It has been called different things for many years: family devotions, family worship, faith conversations, reading the Bible and praying together. Whatever phrase is familiar to you, we all understand the concept. Parents are the ones God has entrusted with the job of spiritually training their children. As a children’s minister, you are in the unique position to help and strengthen parents for this task. Continue reading
Each year at my church, we host a fall festival for the community. I am always amazed by the fact that our church, which averages around 150 people in attendance, is able to host an event for over 1,000 people in the community. While I love this event, it has not always brought a smile to my face.
Our fall festival started over 10 years ago simply as a way to provide an alternative activity to the American holiday, Halloween. We had small games, crafts, and candy for the children of our church. After a few years of following this pattern, a lady in my church expressed a desire to make this more of a community event by providing dinner for those in attendance. I started to catch her vision and decided to add an inflatable slide to the activities. We began to plan and announced the event to our congregation. I had no idea what was about to happen. Continue reading
Según la revista Evangelizing Today’s Child (Evangelizando al Niño de Hoy), el 85% de los misioneros de largo plazo decidieron involucrarse en las misiones antes de los 16 años. El porcentaje más grande de éstos hicieron esta decisión entre los 10 y 12 años.
¿Cómo podemos introducir a nuestros niños a las misiones?
Desarrolle un corazón por las misiones. Su compromiso personal con las misiones será el fundamento para comunicarles a los niños el corazón de Dios por las misiones.
Manténgase informado en cuanto a lo que está sucediendo en las misiones y los movimientos misioneros alrededor del mundo. Los eventos actuales en las vidas de los misioneros y organizaciones misioneras serán más motivadores a los niños que las historias Bíblicas de misioneros o cuentos históricos de misioneros y esfuerzos misioneros pasados.
Reconozca qué es lo nuevo en misiones, hoy. Hace una generación atrás el rol de la iglesia, en cuanto a misiones, era el liderazgo. Hoy es el compañerismo. Los misioneros del occidente ahora son menos que los misioneros de Asia, Suramérica, África y Oceanía. Las misiones han tenido un éxito increíble en países tales como Corea del Sur, los países de África e Indonesia. Sin embargo, aún existen aproximadamente 11,000 grupos de personas representando 2,500 idiomas que no tienen iglesias. Transmita el corazón misionero de Dios a los niños. A través de la información, actividades, proyectos y oportunidades ministeriales, permita que sus niños sepan que Él les está llamando para que se unan a Él en alcanzar a los perdidos de cada comunidad, nación y lengua.
¡Ideas Que Puede Utilizar!
Cultive un Despertar por las Misiones
Buenos libros pueden encender el interés de los niños en las misiones. Busque una colección de biografías pequeñas de algunos misioneros con ilustraciones que se les pueden prestar a los niños para la lectura individual. Provea una hoja con pautas para hacer una pequeña reseña de cada libro.
Libros y revistas acerca de otros países, culturas y lenguas se pueden conseguir en un biblioteca pública. Provea una hoja con pautas para hacer una pequeña reseña de cada libro.
¡Vístase para las misiones! Vista con ropa típica de los países que se estudiarán y provea oportunidades para que los niños hagan su propia vestimenta y accesorios.
Comida de los países. De ser posible, permítales a los niños preparar un alimento o botana que se come en algún país que se esté estudiando.
Invite personas provenientes de los países Busque estudiantes internacionales en la universidad más cercana. Invítelos a hablar con los niños de su país, cultura e idioma.
En las noticias. Motive a los niños a cortar artículos del periódico y revistas relacionados con los países que se están estudiando, luego que compartan éstos con los demás niños.
Amigos por correspondencia. Motive a los niños a comenzar una amistad por correspondencia con algún niño de otro país. Puede contactar la Mano que Ayuda y pedir el nombre de un Director de Niños de otro país. El director podrá conectarlo con los niños de su país. Correo electrónico: firstname.lastname@example.org
Motive el estudio de otros idiomas. Enséñeles canciones a los niños, versículos bíblicos, y palabras comunes en otros idiomas. Permítales a los niños que están aprendiendo otro idioma compartir una canción sencilla o palabras pequeñas en aquel idioma.
Ayúdeles a los Niños a Entender Su Rol en las Misiones
LAZOS DE AMOR
Preparación: Una pelota de hilo rojo, fotos de diferentes personas del mundo cada uno pegado a un pedazo de papel construcción. (Si no tiene fotos disponibles, escriba el nombre del país sobre un papel.) Perfore el trozo de papel construcción y atraviese el hilo de manera que se pueda colgar la foto en el cuello de los niños. Cada niño representará el grupo étnico de la imagen que lleva en cuello.
Presentación: Haga que los niños formen un círculo. Sostenga un extremo del hilo mientras lanza la pelota a través del círculo a cada niño. Mientras circula el hilo diga, “Miren lo que sucede cuando uno se une al Señor Jesús. Él comparte el amor de Dios con las personas y ellos se unen en un lazo de amor que representa la sangre de Jesucristo. No importa que vivan lejos el uno del otro o que hablen diferentes idiomas o que vistan diferente. Están conectados por el amor de Jesús”.
Continúe hasta que se conecte cada niño. Comente sobre el patrón que está formando el hilo. Cuando todos los niños sean “alcanzados” por el evangelio, haga que los niños se pongan de pie mientras sostienen firmemente el hilo. “Miren el hermoso patrón que se ha formado al unirnos en Jesucristo. ¿Qué pueden hacer ustedes para asegurarse de que el amor de Dios alcance cada país y persona? ¿Quién estará trabajando con ustedes para cumplir esto? Sí, estarán trabajando con Dios y con otros cristianos alrededor del mundo.”
Demuestre qué pasa cuando alguien falla en cumplir con su parte en la obra de Dios al hacer que uno o dos de los niños suelte el hilo. “En algunas ocasiones hay cristianos que no están dispuestos a unirse a Dios u otros cristianos. ¿Cómo afecta esto a la familia cristiana? ¿Qué podrías hacer si esto sucede?” “Dios te ha escogido para unirte a Él, Él quiere que tú compartas el mensaje del amor de Jesús con otros, Él quiere que tú seas parte de Su hermoso diseño.”– Adaptado de Evangelizing Today’s Child, noviembre/diciembre 1996.
Envuelva a los niños en misiones
Ponga los niños en MOVIMIENTO
… al proveer oportunidades para servir en un refugio, orfelinato, un hogar de cuidado de ancianos, guardería o cocina comunitaria.
…al enseñarles a los niños cómo testificar los colores el evangelio.
Amarillo El cielo Juan 14:2
Negro El pecado Romanos 3:23
Rojo La muerte y resurrección de Jesús Romanos 5:8
Blanco Perdón y purificación 1 Juan 1:9
Verde Crecimiento 2 Pedro 3:18
Ponga a los niños a DAR…
…al darle a cada niño cinco monedas pequeñas y pedirles que cambien las monedas por alguna cosa que otras personas le quieran dar. Después de determinado tiempo deberá traer lo que cambió por las monedas como su aportación a las misiones.
