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Why You Should Create Tension in Your Children's Ministry Lessons

The kids walked into their class at church on a Sunday morning. At each seat, there was a bag of candy. They were told the candy was theirs to keep, but they could not open it or eat it until after class.

The lesson that day was about giving and serving others. It is better to give than to receive. The kids were told they were to put others before themselves.

At the end of the lesson, the teacher brought the kids' attention back to the bag of candy they had been given.

The teacher reminded them that the candy was theirs to keep or...there was a nearby community that was very poor. The kids there were the sons and daughters of migrant workers. They had little to nothing when it came to the extras like candy.

The teacher told the kids that morning that they had two choices with their candy...

1. They could keep the candy for themselves and take it home to eat.


2. They could leave the candy and it would be given to the kids in the poor community.

The teacher prayed and then the kids made their decision during the dismissal time. You could feel the tension in the room as kids grappled with what they would do.

Most of the kids left the candy that day. A few took it...and that was okay. The goal that day was for the kids to feel the tension as they decided if they were going to be a keeper or a giver that day.

Another time the lesson for the day was about temptation. When the children walked into their classroom that day, there was a tray of delicious, freshly baked brownies in the middle of every small group. You could smell the aroma of freshly baked chocolate brownies.

As the teacher shared a lesson that day about temptation, the kids had to sit there and resist the temptation of eating the brownies. Again, you could feel the tension in the air as the kids struggled with not eating the brownies. And we didn't let them eat the brownies at all. The point to resist temptation was made.

Each week when you teach, you should help the kids apply the lesson to their lives. One way to do this is to create tension by putting them in a tempting, tense situation. Application means giving them the opportunity to practically apply it to their life either then or later during the week.

We also know that emotions are the glue to learning. As the kids feel the emotions created by the tension, it will help them remember the lesson long-term.

The tension that is created through application is a good thing and will help kids grow in their faith on Sunday and during the week.

p.s. If you are looking for a curriculum that is heavy on information and application, check out my Connect12 curriculum. It contains lots of applications like you just read about.


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