Guest Post: Three Last-Minute Christmas Lesson Ideas

Today’s guest post is written by Steven Knight.  Steven has been serving in children’s ministry for almost 10 years. He loves working with kids & families, both evangelizing and discipling them. He is currently serving as a children’s ministry leader in Chicago while studying at Moody Bible Institute. He is blessed to have a wonderful wife, Katie. Steven blogs regularly at, which is a website dedicated to providing Family and Children’s Ministry resources and articles. You can also follow him on Twitter at @StevenKnight09.

Hey everyone! Since the holidays are such a busy time, we all get behind in something. For this Christmas season, I wanted to provide you with three last-minute Christmas lesson ideas to help you, if you are in need of a quick children’s ministry lesson!

candycaneCandy Cane Time: For this lesson, you will need to write on small pieces of paper and tape them to the candy canes. On the pieces of paper, write things that you believe are important to children (family, friends, Xbox, toys, dolls, etc.) Hide the candy canes around the room and have the children search for them. After the game is over, have several of the children say which candy canes are most important to them. Using the candy canes as an illustration, link the things written on the paper to a story about what is most important in your life, which is God. You can share how important these things are during the holiday season, but God is way more important than all of them. You can then share the story of the birth of Jesus Christ in Luke 2.

The Ultimate Present:This lesson is based around an object lesson using a Christmas present. You can talk about how excitedchristmaspresent you are to give away a gift today. Pretend to give your present to one of your volunteers, but don’t let go of the present when you start to hand it to them. Act surprised and then ask them to pay you $50 for the gift first. After the volunteer has acted surprised at this outrageous demand, give the gift to him for free. Explain to the kids that every present has a cost, but there is no cost to someone when they receive a free gift, because it has been paid for by someone else. Use this analogy to then explain the free gift of salvation, and the purpose for Jesus’ birth.

nativityNativity Narrative: For this lesson idea, simply read the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2. While many children have heard about the story of Jesus’ birth, some children might not have ever heard the Scripture account of His birth, and definitely not an exciting narrative! To make this lesson have more of an impact, simply add emphasis to the story where appropriate. For example, “I cannot even pretend to imagine what it must have been like for the shepherds, who were out in their fields with their sheep at night, when suddenly an angel appeared with the heavenly host, all praising God while His glory shone around them!” If you need extra tips on how to make this re-telling of the Nativity story more impactful, you can check out this recent article on Reteaching a Story.

Have any other last-minute Christmas lesson ideas? Feel free to share them below!


Engage Conference: Workshop Notes

Yesterday, I posted notes from the three main sessions that Sue Miller led at the Engage Conference, which took place this past weekend in Mechanicsburg, PA.  You can read about that here.

Today I wanted to share a little bit about one of the workshops that I attended.  It was fantastic and very hands on!

Instructing Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Children’s Ministry

This workshop was led by a Messiah College Professor and three of her students.  I took this workshop because I wanted to equip my volunteers to better serve children in our ministry with ASD.  This workshop had two objectives:

  1. Help us classify 3 types of learners
  2. Demonstrate multiple instructional strategies through the use of “make and takes”
When we arrived, there were goodie bags for each participant in the center of each table.

Our schedule for the workshop

The young women began our workshop by defining autism and identifying three (3) types of learners:  auditory, kinesthetic/tactile and visual.  We learned how each learner learns best and strategies to use in helping each type of learner learn.

Auditory learners learn best through verbal input.  One strategy you can try is classroom positioning.  Have the child sit or stand close to the teacher.

Kinesthetic/tactile learners learn best through their body, hands and sense of touch.  One strategy you can try is by bringing in sensory manipulatives.  We made one in class by filling an uninflated balloon with rice and tying off the balloon.  (The balloon and rice were provided for us in our goodie bag.)

Visual learners learn best through written word or pictures.  There are two strategies that you can try:

  1. Use picture cards (laminated on a ring) to flash to the children when you need them to get refocused.  You could also flash a card to let them know what’s coming up without having to say it aloud.  I thought this idea was brilliant.
Reminder cards

2. The “First/Then” strategy shows an expectation followed by something preferred.  “First we’ll…then we’ll…”  Keep in mind that you must follow through with what you say.  Otherwise, this strategy will become ineffective.

First/Then laminated card

The great news is that many strategies shared in this workshop were not only geared toward children with ASD–they could be used for every child!

Have you found a particular strategy that has helped you have success in the classroom?   If so, share here!