Ponga a los niños a ORAR…
…al lanzar un “pelota de oración”. Escoja un país por el cual se debe orar. Con los niños, haga una lista de las necesidades de los niños en ese país por las cuales pueden orar. Cuando se lance la “pelota de la oración” un niño escoge una de estas necesidades y ofrece una pequeña oración sobre la necesidad de los niños de ese país.
…al enseñarles a los niños el significado de la intercesión utilizando la historia de la liberación de Pedro de la cárcel (Hechos 12:3-7). La intercesión significa presentar en oración ante el Padre las necesidades de alguien más. Permítales a los niños hacer una lista de necesidades que tienen los misioneros para guiarlos durante su intercesión.
…al darles a cada niño un recordatorio de oración de su país, tal como una moneda, una postal, o recuerdito.
…al involucrar a los niños en la oración por las personas que viven en la ventana 10/40. La ventana 10/40 es una área del mundo que contiene el porcentaje más grande de no-cristianos en el mundo. Esta área se extiende desde los 10 a 40 grados norte del ecuador y cubre desde el norte de África hasta China. De ser posible, marque esta ventana en un mapa. Permítales a los niños orar por los niños viviendo en cada país de la ventana 10/40.
In my early years of leading a bus ministry, when it all was new and exciting as well as frustrating and tiring, there were two very special sisters, Tasha and Misha.
One memory that is especially dear to my heart is when we decided to have a girls’ sleepover, with all our girls within the church. My bus ministry kids were so excited about the sleepover. They could hardly wait. I sent a flier home with all kids about a week before the sleepover with a list of different items to bring. Snacks were included on the list with a note to parents that the snacks were to be shared with everyone.
As I was making my rounds to pick up my bus kids, Tasha and Misha were waiting outside their home. I can’t begin to describe the excitement on their little faces. Right then I said “Thank you, Lord, for calling me to this ministry.” As I got out of the van and went around to help the girls in, Tasha said, “Ms, Effie, Ms. Effie, wait ‘til you see what we brought!” As we got settled in the van, I said “OK, let’s see what you have.” Misha pulled out a single packet of instant grits and said, “We brought these for all the girls! We can share.” I immediately had to turn around because I knew the tears would stream. I have never seen such joy on the faces of children over a packet of grits. I turned back and said “We will have a wonderful breakfast, thanks to both of you.”
When all the girls began to arrive, they brought bag after bag of goodies and snacks. I began to think “Oh Lord, Tasha and Misha are going to feel so bad about their packet of grits. What am I going to do?” But God already knew. Those two girls didn’t say a word; the excitement never left them the entire night. They “had the time of their lives”, with a beauty makeover, fashion show, times of sharing, and much more!
In the morning, along with cereal and juice, we had the most delicious POT of creamy grits you would ever want to eat! As I was taking the girls home that morning, Tasha said, “Ms Effie, God sure made a lot of grits this morning!” I simply hugged both girls and said, “Isn’t God awesome!”
-Effie Woodard, Children’s Pastor and Outreach Minister
What is a van or bus ministry?
It’s an outreach program sponsored by a local church that regularly uses buses or vans to transport people, most often children, to evangelistic and discipleship programs as well as other special events.
Why should our local church consider having a van or bus ministry?
A bus or van ministry provides the local church an opportunity to obey Christ’s command to “go and make disciples of all nations”. Through this ministry unchurched children hear and respond to the Gospel. But a bus or van ministry goes beyond evangelism. Through the discipleship ministries of the local church the children also participate in discipleship ministries such as Sunday school and children’s worship.
Through a bus or van ministry the local church moves outside its walls into the streets of the neighborhoods around it. The church becomes known to the people of the neighborhoods not just as a building but as a group of caring people. Also, the church gets to know the people—who they are, what their lives are like, what their needs are. From this awareness the church can develop ministries that are honestly relevant to the people living around them.
Finally, local churches that run a bus or van ministry have the potential for sustained growth. Effective van and bus ministries will help the church to grow numerically but will also produce growth in these areas:
- More people will become involved in ministry and use their gifts to serve
- More people will take on leadership roles and develop as leaders
- Children who ride the bus or van will grow up to serve in that local church or be sent out by the local church to serve elsewhere
DON’T have a Bus or Van Ministry simply because—
–you want your church to grow
–other congregations are doing it
–one or two people in your congregation insist on it
–you’ve always had one
IDEAS YOU CAN USE!
The Key Components of a Successful Bus Ministry:
There are so many things to consider when developing a bus ministry—What routes will we travel? How will we get buses? Who will volunteer to serve? How will we minister to the children? How will we connect with their families? You must seek God in every aspect of the ministry if the ministry becomes fruitful.
Don’t move ahead until you have the green light from your pastor and the support of your church’s leadership team. Keep their support by involving them as intercessors and communicating regularly.
A van or bus ministry will only succeed if everyone is on the team. Not only must the bus captains, assistants, and drivers be on the team but you must also make sure the Sunday school teachers, children’s worship leaders, and anyone who serves the children in any way are part of the team. Communicate with the team regularly. Build community among team members by spending time together and affirming each one.
People mistakenly believe that if they buy buses, determine routes, and pass out flyers that they will have a successful van or bus ministry. But this ministry is only successful when the bus ministry team is willing to spend their time building relationships not only with children but also with parents and others in the neighborhoods along their routes. Relationships are built by being in the neighborhoods regularly, getting to know the children and their families by name, and, when possible, meeting needs of children and their families.
10 Steps to Starting a Bus or Van Ministry:
Step 1. Decide What Type Ministry God is Leading Your Church to Have and Establish a Purpose Statement
Are you going to run your routes any time other than Sunday morning? Some churches have their bus ministry program on Saturday; is this an option your church might consider? If you don’t have a children’s worship, will you start one or have the bus riders sit in the adult worship service?
Step 2. Prepare the Church
Help your church membership understand what you are trying to accomplish. Make sure the benefits of being involved in an outreach ministry as well as being aware of what problems may arise.
Step 3 . Obtain Vehicles
Do you have a bus or van you can use or will you need to purchase vehicles? If you have to buy buses, is it in the budget or will funds have to raised? If you need to purchase vehicles, start your process of locating buses by contacting several churches with a bus ministry and ask them where they bought their vehicles and who they recommend. If you plan to use smaller vehicles, consider 15-passenger buses instead of vans.
Step 4. Enlist and Train Workers
Sunday school teachers, children’s worship leaders, ushers, kitchen volunteers as well as the bus ministry volunteers will all need to know what to expect when the bus or van starts to run.
Step 5. Plan for More
As the bus or van ministry grows so will your need for larger facilities, more volunteers, and more funding. Plan ahead to avoid a crisis that could shut down the ministry.
Step 6. Develop the Saturday Schedule
If you are going to run your buses or vans on Sunday morning you will probably want to have a short bus meeting on Saturday morning and visit your riders then. As your ministry progresses, you may find a better time to meet and visit your routes.
