpet in a jazz band and honor God with your talents. You can play Mozart on piano and honor God with your talents. You can teach elementary music and honor God with your talents.

I want my students to see all of those sides.



This lesson, even more so than some of the others, was inspired by reading this book. It is a wonderful book, and talks in depth about praising God with art—even when it is not in the most obvious ways. Because so much of my life is dedicated to art—both in music and in my painting hobby—I related very well to the book. It is also a quick, good read.

This lesson is conversation based, like the others have been. If you have missed any you can read them here:

Free Church Lesson: Using Talents for God-- Music. Conversation based lesson for teaching students how they can use all of their talents for God-- even beyond the most obvious ways. Works with children's church, sunday school, and youth group. Becca's Music Room



Using Talents for God: Music

Bible Passages:

Psalms 98 (main)

1 Samuel 16:10

Lesson:

  • Ask if any of the students have a talent for music. If you do, or one of your other teachers does, go ahead and talk a little bit about it now.
  • Ask the students what some ways we can use music for God are. You will probably get a lot of “We can be worship leaders!”
  • Say: Great! Being in a worship band is a great way to honor God. You use your talent to bring people closer to him. Do you think that is the only way that we can use music talents for God?
  • Read Psalms 98
  • I heard some interesting things in here. It said to praise God with singing. But it also said to use the harp (show a picture of a harp if they don’t know what that is). The harp is kind of like a piano. Does the piano say words? Well if the piano doesn’t have words, can it still honor God? It also talks about the trumpet. When you play trumpet, you buzz your lips (allow the students to buzz their lips. This is a similar sound to a motorboat—put your lips together and then push a lot of air through them.) If you are buzzing your lips, can you say words? So how can we praise God with our trumpets?
  • I think that I know a verse that may work here. 1 Samuel 16:10 says that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. So it doesn’t matter if I am singing or playing trumpet—it is what is in my heart that glorifies God!
  • So if I play tuba in a band at school, can I honor God in that? And if I sing in a choir and our songs are not about God, can I still honor God in that? Yes! God loves music—he created music! If we play music with the intention of honoring him with it, then we will honor him!

Also read: Free Church Object Lesson for Putting God First

Free Church Lesson: Using Talents for God-- Music. Conversation based lesson for teaching students how they can use all of their talents for God-- even beyond the most obvious ways. Works with children's church, sunday school, and youth group. Becca's Music Room



  • Now, do you think God like it if we play flute but we never practice? And we don’t work on it? No. God loves it when we work towards something. He sees when we practice every day, and he rewards it with us getting better. We can honor God just by working hard on our music. And music is hard. You have to practice a lot to be good.
  • Can anyone think of any other ways we can honor God in music? (I got “We can write songs about him.” “We can make songs that teach people about him.” “We can have a concert and give the money to charity” and “We can help people in our band or choir and be nice to them so they can know about God.”)
  • If we have a talent for something, should we hide it? No! We should share it. We can do that by playing music for people, and also by teaching people.
  • (I teach elementary music, so I was able to share a bit of that. We talked about how I teach music, but I try to show my students God’s love through that—hopefully by me loving them, they will see God’s love through me. I can also give them the skills they need to worship God with their music. (We also talked about how teachers in public school cannot teach about God. You do not need to go that far, but it came organically for us since I am a teacher.))
  • End the service with something musical. You could have them dance or sing along with a worship song. (My kids LOVE this one—they request it every week!) We played a music game, which is my thing because I do it in school all week. Or you could sing a song with them—Father Abraham is a big favorite.

Also read: My Kids’ Favorite Church Games

How do you use music for God? What did you students come up with? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget to subscribe for the rest of the series, and other Children’s Church Resources!



