What are we here for?
We meet here to talk about Godly Play, to share what it’s all about and to discuss how to do it better.
The weekly blog posts are designed to help Sunday school teachers prepare for their Godly Play lessons, and the individual pages (see the tabs at the top of this page) share information about how we do Godly Play at First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC.
We’d love to hear from teachers everywhere, not just the ones at our church! We hope you’ll join our circle and share your ideas!
What Godly Play is Not
Godly Play is quite different from the traditional model in which the teacher tells the children what they need to know. Godly Play is not about things that are that simple. It is not just about learning lessons or keeping children entertained. It is about locating each lesson in the whole system of Christian language and involving the creative process to discover the depths of meaning in them.
What is Godly Play?
According to the Godly Play Foundation, Godly Play is a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture.
Godly Play is about understanding how each of the stories of God’s people connects with the child’s own experience and relationship with God.
Godly Play respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages curiosity and imagination in experiencing the mystery and joy of God.
Read more about Godly Play here.
How do we do Godly Play at First Baptist Greenville?
Christians of many different denominations use Godly Play and probably do it differently, even within the same denomination. In this blog, I describe Godly Play by sharing the way our church does it. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best way or the prescribed way, or the only way, of course, but it’s the way that suits us best.
For this Sunday, we’ll use Lesson 6: Holy Baptism from the Winter (purple) book, p. 70-76.
The lesson is on baptism but it’s perfect for Trinity Sunday since a major component of the lesson is the Trinity. At the beginning of the script, it refers to “the Creator, the Redeemer, the Sustainer.” Do use those words, but add in an explanation of what they mean. Redeemer and Sustainer will be unfamiliar words to most children.
I would suggest that you modify the part of the script on baptism, fitting it to the way we do baptism in our church. Each of you should have in your classroom a bowl in which to pour the water, a pitcher, and a person (doll) to be baptized. I would encourage you to talk about the baptismal statement that baptismal candidates write (and a person special to them reads) expressing why they want to be baptized and what baptism means to them. I’ll have a copy of a baptismal statement that one of our children recently wrote in your rooms to share. (With permission, of course!) You might also talk about Discipleship Class, which our 4th and 5th graders can take in the fall and spring to learn more about baptism and being a disciple of Christ, before they are candidates for baptism.
The children would certainly enjoy the candle lighting part of the lesson. I hope you’ll feel brave enough. You might use tea candles (I’ll make sure there are plenty in your rooms.) For safety’s sake, you might have them sit on the carpet for this lesson and put the tea candle on the carpet in front of them, asking them to keep their hands in their laps at all times, assuring them that they will each have a chance to “change their own light.” I’ll make sure you have a candle snuffer in your room-so the children won’t blow out the candle, spattering wax on the carpet. If you choose to do this part of the lesson, I’m confident they will always remember it!
Here are some wondering questions for this lesson:
1. I wonder what was your favorite part of this lesson.
2. Today we heard more about the Trinity. We poured the water and talked about the water of creation. I wonder if God the Father is still creating today.
3. We also lit the big candle and talked about Jesus, the light of the world. I wonder how Jesus is a light. I wonder why we call him that.
4. We also remembered the Holy Spirit with the dove and the perfume. I wonder why we use perfume and a dove to remind us of the Holy Spirit.
5. I wonder what baptism means to you.
Idea Sparkers for your Gift to God time:
Focus on the Trinity
1. Your class could make a larger mural illustrating the three parts of the trinity, showing them intersecting like the circles of felt we used in the lesson. You could add illustrations to each circle. For God the Father, the children could draw creation in action, or their favorite old testament stories. For God the Son, the children could add drawings of their favorite Jesus stories, and for the Holy Spirit, the children could draw ways the Holy Spirit helps us–knowing right from wrong, giving us strength in times of trouble, helping us tell others about God, helping us understand the Bible, etc.
Each child could do this individually, but it could be more fun doing it together.
2. You could make simple trinity decorations, like this one from a blog with lots of great ideas,here. It’s simple, but the kids would enjoy making it. (Yey! A chance to use the glue gun!)
You can also glue on some symbols. This idea comes from this site.
3. You could talk about how the shamrock or 3 leafed clover is often used to explain the trinity- one plant, with a leaf for each of the three parts. Then go clover hunting around the church. The children could pick a clover, bring it back, draw it big sized, and label each leaf with part of the trinity.
The fourth graders made something like this during our Easter lessons.
Find some more art response ideas to get the kids started, go here to my Pinterest page.