Have you considered using The Tree of Life: God’s Promise of Salvation for summer Sunday School instead of VBS this year? Yes, I know this might be a surprising question considering I just wrote a post about all the ways to use The Tree of Life for VBS, but hang with me!
The fact of the matter is that one size doesn’t fit all, and no two churches have the same summer needs. The Tree of Life may not be the best fit for VBS, but it could be the perfect match for your summer Sunday School. So, here we go! Here are five reasons you should totally consider using The Tree of Life for Sunday School this summer.
- It Helps People Know What’s Actually in God’s Word
- It Helps You Connect with Families, Even When They Are Away
- It Saves You Time Planning
- It’s Just the Right Length of Time for Summer
- It Brings Your Church Family Together
1. It Helps People Know What’s Actually in God’s Word
In my daily work, one of the top questions I hear is, “Do you have anything to help with Bible literacy? People just don’t know what’s in the Bible anymore.”
It’s no surprise that as society’s values continue to change and people are inundated with a flood of daily articles, posts, and videos, fewer individuals actually know what is in God’s Word. Sometimes, this is due to willful ignorance or open hostility. But more often than not, I’ve found that most people just don’t know where to start when it comes to reading God’s Word. Trying to read and digest the Bible on your own can be intimidating!
The Tree of Life series was designed to help with this by focusing on ten of the most important accounts in the Bible. These ten narratives help people zoom out and focus on the big picture in God’s salvation plan. For those who may not know what’s in the Bible, these lessons provide an introduction to what God’s Word is really all about. For faithful churchgoers, this series gives new insights into these familiar stories and provides them opportunities to share the message with their neighbors.
2. It Helps You Connect with Families, Even When They Are Away
Picture this: You’re pumped to teach Sunday School. Your students are the best ever, and you have an awesome lesson planned. Your supplies are all set. You’re ready to teach students your favorite Bible story! Then no one shows up to class.
You come to find out that one student had a soccer game, another student is in Florida with his family, and some didn’t show up at church that day.
We’ve all been there. (Well, maybe only I’ve been there, but hopefully, you can relate.)
The reality is that church attendance in the summer can be frustratingly irregular. Families have vacations, and it is hard to predict who will be at Sunday School on any given week.
On the one hand, it’s easy to take that as a fact of life, spend less time planning lessons, and wait until everyone comes back in the fall. On the other hand, one thing I love about The Tree of Life is that it provides families a way to engage with the materials outside of the Sunday School classroom. With activities, a card game, a craft, and more, the Family Activity Kit helps everyone follow along and stay connected with your church, even if they aren’t there in person every week.
3. It Saves You Time Planning
Families aren’t the only ones who may be in and out of the office during the summer. Often, the church staff will be in and out of the office too. Trying to plan events, programs, and services without your regular crew can be challenging this time of year.
Another nice thing about The Tree of Life is that it has something for every age in your church and every member of your ministry team. In case you missed it, here’s a brief overview of some of the main components in the Church Resource Kit:
- Children’s curriculum
- Youth Bible study
- Adult Bible study
- Bible overview videos
Thanks to these components, your church staff (or volunteers) can easily set up weekly plans for the summer. The digital components make it easy to share with anyone in your church, whether they are involved every week or filling in for a short while.
4. It’s Just the Right Length of Time for Summer
As I mentioned above, The Tree of Life is a ten-week program if you choose to use each lesson. For many churches, this is just the right amount of time between school letting out and everyone getting back into the swing of things in the fall. (For example, my church is starting The Tree of Life series on June 12, and we’ll complete the last week on August 14, just in time for the return of school and Rally Day.)
5. It Brings Your Church Family Together
In addition to the decline in Biblical literacy I mentioned above, another piece of feedback I often receive is from people asking for intergenerational ministry materials. There are a couple of reasons for this, some practical and some pedagogical.
First, as attendance shrinks and volunteers become scarce, it may not be feasible to divide your Christian education classes by age or grade levels. More and more churches are implementing one-room-style classrooms to help bring students together and alleviate the load on leaders.
Second, putting multiple ages and generations in the same learning environment has a wide array of pedagogical benefits. For example, the influence of supportive adults is one well-documented factor in lifelong faith development for young people. Intergenerational environments help display the unique value of everyone in the church, whether they are a young person modeling their exuberant faith or an older adult sharing their wisdom.
I hope these materials helped get your wheels turning on different ways The Tree of Life can help your church gather around God’s Word this summer! Click the button below to download a sample and get started with the series today.