Free Church Lesson: Using Talents for God-- Music. Conversation based lesson for teaching students how they can use all of their talents for God-- even beyond the most obvious ways. Works with children's church, sunday school, and youth group. Becca's Music Room



 

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Children's Church, Lessons

Free Church Lesson: Using Talents for God: Art

This is the second part of our Using Talents for God series, where we talk about all of our different talents and how we can use them for God—in obvious and not so obvious ways. This one is centered on art. I love drawing and painting and sculpting. Lots of my Children’s Church kids do too.

You can check out the first part of the series here.

And if you are curious about some of my artwork, you can check that out here. Anyway. Through this lesson, I wanted my students and myself to have a good discussion (AKA there are a lot of questions in here) about art and Jesus.

One thing I really want them to understand is that you don’t have to make art about Jesus for it to praise Jesus. I feel like at church we get hung up on how worship looks. We also get hung up on using talents for God in really church-y ways. Like if you enjoy singing, then the way to honor God in that is that you have to join a worship band. Now, that is a great way to honor God in that talent, but not the only way.

So although you can just focus on “You like art so you have to use it to paint Bible stories”, I tried to hit on that, but also have a broader view.

Free Church Lesson: Using Our Talents for God: Art. This is part two of a series about using talents for God right now-- even if you are a kid! This works well with children's church, sunday school, or youth group. Becca's Music Room

Like I said before, a huge inspiration for this series was this book by Jeanette Johnson. She spends a chapter talking about art, and honoring God in art. It was really helpful and eye opening for me (I am a musician and an artist but don’t necessarily make music and art only about God), so I am trying to put that on a kid level and show them that all talents can be used for God.

You can check the book out here (and as of right now, the price is pretty good).

Again, this is discussion based, so your lesson may take a different direction then mine did, and that is great. This is how mine went, and how we hit on all of the ideas that I wanted to hit on.

Also read: Free Church Object Lesson for Putting God First

Free Church Lesson: Using Our Talents for God: Art. This is part two of a series about using talents for God right now-- even if you are a kid! This works well with children's church, sunday school, or youth group. Becca's Music Room

Using Talents for God: Art

  • We have been talking about using our talents for God. Today we are going to focus on art. (I have a picture of the list we made in the first lesson that said what all of the kids considered to be their talents. I read the ones that are art-related like baking, fashion, drawing, etc.) Does anyone else have a talent for art?

Free Church Lesson: Using Talents for God. Great lesson to teach kids that they can use all of their talents for God! Great for sunday school, children's church, vbs, youth group, even young adult ministry. Becca's Music Room

  • So we have a lot of artists in the room. Think for a minute (I always have them point to their temple when I ask them to think to remind them that it should be quiet. You can read more ideas like that in this article.), does God like art? And why do you think that he does or doesn’t?
  • Allow a few students to answer and see what they say.

Also read: Should my Church do VBS? Plus Tips in Case the Answer is Yes!

Free Church Lesson: Using Our Talents for God: Art. This is part two of a series about using talents for God right now-- even if you are a kid! This works well with children's church, sunday school, or youth group. Becca's Music Room
Painting like Michelangelo… If he had used crayons.

  • I definitely think that God likes art! The first reason, is that he created art! God created everything on Earth, including art. He also created everything on Earth. We know that because of the story of creation (You can read parts of the first chapter of Genesis.)
  • Show some pictures of animals—you can narrow it down to just birds. Show them penguins, peacocks, flamingos, etc. Tell them, “If God created this many different kinds of birds in all different sizes, shapes, and colors, is God an artist?” (The answer being yes!)
  • God also created each and every one of you. Everyone here looks different, acts different, and thinks different. We all have different talents. How did we get our different talents? (Because God gave them to us.)
  • So God likes art. We can tell because he created art, he is the original artist, and he gave us the talents for art. Now, how do we use our talents for art for Jesus?

