Yesterday, I shared notes from the recent Orange Tour in Washington, D.C. You can find those notes here. Today, I will share my notes from the two breakout sessions I attended.
Breakout #1 – “No More Sunday School” – Kristen Ivy and Colette Taylor
Traditional Sunday school was established in the 1700’s during the Industrial Revolution. It’s primary reason for existence was to help kids become literate since they didn’t attend school. In 1870, all kids started to attend school so churches no longer needed to help kids with literacy.
Today, kids spend an average of 32.5 hours in a classroom environment. Do we want Sunday school to reflect another classroom environment?
We should consider shifting from a Sunday school model to a spiritual formation model.
What if we didn’t just think about content for the church? What if we thought about how we could tap into the day-to-day influence of the home? (Remember, kids spend an average of 40 hours/yr at church and 3,000 hours/yr with their parents.)
What if we didn’t just think about what we would teach next Sunday? What if we thought strategically about a plan from preschool to college?
What if we didn’t just recruit volunteers who can teach? What if we sought out focused leaders who can embody the strategy?
What if we thought less about teaching the Bible to kids and more about teaching kids the Bible?
What if we didn’t spend all of our focus on content? What if we also spent the same amount of energy on how we package that content so it will be relevant?
Helpful Resources to Consider (not mentioned at the conference):
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week by Sue Miller and David Staal
Sticky Faith by Kara Powell and Chap Clark
The Fabulous Reinvention of Sunday School by Aaron Reynolds
Breakout #2 – “Lead Small for Kids: Connecting with Kids Relationally” – Kristen Ivy and Colette Taylor
*Note: The ideas shared piggy-backed on what Reggie Joiner shared in Session 2 about Small Group Leader “To-Do’s”.
1. Be present. Show up mentally.
- Think about the discussion questions ahead of time.
- Pray for the kids.
- Turn off your cell phone.
2. Create a safe place. Guard the heart.
- Report when kids are hurting someone, someone is hurting them, or they’re hurting themselves.
3. Partner with parents. Cue the parents.
- Communicate in more than one way. Utilize your church’s website, email, phone calls, social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
4. Make it personal. Be real.
- Share your story.
- Be okay with not knowing the answer. Simply say, “I don’t know. Let’s look it up together.”
5. Move them out. What’s next?
- Be sensitive to transition times in your ministry (preschool to elementary, elementary to middle school, middle school to high school).
- Hand kids up well.
- Set new leaders up to win by contacting their new small group leader.
- Consider moving up with your group.
- Encourage the spiritual journey.
Did you attend the Orange Tour breakouts? What stood out to you the most?