Reformation Sunday – Plan now to make it a big deal!

“Who can tell me something about Martin Luther?”

I asked this question in an elementary-age Sunday school class twenty years ago, and I still remember how surprised I was with the answers. Many of the children began to give me facts about Martin Luther King. They had studied about him in school. Most of them were unaware that there was an important man in history named Martin Luther. This major event in human history is rarely being taught to the next generation. In the Dark Ages of the Church, one man was changed by the truth of Scripture, and God used him to change the course of history with the Word of God. What a great message for our children to learn in this dark world today.

Do not miss the Reformation Sunday opportunity to tell this amazing, world-changing story to your kids. Pray as you prepare to focus on the power of the gospel that changed Luther’s life.  Teach with great zeal Martin Luther’s God-story. Could one or all of these church kids be world changers? Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in them as you prepare for Reformation Sunday.

Here are some ideas for highlighting the Reformation in and around October 31st at your church.

  1. Load up on all of the information you can find about Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation, the foundational principals of the Reformation, etc. Make copies for your teachers/parents and ask them to prepare a special teaching time on this material for Reformation Sunday, using whatever they find helpful in the packet you will be giving them. Encourage them to do their own research if they would like. Here are some helpful websites for starters:
  1. Use this great site for a movie night, or a full month of teaching and activities on Sunday mornings in October.
  2. Have a family book table set up for reading during the month of October. Encourage a book per week and then return so families have a new choice each week. Here are some titles for starters:
  • When Lightning Struck, Who Was Martin Luther?, Why Did the Reformation Happen?, What Was the Gutenberg Bible?—all by Danika Cooley
  • Martin Luther and Church History—two books by Simonetta Carr
  • Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World by Paul Maier
  • The Barber Who Wanted to Pray by R.C. Sproul
  • Reformation A, B, C’s by Stephen Nichols
  1. Have a Reformation Day Party!
  • Bible Smuggling Relay —During the Reformation, it was illegal to print a Bible in a language that people could read.  Reformers often hid Bibles from church leaders and snuck them to the people so they could read them.  Activity: Divide kids into two teams. Have one representative from each team put on an oversized pair of pants over their clothes. The team will work to stuff a stack of Bibles into the pants. Then, they will race around a cone and back, repeating until all members on one team are finished.
  • Diet of Worms —Teaching that Jesus and the Bible are the only way of salvation got Martin Luther in a lot of trouble. He was put on trial before a group of church leaders (called a “diet”) in the city of Worms, Germany (pronounced “Verms”). Today, for our snack, we’re going to have a different kind of diet of worms. Snack: Gummy worms in a chocolate pudding/Oreo cookie mixture. Older kids may build their own.
  • Wittenberg Door —The Reformation started when Martin Luther hammered a piece of paper to the church door in his hometown of Wittenberg, Germany. This was a list of 95 things that needed to change about the church. Activity: Prepare a large red church door on the wall and label it: “Wittenberg Door.” Prepare half-page coloring sheets with statements like such as “We are saved by Jesus alone,” “The Bible in our own language,” and “Jesus is all we need,” or any of the five Solas in their own words. Then, have the kids put the sheets up on the door with sticky-tac.
  • Pin the Beard on the Theologian —One thing about the Reformers is that many of them had really great beards. Play the “Pin the Beard on the Theologian” game. One at a time, each child is blindfolded and handed a beard with a bit of sticky-tac applied to the back. The blindfolded child is then spun around until he or she is disoriented. The child then sets off to try and attach the beard. The player who pins their beard closest to the target wins. A live pastor/theologian could be the target! For younger preschoolers, you may not want to use the blindfold.
  • Luther Rose Craft Project

Sue Jakes is mother of four, grandmother of 11, and lives in Atlanta, GA where she served as Children’s Ministry Ambassador for the Presbyterian Church in America’s Committee on Discipleship Ministries. She has served as director of children’s ministry at Covenant PCA in Fayetteville, GA and is now serving as children’s director at Westminster PCA in Atlanta. She has been teaching children, youth, and women’s groups in the church for over thirty-five years. Sue is co‑author of “Heart of the Home,” a Bible Study ministry for moms and Teach Me To Worship, CDM’s children’s church online curriculum.