Promoting Jesus? When there’s so much on the web these days, how do we stand out and get seen by the right people? I will happily share my recent experience.
This summer is my fourth year of hosting a Bible Science program. This is my favorite thing to do all year, every year. It creates an excitement in kids that has them enjoying their time learning about God. In the past few years I announced the program to our church families and printed fliers that we passed out at our weekly food pantry. This brought in a good number of kids. I was thrilled.
This year my husband recommended I try some Facebook advertising. Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? I designed a simple advertisement. Facebook let me select my target audience. I chose parents of elementary aged children in my town. It was a simple as that. I used MailChimp to auto send responses with more information about our program. Amazing! Parents responded and kids who had never been to our congregation signed up for information and better yet, they came! And they came back!
Every week I send out an email with a video showing the experiment their kids will be doing and how we will tie that into God’s word. I’ll do just about anything to get kids excited about God! First I’ve got to get them in the door, then I can share His message. What methods of promoting have worked for you? As always, I am looking for the best ways to reach kids and their parents.
Here’s what went out this week: (This one is a little pricey, but they flock to slime!)
Want to make your own? Here’s what I used:
1/4 cup Glue
1/4 cup Liquid Starch (See what it is, but it’s less expensive to pick up at grocery store)
2 TB Iron Oxide
Strong Magnet (I used N52 bars, but they come in all shapes and sizes)
- Mix starch and iron oxide in bowl
- Add glue and stir with spoon. It will form a glob.
- When it is all sticking together, use hands to kneed for 2 – 3 minutes
- Set on clean plate
- Wash hands with hand wipe and let dry before touching slime
- Now, when you pick up the slime, your hands should stay clean.
- Use magnet to attract the slime
Discuss the experiment. What did they do? What happened? (Magnet was attracted to the Iron oxide in the slime)
Let’s talk about attraction. What are we attracted to? Is it good stuff, bad stuff, both? (Discuss)
As God’s people, we should try to stay away from bad stuff. What are some bad things we really like to do, but should stay away from? (Lying, Fighting with siblings, saying mean things, watching things we shouldn’t, playing games that people say lots of bad words on… I’m sure the kids will have plenty of examples)
Hold up two magnets. One magnet represents the bad stuff we just talked about. The other represents God’s people being obedient, staying away from bad things. (Hold magnets on ends that push away from each other.)
As God’s people, we should be attracted to God and all the good things that come from God. What are some good things from God we should be attracted to, things we should want in our lives? (Good friends, our family).
If we are attracted to good stuff, people will see this good stuff come from us! Let’s take a look at the “good stuff” we should be attracted to and want to have in our lives. Read Galatians 5:22-26: (There are lots of short video’s on YouTube you may want to show your kids.)
22 But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23 and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful desires to his cross. They don’t want these things anymore. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become proud. Let us not make each other angry. Let us not want what belongs to others
What are the fruits of the spirit?
Do the fruits of the spirit grow on trees? No.
Where do they grow? In God’s people.
The Fruit of God’s spirit lets other people know that we are God’s people because just like an apple grows on an apple tree, the fruits of the spirit grow in a Christian. When we are drawn to evil, good things won’t show. When we are drawn to, or attracted to, good things, those good things will show in us.
This is my fourth summer teaching Bible Science to K-5th graders every Wednesday night in the summer. The first year I did this our classes doubled in size! That was incredible. The kids LOVED it. They got to play with their friends on the play ground, eat pizza, do science experiments followed by an applicable bible lesson. I have to admit, every week I went home worn out, but absolutely loved what I was seeing from the kids. They were excited to learn God’s word. Well, they were excited about the “fun” stuff and God’s word was intertwined; it was the whole purpose and they were enjoying it.
So what is Bible Science? It is taking a simple science experiment to draw kids in and capture their attention so they are receptive to God’s word. I have heard of teachers performing the experiment at the head of class while everyone watches, but I prefer to let everyone participate. If they are hands on, they are more engaged and in turn, more likely to remember what’s being taught. Some experiments everyone does it themselves and then there are others that are better suited for small groups of 2-3 kids, especially if my kindergartens will struggle with parts of the experiment.
Every Wednesday night I start a half hour before bible classes are scheduled for our congregation. The first two years we served pizza on the playground for 30 minutes, but the Texas heat made snow cones much more desirable. So, I bought a snow cone machine and the kids can’t believe they get all the snow cones they want for FREE! This draws in others from our community too. Some kids arrive before me and then they trickle in. The next 30 minutes are dedicated to the science experiment. Make sure to test the experiments before you get there. It’s not much fun for the kids when the experiment fails (unless something exploded that wasn’t supposed to, of course). The last 30 minutes are dedicated to a bible lesson, singing, and sometimes reinforcement games. That’s it! Simple and highly effective. So, here’s the overview of the evening again:
30 minutes: Playground and Snow Cones (or whatever you choose to offer)
30 minutes: Hands on science experiment
30 minutes: Applicable bible lesson, singing and sometimes reinforcement games
This past Wednesday we played with fire. Yes, we are aloud to light things on fire in Bible Science and the kids get fired up about it! I have the youth come help out with this part. I partner each group of two to three K-5th graders with a high school student. This helps a ton! Here’s a look at last week’s experiment and how we applied it to God’s word:
Next week we will play with dry ice, another we will explode a mix, we experiment with magnets and more. The idea is to keep it interesting so they keep coming back for more! For those interested, I’ll have a book of experiments with lessons out late this summer. I’ve had this request quite a bit so I’m finally getting it together!! These are great for a weekly summer program, a week of day camps, a Saturday event during the school year and more! It’s all about getting kids to come participate so you can share God with them.
