Bible studies can last from a few minutes to a few hours depending on the lesson, who teaches and who receives it. Sometimes the speaker just gets long and talks too long. Other times the audience is drowsy or inattentive. Either way, it’s a good idea to break up longer lessons and grab people’s attention with a fun activity.
Whether it’s a game of tag, learning a new language or weaving baskets, there’s an exciting idea for every age group.
1. Do magic tricks
Are your Bible study members sleepy? A sleight of hand should help them refocus and stay focused. Perform a few simple magic tricks halfway through longer lessons. If you are teaching a group of children, you can even teach them a new trick each week to occupy more time.
Try the rising card trick or the spoon bend trick to wow young Christians or learn a more impressive trick like the levitating dollar or the magnetic hand. The only way for your watchers to experience magic is to stay alert, which will help prepare them for the rest of the study.
2. Learn a new language
Give young children a brain break and help them learn a few letters of the alphabet in sign language. This activity will help them improve their motor skills and strengthen the mind-body connection.
Other languages like Spanish and Italian are also fun and easy to learn, even for young children. By taking their minds away from the Bible stories and refocusing them on basics like words and sounds, they will have time to decompress a bit before returning to the lesson and starting to use their critical thinking skills again.
3. Play a game
There are many fun games you can use to interrupt your studies. Let loose and let off steam with friendly competition. Some activities are also family-friendly, so you can use them whether you’re leading a group of kids or adults.
For example, if you are running summer school, you can enjoy a game of pickleball in the garden. Rainy days call for indoor activities, from board and card games to those you can play on VR headsets. Minute-to-win style competitions and relay races are also fun and versatile ideas!
4. Try team building activities
In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul says that from Christ the whole church is united in its members, with God at its center. As each one fulfills his role and uses his spiritual gift, the body of Christ grows and is built in love.
Why not focus on conviviality and teamwork with team building activities? Tie a human knot and try to untangle yourself without speaking. Play the birthday line-up and assemble in the order of your birthdays. How well is everyone working together to achieve a common goal?
Hands-on activities are great for kids and adults alike because they help get you out of your head and into a state of flow. Once you immerse yourself completely, the activity becomes focused but mindless and you begin to relax, both physically and mentally. Once the Bible study members come out of their flow states, they will be better able to listen and engage with the rest of the lesson.
Incorporate crafts related to the story or biblical theme you are dissecting. Make paper boats to represent Noah’s Ark or sheep masks to talk about Psalm 23 and liken God to a shepherd. Adults can enjoy activities like basket weaving, cross jewelry making or even baking.
6. Stretch it
Maybe everyone has been sitting around all evening and some members of the group are starting to yawn. Get everyone’s blood pumping again and energize your study by standing up and stretching.
Choose dynamic stretches and move for at least two minutes to improve learning and memory functions. When everyone returns to their seats or benches, they’ll be more alert and engaged, so be prepared to see more hands up afterward.
Keeping Christians Engaged
Engaging minds – young and old – takes patience, energy and charisma. More importantly, it requires the mind of a leader and the heart of a servant. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God.” Remember to be humble as you lead your Bible study or small group and be open to what the Lord wants to do through you. Be his hands and feet and you are sure to witness miracles in your group and beyond.