We’ve covered a lot of Sunday school curriculum in our spotlights, but this is the first one focused entirely on following the Revised Common Lectionary. Every Whirl Lectionary Sunday school lesson includes the same four elements:
(Yep, that spells out WHRL!)
Students and teachers begin by identifying where they are in the church calendar, and then watch an animated video that sets up the lesson. The class moves to the Whirl Story Bible or the Whirl NRSV Bible to interact with Scripture, do some activities to solidify the principles, review the lesson, and pray together.
This three-year curriculum includes annual lesson materials for fall, winter, and spring quarters. Printed lessons are sold in quarters, or can be accessed with an online subscription.
Whirl is also available in a classroom study format instead of the Lectionary Sunday school.
What makes it great
Special Whirl Bibles make Scripture engaging
The Whirl Story Bible is for children pre-K–grade 2, and it is beautifully rendered. The pictures are vibrant and engaging, and the inclusion of the Ada and Otto characters from the Whirl videos help bring a lighthearted flair that connects the Scripture to the lesson the children are learning.
The Whirl Lectionary NRSV Bible helps kids in 3rd–6th grade explore every reading in the Revised Common Lectionary. With every Whirl lesson, kids get a preview activity that helps prepare them for the lesson’s Scripture. Lectionary readings are color coded for season, and icons highlight seasons, festivals, and holy days.
These Bibles are a wonderful addition to the Whirl curriculum and help highlight the lectionary while illuminating the lessons.
Following the lectionary unifies community worship
Like a unified Sunday school curriculum for churches that follow a liturgical calendar, a lectionary-based curriculum ensures that families (not to mention the whole church community) are being edified by the same Scripture and focus.
Even beyond the unifying aspect of following the lectionary, Whirl’s lessons take community life seriously by encouraging leaders to do things like “invite an older church member to come speak to kids about how they’ve handled times of doubt in their lives.”
The videos are really fun
The Whirl team has done a good job creating videos that kids are going to want to watch because they’re funny and engaging—but they’re still thoughtful and set leaders up for really powerful lessons. I love that the videos use a normal church as a backdrop. It provides a recognizable element that children can identify with.
In one video entitled Any Questions? relating to a lesson on the doubts of the disciple Thomas (John 20:19-31), Victor tries to stop the other children from asking questions about that Sunday’s sermon for because of his fear that asking questions will get them kicked out of church. It’s a brilliant set-up to a good discussion on the value of asking questions—and it’s funny to boot!
What you need to know
Whirl is best for:
Age range: Pre-K–6th grade
Denomination: Lutheran (but flexible)
Bible translation: NRSV
Format and media:
Class format: Classroom
Material format: Print
Includes video? Yes
Scope and sequence duration: 3 years
Average lesson time: 45 minutes
Follows ISSL? No, it follows the Revised Common Lectionary