By. Rev. Christal Bell, Section Editor
In churches and schools alike, there has been a long debate about the most effective styles of teaching and the materials utilized that would be most beneficial to students in their life. While many schools are eliminating music and the arts due to budget cuts, the Church has continued to be a space where children and youth can use their gifts of music and dance to glorify God.
Choral groups, liturgical dance/mime ministries, and other avenues of the arts are inviting students to not only develop and hone in on their skills but also provide them with a connection to the Divine. We can see the fruit of this in many churches where intergenerational ministries thrive and invite all to the table. However, we cannot stop here.
This past year I have seen a huge peak in the area of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) -based Christian Education materials and curriculum. There are Vacation Bible School curriculums, bible studies, and even apps that focus their teaching styles on teaching the bible in an interactive way.
There are many different ways that churches can incorporate STEM-based learning in their Christian Education departments. There are various books and websites that offer free illustrations to leaders to aid students in learning about the Bible in a more interactive way through experiments and interactive activities.
This summer I was a part of a multi-site Vacation Bible School model that incorporated the STEM model. It was interesting to notate that the retention rate of students was higher than the previous year. Students also invited their friends on the second day once they were able to participate in the first day’s fun experimental activities. To get an idea of a couple of ways that your church can include STEM in their Christian Education Department, check out http://www.madaboutjesus.net/index.html.
The Rev. Christal L. Bell, MDiv., is an ordained elder in the Chicago Annual Conference. She serves as the full-time youth pastor for a multi-campus and bi-lingual Methodist Church in the Chicago-land area. Her passion lies in the area of youth mission work. View her official website at www.christalbell.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.