Step 7. Develop the Sunday Schedule
What time will children along the routes be picked up? When the bus or van arrives, what will the children do and where will they go? Will they stay for both Sunday School and worship? Do you need to have someone meet the bus and escort them to and from class? Make sure every person on the team knows the times and procedures for unloading and loading the bus or van as well as what classes the children are to go into and where the classes are located.
Step 8. Establish the Routes
Decide where you want to run your routes and then design them by time rather than by distance. Most churches find that it’s best if there is less then one hour from the time the first rider is picked up until you reach the church. This will be “trial and error” at first but you will soon discover the time to leave in order to stay on schedule.
Step 9. Hold a “Kick-Off” Meeting
Invite everyone who will serve the bus or van riders to the “Kick Off.” Plan a creative way to review the vision and purpose of this ministry and inform everyone of the first visitation and pick up schedules. If possible provide everyone on the team with some type of logo wear such as a hat, a tee-shirt, or visor.
Step 10. Launch the Ministry!
Don’ts of Effective Bus/Van Ministry:
- Don’t have unrealistic expectations.
One bus ministry leader remembers, “I’ll never forget the day we launched our bus ministry. It was Easter Sunday. We had a wonderful visitation on Saturday then on Sunday morning sent out three vans to pick up children. Not one child got on a van. I cried out to God, ‘I don’t understand!’ but I didn’t give up. After 3 weeks of visitation the people of the neighborhoods knew me, trusted me and they began to come. When I left that bus ministry we were reaching more than 150 children and their families.”
Remember that the children on your van or bus routes very seldom have someone at home encouraging them to go. Sometimes there is no one to help them and their younger siblings ready to go. It will take time to build relationships, provide information, and develop a habit of regular attendance.
- Don’t put out flyers and expect them to come.
A dazzling flyer or an exciting promotion will not develop an effective bus or van ministry. Consistent investment in the community through prayer, weekly visitation, on-time pick ups and meeting known needs will produce a fruitful ministry.
- Don’t do bus/van ministry visitation the same way you would do other visitation.
Remember you are targeting children. Send visitation teams out armed with candy and small prizes. Grab the neighborhood’s attention by bringing a costumed character or clown to walk down the street with you.
Don’t just sit there…do something!
Traveling to and from church with the children is a great time to build relationships, teach spiritual truths, and have fun! Here are some things you can do with kids as you are riding to church—
- Sing songs and choruses that they are learning in children’s worship or club meetings
- Teach a memory verse
- If the van or bus is equipped with a dvd player, play Christian cartoon clips or music videos.
The bus ride home is the most important time of the day. If the children have a good time going home from church they will want to ride again next Sunday. Here are some things you can do on the ride home—
- Sing songs and choruses
- Bible quizzes and memory verse review games related to what was taught at church
- Games such as:
- Silly face contest (See who can make the silliest face on the bus. Award prize.)
- Sleeping game (Every person on the bus pretends to fall asleep. The best sleepers are rewarded.)
- Life Saver on tongue (Have each rider put a Life Saver on his tongue at the same time; the last one to dissolve wins.)
- Bubble gum blowing (See who can blow the biggest bubble.)
Bus Rules: You Have to Have Them
The bus ride to and from church can be safe, relational, and fun if you establish and consistently enforce bus rules. Determine what rules are necessary for the safety of each rider and what rules will free you up to build relationships and lead bus activities. Here are some suggestions from other bus ministries:
- Keep heads and hands inside.
- Stay seated.
- Talk in a normal voice and use good words.
- Keep your hands to yourself.
- Everyone participates on the bus.
- Everyone goes to Sunday school and children’s worship.
The Soul Winning Bus Ministry by Dave Smith, Assistant Pastor, Bus Director. Download this 112 page manual on bus ministry FREE! http://www.biblebelievers.com/BusMinistry.html
Originally printed as the Volume 11, Issue 10 of the CM Newsletter, October 2007, Contributing Editor: Effie Woodard
Imagínense que hay una puerta en lo que tiene que pasar para entrar en el Reino de Dios. Ud. pasa de la puerta. Ud. mueve en los salones y encuentra un grupo de gente que son similar a Ud. Ud. siente la seguridad. Después de placticar más con la gente en el salon, Ud. mueve más atrás de la puerta.
Muy poca gente están cerca de la puerta diciendo “hola” a los que entran. Es dificíl a esperar por la puerta. Allá hay gente que tiene preguntas de las cosas que Ud. cree. Hay gente que están sufriendo, son pobre, abusadas y desperadas. Pero, si no hay alguien a la puerta, ¿quien va invitar esta gente a entrar en el reino?
¿Dónde está su ministerio de niños? ¿Está Ud. esperando por la puerta invitando los niños y sus familias a entrar el reino? ¿O, ha salido para ministrar solamente con los niños que ya saben de la iglesia?
Esta edición del Boletín del Ministerio de Niños proveerá a Ud. con ideas a esperar por la puerta. Le dará ideas practicales a abrir la puerta del Reino a una comunidad de familias y niños que tal vez nunnca han tenido una invitación a entrar.
¡IDEAS QUE PUEDE USAR!
Váyanse a la Comunidad
Escuela del Verano que Viaje
¡Lleve su Escuela del Verano a las calles! Temprano en el año, encuetran familias que queiren tener la Escuela del Verano en su yarda. Da una reta a cada familia a alistar apoyo de oración y comienzan Ud. y ellos inmediatamente a orar para la Escuela del Verano a impactar la comunidad para Cristo. Debe de edificar equipos a conducir estas Escuelas del Verano. Debe de planear un horario sencillo que necesita un mínimo de participantes a cantar, ayudar a memorizar la escritura, lección Bíblica, actividades Béiblicas y juegos. Las familias deben de estar seguras que cada familia en la comunidad recibe información de la escuela, provee refriferio, y ayudar a contactar las familias después de la escuela termina
¡Ministerio de Niños en el Parque!
Lleve su culto del ministerio de niños al parque o un lugar de estacionamiento cerca. Ponga anuncios en el periódico, boletines, radio, y pregunata a las familias a pasar boletines en sus vecindarios. Debe de planear una promoción especial como comida gratis, huésped especial, premios gratis, etc.
Sea seguro a prepara cada uno de estas cosas:
- Equipo de Oración
- Haga cada cosa GRANDE. Use titeres grandes, señales grandes
- Toque DVD’s y CD’s cristianos que les gustan niños antes de comenzar y después de terminar. Use la computadora para mostra las reglas, escrituras, palabras de los cantos, etc
- Mueven rápido las actividades.. No quiere que los niños están aburridos. Cada actividad debe de ser 3-5 minútos.
- Tiempo de Invitación. Comparte un mensaje sencillo. Tenga voluntaries listos a pasar folletos para niños de salvación a cada niño/a asistiendo. Si hay una oportunidad , tal vez pueden orar con un niño/a o con su familia.
- Comida y diversion. Después de terminr, debe de tener actividades planeadas para los niños y sus familias: comida, juegos, información. Da ánimo a los miembros de su congregación a moverentre de la gente a conocer los niños y las familias.
- Continuación Para obtener información a contactar los niños y sus familias que han asistidos, tenga un concurso grande al fin. Debe de continuar con una carta y boletín explicando de su ministerio y también una llamada por teléfono.
