Halloween brings about some pretty interesting debates among churches. Regardless of whether or not you believe Halloween should be celebrated as a Christian, we can all agree that kids come out in slews for this popular holiday. These kids are the churched and the unchurched. The way I see it, Halloween is another opportunity to share God with those who otherwise would not be available for you to share otherwise.
Parents look for safe venues to take their kids for Halloween and churches often times make their way to the top of the list! How can we as a church make this an amazing outreach opportunity? What can we do to motivate our children to bring their friends to learn about God? How can we open the eyes of the unchurched to see God while enlightening our churched children? Here are just a few ideas!
- Trunk-or-Treat: Have a number of members, or ministries within the congregation, decorate a trunk that goes along with a bible story or message. Some great examples The Witch of Endor, Ezekiel and the Valley of Dry Bones, All 10 Plagues, Noah’s Ark, or F.R.O.G. (Fully Rely on God). The ideas are endless! Kids can simply travel from trunk to trunk for treats or better yet, have an activity at each one along with a treat. Each year, I have a FROG trunk and the kids hit a mallet on wood to make flies leap into the frogs mouth. Another trunk we have is Fishers of Men where the kids “fish” for their treat. And another I plan on trying soon is The Witch of Endor where kids “pick” the witches nose to pull out snot (just slime). Be creative! (By the way, we do not compete with Halloween. Ours is always prior to the holiday itself.)
- Fall Festival: This may be combined with Trunk-or-Treat or stand alone. Rent a bounce house, perhaps a train ride or a simple hay ride. Offer hot dogs and chips. Then have games spread out for kids. They can toss glow necklaces around pumpkin stems, bob for apples, and more. Pinterest is full of great activities for a festival!
- Jack-O-Lantern Carving: Invite families to come carve a Jack-O-Lantern followed by a short devotional about the Pumpkin Prayer while having snacks. Have several start times on a Saturday and have fun!
- Midweek “Scary Bible Stories” Classes throughout the month of October: Post signs and send out Facebook advertisements to the community. Bring your flashlight to class, turn out all the lights, let kids gather in a circle under a sheet while you tell a scary bible story by flashlight. They love this! After story time, review the story and remind them that they do not need to be afraid because they have God! Then, wrap up with a fun group game.
Whatever exciting method you choose to reach the community this Halloween, don’t forget one of the most important parts- get contact information so you can follow up! One year we held a drawing for a $50 grocery card. This year we are handing out a book, “Scary Bible Stories to Tell in the Dark,” with a cute little flashlight from Oriental Trading. To qualify, they must be provide their name, kids name(s) and grade levels along with an email address. This way, I can send an email once a month (not much more so we do not annoy) with a message of encouragement and information on upcoming events as well as Bible Class Topics for kids and parents.
Print your own copy of “Scary Bible Stories to Tell in the Dark” and make as many copies as you’d like. (Subscribe here to download. Members received a link in their email recently, but email me if you don’t see it.)
Download a copy of the Pumpkin Prayer.
Purchase mini flashlights from Oriental Trading Co (Note: You will need to add an AA battery to each one. I did not realize this when I ordered but once I put it in, I love them!)
God has breathed life into all Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. By using Scripture, the servant of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing. -2 Timothy 3:16
God’s word. What an amazing gift we have. It provides us with comfort when we hurt, direction when lost, encouragement when down, peace when in turmoil, instruction when in need of answers and so much more. By following God’s word we can find joy, peace, contentment… a fulfilling life. Now for the fun part- helping our children to see the value in knowing God’s word and how to find what we are looking for in the scriptures.
As we teach our children what is in the scriptures, we should teach them where they are learning from. For instance, when teaching creation, how we got here, we should teach them that this is all found in the Old Testament book of Genesis. When we are teaching about the life of Christ, we should teach them to search the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. As they grow older, knowing this will help them know where to turn in the bible when they need to. Of course, we have Google! As often as I use Google, I have found that this knowledge is often helpful.
Have you ever noticed people searching through their bibles trying to find the book the teacher has asked the class to turn to? I do not work on a lot of memorization, but I do repeatedly teach the books of the bible to our kindergarten through fifth grades. Not only is this beneficial, but the kids have fun learning (at least the way we teach them) and are proud of their accomplishment when they can say all 66 books! We sing the songs each week. Then our lower grades pull a card, a ball, a paper airplane or banana with a book of the bible listed and tell me if the book is found in the old or new testament. Then they make a basket, soar through a hoop or feed the monkey. Our older kids race to find the books in their bibles. As the kids get good at this, they start to tell me the name of the books that come before and after the one they chose.
Memorizing the books of the bible is not essential to a person’s salvation, but it will help in finding the answers they need when situations arise. Let’s prepare our kids.
How can a young person keep their life pure? By living according to your word. -Psalm 119:9
If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy reading “Is Memorization Still Important?“
Ever find yourself running short on time to prepare for bible class but want something that interests the kids? Yep! It happens to the best of us. This week I came across the perfect bible story telling solution! I bought several dry erase pocket sleeves (a set of 12 was only $15). Then I bought some fun erasers because they will get the kids attention quickly! I have dry erase markers in the class for the kids already for other activities. All that was left was for me to fill them with an activity sheet to go along with our lesson. So easy and can be used over and over again.
I write my own lessons so I simply added some words and pictures with instructions on what to do with each item. (I’ll attach both so you can see what I mean.) As the kids went through the lesson, they were fully engaged. No time to design your own? No problem. Draw a handful of boxes on a page, make copies and slide it in. Instruct kids on what to draw with each part of the lesson. Another way I plan to use these is for a modernized method of working puzzles. Simply make copies of word finds, mazes, connect the dots and more. Slip them into the pockets and kids have an assortment of puzzles to work. They just trade as they finish. Sure, you can make a bunch of copies and they can use pencils or crayons, but this way gets them excited because it’s different. We want kids excited about bible class and sharing it with friends.
Here’s the lesson that goes with activity you see in the video:
- We are learning from the book of 1 Kings. Is this in the Old or New Testament? TRACE K-I-N-G-S
- (Acts 13:22) King David was a man who loved God very much. The bible says he was a man after God’s own heart. Even though David messed up sometimes, he always told God he was sorry and God was always with him. TRACE the heart
- (1 Kings 3:1-15) King David grew old and died. His son Solomon became the next king. God told him he could have anything. Solomon did not ask for tons of gold or money. He did not ask for a big palace or a long life either. No, Solomon asked for something even more valuable than all of those thing. He asked for wisdom so he could lead God’s people wisely. TRACE the “W” for Wisdom
- (1 King 5:1-9) When the King Hiram of Tyre heard Solomon was the new king, he was pleased so he sent him a message. King Solomon sent back a message asking for cedar and juniper logs. What did King Solomon need all this wood for? He was building God’s temple, a place for God to live among the Israelites. So King Hiram floated them by rafts across the sea and then Solomon had men get them and bring them on land. Draw the water for the logs to float in. What were these logs for? Building the temple.
- (1 Kings 6:1-13) After four years as king, Solomon began building the Lord’s temple. God said to Solomon, “If you obey me and keep my commands, I will fulfill my promise to your father David and live among the Israelites. I will not abandon them.” What did God say? (1 King 6:14-29) The temple was very special. Why? Because this is where God would live. Wouldn’t you want to make God’s home perfect and amazing? I know I sure would! In the place where the ark of the covenant would be, Solomon overlaid the inside with pure cold. He made a pair of cherubim out of olive wood stretching from wall to wall. Give the cherubim wings. He spent SEVEN years building it. How long? 7 years!
- (1 Kings 7:1, 51-8:1) When all the work for the temple was finished, he brought in the things his father had dedicated, the silver and gold, and placed them in the treasuries of the temple. Then King Solomon summoned the elders of Israel, the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the families to Jerusalem. He wanted them to bring the ark of the covenant from Zion, the City of David. What did he want them to bring to the temple? The ark of the covenant. Draw two long poles to carry the ark of the covenant.
- (1 Kings 8:3-11) So that’s just what happened. Who remembers who must carry the ark? Only the priests. Does anyone remember what tribe they were from? Priest came from the tribe of Levi. They carried the ark on the long poles. Nothing was in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it. TRACE the stone tablets for the 10 commandments. When the priests left the Holy Place where the ark was being kept now the cloud filled the temple. Wow! The glory of the Lord filled His temple!
- (1 Kings 8:12-62) In front of everyone, King Solomon praised God. He said, “Lord, the God of Israel, there is not God like you in heaven above or on earth below.” (vs 23) DRAW more clouds. Is there anyone more amazing than God? Anywhere? No way!
- (1 Kings 9:4-8) God reminded Solomon that if he walked faithfully and obediently like his father and never serve other gods, then God would be with them and he’d be successful. BUT, if they turned from God then God would reject them. What did they have to do for God to always be with them? Obey God and not serve any other gods. TRACE “O-B-E-Y”
- (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Remember how Solomon was making the temple beautiful and lining it with gold? Why? Because that was where God would live. Did you now that in the New Testament things changed? God does not live in the temple Solomon built. Nope! He said that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. God lives in So our bodies are special and we need to honor God with our bodies. That means we should not use our bodies for bad things. DRAW a stick man body.
Summary: Solomon was the wisest king to every live. He built a temple for God to live in among His people, the Israelites. God told him that if they obey, He will be with them. If they serve other gods, God will turn away from them. Today God does not live in a building lined with gold. He is lives in us! That means God is ALWAYS with us and helping us make wise choices like Solomon.
If you like this, you may enjoy more on activity mats. Read here.
I recently had a brother and sister in a small group setting. He is in the third grade and his little sister is in pre-school. While playing with gooey green slime as we talked about Solomon’s wisdom the little girl laughed as she said, “This looks like boogers.”
She has a propensity for putting things in her mouth so I said, “It sure does, but let’s not eat the boogers.”
Her brother chimed in, “Oh, my sister never eats her boogers.”
And little sister jumps in proudly, “Yes I do! I eat my boogers all the time.”
Kids love slime. They cannot seem to get enough of it. Every time I think it’s getting old, kids beg to make slime and take it home. I am a huge believer in making bible class fun so I added slime to the rotation! As I tell a bible story, I stop after every couple of sentences to ask reinforcement questions AND have the create something that has to do with what I just said. For example, when I tell the story of Solomon’s wisdom, we begin with the him becoming a king so they make a king’s crown. Then we talk about two woman fighting over a baby so they may make the number two or perhaps a baby rattle. Getting the idea? They use a fun activity like slime to make the bible lesson click.
Slime is really easy to make! You have probably already made some before being in children’s ministry, but just in case, here’s my go to recipe and links to purchase on Amazon for ease (however the local Wal-Mart will have everything you need too):
Supplies per person: ¼ c glue, ¼ c liquid starch, optional food coloring, bowl, spoon, hand wipes
- Mix starch and food coloring (optional)
- Add glue, stirring with spoon. It will form a glob.
- When it is all sticking together, use hands to kneed for 2 – 3 minutes
*Use different types of glue. Clear glue and no food coloring, glow-in-the-dark glue, glitter glue… you get the idea.