Don’t Let Them Breathe

Don’t Let Them Breathe
Nathan Roberts


On average, children spend 32 hours each week watching television, 30 minutes a day playing video games, roughly 25 hours a week on a computer, and, if they watch a movie, you can tack on another 2 hours. That’s 60-70 hours each week engaging fast-paced, high-energy entertainment.

If you teach Sunday School, or help conduct Super Church, you have those children for about an hour, give or take, each week.

Seventy hours with the world. One hour with you. You can’t afford to waste one second.

Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, The Cartoon Network, NickJr, iPods, iPads, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo DS…these are just a few of the influences we in Children’s Ministry compete with every week.

Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Disney? Nickelodeon? Cartoon Network? How can I compete with that?” Granted, these networks spend millions of dollars on entertaining children, but we have something they don’t have. One-on-one, in-the-flesh interaction.

When you step into your classroom, or you’re ready to rock with Super Church, you are at that moment the best Sunday School teacher or Super Church leader of all time. Don’t let them down. Keep control in a fun way, and don’t let them breathe.

What I mean by this is don’t stay in one place, and don’t let the kids stay in one place. Have a story corner. Then move them to a music wall. If you must serve snacks, make it part of the lesson, and not a break for you.

Your time with the children should be divided up into easily-managed segments. For example, as children are coming in, allow five minutes or so for a craft or hands-on activity related to the lesson, then segue into an action song with a lot of movement. From there, you might go to a game for five minutes, and then another action song, followed by a medium or slower action song, as you lead the kids in worship.

As you bring them down, you can move to the story segment. Use the kids to tell the story and to teach instead of just leaving them in their seats. Keep them involved.

Next, you could go to your memory verse. Since you used it in the story segment, they should almost have it memorized. Wrap things up with prayer, followed by more action songs or games, and your hour is gone before you or the children realize it!

One last tip: integrate technology. Use music for transitioning from one segment to the next. Use an iPad to “keep score” in your games, or for pictures in your lesson. Just the fact that you have it will keep the kids engaged for a while. Search for “Sunday School” in the app store for app suggestions if you want to add a little more excitement to your mobile device. (If you find something cool, let me know!)

Remember, the world has them for 70-plus hours; you have one hour to make a difference. How will you spend it?

The above article, “Don’t Let Them Breathe” is written by Nathan Roberts. The article was excerpted from page 22 of Apostolic Witness magazine March 2014.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.