The Award Program
Hey 6th Grade teachers! Motivate your students to pursue God with 6th grade awards:
- Complete the first 3 Quarters to receive the Q3 Award Certificate. Give it out in class or in front of the whole church!
- Complete the pursueGOD.org Chapter a Day Bible Reading Plan to receive the New Testament Award. Be sure to have parents sign off on their readings.
For Quarter 3 we recommend involving student mentors from 8th or 9th grade – this will help to create a discipleship culture at your church and will assist with the 6th graders’ transition into the youth group. Here’s how it works: in Quarter 3, the mentor attends Sunday School each week and leads a student group for the discussion time in the last half of class. Here are the details:
- Coordinate this element with your youth pastor or leader.
- Mentors lead student groups of 2-4 6th graders
- Mentors are at least 8th graders
- Mentors must be trained in advance – see Training 101 at pursueGOD.org
We recommend involving student mentors in the award process. Let them present awards at the end of Quarter 3 in front of the class or the entire church.
Here’s how to lead your Sunday School class or small group using the 52-week pursueGOD 6th Grade Track. For each lesson in the track, we recommend the timed elements below. (Feel free to download and print lessons.)
Read This First
Being a leader of a 6th grade Sunday school class can be tremendously fun and rewarding. It can at times be very challenging as well. It is at those times that leaders must remember their role in each child’s life. Many years from now these kids likely won’t remember massive amounts of Bible knowledge you passed on, or how deep and meaningful your discussions about Christ were. They are more apt to remembering the love you showed for them, the fun times with friends they spent at church, and the feelings they had of acceptance and security. MissionLead students to the point of deciding to begin a personal relationship with Christ. Provide them with Bible study that is useful for their age, life circumstance, and personalities. Do this in an environment that is interactive, engaging, personable, and individualistic. Objectives Help students understand what it means to be a “Full Circle” Christian. Use Christian principles to promote self-confidence, high self-esteem, and a sense of self-worth in their students. Develop skills within students to maintain and grow their relationship with God throughout the rest of their lives. Connect 6th graders to student mentors in Quarter 3.[
Open with small talk. (5 min)
This is a great time for leaders to speak with students. After a few weeks you will find that they are more open during this time than in group discussion. It is also a great time for students to build relationships with each other. Strong relationships with peers encourages consistent attendance. They look forward to the social element of class.
Icebreaker (10 min)
The leader will present icebreaker activities that promote discussion. This time allows everyone to learn about each other beyond church. Topics discussed will help you with small talk next week. It is very important for leaders to be a participant in these activities. It will allow your students to relax and feel comfortable talking with you about deeper issues when the lesson rolls around.
- Go around the room asking basic questions. What was the highlight of your week? What are you looking forward to this week? What is your favorite video game? What movies did you watch this week? What is your dream vacation?
- Would you rather. Ask the group funny questions like: would you rather skydive or swim with the sharks? Would you rather eat a giant cockroach or 3 worms?
- Give the students a topic at the end of the previous class, and discuss during this time the following week. For example: Next week we will talk about how we showed love to a kid in class we may consider to be lonely. Then in the ice breaker ask for what action steps we took at school. If it is quiet, review again some examples of how we can accomplish this at school. It is always helpful for the leader to start the conversation with his own example!
Prayer (2 min)
The obvious reason for this time is to communicate with God, but it also brings the kids from some social goofiness to “it’s church time”.
Lesson Preview (8 min)
Watch the video together or share your own summary (get lessons from the Lesson Schedule above). Share pertinent Bible verses and a few poignant questions they can ask themselves. This will stimulate thought.
This age group will naturally struggle with their attention spans. By splitting the lesson up you can get more focus on a topic. Kids at this age are actually very good at transitioning in and out of the same concept or lesson. This is the time you want to grab their attention and interest. Cut it off as soon as you begin to lose them.
Snack and Game Time (15 min)
After 8 minutes of “Bible talk”, student’s attention span has already reached its limits. Snacks should be what the kids like (yes even if it is sugary). This part of the day really is what keeps kids coming back. These kids are hungry all the time, and if they get good treats they will show up! Games should be interactive and fun. Outside whenever possible!
- Sling shots: Use a rubber band on your fingers as a sling shot. For ammunition use fuzzy pom pom balls. Draw a target on poster board and cover in Vaseline. The pom poms will stick!
- Basket-Ball: Set two laundry baskets on the lawn. Have a small cushion ball. Split kids into two teams. One player shoots the ball, the teammates are huddled around the basket. Those huddled can only touch the ball 1 time each without catching, only quick touch. First team to 5 baskets wins.
- Paper airplane contest: Design and fold planes. Have a contest for longest flight, accuracy, and best tricks!