Also read: How to Structure Children’s Church in 6 Easy Steps

  • Allow students to answer the question. Some of their answers may surprise you. One of mine said that we could make pretty cards to help people feel good, which is something I had not thought of. I’ll outline the main things to touch on here:
  1. Art can lift people’s spirits: Looking at art can make people feel certain ways—happy, calm, peaceful, etc. We can make art to help people feel happy and calm and safe.
  2. Use art to beautify God’s house: we can use art talents to paint the church to make it pretty and a nice place to be. My church has beautiful murals on the wall that really liven the place up. Michelangelo spent four years painting the Sistine Chapel to make it pretty, and it is still there to this day.
  3. Bible depictions: We can make pictures and sculptures that tell Bible stories, or use them to tell our testimony.
  4. Fashion: We can use talents to create modest, fair priced, fun clothing and help other people feel the confidence that comes with a good outfit. This is the moral of the book I talked about earlier. Find it here.
  • Have the kids do a craft. We “painted like Michelangelo”. We taped paper to the bottom of chairs and tables and got underneath it to draw pictures of our favorite Bible stories. Super fun! I got the idea here.
Free Church Lesson: Using Our Talents for God: Art. This is part two of a series about using talents for God right now-- even if you are a kid! This works well with children's church, sunday school, or youth group. Becca's Music Room
Painting like Michelangelo… If he had used crayons.

Also read: My Kids’ Favorite Church Games

What other ways can we use our art talents for God? What do you want your students to learn from this lesson? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! And don’t forget to subscribe so that you can get the next part of the series!

Free Church Lesson: Using Our Talents for God: Art. This is part two of a series about using talents for God right now-- even if you are a kid! This works well with children's church, sunday school, or youth group. Becca's Music Room

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Children's Church, Lessons

Church Lesson: Using Talents for God Part 1

This is a series that my Children’s Church is doing. As always, you can make it more geared towards teenagers or adults or younger kids or whoever you are teaching. My main focus with this series is to really focus on how kids can use their talents for God now. And also, that you can use ALL talents for God. I feel like people often just talk to kids about what they can do when they grow up, but I want them to know they can make a difference now.

I really want to focus on using all talents, not just the ones that we think of traditionally (like using music to sing in a praise band). Although there is huge value to that, it only applies to some kids. If they are into math or fashion or chess or polo or whatever, I want them to know that they can do that and honor God at the same time!

I got on this kick after reading J’s Everyday Fashion and Faith. It was a wonderful book, and really eye opening. I am not super into fashion, but I am into music (opera) and art (painting). I have always felt that I was honoring God in those things even though I do not only sing things that are about God.

If you haven’t read it, do it! Even if you are not into fashion, I suggest at least the first chapter. It can be applied to a ton of talents, arts, and hobbies.

Click on the picture to read a full review on Amazon:

 

Read part two (Using Talents for God: Art) here

Free Church Lesson: Using Talents for God. Great lesson to teach kids that they can use all of their talents for God! Great for sunday school, children's church, vbs, youth group, even young adult ministry. Becca's Music Room

 



 

Anyway, here is the first lesson that we did with my kids.

Using Talents for God Part 1

Bible Story: Matthew 25:14-30

Focus: You can use all of your talents for God!

 

  • Introduction: Today we are going to talk about using our talents for God. We are going to try to decide if you can use all of your talents for God, or only some. What do you think? Do you think that being good with money is a talent? (If they say no, ask them if everyone is good with money. A talent just means that it is easier for some people than for other people, or it comes naturally.) There’s a story in the Bible about people using their talent for money for God. Some of them do a good job and some do not.
  • Read Matthew 25:14-30. I like to read it like a narrator and have students come up and act out the actions that the characters do.
  • Next, ask the students: Do you think God prefers when you are smart with your money, or when you are not? Which servant would you prefer to be? Do you think that God only means money when he talks about this story?
  • No! I love that their money was called talents, because I actually want to talk about talents. What is a talent?
  • Do you think that you can use your talents for God? All of them?