Programs de Deportes
Aquí hay una idea muy bien de una iglesia que está alcanzando a familias y niños en la ciudad. RBC (Regresando Béisboll a la Ciudad) es un campamentode béisbol gratis para cinco semanas para niños y niñas, edades 8-13. Lo más de los participantes son los que están sólos en la casa mucho del tiempo sin oportunidad a participar en actividades y deportes. Un día de RBC comienza con una devocional, y entonces un juego de béisbol organizado, y concluye con un almuerzo proveyido por los mimbros de la iglesia. RBI está extendido para tres semanas más a la iglesia con estudios Béiblicos, músicas, proyetos de servicio, arte, y excursiones.
¡Ropa a Llevar!
Pida a miembros y amigos a traer ropa usado y limpio para niños y carreolas, juguetes de niños, etc. Tal vez quiere contactar a tiendas también para que ellas pueden donar cosas que están del fin de la temporadada.
Debe de alistar un equipo a ayudar a preparar, distribuir, y limpiar. El equipo que va a preparar debe de venir un día antes del evento para organizartodas las cosas. Debe de marcar las mesas para puede encontrar las cosas faciles.
Los que son parte del equipo de distribución pueden saludar los clientes, recoger información para contactar la gentey y también proveer información sobre del ministerio de niños.
El equipo de limpiar debe de llevar cada cosa que no vende a una caridad y arregla el salón como debe ser.
Una Venta Sola Para Niños
Tenga una venta que es solamente para niños. Debe de colectar cosas que les gustan niños y que los niños donan. Explique a los niños que las cosas que van a donar estarán vendidos y entonces van a donar el dinero que ganan a una caridad or organización designada. Elllos deben de votar en ldónde quieren llevar el dinero que ganan.
Dos semana antes del evento debe de anunciar a su iglesia local y su comunidad, dando énfasis que la venta es solamente para niños y no seran cosas con precio más de $1
El día de la venta, permiten los niños a cambiar las responsabilidades: preparación, colectando dinero, saludando gente, limpiando. Puede ofrecer galletas y limonada gratis y da información de su ministerio de niños. Después de la venta, tenga los niños a contar el dinero y vayan en un grupo a la caridad local.
(Llevado de: Children’s Ministry Magazine, marzo-abril, 2005)
Grupos de Apoyo
¿Qué son algunas de las cosas importantes a los padres en su comunidad? Puede proveer grupos de apoyo a ayudar con estas necesidades. Grupos de apoyo usualmente juntaruna vez cada semana para compartir. Debe de usar materials apropriados o algunas veces puede tener un huésped especial a placticar algrupo. Será un buen idea a proveer cuidado de n iños y también tener a un programa especial para los niños de edades menores para que los padres pueden asisitr el grupo.
Ideas para los grupos de apoyo: padres y niños experimentando divorcio; familias nuevas a la comunidad; padres y niños con necesidades especiales; padres y niños que tienen alguien en la familia en la prisión o en el militario. Debe de amillarar las necesidades de la familias en su comunidad. Encuentre una persona quien tiene pasión sobre esta necesidad. También encuentra recursos para ayudarle a desarollar y dirigir este grupo de apoyo. Informe a la comunidad que está ofreciendo este grupo de apoyo.
¡Impactar las Escuelas!
Adoptar una Escuela
Será un buen idea para su iglesia loca a adoptar una escuela cerca de su area. Pueden proveer voluntaries a ayudar en la escuela. Puede tener un proyeto a beneficiar la escuela como donando libros a la biblioteca, plantando arboles y flores, o proveyendo otras cosas que necesitan. Puede bendecir los maestros con tarjetas de agradacimiento, cosas que necesitan o refrigerios.
La violencia entre de los niños y jovenes es bien alta. Por eso, las escueslas estánh enfocando en el desarollar de carácter y esta es una puerta abierta para el ministerio de niños. ¿Porque no desarollan un programa con mucho éxito para niños que tiene un enfoque en edificar el carácter? Use títeres, música, ilusiones, y premios gratis para obtener la atención de niños. Entonces, las escuelas en su area estarán abriendo sus puertas a su equipo del ministerio a niños a venir y compartir el programa. Al fin del programa, invite los niños a venir a su iglesia y dejan boletines sobre de su ministerio a niños en la oficina de la escuela para los padres que tienen interés.
Originalmente impreso como el volumen 9, número 12 de la CM Newsletter, diciembre de 2005, editor colaborador: Kathy Creasy
Imagine that there is a door you must go through to enter the Kingdom of God. You enter that door. You move through the rooms. You find a group of people who are much like you. You feel safe, secure. As you become more engaged with the people in the room, you move further away from the door.
Very few people stand near the door to say “hello” to those who walk by, to listen to their stories, to invite them in. It’s difficult to stand at the door. You meet people who question your beliefs. You encounter much suffering—poverty, loneliness, abuse, despair. Yet, if no one stands at the door, who will invite these people into the kingdom?
Where does your children’s ministry stand? Are you standing at the door inviting children and their families to come into the kingdom? Or have you retreated into the inner rooms of ministry to churched kids only?
This issue of the Children’s Ministry Newsletter provides you with ideas for standing at the door. It gives you very practical ways of opening the door of the Kingdom to a community of families and kids who may have never been invited in.
IDEAS YOU CAN USE!
Get Into the Community
Take VBS on the road! Early in the year recruit families who are willing to host a VBS in their yard. Challenge each host family to recruit prayer support and begin praying NOW for the VBS to impact the community for Christ. Begin building teams to conduct these traveling VBS’s. Plan a simple VBS schedule that requires a minimum number of team players—songs, Scripture memorization, Bible lesson, Bible learning activities, and games. The host family will make sure all promotional materials reaches every family in the community, provide refreshments, and help with follow up.
CM in the Park!
Take your large group children’s worship service to a nearby park or parking lot. Advertise in the local newspaper, community flyers, radio, and ask church families to pass out brochures in their neighborhoods. Plan a great promotion that will appeal to kids and families such as free food, a special guest, and great giveaways.
Be sure to prepare each of the following aspects thoroughly—
- Prayer team
- Do everything BIG. Use full-body puppets; huge posters and banners.
- Go techno. Have Christian DVD’s kids love playing before the program begins and after it has ended. Use Powerpoint for rules, Scripture verses, words of songs, etc.
- Keep it moving. Be sure not to bore the kids. Keep segments as short as 3-5 minutes.
- Share a simple gospel message. Have volunteers ready to pass out a children’s salvation tract to every child. If the opportunity arises they might pray with a child or his family.
- Food and fun. After the program has ended have activities for the children and families to participate in—food, games, information tables. Encourage members of your congregation to move through the crowd getting to know children and their families.
- Follow up. To get contact information of kids and families who attend have a grand prize drawing. Follow up with a mailing (letter and brochure of your ministry) and phone call.
