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Oriental Trading

Does Sunday School Really Matter?

Does Sunday School Really Matter?

Is Bible Class really all that important? For us, bible class is about bible study, a deep dive into God’s message.  Have you ever noticed that the more time you spend in scripture, the easier it is to behave like a Christian? It becomes second nature. Ever noticed that you gain a better understanding of who God is and find that those tough questions aren’t as tough to answer anymore? Bible classes help get us to these understandings.

For my elementary children, the goal is to teach them the biblical accounts, or stories, so they develop a better understanding of who God is, His character and His plan for us. After elementary, we want to stress the principles from these stories and later see that these stories teach us how to live. The bible holds the answers to life’s tough stuff, and let’s face it, these days, our kids are dealing with a lot of tough stuff from cyberbulling and social media fame to sexual identity and suicide! Bible class is one area where the church can partner with parents to help build this solid foundation in Christ. 

So, is bible class really important? Absolutely! There is nothing, and I mean nothing more important that our souls, than our children’s souls. If nothing is more important, than we should be taking every opportunity available to build our spiritual walks, our relationship with God. Sure sleep, sports and education matter, but they have their place. Always stay focused on what is truly important.

I will leave you with a few words from the wisest of all…

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” (NIV) 

2 Timothy 3:14-17, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NIV) 

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!

Don’t Let Fear Slow Your KidMin

Don’t Let Fear Slow Your KidMin

Fear. When is the last time you found yourself afraid of something? How about the kids in your children’s ministry? Fear is a natural emotion felt by all ages. Fear often causes people to make some really bad choices. Taking lying for example. Typically, a person lies when they are afraid of the consequences from the truth. Theft? When someone is afraid of losing their house, not being able to keep the electricity on or food on the table, they have a choice to make. Sometimes, stealing is the answer chosen. For students, how about cheating? When afraid of failing, the temptation to turn to cheating is very real.

Jesus gives us an excellent example of fear that hurts. He told a story about three men given an opportunity by their master.  How did they do? As you read, pay attention to the third servant. Matthew 25:14-30 says:

14 “At that time God’s kingdom will also be like a man leaving home to travel to another place for a visit. Before he left, he talked with his servants. He told his servants to take care of his things while he was gone. 15 He decided how much each servant would be able to care for. The man gave one servant five bags of money.[a] He gave another servant two bags. And he gave a third servant one bag. Then he left.16 The servant who got five bags went quickly to invest the money. Those five bags of money earned five more. 17 It was the same with the servant who had two bags. That servant invested the money and earned two more. 18 But the servant who got one bag of money went away and dug a hole in the ground. Then he hid his master’s money in the hole.

19 “After a long time the master came home. He asked the servants what they did with his money. 20 The servant who got five bags brought that amount and five more bags of money to the master. The servant said, ‘Master, you trusted me to care for five bags of money. So I used them to earn five more.’

21 “The master answered, ‘You did right. You are a good servant who can be trusted. You did well with that small amount of money. So I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my happiness with me.’

22 “Then the servant who got two bags of money came to the master. The servant said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of money to care for. So I used your two bags to earn two more.’

23 “The master answered, ‘You did right. You are a good servant who can be trusted. You did well with a small amount of money. So I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my happiness with me.’

24 “Then the servant who got one bag of money came to the master. The servant said, ‘Master, I knew you were a very hard man. You harvest what you did not plant. You gather crops where you did not put any seed. 25 So I was afraid. I went and hid your money in the ground. Here is the one bag of money you gave me.’

26 “The master answered, ‘You are a bad and lazy servant! You say you knew that I harvest what I did not plant and that I gather crops where I did not put any seed. 27 So you should have put my money in the bank. Then, when I came home, I would get my money back. And I would also get the interest that my money earned.’

28 “So the master told his other servants, ‘Take the one bag of money from that servant and give it to the servant who has ten bags.29 Everyone who uses what they have will get more. They will have much more than they need. But people who do not use what they have will have everything taken away from them.’ 30 Then the master said, ‘Throw that useless servant outside into the darkness, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.’

The third servant given the one bag of money was afraid of what his master would do to him if he lost it. He was so fearful that instead of trying to do something positive with it, he simply hid it and waited.  If you are in children’s ministry, God has entrusted you with his little children. What are you doing to reach these kids? Are you playing it so safe that you cannot get their attention or are you trying new things, trusting God to help you?

Children are important to our Heavenly Father. Continue to pray for his hand in guiding them, and their parents. Our society is changing and it often takes creativity to get through to kids these days. Don’t be afraid to try new things.  If they aren’t working, change them again. Find something that works and don’t worry, God is with you if you are including him.

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