Let the little children come to me
and also mums, dads, grandparents, nannies, care-givers …
I have way more experience of toddler groups than is probably normal for a thirty-year old non-parent. I’ve helped run two different ones and regularly gone to two more as well as helping out with some ‘spin-off’ ministries. They are fun! And really important for sharing the gospel and helping the community we live in. Whether you run it for free or take a nominal charge to cover drinks and biscuits it’s a great witness to the love God has for is people and an accessible way to share his word. Also these groups really need people who aren’t bringing their children along because, unlike a parent, they have all their hands available to them!
Here’s an article giving one (fairly typical) example the workings and opportunities of a toddler group.
If you’re starting a new group one of the easiest ways to get the gospel across is to read from a really good children’s Bible as your group story time. Sit all the toddlers and parents down with a drink and a biscuit and read your way through a chapter of either:
The Jesus Storybook Bible
The Big Picture Story Bible
Songs suitable for little ones aren’t that hard to find; why not start with
I reach up high
Jesus is my friend (album)
10-9-8 God is Great
or adapt a familiar nursery rhyme to fit your theme for the day. Ally who ran a toddler group I attended every Wednesday for a year was brilliant at this and I probably sing ‘Old man Noah had a boat’ as frequently as ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’.
Songs and stories are easiest if you have a projector and a big screen that you can gather in front of but during a building project we spread ourselves over two rooms and sang all the songs while holding up a card and read stories and showed the pictures round. It worked just as well, and even felt little cosier and more intimate.
This was meant to be a short post to show you the article and tide you over until I’ve completed the next set of Ten Commandments; but I enjoyed toddler groups so much that I couldn’t help but give you all the info!
The 10 commandments are here
Find an introduction to the ten commandments, plus commandments one and two right here. Obviously there’s more to come.
I really enjoyed both planning and teaching these: it is hard to get that balance between obeying God yet not being legalistic about it and our personalities probably draw us to one side of the line or the other – at times I swing wildly between ‘meh, God will forgive me so it doesn’t matter’ and ‘I must try harder to be more obedient’. It’s not about finding the acceptable middle ground either but about the work of the Holy Spirit in me.
By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
How fantastic is that! The same power that raised Jesus from the grave is changing my sinful self. And that same Spirit is the one who teaches with us and helps us communicate these powerful difficult truths to the children in our churches.
Home for Good’s new study
aimed at those thinking about future adoption
This isn’t strictly a Sunday School matter, but it matters to me and I imagine to most people concerned with teaching children faithfully and seeing them trust Christ at a young age.
Home for Good works to support foster and adoptive parents, looked after children, and their churches. Read more about them here.
The Foundations Course, coming soon, is a study and aimed at those looking to adopt either now or in the future. Take a closer look and sign up for notifications here.
Even if you’re sure that’s not you, take a look and pass it along: there are 4000 children in the UK waiting for adoption and maybe you know their future parents.
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ
The 10 Commandments
In just 11 sessions
Prepare to be amazed by the character of God!
Watch the trickiest balancing act in the world: On the one side ‘obedience to God is great’ and on the other ‘Christianity is faith not works’.
Marvel at the mysterious eleventh session.
See ‘Do not commit adultery’ made relevant to under 11’s.
Come back next Tuesday for the first installment in our latest series.
for me to remember
when living here feels hard.
I’ve moved 3894 miles away from home to a country I’ve never even visited before.
“Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” – Joshua 1:9
I can’t sleep at night or stay awake during the day, I can’t work out the tax on anything I buy, I struggle to remember that named streets go north/south and numbered go east/west.
“What is impossible with man is possible with God” – Luke 18:27
I can’t have a social security number unless I have a job, and it’ll costs a lot to apply for working status (which I may not get).
My identity doesn’t come from this world instead “our citizenship is in heaven” – Philippians 3:20
Everything I own is in this one room; I do not own most of the things in this room.
I have the “incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:7
You’re doing a great job
and a very necessary one!
In case you didn’t already know: check out this article on Children, Youth and the Church it’s not very recent so it would be interesting to see if those stats have changed. Those needs in churches and particularly the need to pool resources and ideas won’t have changed much.
On that note I’d love to hear from you; what have your best ideas been? Where do you go for resources? What support have you found helpful? Let me know in the comments!
Planning All Age Services
and including children and young people
I’ve added a couple of pages of suggestions for how to include children and youth in a church service – any church service really but particularly the kind where Sunday School isn’t on and the kids are staying in. It’s my usual pic ‘n’ mix style so if you’re struggling to get yours serving practically there’s a subheading for that, or if you know that little ones aren’t following the reading let alone the sermon there are ideas for both of those as well: I hope you can find what you need!
Because this is a Sunday School blog my ideas are focused on youth and children, but it also could serve as a good checklist to check you’re celebrating diversity, in race, gender, age, ability and background and creating role models for serving the church while walking with the Lord.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Check out our other pages on inclusion, under the ‘how to…’ menu including this one on hearing impairment and one on helping dyslexics.