Here’s a great idea from a church that is reaching out to families and kids in an inner city. RBI (Return Baseball to the Inner City) is a free five-week baseball camp for boys and girls ages 8-13. Most participants are children from neighboring areas who would otherwise be left at home alone. An RBI day begins with a gathering and devotional, followed by organized sandlot baseball, and concludes with a lunch provided and delivered by church members. RBI is followed by Extra Innings Day Camp (EI) at the church for three weeks. EI days include Bible study, music, service projects, arts and crafts, and city-wide field trips.
UPWARDS is a sports program that can be hosted by an individual church or by a group of churches within a community. The program offers the following—
- Equal playing time with separate leagues for boys and girls
- One hour practice sessions
- Games each week of the season
- An evaluation process to provide equal opportunity for improvement
- A reversible Upward jersey and t-shirt
- Individual awards after each practice and game
- An end of the year award.
For more information check out our Resource Review at the end of this newsletter.
Clothes to Go!
Ask members and friends of your local church to bring in clean, gently used children’s clothing items as well as strollers, cribs, walkers, etc. You might also want to contact local clothing stores to donate end of the season items.
Recruit a team for set up, distribution, and clean up. The set up team will come on a scheduled day before the event to organize clothing and other items according to size, gender, and type. Tables should be labeled accordingly to make shopping quick and easy.
Members of the distribution team will greet customers, gather contact information and provide information about your children’s ministry. Others will help customers shop for needed items.
The clean up team will take unclaimed items to a local charity and return the room to its original set up.
Kids’ Yard Sale
Sponsor a yard sale that’s just for kids. Several weeks before the sale, have kids collect slightly used toys and gadgets they’d like to donate to the sale. Explain to kids that the toys they donate will be sold—not returned—and that they’ll donate the earnings to a worthy charity for kids. Take a vote to decide which charity or organization will receive the proceeds from the sale.
Begin publicizing the event at your church and around your community two weeks before the big day—and emphasize that the sale is for kids and by kids. Enlist several kid volunteers to help price items, with nothing over $1.
On the day of the sale, have kids rotate responsibilities—setting up, cashiering, welcoming, organizing, and cleaning up. Offer free lemonade, cookies, and information about your children’s ministry. After the sale, have kids count the money and congratulate them on their efforts. Choose a day when kids can collectively go to the local charity to present the money.
(Taken from Children’s Ministry Magazine, March-April, 2005)
What are some of the issues facing parents in your community? Provide support groups that meet those needs. Support groups usually meet weekly to share. An appropriate curriculum might be used or special guests might speak occasionally. Provide childcare for infants and toddlers and a planned program for preschool and school age children.
Ideas for support groups: parents and kids experiencing divorce; parents and kids who have just moved into the community; parents and kids with special needs (ADHD, autistic, handicapped); parents and kids who have a spouse in prison or in the military. Assess the needs of parents and kids in your community. Find a lead person who is passionate about meeting that need. Uncover resources to help you develop and lead that specific support group. Inform the community of the support groups being offered.
As a local church adopt a nearby elementary school. Provide volunteers to tutor at the school. Sponsor a project that will benefit the school such as donating books to the library, planting shrubs and flowers, or providing a piece of needed equipment. Bless the teachers occasionally with appreciation cards, needed supplies, or snacks for breaks.
As I drive by the elementary school in our community I notice on the school’s sign that this month’s character word is honesty. Schools throughout the nation are focusing on character and that is an open door for children’s ministry. Why not develop a fast-paced, action-packed children’s program that focuses on building character? Use puppets, music, games, illusions, and giveaways to grab your audience of kids. And soon schools around your community will be opening their doors to your children’s ministry team. At the close of the program invite the kids to come to your church and leave brochures in the office for interested parents.
Established in 1995, Upward Sports is the world’s largest Christian youth sports provider. Upward Sports is the only organization that offers the 360 Progression™, a uniquely designed total sports experience that adapts and expands as players grow in their personal athletic journeys. The 360 Progression develops total athletes mentally, athletically, spiritually, and socially – producing players who excel both on and off the field.
The mission of Upward Sports is to promote the discovery of Jesus through sports.
For more information, check out their website: http://www.upward.org
LifeWay VBS – Backyard Kids Club
Check out LifeWay VBS if you or your ministry is interested in hosting local backyard ministries within your community. LifeWay offers several different Backyard VBS kits at an affordable price of only $39.99 each. For more information, visit: https://vbs.lifeway.com/backyard-kids-club/
Originally printed as the Volume 9, Issue 12 of the CM Newsletter, December 2005, Contributing Editor: Kathy Creasy
Over one billion children (throughout the world) are suffering from one or more forms of extreme deprivation. Viva Network
We must ask ourselves, “How will we (the Body of Christ, local congregations, individual Christians, and even believing children) respond to poor children living among us and throughout the world?” We cannot ignore their poverty. We cannot be paralyzed by its magnitude. We cannot be inconsistent in confronting it. We can–
- Develop an awareness of poverty and its effects on the children of our congregation, our communities, and our world.
- Recognize that poverty and its effects have the potential of undermining and ultimately destroying God’s purposes for every child.
- Rediscover a spirit of compassion for children everywhere. It has been said, “Almost everyone pities children, but only a few have compassion for children.” Jesus was never described as having pity. Instead “He was moved with compassion. . .” (Matthew 14:14). Compassion goes beyond pity. It is a feeling that motivates us to take appropriate action. “Pity looks, sees and feels but stops there. Compassion looks, sees, feels and then does something!” (Sam Martin, “The Church and the World’s Children”)
- Accept our responsibility to preach the gospel to the children—not just a gospel of words but also a gospel of action.
“Often we think of the gospel as a bridge, as a way out. But sometimes it’s simply a way in. A door for us to walk through into the lives of those who might need a friend or a fresh gallon of milk. The gospel is an entrance into hearts that survive on prayers alone. God is here, not to take his children out, but to bring his Spirit in.”
— Amy Beth Larson is a missionary to children with The Third Story in inner city Denver. Quote taken from Children’s Ministry Magazine, September-October 2001
IDEAS YOU CAN USE
13 Ways to Reach Out to Poor Kids in Your Community
What can your local church do to improve life for poor children in your community?
1. Pray for the poor children and families of your community. Ask God to give you His heart for them and to “open your eyes” to ways the local church can serve them. Discover what issues the poor children of your community encounter. Here are some suggestions for focusing on these issues as you pray together–
- Provide props illustrating these issues that can be passed around as these issues are prayed for. For example, a pencil for education, a piece of bread for food, etc.
- Create a prayer poster for each issue. Include a Scripture verse containing God’s promise or provision related to a particular issue. Place the posters throughout the room. Invite intercessors to move about the room praying for these issues.
2. Provide support to public schools in your community by establishing a partnership with a nearby school. This partnership could involve:
- Consistent prayer for students and staff
- Expressions of appreciation to staff throughout the year
- Fundraising for a particular need of the school
- Involving members of the church in school service projects such as cleanup, landscaping, building repairs, etc.
- Recruiting members of the church to volunteer at the school as library assistants, cafeteria monitors, office assistants, teacher helpers, etc.