Supplies for this experiment:
Unscented Tealight Candles 30 Pack-White-By CandleNScent(TM)
AmazonBasics Pre-sharpened Wood Cased #2 HB Pencils, 150 Pack
Glad Aluminum Foil, 40 Square Foot Roll, 12 Inches Wide
I like to use Play Floam to teach my K-5th graders bible lessons. Best of all, they LOVE it! I am often asked, “What is Floam and where do I get it?” I thought I’d take today to share the answers to these questions.
I get mine from Amazon for about $8 a set of 8. The kids like to mix it together. I don’t mind because I divide it back up and they all end up with the same multi color ball of Floam! Here’s a link for Educational Insights PlayFoam Combo 8 Pack.
Watch a video overview. It’s not fancy, but will give you an idea of what it is. You’ll see. It’s not messy at all!
Learning stinks, right? Most kids think they do not enjoy learning, they do not want to go to school much less bible class. Like most of us though, they love learning when the love how they are learning. They learn best when they are having so much fun they do not realize they are learning. That’s the trick! As teachers and parents of God’s word, we have our work cut out for us. We must get creative in our teaching.
Reach all three major learning styles with one simple activity- a bible puppet theater. First, you share the lesson using your finger puppets to tell the story. Your finger puppet may be the student and you, the teacher, talk to the puppet. You tell the puppet the bible story while asking questions all along the way. Your finger puppet answers with amazement. And when the puppet does not know the answer, it simply asks the class! Get them involved. You reach the visual learner as they watch the puppets in action. The auditory learner hears the story and gets to answer some questions along the way. The kinesthetic learner is about to learn the way they do best now. You’ve been an example to this theater, it’s time to create theirs. It’s so easy!
1. Cut along all the dotted lines. This will separate the puppets from the stage and it gives your theater its windows.
2. Glue or tape your toilet paper rolls (or other items) to create the stand for your theater. These should tape to the back (unless the kids decorate them to be a part of the stage- Roman pillars?)
3. Now, decorate the finger puppets.
4. Cut them out.
5. Measure around kids fingers and tape to fit.
6. And there you have it! A finger puppet theater.
7. Let kids partner up to present the lesson. They decide who is the finger teacher and finger student.
God’s word is exciting and so very important; so let’s make learning about Him something our kids look forward to. And let’s try to create something with them they won’t leave on the seats at church or toss the minute they get home. Our goal is to keep God in their thoughts. After all, they play “superhero” make believe with each other; so why not reenacting bible stories?
I recently shared with you characteristics of an auditory learner and ways to effectively teach them God’s word (View it here). I thought we’d have some fun and make some stringed phones for you to try with your class. Tin cans look cool, but paper ones work best (and are easier) so that’s what I will do here.
Step 1: You will need your supplies. It’s just 2 paper cups and string (as long as you’d like). Oh, and something to poke a hole in each cup. I used a pencil tip but something a little smaller may be better.
Step 2: Poke a small hole, just large enough to put your string through, in the bottom center of each cup.
Step 3: Push string through the bottom of one cup, tying a knot on the string inside the cup. This will prevent kids from being able to pull the string out when tightening to talk.
Step 4: Repeat with the other end of the string on the second cup and you’re done! You’ve got a stringed phone.
Once you make a set, how do you use it to teach? Good question! As kids arrive to bible class, let them pair up with a set of stringed phones. They can talk to their partner about anything! This is just a fun warm up. If they need prompting, list some questions they can ask each other and answer, a getting to know you time. Or, you may write questions out on a bunch of cards and hand each person a set as they arrive. They simply select a card and ask that question. Examples:
- What’s your favorite animal, ice cream, drink, holiday…
- What’s food do you hate the most?
- Who’s your favorite person in the bible?
Now for the lesson, the heart of the class where you share God’s word and pray that it sticks with them throughout their lives. Enthusiastically tell the bible story asking plenty of questions as you go. Now that they have heard the lesson, it’s time to reinforce it! The kids should be in pairs (if you have an odd number, the teacher participates too).
- Ask a question about the lesson. Keep questions short enough for kids to repeat.
- One person from each pair repeats the question in the can.
- The person listening now gives the answer. If the do not know it they say, “I don’t know, do you?” Now the first person gets a chance to answer back.
- After kids are done, the teacher gives the correct answer.
- Repeat asking another question alternating who asks the question into the can.
Trust me. The kids will have a blast and learn so much!