So often we feel we need the next fancy curriculum and providing the exciting gizmos will make children want to be part of the weekly programs. There is never a quick purchase or fix that will build a strong Jesus centered ministry. At this point, you may argue, that you see churches with the big indoor crawl tunnels and coffee shops and can't compete! So yes, that is getting kids to come and play, but are they getting Jesus? I mean really FEELING the love of Christ when they are there or working on strong cardio?
Jesus didn't need much in his ministry. I would say he kept it simple and basic, sometimes a boat, a hill, a couple of fish, a stick drawing in the dirt, people sitting in small groups, equipping others to teach. He listened, he leaned into questions, he connected his followers to one another so much they were inspired to go and do likewise.
I believe when we take our lessons back to the basics and teach like Jesus kids feel known, loved, connected and that is what brings them back each week. Or in Jesus time, that is what inspired them to go and do likewise. I have done the razzle-dazzle high energy ministry with kids and I have done the basic lesson with love, listening, and discussion with the same results every time! The basic relational small group connective approach gets comments like, "Can I try that? I just love our group. I look forward to our time every week. I really like our time together!" The Razzle Dazzle approach gets comments like, "That was fun, thanks loads! Let me know when you are doing another fun one!"
Simple lessons with small groups and equipping your leaders to lean in and ask good questions may seem like a tall order. If you create small groups of 3 & 4 kids with one adult and all of those small groups spread out in an open space no one has to worry about "classroom management" because you are not alone with kids yet in small conversation groups. If you give your small group leaders detailed simple lessons with quality questions, you don't have to have an adult who feels like they have to have a teaching degree to volunteer. If you coach your volunteers to listen and find connections to point out between their four students, you will have successful connectional children's ministry small groups.
I ordered copies of these three 6 week curriculum on a specific book by Mike Slaughter. I feel the way the curriculum is written fits right into what I described above. Let me know if you have further questions about connectional children's ministry small groups. You could use this approach on a Wednesday night, Sunday mornings or evenings. My only disappointment in these books is they only have 6 lessons in each. I like the Dare to Dream curriculum best of the three because of all the authentic movement games, lessons, and questions.