Recently, Whitney George shared a great post about how Church on the Move writes a new series for their children’s ministry. You can check it out here. That post started me thinking of how often a volunteer kidmin with a small budget finds limited choices for curriculum, prompting them to write their own. That was my situation when I first starting writing our curriculum. One option that I have used several times is to tie a series to a recently released movie. Since I didn’t have the budget, and I certainly don’t have the talent myself, to create amazing graphics, I could use the movie’s merchandise. The advantages are that there are often many items available that can be used for decor, games, object lessons, and prizes. It’s even easy to find inexpensive items that you can send home with each child as a reminder of the day’s lesson.
For example, we wanted to do a series emphasizing that God is always with us. We illustrated it using scenes from Toy Story 3 and our kids came away knowing that God is with us, to infinity and beyond! Just a quick run to Walmart and we had plenty of props readily available for our lessons and games. And the movie was full of situations that mirror our lives with God. Andy was going to a new college, and our kids often go to a new school or new class. In those times, God is with us. When the toys are facing the blaze at the landfill it brings to mind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego facing the fiery furnace. Again, God was with them. Andy decision on keeping his toys for himself or giving them away, lends itself easily to teach generosity like the widow of Zarephath, and God will always be with those who care for others.
You can find many situations in movies that have parallel spiritual situations. Using these in church gives you a “now and later” effect with your lesson. Kids will think about it now, when they are in church and you teach the lesson, and later when they watch the movie at home. Kids are going to watch those movies, often over and over again. If you have established a link between a spiritual lesson and certain scenes in that movie, every time they watch the movie, that lesson will be called to mind.