Halloween is often a questionable holiday for Christians. Do
we participate or do we abstain? I am not here to debate this subject, but to
share how we use it.
My prayer is that we reach every child with the word of God
and raise them with a strong foundation in Christ so that they not only keep
their faith through adulthood; but continue to grow. I want kids to hear and
read scripture seeing God’s word as exciting, spooky, encouraging and
everything else they find in the secular world (that is good and God approved).
Holidays are a great opportunity to
reinvigorate our kids and reach out to others.
I created this book “Scary Bible Stories to Tell in the Dark” in 2018 and was surprised to hear a few people ask why I wanted to scare kids. It wasn’t from the masses, but regardless, I thought this was an interesting take. The goal was never really to scare kids, but to show them that God’s word has it all, even scary stories that are perfect for Halloween. Kids turn to all kinds of secular stories, movies and costumes. They want to be a little spooked, just not so afraid that they can’t sleep alone at night. Maybe my kids were the weird ones, but they’d see previews for scary movies and beg to watch. Of course, we’d use our judgement on which were okay and which were not. They’d have sleep overs and pull out the flashlights in the dark telling each other “scary” stories. This is all during elementary AND middles school years. So I say, bring on the spooky with a little scary!
It turns out there are plenty of “scary” stories in God’s
word. We don’t need to check out books with ghost stories we are supposed to believe
are real. These bible stories are scary and true. And they have a good
ending- with God, we don’t need to worry about any of these scary things. Legion
may be scary, but not for long. The Holy Spirit lives in me so demons can’t
touch me! God said not to get involved in sorcery or witchcraft and we see what
happens to King Saul when he calls up the ghost of Samuel so stay far away from
voodoo, Ouija boards and the likes. There are so many scary stories with
Let’s help our children see that God has it all. Move over Disney, God’s got this!
Last year I shared my e-book with coloring pages. This year I’ve added to it! Now there is a lesson with an activity to go with each “scary” bible story. They are all simple and perfect for a bible class, a small group lesson, family night or story and activities at a Trunk-or-Treat type event. And it’s all FREE- No Strings Attached. I’d love to hear how you use these to help build excitement for God in children. Email me your experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Change things up now and then. Some of my kids in bible classes saw the picture of my baby pet tortoise on my phone. It’s my screen saver. Of course, they begged me to bring him. After several months of pleading, and one crazy Sunday morning trying to get the kids to pay attention, I finally used the tortoise. I promised them that if I could see and hear them singing praises to God with all their hearts, I’d bring it the next week.
Guess what happened… They all chimed in and sang the best I have ever heard them sing before! All it took was a little bribery, I mean incentive. That week, I think they all had a bowl full of sugar for breakfast, but the promise of a visit from my baby tortoise got their attention. Then the next Sunday, I kept my word and brought Rowdy the baby tortoise. Everyone got to sit in a circle and watch him move around. They got to take turns holding him for just a minute. They were thrilled and did well that Sunday too. We tied the tortoise into our lesson and it worked like a charm!
This got me to thinking. Every now and then, we need to change thing up, surprise the kids. Offer a perk for participation, memorizing a big set of scriptures, bringing friends to church… whatever the goal, this is a great way to encourage kids to participate. And think about it, it was so simple. All I did was bring my pet tortoise.
What are some ways you can get the kids excited and participating like never before? For a quick and easy one, just bring a bunch of balloons. If they get to end class with a balloon bash, they won’t be able to contain themselves looking forward tot he next week. Blow up a bunch of balloons, put them in the middle of the room, then tell kids they have to use only their feet to get the balloons into a specific area. They have until the music is up. You play bible music you want them to learn or have stuck in their heads all day. They’ll love it! (Side note: You may want to invest in an electric pump. I bought an electric balloon pump and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made! They are loud though.)
“Middle school? No thank you.” Famous last words of mine.
I mainly work with kindergarten through fifth grades; but recently took on a small group of middle school girls on Sunday afternoons. It is definitely different! To be honest, I had NO desire to work with the age group. They drive me insane… too much drama; but there was a need. Parents of kiddo’s who had moved from my children’s program into middle school were sharing their concerns. Their children were struggling with the pressures of middle school. Sure, they know their bible stories, but they didn’t know how to apply them to their lives. They weren’t ready for the serious application lessons in elementary, so what was I do? Well, I began teaching a middle school small group and it has been an amazing experience so far! Their interest and enthusiasm are contagious.
I am not suggesting everyone run out and add middle school to your plates. It’s something that needs addressed in some way to prepare your children for the real world, but there are multiple ways to handle it. I actually wanted to share what I’ve been learning. As I teach these kids, I am reminded of some of the basics that are so important.
Our first week we talked about being made in the image of God. We talked on a deeper level about each of us being made unique, flaws and all. It’s amazing looking back at life to see how God uses our strengths and our perceived weaknesses for his glory. For me, I see my ability to teach a strength. God blessed me with the ability and the desire to teach; so here I am, teaching kids about God… for his glory. Then I combine that with a weakness. I am short. I mean short! Five foot on the dot. Growing up, I embraced my shortness, but I really wanted to be taller. No matter how hard a prayed, it was the thorn in my side that God was not going to change. As I look back at my life in children’s ministry, I see that God had a plan all along. The kids are immediately comfortable when they come into a room with me because I’m a lot like them. I am short and small; so I do not intimidate them at all (although sometimes I sure wish I did). God combined my strength in teaching with my weakness of shortness and uses me to build his church through children.
This may be a strange example, I know; but it made me think about other areas in my life and those around me who have weaknesses that we let stand in our way. Instead, we should give those weaknesses to God and let him do his work. Look what he did with Moses who had trouble speaking, David who was a little boy when he faced a giant, a bunch of fisherman and tax collectors. God uses our weakness for his glory if we’ll just let him. I would like to challenge you to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Pray about them. Has God been working through you or do you need to let him in?
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Looking for a good gift for kids/youth who have been baptized? I combine a prayer journal with a rubber bracelet reminding them of God daily. (Our youth already get a nice bible.)