Free Church Lesson: Using Talents for God. Great lesson to teach kids that they can use all of their talents for God! Great for sunday school, children's church, vbs, youth group, even young adult ministry. Becca's Music Room



Also read: Free Church Object Lesson for Putting God First

  • Let’s see. What is one of your talent? (I let all of the students say a few of their talents out loud and wrote them on the board. If you have a lot students, I would definitely not suggest that. A better idea for you would be to write down a few of the talents from a few kids or have students get into groups to talk about their talents.)
  • After that, I added some extras like “being kind”, “praying”, “outgoing”, etc.
  • Pick a few of the talents to talk about. Ask them: Do you think that being outgoing is a talent? (If they say no, ask if everyone in the world is outgoing.) Can I use that for God? Wouldn’t it be easier for an outgoing person to talk to people about God? Because it is easy for them to talk to people.
  • Pick 2-3 more of the talents to talk about.

Free Church Lesson: Using Talents for God. Great lesson to teach kids that they can use all of their talents for God! Great for sunday school, children's church, vbs, youth group, even young adult ministry. Becca's Music Room



Also read: My Kids’ Favorite Church Games

Then tell them, we will talk about all different kinds of talents and how we can use them in the next few weeks.

Have students draw a picture of themselves and write or draw pictures of their talents around it. Encourage them to draw pictures of all of their talents, even if they think it cannot be used for God.



I feel like this is a teaser, because we didn’t get through much! That is how it was with my students. We really explored deep into ourselves of what our talents are.

By the way, my favorite Bible for reading to kids is this one.

Read part two here.

Don’t forget to subscribe in the sidebar or below for the next few installments of this series!

Free Church Lesson: Using Talents for God. Great lesson to teach kids that they can use all of their talents for God! Great for sunday school, children's church, vbs, youth group, even young adult ministry. Becca's Music Room



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Children's Church, Games

My Kids’ Favorite Church Games

We play a lot of Children’s Church games. We always have one or two games at the beginning of the class, and a few at the end. Why so many? We strategically do them at the beginning to help get some of the wiggles out, and to make our Children’s Church more high energy.

We recently restructured our Children’s Church to include more volunteers and make it feel separate from Sunday School. Having church games allows the students to have a concentration break between Sunday School and Children’s Church—and helps them learn more! At the end of service, we play games because I am honestly never sure when the parents will show up. Church could end at 12, or the first parent could come at 12:30. You just never know.

There was one time that I was still giving a lesson and church got over early. After that, I decided that we would plan to be done with the lesson at 11:55, so that when parents come, we will be done with the important part.

So we play games at the end.

Read all about how I structure Children’s Church here.

Here are some of our favorites. Some of these church games are actually church-related (or could be) and some are not. Granted, if you think hard enough, you could probably make any of them relate to a Bible story. My Kids' Favorite church Games. What we play in Children's Church to help us take up time or energy! These could work for Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, homeschool group, elementary schools, etc! Becca's Music Room

Church games that are church related

Resurrector

Students sit in a circle. Everyone receives a paper with a “d”, an “r”, or a number on it. The d is the detective, the r is the resurrector, and numbers are people. Detective stands in the middle. The resurrector winks (or points, depending on how old your kids are) at people. When someone is winked at, the stand up and say “I’m alive!”. The detective has to decide who the resurrector is. I found this game on Ministry-to-Children. They call is Wink, Alive! Click here for the full instructions. Goes with: Jesus’ resurrection, Lazarus raised from the dead, Dorcas raised from the dead, talking about being spiritually awakened from the dead, etc.

Four Gospels

This is really four corners but with the names of the four Gospels instead of numbers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. One student stands in the middle and closes their eyes. They count to ten. All of the other students go into a corner. Once after counting to ten, the student who is it calls out a corner name. Students in that corner have to go sit down. Goes with: Learning the books of the Bible

Lazarus wrap up

This is really a bridal shower game. Students get into groups and wrap up a student in toilet paper to look like a mummy. You can judge how good they look, or see who can use the most toilet paper in a set amount of time. Goes with: Lazarus, Jesus being raised form the dead, or Dorcas raised from the dead.

