As a kid, I always looked forward to Sunday school. It was one of my favorite parts of the week. Bible lessons, games, snacks, songs, hanging out with other children my own age—they all shaped me. But interestingly, the Sunday I remember the most is the Sunday that I taught a Sunday school lesson to my peers.
It just so happened that I had a teacher that was willing to try something different, something a little bit outside the box. “Would any of you like teach the lesson on a Sunday this month?” she asked us. Only two of us volunteered, but boy were we excited.
I chose to do a mini-lesson on prayer, and I thought about what I was going to say all week. Once I got to church my teacher handed me an article on prayer, “You don’t have to use this, but if you run out of things to say you could read this article to the class.”
I did my lesson, read part of her article, and spent the rest of the hour leading a baseball Bible trivia game I came up with. I certainly can’t say that my lesson was the best lesson ever taught. I mean after all, how witty could an 8-year-old sound, right? But we all had fun, learned some things along the way, and didn’t leave with any heretical ideas.
Some might hesitate to have a kid teach. It can be a bit risky, but I believe the potential benefits far outweigh the potential risks.
It encourages kids to have an interactive role in the lesson. When kids take an active part in the lesson, they will get more out of it. At the very least it involves thinking and/or preparation. As their experiences resonate with them, it reminds them that faith is not just something adults have but something kids can have too.
It encourages kids to utilize their spiritual gifts.Yes, kids have them too. All too often we forget this, or only focus on adults utilizing their gifts. Yet, spiritual gifts are for the edification of the whole church (1 Cor. 14:12), including the gifts of children. If a child has the gift of teaching, encourage him or her to use it. You might not have them lead a whole lesson in front of the class, but you might ask them to lead a mini-devotion or perhaps help the class memorize a verse.
It encourages older kids to help the younger kids. Many churches, particularly smaller churches, have several grades together. It can be a challenge to teach a lesson that is not too hard for the younger ones to understand or too simple for the older ones to enjoy. This is a prime time to enlist the help of the older ones as you teach. They might lead songs, teach a verse, lead a game, do a lesson, etc. The possibilities are manifold.
In bigger churches you might allow an older child to assist a lead teacher with younger children. It will teach responsibility and show them they have something to contribute.
Are there churches where you have seen similar things done effectively? I’d be interested in hearing about it.