3. Offer ongoing tutoring and mentoring relationships between adults in the congregation and children in the community.
4. Provide supervised before and/or after-school programs that include:
- Safe passage (transportation or escorts for walking)
- A snack or meal
- Help with homework
- Faith component (Devotion, Bible study, service activity, etc.)
- Optional activities such as art, music, dance, computer instruction
5. Plan a Vacation Bible School and other ministry events then invite the children of the community.
6. Sponsor a Family Health Fair at the church, with health check-ups, immunizations, various screenings such as blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, scoliosis, vision, hearing, etc. Consider sponsoring a blood drive at the same time, so that those who receive have the option of also giving.
7. Provide school supply kits or backpacks filled with school supplies to neighborhood children.
8. Sponsor community children to attend summer youth camps along with church children.
9. Develop a community garden on church property, encouraging (and teaching/helping) children and their families to plant, cultivate, weed, water and harvest.
10. Offer free music, art, or computer lessons to children as a ministry of the church
11. Provide a “lending closet” of costly items families need for children, such as child safety seats, cribs, high chairs, strollers, musical instruments, coats, etc.
12. Provide a food pantry where church and community families can receive groceries regularly.
13. Enlist members of your congregation to sponsor children who want to participate in sports programs, school clubs, or boy scouts but are financially unable.
Making a Difference in the Lives of Poor Children Around the World
Poor children throughout the world are victims of disease, malnutrition, child labor, child prostitution, separation from family, lack of education and more. How will your church respond?
- Create an awareness of the plight of the world’s children through—
- A bulletin board highlighting various magazine and newspaper articles depicting the suffering of the world’s children
- Special presentations by and discussions with visiting missionaries concerning the plight of children in their nations.
- Directed congregational prayers for the poor children around the world
- Involve children of your congregation in ministry to the poor children of the world
- Encourage children to pray consistently for the various needs of children around the world.
- KIDS PRAYING FOR KIDS, a 12-month Prayer Journal by Franklin Graham is available for purchase on Amazon.
- The Children and Prayer Initiative aims to mobilize and increase awareness of the significance of children’s prayer. It helps you to equip and encourage children to pray for children at risk, and to publicize the children’s prayer events you organize. (Visit viva.org)
- Encourage children in your church to get to know children in other parts of the world through pen pals. (Children’s Ministry at the International Offices of the Church of God of Prophecy will help you connect with children and children’s ministers in various countries of the world. Contact us at email@example.com)
- Encourage the children of your church to sponsor a child or help with the training of children’s ministers internationally through ONE CHILD FUND and HELPING HANDS FOR KIDS.
- Let the children of your congregation participate in an annual missions giving project to help poor children. For more information contact HELPING HANDS FOR KIDS, PO Box 2910, Cleveland, TN 37320-2910 or visit our website at children.cogop.org
- Encourage children to pray consistently for the various needs of children around the world.
Too Small to Ignore: Why Children Are the Next Big Thing by Wess Stafford with Dean Merrill. Published by Compassion International, 800-336-7676, www.toosmalltoignore.com ISBN: 1400070430 Cost: $16.99
Wess’ hilarious memories of growing up in an African village are intertwined with his heartbreaking stories of poverty and abuse. The book culminates with his passionate plea for others to join him in the fight against these evils and give children a chance to reach their God-given potential. Thousands of people around the world have already been inspired by this book to make children more of a priority in their lives.
Kids Praying for Kids, A 12-Month Prayer Journal by Franklin Graham. Published by Tommy Nelson. Available through Amazon.
Your children know the basics of prayer. Introduce them to the power of prayer to change lives all around the world. This prayer journal will teach them how to keep a prayer list, track God’s answers to their prayers and their thanks for those answers, and memorize Bible verses. It’s filled with interesting facts about other countries that will help your children know how to pray for other children just like them.
Originally printed as the Volume 10, Issue 11 of the CM Newsletter, November 2006, Contributing Editor: Kathy Creasy
How can we expose children to missions?
Develop a heart for missions. Your personal commitment to missions will be the foundation for communicating God’s heart for missions to the children.
Keep up with what is happening among Christian missionaries and missionary movements around the world. Current events in the lives of missionaries and mission organizations will be more motivating to children than Bible stories of missionaries or historical accounts of past missionaries and mission efforts. A suggested periodical to keep you informed about mission events around the world is Global Prayer Digest (US Center for World Mission, 1605 Elizabeth Street, Pasadena, CA 91104, 1-818-398-2249, www.globalprayerdigest.org).
Recognize what’s new in missions today. A generation ago, the western church’s role in world missions was leadership. Today it is partnership. Western missionaries are now outnumbered by missionaries from Asia, South America, Africa, and Oceania. Christian missions have been extremely successful in countries such as South Korea, Africa, and Indonesia. Yet there are still 11,000 people groups representing 2,500 major language groups that have no church.
Communicate God’s mission heart to the children. Through information, activities, projects, and ministry opportunities, let your children know that He is calling them to partner with Him in reaching the lost of every community, nation, and language.
Ideas You Can Use!
Cultivate an Awareness of Missions
Great books can spark children’s interest in missions. Look for collections of short missionary biographies with vivid illustrations that could be made available to the children for individual reading. Provide a very simple report form for children to complete and share on each book read.
Books and magazines about other countries, cultures, and languages could be made available to the children from the public library. Provide a short report form for children to complete on the country being studied.
Dress for missions! Wear costumes of the countries to be studied and provide opportunities for the children to create costumes and accessories.
Eat the native food. If possible, let the children prepare a meal or snack that is enjoyed by the people of the country or culture being studied.
Invite visitors from that country. Check with your local university for the names of international students. Invite them to speak to the children about their country, culture, and language.
In the news. Encourage the children to cut out newspaper and magazine articles related to the countries being studied then share these news items with other students.
Pen pals. Encourage the children to begin a friendship with a pen pal in another country.
Encourage the study of languages. Teach the children songs, Scripture verses, and often-used words in other languages. Allow children who are studying another language to share a song, or teach simple vocabulary.
Help Children Understand Their Role in Missions
CORDS OF LOVE
Preparation: One ball of red yarn, pictures of people from around the world each pasted on a sheet of construction paper. Punch a hole in the construction paper and thread with yarn so that each picture can be hung around a child’s neck. The child represents that people group.
Presentation: Have the children sit on the floor in a circle. Hold one end of the yarn while throwing the ball across the circle to a child. As the yarn is thrown, discuss, “Look what happens when one person partners with the Lord Jesus. He shares God’s love with another person and they become bound together with the cord of love that represents the blood of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter that they live far from one another or speak a different language or dress differently. They are connected by the love of Jesus.”
Continue until each child is connected. Discuss the pattern the yarn is making. After all the children have been “reached” with the Gospel, have the children stand up while holding tightly to the yarn. “Look at the beautiful pattern we have made as we have been joined together in Jesus Christ. What can each of you do to make sure God’s love reaches to each country and each person? Who will be working with you to accomplish this? Yes, you will be working with God and with other Christians all around the world.”
