We know that ministry looks different right now. Some churches have begun meeting together again, but for others that vision feels a long way off. Some are doing live video calls, others are sending families prerecorded video lessons, while others are sending lessons for parents to lead with their children.
Try these tips, to make DIG IN work in whatever scenario you find yourself in today.
- Be consistent. Whatever you’re doing, find a consistent time to do it. Maybe it’s when your service usually meets! Whether you’re sending emails, posting to social media, or hosting a live video call, be consistent about doing it every week at the same time. This will keep Sunday school a part of families’ weekly rhythm.
- Keep it short. You may be used to filling an hour of classroom time at church, but an hour may be too long for this season. Aim for 20-30 minute lessons for a more bite-sized chunk for families to engage in at home. That will also help you feel free to cut the parts of the lesson that just don’t adapt well to your current reality.
- The Core Bible Discovery is a key part of the lesson. We recommend tweaking the Core Bible Discovery block to work for families. Even if you can’t do the same experience, find ways to keep it interactive over video. In other words, don’t simply record yourself reading or telling the Bible story. Are people traveling? Have kids walk around their living rooms! Is there water? Have kids splash in a basin of water at their kitchen tables! Is there food? Let kids grab a snack! Is there building? Have kids build with Legos, pillows…whatever they have! Whatever you can do to engage kids’ senses as they hear the Bible story will go a long way. If you choose to use Foundations of Faith when it releases on June 1, you will find that we have already provided an adapted Core Bible Discovery block for you. Digging Into Foundations of Faith Quarter 1 includes two options. One is for your traditional classroom, the other is specifically designed for use at home during this unusual situation. We’ve done the work for you to make this essential Bible experience COVID-friendly! It’s ready for you to teach via live or prerecorded video, or to send home for parents to teach.
- Use your resources. Your Dig In subscription comes with nearly 2 hours of content—so you’ve got the ability to pick and choose what works best. With the modified Bible experience taken care of, look at the other blocks to see what will work well. We’ve found the Welcome, Talk-About Video, Music Video, and Life-Application Wrap-Up sections usually work well in this situation. The games and Deeper Bible sometimes will, and other times won’t. Crafts and Object Lessons are probably not the best for remote experiences. And don’t forget the Takehome page, which was already designed for families to do at home!
- Don’t cut the discussion. If you’re using a video recording, it’s tempting to cut the discussion questions from Dig In. After all, you can’t hear kids respond! But kids can share with their families! So keep those discussion questions so kids can process and make discoveries. And, if there’s a question that asks for a personal story, share yours first! If you’re using a live video conferencing platform like Zoom or Google Hangouts, kids can engage with you and their friends!
- Consider household supplies. In some ways, you’ll have to cut supplies that are written into the curriculum. Cellophane, pompoms, giant pieces of bulletin-board paper…these aren’t things families will have. But on the other hand, you’ve got a whole household of supplies to work with! As you modify lessons, think about what you can substitute for those non-household supplies. Were they supposed to make a river on bulletin-board paper? Maybe they can make one out of blankets or couch cushions instead! Think about what most families have, and work with those supplies in mind.
- It’s okay to pause. There will be times where families need to stop and do something—like build that pillow tower or have a discussion. If you’re creating prerecorded videos, just tell them to pause the video and do it! Or, if you have the video editing capability, consider having a countdown clock come up that tells them how much time they have left to complete your directions.
- Be mindful of current events. Obviously, your Dig In blocks weren’t written with mentions of social distancing, quarantine, or COVID-19. But it’s your kids’ current reality. Don’t be afraid to add in a mention where it makes sense. For example, if your lesson is about not needing to fear, throw in a mention that there are things we’re afraid of right now, but God is in control. Maybe even add in a question where kids can process how they’re feeling.
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