Imagine being able to spend several weeks studying a Bible story – each week focusing on a different (and fun) way of learning?

That’s what happens at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Our kids are called the “Cool Disciples” and they are working at becoming disciples of Christ! To do so, they all participate in the Workshop Rotation Model™ of Sunday school.

Photography workshop in progress
Photography workshop on Jesus in the Temple as a child.
Kids pose for photos that tell the story.
What is the Workshop Rotation Model?

In a nutshell: Teach major Bible stories and concepts through kid-friendly multimedia workshops such as Art, Cooking, Drama, Games, Puppets, Storytelling, Video, Photography, and Science. Kids don’t get bored because each workshop uses a different style of learning.  We teach the same Bible story in all of the workshops over the course of three, four or five weeks, rotating the kids to a different workshop each week.

A cooking workshop in progress
Making barley biscuits for the story of Ruth
The same Bible story?

Yep, the same Bible story. You’ll hear us call each Bible story a “Rotation.” (It is, after all, the Workshop Rotation Model). Spending several weeks on the same story is repetition that kids need; they have a chance to develop a lasting memory of the story. And, once they’ve got the story down pat, they can work on developing an understanding of its content and apply it to their lives.

For example: in our Rotation on the story of Joseph in Egypt, by week three the kids know the story so we can dig into questions such as: How did Joseph endure so many troubles? (Betrayed by his brothers, separated from his family, then he went to jail…) Yet Joseph didn’t seem to loose faith in God. How do you react when you face difficult times? I wonder, how can I be like Joseph? Then by week five, we’re saying: Look at what Pharaoh said about Joseph after Joseph had told Pharaoh what his dreams meant and what he should do: “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?” (Genesis 41:38) What would it take for someone to say that about me? How can I make the right choice to become such a person? (Digging a little bit deeper than just about a boy with a fancy coat and jealous brothers!)

The story of Ruth: Preschoolers make wheat creations
A preschooler creates with wheat, for the story of Ruth
Other questions: Who (what age) and where is this happening?

At our downtown site on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM, the first through the sixth grades physically move (rotate!) to a different workshop each week. During this time we also have Rotation programs for our younger kids (3 years old to K’s); they don’t move around, the workshops come to them.

A shepherd tells the story of caring for sheep
When studying Psalm 23, a shepherd from Bible times visits at the Green Wood site

A multi-age workshop for children (age five through sixth grade) is occasionally offered as part of our Saturday service Green Wood campus. That service starts at 5 PM. Details will be posted on the schedule. Children of all ages are always welcome to worship with their families.

Come and join us!

Photo credits: Photos are from my archives.

3 thoughts on “Our programs for kids

  1. Oh! I just commented on your other post and then followed this link, and it turns out you are a member of the church in which I was baptized! We moved away from Ann Arbor when I was 2, and the Methodists in the South were different, so my parents became Unitarians…. I went back to visit Ann Arbor and FUMC as an adult and kind of wish I’d been raised there. This program sounds great!

    1. ‘Becca: What a small world! Does the church you attend use the Rotation Model for teaching Sunday’s school? (Point them in the direction of if they aren’t.) It is a great program! The kids really learn about the Bible.

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