Demonstrate what happens when someone fails to do his part in working with God by having one or two of the children let go of the yarn. “Sometimes there are Christians who aren’t willing to partner with God or with other Christians. How does this effect our Christian family? What could you do when that happens?” “God has chosen you to partner with Him. He wants you to share the message of Jesus’ love with others. He wants you to be a part of the beautiful design He is making in the world today.” –Adapted from Evangelizing Today’s Child, November/December 1996.
Involve Children in Missions
Get the children GOING…
…by providing opportunities for them to serve at a homeless shelter, crisis pregnancy center, nursing home, day care, food pantry, or clothes closet.
…by teaching children how to witness using the Gospel bracelet. A tract featuring the story of the Gospel bracelet is now available in Spanish and English from CEF Press, PO Box 348, Warrenton, MO 63383-0348, 1-800-748-7710.
Get the children GIVING…
…by hosting a birthday party for a missionary’s child who is on the field. Have the children bring small gifts to keep the shipping costs low. Make a video or audio cassette of children singing “Happy Birthday” and sharing a short birthday greeting. Package party items, cake mix, canned frosting, candles, gifts, and cassette in box and mail at least one month in advance of the child’s birthday.
…by giving each child twenty coins and asking him to exchange the coins for whatever anyone will give. At the end of a specified time, he is to bring the exchanged coins as his gift to missions.
Get the children PRAYING…
…by giving each child a small squeezable ball with an imprint of the world on it. Teach the children that their prayers have an impact on the world just as a squeeze of their hand leaves an imprint on the ball.
…by teaching the child the meaning of intercession using the story of Peter’s deliverance from prison (Acts 12:3-7). Intercession means to bring the needs of someone else to the heavenly Father in prayer. Let the children make a list of needs missionaries have to guide them in intercession.
…by giving each child a prayer reminder of the country such as a coin, postcard, or souvenir.
…by involving the children in praying for people who live in the 10/40 window.
Originally printed as the Volume 1, Issue 10 of the CM Newsletter, October 1997, Contributing Editor: Kathy Creasy
Prepared for Christmas?
That question may fill you with a sense of dread. It reminds me of Christmas cards yet to be addressed, favorite Christmas treats yet to be made, gifts to be wrapped.
However, what about the children to whom you minister? Will they be prepared for Christmas this year? I’m not talking about being prepared for the cultural events of the season, but rather prepared for the coming of the Christ child. Here are some things you can do to prepare their hearts for this Christmas season.
1) Start early. Preparing children to celebrate Christ’s birth should begin long before Christmas day. That’s an important reason we as Christians observe the Advent season. Observing Advent allows us to start early preparing our hearts for the Christ child’s coming. This year the advent season begins each year four Sundays before Christmas.
2) Stay focused. As a children’s minister, what is your top priority during this Christmas season? Is it to fill the calendar full of exciting activities or to help children fully experience Christ, the Son of God, coming to earth as a baby? Each lesson, each worship time, each program or activity should lead the children to the manger where the Christ child lays.
3) Let the children come. Allow the children to experience all that Christmas truly is–a time of discovery, a time of worship, a time of giving, a time of service. Everything that is done during this Christmas season should invite the children to-
Come and behold Him
Born the king of angels
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ, the Lord.
Ideas You Can Use!
Christmas: A Time of Discovery…Find the Miracle
Preparation: Study the passages of Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 1:18-15; Matthew 2:1-12 so that you can tell the story accurately and vividly in your own words.
Collect six Christmas gift bags, stockings, or other Christmas containers. Number the containers 1 through 6. Place a symbol of one of the miracles in each of the six containers and hide them throughout the room.
- The Miracle of the Angel’s Visit – – Angel figurine
- The Miracle of Mary Expecting A Baby – – Baby bootie or rattle
- The Miracle of Joseph’s Dream – – Small pillow
- The Miracle of the Angel Choir – – Musical note
- The Miracle of the Star – – Star
- The Miracle of God’s Love for Me – – Heart shape
Print the word MIRACLE on the chalkboard or a poster.
Presentation: Introduce the Christmas story by showing the word “miracle.” What is a miracle? Let the children share their thoughts and guide them to a conclusion that “a miracle is something only God can do.”
Today I am going to tell you a story that is filled with awesome miracles that only God could do. As you listen to the story I want you to find the MIRACLES that God did when His Son, Jesus was born. As you tell the story emphasize these miraculous events surrounding Christ’s birth.
After concluding the story with the visit of the wise men, tell the children that the miracles of the Christmas story are hidden around the room. Ask the children to search for the miracle. Or, if the group is large, send six children to find the hidden miracles.
When they return, let them discuss each container starting with #1. Briefly discuss the miracle of each one. After the container numbered 5 is opened, remind the children that there is still one more miracle-the greatest miracle of all. Ask the children if they can discover the greatest miracle as you read John 3:16 with them. Then have a child open container #6.
The greatest miracle of the Christmas story is that God loves you so much that He sent His Son Jesus to be born as a baby. God’s only Son became human just like you and me so that He could show us how much God loves us.
You might then present the Gospel and invite the children to receive Jesus as Savior.
Christmas: A Time to Worship…No Room
Preparation: Make a sign that says, “No Room.” Provide markers and blank signs for each child.
Presentation: Have you ever passed a hotel or inn and seen a sign that says, “No Vacancy”? Why would the owner put out a “No Vacancy” sign? What does it mean?
Tell the story of Mary and Joseph’s search in Bethlehem for a place to stay. At every place Joseph asked, he was turned away. There was no room for them. (Show sign, “No Room.”) Finally an innkeeper allowed them to stay in the barn with the animals. There baby Jesus was born.
If you had been there that night would you have made room for Mary and Joseph and the baby that was soon to be born? I’m sure you would say “yes.” But are you making room for Jesus today? Are you including Him in your life or is your life too crowded with other things? Today Jesus wants you to make room in your life for Him.
Ask the children to think about the place Jesus has in their lives. Play worshipful music as they meditate. When the children are finished praying, give each one a sign and markers. Ask them to make signs that will let Jesus know that He is welcome in their lives.
Let them place their signs along the wall, then invite them to take a prayer walk around the room, reading each sign and praying that the person who created it will make room in his life for Jesus.
Christmas: A Time to Serve
Christmas provides a great opportunity for the children to serve others. Here are a few suggestions:
Read the Christmas Story. Make a recording of individual children reading the verses of the Christmas story found in Luke. The children might also sing familiar Christmas carols. Make a copy of the recording for each family of the congregation. As an additional opportunity to serve, ask several of the computer literate children to create and print the label for the cassette tape.
Sign It. This year add new excitement to caroling by teaching the children simple sign language for several of the carols. Allow them to carol at the homes of elderly or ill members of the congregation.
Take Your Children’s Nativity Play on the Road. A simple nativity play can be found online or you can simply narrate the Christmas story while the children act it out. There are many different groups that would enjoy the children’s presentation–preschools, convalescent homes, hospitals, abused women shelters, and more. As the children leave, provide small Christmas favors and/or Christmas gospel tracts for them to share with their audience.
