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Promotion Sunday is an excellent way to shine a light on the kids and youth in your church and help your church encourage them in their spiritual walk. Look at these ideas to help your church honor students in your program each year. 

Promotion Sunday happens during the transition when students move up to the next grade level of Sunday school classes. While many churches have their transition at the same time as high school graduations, during the end of May, or beginning of June, others wait until the new school year begins and move their children and youth to the next grade levels in August.

Ideas To Celebrate Sunday School Promotion

1. Acknowledge Students When They Move Up

Recognize participation with a certificate and/or an age-appropriate gift (stickers, candy assortment, bracelet, devotional, keychain, bookmark, journal). Feel free to go above and beyond a traditional certificate and have teachers write a special observation, superlative (silly or serious for youth), or “award” to encourage each student. This can take place during worship, at a post-worship meal, or at special end-of-the-year parties during classroom time.

2. Create A Slideshow To Showcase Student Accomplishments

If your Sunday school teachers are good at capturing pictures of their classes, have them present a brief slideshow that highlights what they have done throughout the year in crafts, memory verses, songs, lessons studied, and outings. Everyone will enjoy getting a glimpse into what God is doing in each class. This can be done either during worship or set up at a display that can be viewed before/after church.

3. Testify About Your Favorite Things

Ask kids and youth to share during the worship service by answering a question.

  • What is your favorite Bible story?
  • What is your favorite worship song?
  • What is your favorite thing to do in class?
  • What is one thing you have learned about God?
  • How has God used you?

Younger kids –– even preschoolers –– can answer these questions; and unconventional answers can still glorify the Lord!

4. Commission & Pray Over Children & Youth

During your church service, ask teachers to pray individually over the students they had in the past year and commission them in their walk with God for the following year.

5. Host A Celebration Breakfast Or Lunch

The morning children promote to the next class, host a breakfast prior to Sunday school where kids can sit with their new teacher and classmates. This can also be done during a lunch celebration the Sunday prior to promotion.

6. Worship Together As A Class

The Sunday prior to promotion, encourage Sunday school classes to sit together at the front of the sanctuary during the worship portion of your service. This may require some extra adult supervision for younger classes but is a great way for your congregation to see the students in your program and for your kids and youth to unite in praising God.

7. Offer A Meet & Greet

The Sunday prior to promotion, have a time after the worship set aside for kids and parents to visit their new classroom and teacher. This will help alleviate stress the following week at drop-off for younger children and will probably help the teacher as well!

Turn Promotion Sunday into a larger church-wide Meet and Greet where families can stop by each Sunday school class (including adult classes!) while the teacher from the classes stays in the room as a host to greet those who stop by. Doing this helps children and youth familiarize themselves with what goes on throughout the church. 

Also, it hopefully reminds them that Sunday school does not stop after high school graduation. When kids reach their classroom, they will be able to meet their teacher and check out their room. 

8. Host A Small Church Carnival Event 

Ask each Sunday school class to create and run a small game. Games can be elaborate or simple minute-to-win-it activities. Families will receive a ticket from each class and can turn in their tickets for a fun snack or dessert to close out the event. Rubber Duck Carnival Idea (April) is a fun carnival theme.

9. Celebrate With A Scavenger Hunt 

Prior to the event, place an object in each Sunday school room and provide each family with a list of those objects where they have to mark where the object was found. Objects can have a purpose or be silly. Families can turn in their completed worksheets for a fun snack or dessert to close out the event.

10. Try A Family Escape Room Event 

For this event, provide each class with a clue-solving activity which, once solved, will leave the family with a keyword. For rooms with difficult clues, ensure there is also some type of activity for younger children, even if it is just a coloring sheet or play dough. Once families have visited every class and accumulated a list of keywords (which can be a Bible verse or prayer points for the next year), they can turn in their list for a fun snack or dessert to close out the event.

Remember Your Teachers!

While Promotion Sunday is mostly about the kids, this is a great time to honor your teachers as well.

This may include:

  • Respect teachers’ time and plans by communicating your ideas about Promotion Sunday 1-2 months ahead of time.
  • Spend time in the worship service praying a blessing over your teachers and their walk with the Lord.
  • Provide a small gift of gratitude for their faithful service.
  • Check in with them to make sure they are not burnt out and are still willing to serve the following year.

Read More:

Celebrate Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Day

21 Unique Ways To Honor Graduates In Your Small Church

Celebrate The Graduates In Your Small Church

Cassandra Frost loves serving in her local church’s children’s ministry, women’s ministry, and prayer ministry. She has a passion for providing resources to others to help them in their spiritual walk and to grow their respective ministries. Cassandra obtained her Bachelor’s degree at Boyce College, served on the mission field in Southeast Asia (and still has a huge heart for the nations and missions education), and currently works full-time as an analyst. She is married and has a wonderful daughter, two disobedient dogs, and a mischievous cat.