Did Someone Mention Santa Claus?

What do Bible teachers do about Santa Claus?

What do Sunday School, Children’s Church, or other Bible class teachers do when a student mentions Santa Claus?

Some of your Bible teachers may have strong views for or against this Christmas icon while others remain neutral. Parents of children likewise have differing views. What is a teacher to do?

Key Words for Bible Teachers on Dealing with the Issue of Santa Claus:

1)  Respect

Even if a Bible teacher strongly opposes Santa Claus, some of the parents of children in their class could have a very different opinion. If a child asks if Santa Claus is real, teachers could redirect them. i.e., “We’re going to let your parents answer that question for you. What we want to talk about today is …”

Some of the children in a class might think Santa Claus is real while others regard him as make believe. If children start taunting those who believe in Santa Claus, teachers would do well to avoid joining the argument and instead use it as an opportunity to teach how God would have us treat people who think differently than us.

In both of these examples, the teacher reserves his/her opinion: in the first case deferring what to do with Santa Claus to the parents, thus showing respect; in the second situation, using it as an opportunity for teaching respect.

2)  Reality

If students have figured out that Santa Claus is not real, maybe they might think everything else surrounding Christmas is not real. Bible teachers need to stress how the Christmas story is a real story that impacts their lives today. — a real God who came to earth as a real baby and really lived on this earth for 33 years until He died on a real cross so we can have an eternal home with Him in a real heaven someday — That’s the real significance of Christmas.

3)  Remembrance

Bible teachers can keep bringing the conversation back to Jesus by doing some comparisons.

Santa Claus? — Let’s talk about Jesus. We hear about Santa once a year. Jesus is in our lives all year long.

Santa Claus? Let’s talk about Jesus. We hear about Santa giving presents. Jesus gave His very life for us so that we can live forever. The Bible calls it an indescribable gift (2 Cor. 9:15) because it is a gift like none other.

Did you notice how I worded the above? There is a big difference between saying “We hear about Santa once a year” and “Santa comes once a year” or “We hear about Santa giving presents” and “Santa gives presents.” Teachers must very carefully construct the way they talk about Santa so as to maintain respect but also not promote that which is untrue. The Bible teacher’s objective is to help students remember Jesus, not to promote or bash Santa.

Teacher Training Resource about the Holidays: Intruders in the Classroom that Steal & Vandalize: Holidays & Other Special Events Download

Prepare But Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected
Bible teachers can sometimes get discouraged or disillusioned when they invest much time and effort into preparing the lesson and then something happens not in the plan.

Perhaps it’s a medical emergency, equipment malfunction, session time extended or cut short for some reason, loud persistent noise coming from somewhere else, an emotional breakdown of a student, and on we could go with examples.

Whatever the disruption or distraction, when the lesson plan gets challenged or changed, the teacher can feel like all is ruined, like nothing of value happened despite all the effort put into preparation.

Two realities go into teaching the Bible that teachers must grasp so the unexpected does not throw them into a tailspin:

  1. Bible teachers must be faithful in preparing the lesson. They must do their best (1 Cor. 10:31) and accurately present God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15) which takes study time and planning.

Resources to Help:

  1. Bible teachers must trust God to use the unexpected. They must constantly yield to the Spirit as they teach whether proceeding with what has been prepared or dealing with the unexpected. They must learn to send those quick, silent prayers for help to the Lord in the midst of whatever is happening or even stop and pray aloud with the class depending on the situation.

Resources to Help:

We must always remember that God works through us but ultimately the lesson is not dependent on us. God is the One who brings the change and growth in people’s lives (1 Cor. 3:7). Be faithful in preparing but expect the unexpected and view it as an opportunity. Look for how God might be working through it and join Him there.

Bible Teachers Need to Incorporate Variety into Lessons

Why don’t teachers use more variety in their methodology?

Click image to learn more about the Sharpening Your Bible Teaching Methods Resource with help using 57 different methods.

Click image to learn about the Sharpening Your Bible Teaching Methods Resource for help using 57 different methods.

Sometimes teachers repeatedly use the same method due to ignorance. They aren’t aware of all the possibilities.

Often a lack of variety is a reflection of teachers’ insecurities and fear of trying something new. They feel safe teaching the way they know.

Unfortunately some teachers are stuck in a rut purposefully due to laziness. They don’t want to take the time to learn something new. They don’t want to put in the extra effort to use a more involved method.

Help is available for Bible teachers to step out and try new methods.

  1. Ask God for help.
  2. Get acquainted with possible methods.
  3. Practice using the methods in private or with some trusted friends.
  4. Pray some more.
  5. Step out in faith, trusting God to help you.

You will notice in the above steps that God is brought into the process. While we need to be faithful stewards in teaching, without God even the most skillful teacher using a great amount of variety will lack eternal effect. Remember Jesus’ words in John 15:5 — “Apart from me you can do nothing.”

6 Ways for Bible Teachers to Engage Students

Engage Students in the Learning ProcessPeople learn the best when they are actively involved. Bible teachers must therefore be encouraged to engage students mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. The more their whole being is engaged in the learning process, the more likely they will be to learn.

Tips to Pass Along to Teachers for Engaging Students in the Learning Process

1) Ask students questions and allow them to ask questions. The key is to get students thinking. Mentally passive students are not engaging.

Resources:

2) Get the class talking among themselves about the truths being learned. Using discussion pulls students in socially and increases the potential for engaging.

Resources:

3) Target more than their sense of hearing. Use visuals to help students process the auditory instruction. Hearing alone does little to engage students. The more of the physical senses engaged, the more students will learn.

Resources:

4) Use a variety of different kinds methods within a lesson. Seek to employ methods that would engage the various learning styles.

Resources:

5) Always show the relevancy to their lives. Students will be less likely to engage if they have no interest in the subject. Unmotivated students are not engaging.

Resources:

6) Pray, pray, and pray some more for both your teaching and the students’ reception of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit can convict, convince, motivate, and otherwise engage students in ways even the best Bible teacher never could.

Resources: