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Oriental Trading

This One Event Grew Bible Class by Over 300%

This One Event Grew Bible Class by Over 300%

Bible Science is my favorite time of the year because it is so much fun, kids beg for it and it brings children to church that might not have come otherwise. We saw an increase in mid-week attendance of over 300% on our first night! Sounds really cool when I put it like that! We typically have about a half dozen kindergarten through fifth graders on Wednesday nights during the school year. The first night of Bible Science brought in 20 kids.

Wednesday nights during the school year are hard for parents of elementary children.  By the time evening rolls around, they are worn out! Then there’s dinner to prepare. Did the kids finish their homework? Project? Did one of the kids just say they have a project due tomorrow? Then there’s bath time and bedtime. Whew! And that’s if there aren’t any sports practices or games that night too. Needless to say, getting kids to bible class during the week is not high on the list of things to do.

But that’s during the school year. Summer is a whole other story! They will come, but only if there’s something compelling them. For me, it’s Bible Science.  Every summer I host an 8-week series, one and half hours a night on Wednesday nights. We start with sugar free snow cones on the playground followed up with a hands-on science experiment, applicable bible lesson and a game. Kids beg for it all year long! This gives parents enough time to run an errand, relax, or attend a class for them.

Bible Science is easy. Just pick an age appropriate experiment; Pinterest is full of them. Make sure to test if first. Tie it to a bible lesson and you are ready to go! I have a Bible Science Creation series that I put into a course and it will be available July 1, 2019. You can download the curriculum, watch the experiments, get ideas for how to structure your program for your size and budget, and learn ways to promote your program. Run an 8-week series like me, set up a day camp, or more. Link to purchase coming soon.

This is not part of the Creation curriculum, but it’s one you can try with your kids to see what you think. I have one student that asks all the time if we can do this one again!

Sparkling Wool: “Spread the Word” (Acts 13:49; Luke 6:12-16 – 12)

NOTE: This experiment should be done outdoors on solid ground such as a parking lot or sidewalks (not grass). Also, you may want to have a fire extinguisher on hand (although we have never come close to needing it).

Supplies:  Steel Wool , Aluminum Foil, 9V Battery (Kids may share)

  • STEP 1: Make sure everyone has their supplies: Steel Wool and Foil (Don’t pass out batteries until you are ready for them to use them.)
  • STEP 2: Begin splitting apart the steel wool, loosen it up, spread it out.
  • STEP 3: Now, wrap it up into a loose ball
  • STEP 4: Place in the center of your aluminum foil. STEP 5: Now, pass out batteries. Touch the end of the battery to the steel wool in a few places. It will begin to spark. (Pass the battery to the next person for use.)
  • STEP 5: Stand back and watch the sparks spread all over the wool. What just happened? We transferred the energy from the battery to the steel wool. This created sparks that kept traveling all throughout the steel wool.

 BIBLE LESSON: In Acts 13:49, we read, “The word of the Lord spread through the whole area.” What spread? God’s word!

Now we will learn about some very special people who made it their mission to spread God’s word. We are learning from the New Testament book of Luke. Luke is one of the four gospels that teaches us about the life of Jesus.

At about that same time Jesus climbed a mountain to pray. He was there all night in prayer before God. The next day he summoned his disciples; from them he selected twelve he designated as apostles: How many did he choose as his apostles? 12

Jesus gathered his disciples together and from those, he picked 12 for a special job. After Jesus had died and risen from the dead, this was the mission he gave them (Mark 16:15-16): 15He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. What was their mission? To tell the whole world about Jesus.

The names of the first 12 apostles were: Simon, whom he named Peter, Andrew, his brother, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, son of Alphaeus, Simon, called the Zealot, Judas, son of James, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

BIBLE APPLICATION In our experiment, the steel wool is all the people in the world around us. The battery is us. When we touch one person with the word of God, it starts a chain reaction. That spark creates another and another and another. This is just like when we share God’s love with someone. They get excited and share it with someone else and that person shares it with another and it just keeps going. Who can you share God’s love with? (Family, friends, neighbors….)

If you try this, I would love to hear how it went!

Prayer Cards for Kids

Prayer Cards for Kids

Prayer cards for kids are a simple way to engage kids, to get them thinking about what they are praying for.

Even for many adults, prayer does not come naturally and when adults do pray, it is often an afterthought. We know that we cannot have a real relationship with someone we do not communicate with. Meaningful relationships are a two-way street. As children’s ministry leaders and parents, we need to help impress this into our kids hearts and minds. How does God talk to us? He speaks through His word and through prayer. The Holy Spirit lives in us, guiding us. And how do we talk to God? All kids seem to get this one right. Through prayer!

We want our children to understand that yes, we should set aside time to specifically meditate and talk to God. We also want them to know that they can be talking to God all day long. They can share their joys and triumphs and their fears and troubles. God is there for us in all of life.

This past week I had our kindergarten through fifth graders make a prayer hand book to take home and look over everyday when taking time to pray. It’s so simple! All they needed was a piece of paper, colored pencils and scissors. I used construction paper so kids could pick their color. Steps:

  1. Fold paper in half
  2. Place hand up against the fold and trace
  3. Cut out hand
  4. Write on front “Dear God”
  5. Open and write or draw pictures of things they are thankful for on one side and things they need help with on the other.

The idea is to get kids thinking about God in their lives. What has God blessed them with. What can God help them with? Do they really believe God can help them? This little craft isn’t the end all, be all; but, it is one way to reinforce prayer.

Serve by Encouraging Our Missionaries

Serve by Encouraging Our Missionaries

Teach Sunday School children to serve God by encouraging our missionaries. Download and print foldable cards for kids to color and personalize then mail to missionaries.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Mark 16:15

Have you ever gone into a class full of children and asked the question, “What is a missionary?”  How many kids new the answer and how many had no idea? Earlier this year I asked this very question and very few new about missionaries. What an incredible opportunity I was given to share with kindergarten through fifth graders the amazing sacrifices people make to share the word of God with others. Then, they got to serve God by encouraging our missionaries.

We have done a card-making activity several times this year and the missionaries have absolutely loved and appreciated receiving cards from our K-5th grade children. I let kids choose colored paper to fold and draw pictures for missionaries. I listed several options of things they could write inside the cards. This week are doing something a little different for our missionaries in Jamaica. (Can you imagine being a missionary in Jamaica?) I decided to design six options with the words already typed out. Kids get to color the letters, add some pictures inside and my older kids can write more personalized notes inside too. It keeps it simple, legible and still teaching the kids to serve by encouraging others who serve God. Here’s a link to download the printable cards I’m using if you are interested. Just print and fold! Printable Cards for Missionaries

Our small groups are now looking at “adopting” a missionary to stay in regular contact with. My small group is full of children so we will try some other ideas in the future, but for now, we will keep the cards coming. If you don’t have a missionary to support and would like some names, send me an email. Our congregations works with quite a few that would love the encouragement!

Ring the Bell Sunday School Kids Game for ANY Lesson

Ring the Bell Sunday School Kids Game for ANY Lesson

Coming up with new ways to make bible class an exciting place for kids is not always easy. Then when you find a winner, they eventually grow tired of it. This week I tried something new with our Sunday School kids and they asked excitedly if we could do it again next week. When they are asking, you know you have a winner, at least for a little while.

I love games about the bible and this one is so simple! All you need is a pair of call bells. I divided my bible lesson into eight pieces making sure to have a question after each short reading. Then it was time for “Last One Standing” played Family Feud style.

How to Play: Set out two bells Family Feud style. Just before you read each section, have two kids come up to the bells, put one hand on the table next to the bell and the other behind their back. Now, read the section, ask the question. The first to ring the bell gets to answer (but you can’t ask any more of the question once the bell is rung). If they answer right, they stay and face off with the next person. If wrong, the opponent gets to guess. If wrong, they sit out. Let’s see who’s the last one standing. Oh, and if they ring the bell more than once, they lose that round. Here’s an example of what I did this past week:

  1. (Matthew 4:12-17, Mark 1:14-15) Jesus heard that his cousin John was thrown in prison. Remember, John had been baptizing people and telling them about Jesus.  Now that he is in prison Jesus left Nazareth and went to Galilee.  He lived by a lake in Capernaum.  A long time ago, before Jesus was ever born, the prophet Isaiah said this would happen! Now Jesus was telling people, “Repent and believe the good news!”  What message was Jesus teaching? Repent and believe the good news.
  2. (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16)  One day, Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee and see two brothers named Simon Peter and Andrew.  They were fishermen so they were busy casting their nets into the lake to catch fish.  Where was Jesus walking? By the Sea of Galilee.
  3. (Matthew 4:19-22; Mark 1:17-20) Jesus said, “Come, follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.”  They immediately left their nets and followed Jesus.  A little further down, Jesus saw James and his brother John fishing. He told them the same thing and they left their father and his helpers in the boat and followed Jesus too. Jesus called his first four disciples. Who were they? Peter, Andrew, James & John
  4. (Luke 4:14-15) News about Jesus had spread all over Galilee. Jesus was teaching in their synagogues and everyone praised him.  But then Jesus went back to Nazareth. This is where Jesus was raised when he was little.  Where did Jesus grow up? Nazareth.
  5.  (Luke 4:16-21) On the Sabbath day, Jesus went to the synagogue and stood up to read. Someone handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah so he unrolled it and read, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he anointed me to share the good news.” And read a little more, then rolled it back up and said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled.” It was the Sabbath day. What was Jesus doing in the synagogue? Reading (from the scroll of Isaiah).
  6. (Luke 4:22-23) Everyone said good things about him and were amazed saying, “Isn’t that Joseph’s son?” They knew Jesus when he was just a little boy and now Jesus was calling himself a prophet? They were thrilled! Jesus would make their lives easier, right? How did the people know Jesus? He grew up around them.
  7. (Luke 4:24) Jesus realized what they were thinking. They had it all wrong! He was there to save them from sin, not fix their problems on earth. Jesus got their attention when he said, “No prophet is accepted in his hometown.” What was Jesus there to do? Save them from sin.
  8. (Luke 4:25-30) Jesus just compared them to the faithless Jews of Elijah and Elisha’s time. They were mad now and chased him out of town. Why were they mad? Jesus compared them to people that did not have faith.

You can add questions at the end to review more even adding in things from past lessons. Our bible class kids were listening intently, learning from God’s word and LOVING it! This is how we begin building a love for God in our children and as they grow older, they will have the word of God in their hearts and minds to refer back to as they need it.

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Plastic Wrap Bible Fun

Plastic Wrap Bible Fun

This past Sunday went fantastic in my children’s bible classes. Why? Because they had FUN! Our lesson was about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness; but you can use this activity for ANY lesson.

Remember the game at Christmas everyone was playing where tons of mini gifts were wrapped in a ball of cellophane? It was passed around a circle for everyone to unwrap the cellophane until they came to a prize that they kept and then passed the ball on. It continued until all the prizes, or gifts, were unwrapped and claimed.

I simply used this idea for a bible lesson and the kids had a blast. I had my lesson and divided it into sections. Then I selected toys and candy prizes. If the toy related to the lesson I used it as it was. For instance, I had a prayer rock for turning rocks into bread. For other parts of the lesson that I did not have a toy for, I printed a picture that related and glued it to candy (and gum). Then, as the kids unwrapped, we would stop at each item and tell that part of the story. We made it through the entire ball of cellophane with excitement and anticipation… what was coming up next! (Just remember to wrap your items up backward so the last item is wrapped first.)

Give it a try. It is so easy!

Crafty Thursday-Triumphant Entry Donkey Balloon

Crafty Thursday-Triumphant Entry Donkey Balloon

As many of us get ready for Easter and the events leading up to it, here’s a great craft for kids introducing them to Palm Sunday. Jesus enters Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey the week before his crucifixion. The disciples spread their cloaks on the donkey for Jesus to sit on. Many people came out to welcome Jesus. They laid their cloaks and palm branches before him and praised him.

Have fun teaching kids about “The Triumphant Entry” of Jesus entering into Jerusalem fulfilling another prophesy by making a fun balloon donkey on a stick or string to walk down halls after class. Talk with them about why he may have chosen a donkey instead of a horse. Teach them about Jesus being a servant and relating to the people. (Matthew 21:1-11)

What you’ll need: Balloon, Donkey template, scissors, tape, string (and colors if you’d like kids to color their donkey first)

  1. Print copies of the donkey template on card stock.
  2. Cut out donkey then color if you’d like.
  3. Blow up balloon to desired size
  4. Tape donkey head, legs and tail to balloon.
  5. Tape string or stick to balloon.
  6. Now you’ve got a donkey to walk down the halls and when asked what the donkey is for, kids should be ready to share the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey!

Check out more kids crafts here.