The Basics of a Sunday School Lesson

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The Basics of a Sunday School Lesson
So you arrive at church and the Children’s Minister asks you to teach a class for a teacher who got sick just this morning.
No problem, right?
Just follow the lesson that they had prepared and it’ll be smooth sailing. Wait! If the teacher is home sick, then, most likely, the lesson is home with them.
Ok, you can do this. Just breathe.
Here are the basics of a lesson so that you can get through the class, while, at the same time, teaching the children something. After all, you don’t want to just be a babysitter. That’s not fair to the children.
Open your Bible. Depending on the age, a Children’s Bible might be appropriate, but any Bible is a necessity.
Choose a Bible story that you know well. Here are some ideas:
* Old Testament

  • Creation – Genesis 1-2
  • Noah – Genesis 7-9
  • Abraham – Genesis 13-22
  • Joseph – Genesis 37-46
  • Moses – Exodus 2-20
  • 12 Spies – Numbers 13-14
  • Joshua & the Battle of Jericho – Joshua 6
  • Gideon – Judges 6-7
  • Samson – Judges 13-16
  • Ruth – book of Ruth
  • David & Goliath – 1 Samuel 17
  • Elijah & the Prophets of Baal – 1 Kings 18
  • Esther – book of Esther
  • Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego – Daniel 3
  • Daniel & the Lion’s Den – Daniel 6

* New Testament

  • Birth of Jesus – Luke 2
  • Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5
  • Feeding of the 5,000 – Matthew 14
  • Jesus Walks on Water – Matthew 14
  • Death of Jesus – Matthew 27
  • Resurrection of Jesus – Matthew 28
  • Zaccheus – Luke 19
  • Lazarus – John 11
  • Philip & the Ethiopian – Acts 8
  • Conversion of Saul – Acts 9
  • Paul & Silas Imprisoned – Acts 16

Think of how you want to teach the story. This will depend on the age of the children you are teaching.

  • For older children, simply read through the story (or have them take turns reading), and discuss. They can even take notes and draw pictures of what the story is about.
  • For younger children, you will want to tell them the story. Ask them about the feelings of the people the story or ask them questions, to keep them involved in the story. For example, if you are teaching about Daniel and the lions’ den, you might ask them how you they think Daniel felt being in the den with the lions.

Bible Verse. Choose a Bible Verse for the kids to learn. Choose a verse directly from the story.
Activity. Again, this will depend on the age of the children you are teaching. Here are some ideas:

  • charades/Pictionary of people in or parts of the story (for younger children, you can be the one drawing)
  • have them draw a picture of the story
  • act out the story
  • make a craft that has to do with the story
  • coloring page that goes with the story

Ok, so you have an idea of what to do in class. But, now how do you get through the whole hour? Here’s a basic flow that you can use:
Welcome the children as they arrive. Assure them that their teacher will be back soon and that you are so excited to be able to be with them today.
Pray. Always start with prayer. If you want, you can even ask if the children have anything specific they would like to pray about.
Sing songs. Children love to sing, so that goes well with any age. If you don’t know any songs, ask the kids which Bible songs they love. Here are some ideas:

  • Jesus Loves Me
  • This Little Light of Mine
  • B-I-B-L-E
  • Father Abraham
  • Jesus Loves the Little Children

Get them ready for the story. Ask them questions that would get them thinking about the story. For example, if you are teaching about David and Goliath, then you might talk to them about being afraid or facing something that was really difficult.
Teach the story.
Apply story. Try to make them put themselves into the story.
Bible Verse. This can be done in multiple ways. Here are some ideas:

  • Do hand movements with the words.
  • Tell a friend.
  • Pass a ball around a circle while each child says a word.

Review the story.

  • Act it out. Believe it or not, this works with all ages of children. With the younger children, you will just have to direct them a little more or even do it with them.
  • Ask questions.
  • Have them tell a neighbor their favorite part of the story.

So, that’s it. That’s a basic Sunday School lesson. Anyone who knows anything about the Bible and has a heart for children can do this. Just remember, smile and show them Jesus.
**A special note from your Children’s Minister: Thanks for being willing to jump in a class and love on some kids today! You are greatly appreciated!

New Sunday School Curriculum: Our Bible lessons are designed to keep the kids’ attention and show how God's Word makes a difference. Every series is flexible enough for a wide-age group and affordable enough for small churches. Download a free Bible lesson in pdf or view our latest Sunday School curriculum for small churches.