Did you have Flannel Boards in your Sunday School class as a child? We all have a memory of the flannel board whether it was at church or in school. This was the tool of use when you couldn’t put on a puppet show.
The flannel board consists of a board that sits on an easel and is covered in a flannel material that may have been a solid color or a scenic background. Flannel cutout characters could be placed on the board and it would stick. Sunday school teachers used this amazing technology to illustrate bible stories every week. It was simple, but it was visual and interactive. If your class had a flannel board, you can easily recall Peter being placed on the board looking confused as Jesus said something brilliant. You might remember the teach adding a flannel tomb and a second piece of flannel that look like a stone. Sometimes the teacher would let the student roll the stone away from the tomb.
This was children’s ministry before the church could afford screens in every classroom. Today a flannel board costs about twelve bucks. You can purchase characters and scenic bits cheaply too. This simple ministry tool went a long way and was customizable for the student curriculum. Compare this to what we have today: We purchased a video series with handouts and powerpoint templates. Our ministries have been moved to the big screen!
I think we are losing something here. In a culture addicted to screens, we simply offer them another screen. Long live the flannel board!