Also read: The Beginner’s Guide to Children’s Church

My Kids' Favorite church Games. What we play in Children's Church to help us take up time or energy! These could work for Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, homeschool group, elementary schools, etc! Becca's Music Room

Church games not church related

Obstacle course

This can be related, depending on how you do it. One of my favorites has been to draw on the sidewalk with chalk that says things like “spin 3 times” or “hop on one foot”, etc. one student does it all ant then comes back and tags the next. You could also like set out hula hoops and have them hop though them. These will help with the obstacle course:

Relay race

This is similar. Basically, a whole group of students has to go through the race, come back and tag the next person. You can do this in any way—walking like a crab, carrying something on a spoon, hooked onto someone else, with a balloon between the legs, etc. this is my go to for when I am not sure what to do, because there are so many options!



Riverbank

This one sounds so simple that when a student explained it to me, I thought it was going to be a dud. Boy was I wrong. You put a line on the floor with tape or chalk outside (my room has a line in the carpet anyway, so I don’t have to worry about it). Designate one side as “river” and one side as “bank”. One person stands at the front and says either river or bank. Students jump to that side of the line. If they are on the wrong side, they sit down. As they get it, you can start saying more than one thing at a time, like “river, bank, river” to make it more difficult. Super simple and surprisingly fun.

Freeze dance

This is always a hit. Students dance when the music is on and freeze when it is off. You can use pretty much whatever music you want. Not sure what to use? Toby Mac is usually a big hit and he has enough songs that it will entertain them for a while.

Also: How to Structure Children’s Church in 6 Easy Steps

Museum

AKA my kids’ favorite church game ever. One person is the museum guard. The close their eyes and count to ten. When they come out, all of the students are “statues”. The kids must freeze when the guard is looking at them—but only if he is looking. They are able to move as long as they are not caught. This is particularly great because it keeps them quiet. And if you wanted to, you could tie it into a lesson if you were talking about Lot’s wife turned to salt.

Cat and Mouse

This one is super fun, and you can see exactly how it is played here!

 

Since it is this time of year, read: Church Christmas Program: What do I Choose?

So there you have it! My kids’ favorite church games. What are your kids’ favorite church games? Let us know and add a link to instructions in the comments!

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Children's Church, Management, Organization

How to Structure Children’s Church in 6 Easy Steps

Kids need structure.

All kids need structure. The less they seem to want it, the more they need it.

Structure is the key to running your Children’s Church (or Sunday School or Awanas or whatever) smoothly.

What I mean by that is that you need a plan. You need to have an idea of what you want to do when, so that you can manage time well and get everything done. You need to make a plan, and then follow it.

Think about how church normally runs. At my church, the order is always songs, offering, announcements, sermon, alter call. If we have baptisms or baby dedications, they are thrown into the “announcements” category. It is not always the same, but there is a plan. There is a structure.

Your Children’s Church needs that too!

I will never forget the first time I wrote on the board what we were doing for the day. I didn’t change the order we did. I didn’t add anything new. But the kids knew what was coming, so they were better prepared.

Now we just used the same structure every week, so I don’t write it down on the board, but they know what’s coming next.

Also: The Beginner’s Guide to Children’s Church

How to Structure Children's Church in 6 Easy Steps. Becca's Music Room. Learn how to effectively use your time to help have less stress on you and more time for fun things in Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, etc.