Christmas: A Time to Give…Christmas Lights
These candle holders could be made by the children prior to the Christmas season and then used to decorate the adult sanctuary, the church foyer, or children’s worship area. Or, they could be made and given as a gift to a special family member, friend, or children’s ministry volunteer.
You will need: Old baby food jars (cleaned), scissors, Red & Green tissue paper, Liquid Starch, Small Tea Candles, Glitter, Ribbon, Lace (optional), Glue.
Step #1: Cut the tissue paper into small squares.
Step #2: Dip the squares in a small bowl of liquid starch and apply to the outside of the jar, slightly overlapping the squares.
For extra decoration:
Sprinkle glitter on the jar when the tissue paper is still wet.
Glue ribbon or lace around the base of the jar.
When completely dry, attach some small gold stars (you might need a dab of glue).
Step #3: Leave to dry completely, then put a tea candle in the jar. (You can secure it to the bottom with a little dab of melted wax if you need to.) When the candle is lit, light will show through the colored tissue paper.
Why We Celebrate Christmas featuring Jesus Tree Decorations. Distributed by Jesus Tree Decoration Company, 1295 Shaw Avenue, P.M.B. #329, Clovis, CA 93612. Website address: jesustreedecorations.com Cost: $12.95 plus shipping and handling.
This product contains text explaining Jesus’ birth and also includes 14 decorations to be colored, cut out and hung on the Christmas tree. While the text is much too difficult for children, the book will serve as a guide for developing the children’s understanding of who Jesus is based upon the Old Testament as well as the New. Because this product can be downloaded and printed out for personal or local church use, it could be given to each church family at the beginning of the Christmas season as a starting point for family devotions.
Visit the Web! There are a wealth of websites related to Christmas. At these sites you will find Christmas traditions from around the world, Advent calendars, nativity plays, stories and poems, music, and gifts and crafts the children can make.
Originally printed as the Volume 5, Issue 12 of the CM Newsletter, December 2001, Contributing Editor: Kathy Creasy
How can I make Christmas sparkle? The tinsel, lights, and twinkling stars won’t do it! I make Christmas sparkle by keeping my focus on the true meaning of the season, the celebration of Jesus’ birth! Christmas without Christ is like a counterfeit dollar; it is worthless!
Remember, it is Christ’s birthday we are celebrating, so let us treat Him like the honored guest. Ask any child who is about to have a birthday, and he will tell you that his birthday is a special day, a day unlike all the other days of the year. Christmas is a holy day because it marks the most significant birth on this earth. The Christmas season allows us to reflect on this holy day and give God praise and thanksgiving. Without an awareness of God’s purposes for this special day, Christmas ceases to be a holy day and just becomes a holiday. The real meaning of Christmas is still found in the declaration of the angel, “I bring you good news. Today the Savior is born who is Christ the Lord.” The message of the angels is just as real today as it was on that first Christmas.
- The Lord is come, and we must receive Him as our King.
- The joy of the season is in the birth of the Savior!
- Christmas will sparkle when you crown Jesus, King of your life.
Our challenge as children’s ministry leaders is to lead children to discover not only a baby in a manger but the living Lord of Christmas! So that each child might know Him as Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Savior, and Emmanuel, God with us!
IDEAS YOU CAN USE
To make Christmas sparkle read a biblical account of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18-24, 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38, 2:1-20) to the children. Visit a live nativity scene or set up a nativity scene in your classroom. Read an age-appropriate book about the Christmas story with your children. Then discuss Jesus’ life; how he loved people and did things for others. To make Christmas come alive for them, teach them to imitate Jesus by doing things for others. Below are a few examples of ways the children can live as Jesus lived.
Teach them to give
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ “Acts 20:35 (NIV).
- Have the children choose one of their own toys (in good condition) to give to a child who has none. Or ask them to choose a clothing item, such as a coat or shoes to give to a local shelter that assists families with children.
- Let the children help provide the ingredients for a Christmas meal as well as presents for the children and articles of clothing for a family in need.
- Let the children make a list of family and close friends that he would like to give to this Christmas season. Help him think of gifts that require his time rather than money such as homemade gifts (see suggestions below) or acts of service.
Teach them to share
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” 1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV).
Talk with the children about what they have to share with others. Guide them to discover that they cannot only share things but also their unique talents and their time.
- Let the children help you prepare and neatly package a simple treat that they can share with someone such as a neighbor, teacher, or coach.
- Using their creative gifts let the children make cards, audio recording, or a video that could be shared with someone living alone, in the nursing home, or in the hospital.
- Ask the children to think of a family member or close family friend who would enjoy a visit from them. Help each child brainstorm things he can do while spending time with this special person such as reading together or playing a game.
Teach them to care
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land” Psalms 68:5, 6 (NIV).
- Plan a visit to a children’s hospital. With your help, the children can prepare a short program that the young patients would enjoy and a special treat to share with each one.
- Let the children collect clothing, school supplies, or toys to share with children in an orphanage or homeless shelter.
Teach them to serve
“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV).
- Volunteer to take your children to the homeless shelter to serve a meal. Determine a menu and assign responsibility for preparation to children and their families. In advance, the children could prepare table decorations. They could also make up care packages consistently of snacks and toiletry items.
- Take your children to an assisted living center or nursing facility. The children can help the nursing staff with specific tasks, distribute small gift items to patients, and present a program to the staff and residents.
- Are there people in your congregation or community who are unable to do yard work, housework, or car detailing? With adult supervision, assign these task to children in your ministry.
By teaching our children to imitate Jesus, we will keep the true meaning of Christmas alive for this generation and for the next, and will truly “make Christmas sparkle!”
Gifts Kids Can Make
Bookmarks: Each child provides a picture of themselves. Glue onto a strip of cardstock that is bookmark size. Children can then decorate them with glitter, stickers, write their names on them, or a poem. Cover with clear contact paper.
Refrigerator Magnets: Trim a picture of child to fit inside a baby food jar lid. Each child can then glue the picture inside the lid. Use glitter or glitter glue to put trim around the edge and then glue a magnet on the back of the lid.
Ornaments: Use 1 cup salt, 4 cups flour, 1 ½ cups water, and 4 tablespoons of oil. Mix flour and salt. Slowly add water and oil to the dry ingredients, stirring with a spoon until well blended. Knead dough until soft and pliable. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes. Use a straw to put hole in ornament for hanging. Bake 45 minutes in 350 degree oven until hard. Paint with acrylic paints or varnish to seal. Put a ribbon, string, or yarn in the hole for hanging on the tree.
Gifts Kids Can Give
Coupon book: Brainstorm with the children ways they can serve a particular family member, teacher, or friend. Provide each child with a 5 or 10 note cards. Let him neatly print on each note card one way he is willing to serve that person. Encourage him to decorate the other side of the note card with stickers or a drawing. The note cards can be bundled and tied with a ribbon and gift tag. During the coming year the coupon book recipient can then present the child with a note card when he needs a specific service performed.
My Story. Let the children write and illustrate a short story or poem for a particular family member, teacher or friend.
Originally printed as the Volume 10, Issue 12 of the CM Newsletter, December 2006, Contributing Editor: Bess Croyle