- Bible Trivia (played like the show Jeopardy)
- Sculptor: have a container of Play-doh for each team. One person from each team approaches the teacher. The teacher writes down a word, and that student must use the Play-doh to show their team what the word is. Sculptor cannot use words, sounds, or point. They can only use the Play-doh as a prop.
- Spaghetti Towers: Split group into teams. Each team has 10 minutes to build the tallest tower using spaghetti noodles and large marshmallows only. It cannot be supported or leaning on anything else.
Lesson Review (10 min)
Now it’s time to see what the kids remember. Review the lesson they previewed earlier by asking them to piece together the main points. Invite one or two kids to read the Bible verses from the lesson as you review it. Allow kids to continue to snack as they listen and share.
- Keep the kids as focused as possible for this small stretch
- Have a good sense of when the kids have checked out. Wrap it up quickly when you feel this happening.
Group Discussion (10 min)
This should have the same feel as the review above, but now you’re opening up the conversation. Use the discussion questions from the lesson as needed, but be ready to go “off script” as the conversation develops. If you were successful early in class with making students comfortable talking to you and the group, then they will open up more about their spiritual walk during this segment.
- This can be the most impactful part of the lesson.
- The purpose of this segment is to make whatever we are talking about apply to the life of a 6th grader. Some days it may be very tailored to the lesson with specific questions, others may vary widely while still having relevance with young Christian life.
- Example of topics to discuss at various parts of a year that are beyond a specific lesson plan:
- Showing Christ like love to people in school who seem to need it.
- People (or I) say I am ________, but God tells me in the Bible I am actually ________.
- How can I interact with my parents or siblings to show I love them and I am a follower of Christ?
- When someone at school hurts your feelings, or it outright mean, how can you address that in an effective way while still glorifying God?
- How does selecting friends affect your walk with Christ?
- How do you show your friends you are a Christian?
- How can we show God we love him?
- Many of these topics will be addressed in a series of a few weeks. Always include specific scripture, concrete action steps, and a follow up time either in private or in a group the following week.
Close (5 min)
Pray together to close down your time. At the end, always have a game in your back pocket. You never know when the adult service will go long and you are out of material. This game usually needs to be inside and somewhat quiet.
- After the prayer be ready to entertain quietly while the adult service finishes. Some games mentioned earlier will work, below are more options:
- Draw a Monster- fold paper from top to bottom into fourths. Each student in the circle will have one along with a pencil. Each person has 1 minute to draw a head (human or otherwise) on the top quadrant. The 2 neck lines should be extended to just below the fold. When the drawing is completed, fold the head back so that the only visible portion is the neck lines. Pass the paper to the next person, and they will draw a torso leaving only lines for the waist. Fold again and the next player draws legs leaving only the ankle lines. Fold back and finish with drawing of feet. After 4 different people have blindly drawn a segment, open the paper and share with the class how these crazy creatures turned out.
- Telephone art game- Similar in style to Draw a Monster. Each player writes a funny word or phrase at the top of the paper and passes to the next person. That person will read the words, fold the paper back and attempt to draw what they read. Pass to the next player. That person will look at the drawing, fold the paper back, and WRITE what they saw. Pass again and the next person will now draw what the previous person wrote. This cycle can continue for as long as you like, but should end with someone writing (not drawing). Share with the class the hilarious developments. Much like the classic telephone game, the completed work is usually way off the original topic.
- Silly Questions Game- Everyone starts standing up. The leader will ask a funny question. If a student can answer yes to that question then they sit down. The last player standing wins that round. Silly question examples: If your favorite candy bar is Almond Joy, sit down. If you were born on the 2, 25, 15, or 6th of any month, sit down. If you had peperoni pizza for dinner last night, sit down. If you dressed up as a princess last Halloween, sit down.
- Simon Says.
- Bible Trivia Game
- This time should be something for these student to look forward to at the end of their week, not something that feels similar to a classroom. While students do need to behave in a respectful way because after all this is church, they should still have the freedom to be a bit loud/obnoxious, discuss abstract topics WAY off point, allowed time to get wiggles out, and have time for general goofiness and horsing around. If we as leaders can properly balance these natural 6th graders having fun tendencies with interesting and applicable Bible topics, we will have a class that is both engaging and impactful for each student. This positive church experience may ultimately lead to a lifetime passion of learning about and following Christ.
- Plan special Sundays that the kids can look forward to. It could be a Christmas party, end of school party, birthday celebrations, outdoor fun day, wacky Olympics competitions day, Minute to win it game day etc… These events will allow time to get to know students better. They will also encourage regular attendance and they keep the class feeling fresh. Lessons on these days should still happen, but they are light hearted and a part of the fun!
- Don’t underestimate the power of snacks. If you get snacks kids like, they will come.
- Try to mix up which leader delivers the lesson. It is easy for students to tune out someone who “preaches” every week. This will also keep the content from sounding stale.
Special thanks to Ben Finkbeiner for developing this leader content.