1. Think about what you want to do

Think in categories. Your activities may include (but are not limited to)

  • Lesson
  • Craft
  • Song or worship
  • Games
  • Coloring sheets
  • Bathroom break

In my class we do:

  1. Upbeat song and dance
  2. 2 games
  3. Bathroom break
  4. Worship
  5. Lesson
  6. Game/craft/time filler

2. Now give everything a time value

It may not always be the same, but give it an idea. Here’s mine:

  1. Upbeat song and dance (10 min)
  2. 2 games (25 min)
  3. Bathroom break (15 min)
  4. Worship (20 min)
  5. Lesson (20 min)
  6. Game/craft/time filler (however long until parents show up)

Now, this is not the whole story. Sometimes things take longer or shorter. Sometimes you have to stop and remind the kids about what is appropriate and not. But this is the basic idea of how I structure

I also made the decision to start my class late because a lot of people at my church come consistently late. It bugs me when I have to explain something for the fourth time because are straggling. So I give them a little bit of extra free time at the beginning and save myself the annoyance.

After you decide what you want to do, decide what is feasible. For example, I just put down my desired times, and then I added five minutes to “games”, “bathroom”, and “worship” because I realized that that was more truthful.

3. Change what you don’t like

Now is your time to change things. Prefer if one part was longer? Hate that something doesn’t’ take long enough? Always finishing early or late? Adjust the schedule!

Need some help getting students to behave? Check out my posts on classroom management here and here.

Also: The Beginner’s Guide to Teaching Children’s Church

4. Keep track

Over the next few weeks, keep track of the time. Then write down how long you actually spend in every category. You may need to adjust it. You may also have to adjust it depending on the week. Remember, this is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. It’s not the end of the world if something is faster or shorter. Just remember, if you add five minutes to something, you also need to take it away somewhere else.

5. Set up the room to reflect the structure

Do you need separate places for different segments? If you are dancing, you will need a dancing place. For the lesson, do you want chairs? Do you want the kids to sit on the floor? If you do crafts, you will need tables for them.

These are just some things to think about. At the moment, I have chairs in the middle of the room with at least 6-8 feet from the chairs to the walls. This structure works for us, because we have de-emphasized crafts, and there is plenty of room around the chairs to play games. And if the game requires more space, we either push the chairs out of the way or we go outside.

In the past I have had three different “sections”. I had an empty space for dancing and games, two tables with chairs for crafts, and a cozy corner with a lot of pillows for the lesson time.

You may not always do the same thing, and you may not always need the same set up. But room set up is key to your structure.

How to Structure Children's Church in 6 Easy Steps. Becca's Music Room. Learn how to effectively use your time to help have less stress on you and more time for fun things in Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, etc.
An example of room set up. There is a story place, dance/movie/game space, and tables for crafts. Excuse the Easter Egg hunt.
How to Structure Children's Church in 6 Easy Steps. Becca's Music Room. Learn how to effectively use your time to help have less stress on you and more time for fun things in Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, etc.
Close up on the reading station. We were going for a tent-like feel for our Journey Through Genesis series.

6. Have a backup plan in place

This is to cover anything that goes wrong. If church suddenly runs half an hour longer than usual, what will you do? If your lesson is significantly shorter than anticipated, what do you do? If the person in charge of games doesn’t show up, what do you do? If you are supposed to go outside and it is raining, what do you do?

I suggest keeping a few extra activities handy. Good ideas include:

Having just a few ideas, even if they are not prepared, will help you in a pinch. Part of your structure is your back up plan.

Back up plans make us flexible.

So those are my steps to structuring Children’s Church (or Sunday School, or Awanas, or whatever). Having a structure or schedule in place will help the kids, but will also take a lot of the pressure off of you! If you know that you only need to come up with 20 minutes’ worth of lesson because your craft will take just as long, then you will be less stressed! And don’t forget your back up plan to really help you be less stressed!

Still not sure about your Christmas Program? Check out this post to help you decide what to do!

How do you structure your Children’s Church? Are there any points that I missed? Let me know in the comments! (Bonus: Put a picture of your Children’s Church or Sunday School room in the comments and let us know how it effects your class.)

Happy Teaching!

How to Structure Children's Church in 6 Easy Steps. Becca's Music Room. Learn how to effectively use your time to help have less stress on you and more time for fun things in Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, etc.

 


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