2 Irresistible Ways to Build Sunday School Attendance
Published: January 10, 2022
Here are two theme ideas to build Sunday school attendance when your children’s ministry cools off.
It’s that time of the year. The skies are gray, the air is cold, and kids would rather be home sleeping. How can you stoke the fire in your program to make church attendance irresistible? Revitalize your winter children’s ministry program with one of these theme ideas.
1. Build Attendance: Bible Camp-o-Rama
Kids love camp. Use these ideas to make your camp-o-rama CAMPtastic!
Let your kids select the camp theme and name.
Encourage kids to make the name fun and spiritual. How about Bibleland Camp or Jesus and Me Camp?
Make camp shirts.
Have kids bring plain T-shirts. You supply the fabric paint, and kids make camp shirts. Use fine-tipped permanent markers for campers to sign each other’s shirts.
Bring the outdoors in.
Decorate each classroom with your camping theme. Bring in tents and gear. Use sleeping bags for story time, flashlights for in-the-dark games, and binoculars for a better view into God’s Word!
Provide a taste of the outdoors.
Have parents take turns providing campy snacks such as S’mores, granola bars, trail mix, or mini hot dogs for each class or your entire program. Set up a mess hall for snack time.
Receive snail mail.
Invite parents to send “mail” to their children at camp. Much-appreciated letters and care packages can be dropped off at the church office. Ask church members to send care packages you can use as backups for kids who don’t receive anything.
Create camp activities.
In a large room, set up tents with theme-related activities. For example, if your theme is the Fruit of the Spirit, have separate tents that offer a game, craft, or discussion that helps kids remember each “fruit.”
Have a mission.
For a camp mission project, have kids donate money to send a child in need to summer camp.
Bring parents in.
Finish your camp with a parents’ program to show parents all the great things their kids learned at camp.
2. Build Attendance: Winter Olympics
Get ready and gear up! It’s as much fun preparing for the Winter Olympics as it is participating in them.
Have each class adopt a country and study its foods and customs. Have classes make paper flags for their countries. Each class can share a game from its country with other classes.
Assign each class a missionary family.
Have kids select a mission project they could do for their family. Kids could write to their families to discover special needs.
Select Olympic-type Bible stories or Scriptures.
Tell stories to fit your theme, such as Jonathan using archery in 1 Samuel 20; Zacchaeus climbing a tree in Luke 19; Philip running to catch up with a chariot in Acts 8; and Paul talking about discipline in 1 Corinthians 9.
Tell the gospel story.
Use these five colors in your Olympic rings to tell the gospel story:
- gold (God loves us and wants to give us eternal life)
- dark purple (sin bruised our relationship with God and caused a separation)
- red (Jesus died for our sins)
- clear (when we receive his gift, we’re forgiven and made clean)
- green (we can grow in our faith)
Tell the story often, using these rings.
Create your own Olympic games.
End with a fun Olympic event to celebrate what kids have learned. Invite families to be spectators at these events:
- Opening Ceremonies Have classes march in carrying their countries’ flags and dressed in native costumes.
- Climbing Children create human pyramids to see how high Zacchaeus can climb!
- Swimming Fill a room with blue fabric, crepe paper, or balloons. Scatter Noah and his animals under the “water.” Children race the clock to rescue animals.
- Chariot Races Kids build cardboard chariots out of boxes and race them through the Red Sea.
Award medals to everyone! Give gold for good sportsmanship, silver for cooperation, and bronze for great teamwork.
Cindy Kenney is director of Christian education in Batavia, Illinois.
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