SpongeBob Celebrates 20 Years of Programming And What We Can Learn From It

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?  Of course, it's SpongeBob Squarepants.  The animated series first aired in May 1999.  It has become Nickelodeon's highest rated and critically acclaimed television show of all time.

Let's look at some of the reasons why SpongeBob is so popular with kids and their families.

1. Friendship.  The show presents what true friendship looks like.  Some of SpongeBob's friends include Patrick the Star Fish, Squidward Tenacles, Mr. Krabs and more.

Children (and adults) are looking for friends.  Good friends.  Friends that will stick by their side and walk with them through the ups and downs of life.

Churches that want to appeal to and reach kids and their families should be big proponents of making friendships.  This can be accomplished through small groups, activities, serving projects, family mission trips and more.

Take a cue from SpongeBob and make friendships a big, big deal at your church.  Every child should have a friend(s) at church that misses them when they are absent.  Every adult should have a close friend(s) who holds them accountable, prays with them and journeys through life by their side.

2. Comic relief from the hectic pace and problems of life.  The show is filled with lots of laughter and fun.  Kids (and adults) can sit back, just enjoy the show and relax.  One adult fan said, "As a kid, SpongeBob was my favorite. As an adult, SpongeBob is still my favorite.  Anytime I'm having a bad day and just need some pure, innocent, joy: SpongeBob is where I turn."

Church should be an enjoyable place where kids and their parents can come, rest, be spiritually refilled and encouraged in the presence of God.

3. Kids and parents can enjoy watching the show together.  The show is written for a general audience, not just for kids.  Kids can relate to the characters on the show.  Parents laugh at the quirky comedy that is geared for them.  And SpongeBob even came out with a line of cosmetics for parents as well.

Host some family events, services, outings, projects or other ways of bringing kids and their parents together to worship and serve Jesus.

4.  The appeal of nature to kids.  Steve Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob, was a marine biology teacher before stepping into the world of animation.  He created Spongebob based on his experiences of seeing children's awe of sponges and starfish.  Kids love all things nature.

There are so many stories in the Bible about nature including animals.  Kids will love it when you bring nature into your lessons.  Horses.  Big Fish.  Donkey.  Fig trees.  Snakes.  Pigs.  Wilderness.  Mountains.  Lions.  Bears.  Flowers.  Burning Bushes.

Use nature in your lessons.  Jesus did this as well when he talked about fish, birds, flowers and more.

Here's a great lesson series to check out for this.  It's called "Amazing Animals" and features the legendary animal expert Jack Hanna.  It was filmed at the Columbus Zoo.

So there's a few lessons we can learn from the SpongeBob show.  And hopefully his song won't be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

What do you think about SpongeBob and his show?  Share your comments with us in the comment section below.