resources for effective children's ministry
For quite a number of years now I have wanted to include a review of Mid-week resources . . . this is finally the issue I will do so! I am a strong supporter of churches offering an opportunity for kids to come together during the week to have fun and learn more about Who God Is, how much He loves them and to understand how they can love Him back. I firmly believe a mid-week children's club is an opportunity for churches to have a unique ministry to churched and unchurched children and their families. Some churches put together their own mid week programs and are happy with the results. Some churches make use of club programs and some are looking for resources. We will look at a new club curriculum in this issue as well as one other well written club resource.
Before we begin to look at these resources I would like to mention a few things I believe we must avoid when it comes to selecting a mid week resource. First, and very importantly, while it is a wonderful thing to encourage children to memorize Scripture, when we build our mid week around Scripture memory and award badges or other awards for memorizing Scripture we are inadvertently making two serious errors. First there are two types of kids in every mid week club . . . those who can memorize in word order well and those who cannot memorize worth a hoot. Both types of kids are intelligent . . . they just have their brains wired differently. When we require Scripture memorization to achieve in our club, we are setting up the children who cannot memorize well to fail and worse, to feel they are not as good and this should never happen in church. Church club should be where children are celebrated for understanding and living God's Word - not for putting words in the proper order. I have observed kids who cannot memorize well in tears as they sit and watch other children receive awards . . . and do not receive any of their own. This should not happen at church.
I didn't always feel this way. When I was in high school I was on a church club quiz team. It was my goal to be able to answer any question with no more than five words of any question having been read - and I nearly always did so and always "quizzed out" of each match - this meant I personally answered five of the fifteen questions from each match. I loved being on quiz team and we went all the way to the international championship and won - runner up one year and champs the second. I look back now and see although we won there was not lasting value. I didn't memorize to understand and live God's Word, rather the goal was to win. It would have been better to memorize few things I truly understood and then lived. A badge or trophy has no lasting value - only understanding and living God's Word does.
The second error with building a club around Scripture memory is seen in those who do memorize, often do so only to receive the award. If you ask them the next month, week or even day what they memorized, often times after they met the requirement for the award, they forgot what they learned. Again, it doesn't matter how many Bible verses we memorize if we do not also understand and live those verses. The motivation for memorizing God's Word should not be to "get" a prize - it should be to see the difference in our relationship with Jesus as we grow in our walk with Him. Prizes do not last. A real relationship with Jesus does.
Second, when looking for club resources think about what you want to see accomplished in the lives of the children and families involved in this ministry and then consider what each portion of the club does to help bring that about. I know a of club program where the game portion may be creative and fun - at least for kids who are athletic - but the games have no relationship with the lesson for the week . . . so 1/3 of the evening has no point and teaches no Bible understanding. When you look at club materials be sure all of what the kids do has a point and each portion builds on previous activities to help kids understand Scripture so they will be able to live it!
Well, having said all this, let's take a look at two mid week club resources!
Publisher - Group Publishing
Ages 3 - 5th or 6th grade
solid Bible teaching emphasis on understanding and living Scripture opportunities to serve strong outreach focus each week kids take home a "coupon" to put to work what they are learning - excellent! "keys" are awarded for things all kids can do and to celebrate kids as they live what they learn - excellent! active format - involves kids in memorable ways flexible - components can be added or rotated to meet your need student/teacher journals - excellent way to connect with kids and other leaders small group format - great for building relationships excellent music matches FaithWeaver Sunday School and Kid's Own Worship curriculum for churches using the entire program, but also stands on it's own strengthens families - optional coffee house for parents, optional family meal and resources to reach out to parents - excellent! each quarter emphasizes application of a different fruit of the Spirit - excellent!
"FW Friends" is a new resource this Fall and is part of the FaithWeaver line of curriculum. FW Friends is written with a heavy emphasis on teaching God's Word for understanding and living of Scripture. Kids are able to receive "keys" based on things all of them can do and to celebrate them for living what they are learning! There is a heavy emphasis on living what they learn by participating in service projects to family, church, community, each other and the world! I highly recommend "FW Friends" - it is new, but extremely well done! Those churches who utilize it will see their kids better understand and live God's Word as well as make a real and lasting impact on the lives of kids and families in their church and community. Extremely well done Group Publishing!
Publisher - Gospel Light Publishing
Ages - Grades 1 - 6 (although with slight modification and a little creativity, this resources works for preschool as well)
"Kid's Time" is another option for churches to consider for mid week or any time they are looking for resources to help them be effective in reaching the children in their church and community. With the complete kit and reproducible resources this option is one virtually any church will be able to utilize as it is extremely affordable. I sincerely appreciate when publishers publish effective resources and keep in mind the very important issue of e church's budget - keeping resources affordable makes them something more churches are able to utilize thus expanding the reach of a particular resource - excellent! I like the unique way the stories are told with the sign language and simple illustrations - creative! Very well done Gospel Light!
- reproducible resources
- complete kit - everything you need for 52 lessons in one box
- each year the focus is different
- year one the lessons took kids through the Bible, Genesis - Revelation
- year two the lessons look at a year of celebrations
- each lesson includes:
- active story - year one children drew simple illustrations along with the teacher as the story was told and year two the children learn simple sign language during the lesson - excellent!
- creative object lessons to further illustrate the lesson
- game options
- music station for praise and worship - excellent!
- very easy to adapt for younger children
- flexible format to allow churches to adapt to their own needs for most effective use
- clear, easy to use and understand
- works well in mid week club, children's church, Sunday evenings - many different settings
Table of Contents
About The Children's Department - Volume 4, Edition 2
Copyright © Lynda Freeman
Last Updated November 25, 2000
Web Page by Lynda Freeman
Send an e-mail to Lynda at firstname.lastname@example.org