Monday, March 29, 2010

Bible Club Teachers—Architects in Kids' Lives

How Sunday school and Bible club teachers interact with their students has been compared to the job of a counselor, adviser, peer, and coach. But perhaps the best description of a Bible Club leader is as an architect.

An architect designs buildings, planning for physical stress, making them as functional as possible, and creating them to be pleasing to look at. But once the design is finished, the architect’s role stops. He has to let other people lay the brick and pound the nails. He has to let other people live and work in the buildings whether or not he likes how they live and what they do. An architect may work on a project for months or even years, so his job requires patience and endurance. Yet the architect is simply a planner; others will actually create the building and use them. Yet often the architect is blamed if something goes wrong.

In many ways, a Bible Club teacher’s job is similar to the role of an architect. It takes patience and endurance. A Bible Club leader can only influence the students with which he or she works; the students will be the ones who decide how they will respond to the “plan” the Bible Club leader has presented to them.

As an “architect” in helping develop the lives of your students, your responsibilities as a leader in ministry can include the following activities:
  •   Lead weekly Bible Club meetings.
  •   Plan and help lead parties and special activities.
  •   Work closely with the students (and parents) in creating meetings and events that interest them and help to meet their needs.
  •   Get to know each child in your group by name. Visit your children in their homes. Invite them to your house or to the church for a special activity or party.
  •   Develop a solid relationship—with each child. Be sure all children are nurtured—not just a few.
  •   Have periodic prayer and sharing sessions with the pastoral staff of your church. Communicate victories and needs with them for their prayer and assistance.
  •   Personally pray regularly for each student individually and for your Bible Club ministry in general.
  •   Faithfully attend the services of your church, not only because you need the spiritual nourishment, but also because you are an example to the children who are watching you.
  •   Live an exemplary, Christ-honoring life before your students.

“Developing caring, Christian relationships” best sums up the role and results of effective Bible teaching ministry. The leader or teacher who establishes and nurtures Christian relationships with students and their parents, while growing in his or her own relationship with Jesus Christ, will experience great joy and effectiveness as a leader, teacher, and servant of the Lord. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Classroom Management Tips

What About Negative Behaviors?

Perhaps one of the biggest fears of any new teacher is that the children will misbehave in his Sunday school or Bible club class. There are several things of which you should be aware concerning a child’s unacceptable behavior:
1.   Most often, disruptive behavior does not start at church, but is the result of something that happened at home or on the way to church.
2.   There is always some reason for a child’s behavior. If you know that reason, you can help meet the child's needs.
3.   A child cannot learn if he is hurting or preoccupied with a problem.

Preventive Discipline
Remember the following basics as ways to reduce negative behaviors in your Bible club classroom:
•  Prepare fully in advance for each meeting. Spend time in prayer, asking the Lord's blessing on your class. Ask Him to work in the lives of each child to make him receptive to the truths to be taught.
•  Be in your classroom and prepared for your meeting fifteen minutes before the first child arrives, with all leaders and helpers present and prepared. In that way, when the very first child arrives, the classroom is ready and under control.
•  From the moment the child enters your classroom, be alert for trouble symptoms and try to avert further negative behavior before it even starts. Special attention from the leader or a helper, time with a good friend, or getting involved with a favorite activity is often effective in dispelling misbehavior.
•  It is important that transitions from one activity to another are handled smoothly. Make sure you are prepared. Then be sure to state your expectations clearly before beginning a new activity.
•  If one child is yelling or talking loudly, the teacher may suggest, “Let’s talk in our indoor voices.”
•  Happy teachers make happy students, so as much as possible, try to put your own concerns aside during the time you are in the classroom.
•  Never ask a preschooler or toddler if he wants to do something unless you actually intend to give him a choice (he may choose to say no). Instead say, “We’re going to glue the star on the paper now.”
•  A young child who is just learning language is apt to answer no to just about any request. This is all part of the child’s attempt to learn what it means to be an individual, and because “no” is one of the few words he knows and understands. Your guidance should be firm, but suited to the child’s ability to understand and respond. Say, “[Jacob], do not hit [Anna] with the block, because you will hurt [Anna].” If Jacob persists, remove the block or gently pick up Jacob and move him away from Anna.

Be consistent. This helps the child feel more secure and helps him develop his own sense of self-control because he can understand what is expected of him. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bulletin Board Ideas

A simple and attractive way to decorate your Bible club classroom is with bulletin boards. Place the bulletin board(s) near the door so they will catch the children's interest as they enter. The hallway outside your Bible club room is also a great place for bulletin boards and a handy spot to post announcements and upcoming Bible club parties and events. Some simple bulletin board ideas:

  • Print the All-Stars for Jesus banner from the Bible Club Director's Manual CD in color or print it onto colored paper in black and white. Place this banner at the top of your bulletin board and over each club room door. You can also cut out the individual banner letters and attach them to the top of the bulletin board in an arch.
  • Cover the bulletin board with a large sheet of butcher paper, gift wrap, or cloth for a colorful background. Add a star trim border around the edges of the board.
  • Make a colorful border by cutting construction paper strips. You can be as creative as you want by cutting the border strips in fancy or decorative shapes. Add Bible stickers or glue star cutouts around the border to make it pop.
  • A three-dimensional effect is attractive to children. Make flowers out of egg carton cups. Put a layer of thick cardboard behind some of your bulletin board figures to make them stand out.
  • Attach materials to the bulletin boards using staples, as they are much more difficult for younger children to remove and swallow. Be sure that no loose staples are left on the floor after you've completed the board.
  • Make interactive bulletin boards: Mount a mirror on the board, covered with a piece of cloth. Place a picture of Jesus beside the mirror. Guide the children to the board. Ask, Who is important to Jesus? Look and see.
  • When new children join All-Stars for Jesus, make a bulletin board titled, “We are special to Jesus.” Mount a picture of Jesus and a picture of each child along with the child’s name. (Take instant photos or photograph the class and print out the photos) During class or learning center time, guide the children to the board and help them identify their classmates by name. (Get permission from parents or caregivers before posting pictures of your students.)
  • Make this special Happy Honeybees bulletin board: Cut out one Happy Honeybee for each child. Label the honeybee with the child's name. Cut flowers and stems from construction paper or craft foam. Title the board, “We are Happy Honeybees.” As new children are enrolled in Honeybees, add more bees to the bulletin board.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bible Lesson: Wise & Foolish Builders

Here’s a fun lesson you can use to teach your students about the wise and foolish builders from Matthew 7:24-27. Say the following words as you have the children do the motions in parentheses. Hold your Bible open as you tell the story. Explain that this is a true story from God’s Word, the Bible.

Jesus told first about a wise man. This man built his house on solid rock. Then one night, a storm came up. The rain poured down. (Lead the children in rain motions. Have them rub their legs, snap, and pat their knees faster and faster to imitate the sound of rain and a growing storm.) The wind howled. (Have the children say, “oooo.”) The water outside began to rise. (Have the children slowly raise their hands.) But the man’s house was safe from the storm, because it was built on a rock.

Another man foolishly built his house on the sand. Then the storm came up. The rain poured down. (Lead the children in rain motions. Have them rub their legs, snap, and pat their knees faster and faster to imitate the sound of rain and a growing storm.) The wind howled. (Have the children say, “oooo.”) The water outside began to rise. (Have the children slowly raise their hands.) The flood washed away the sand under the house. The house groaned and creaked and then fell apart. Down it came with a great CRASH!

Jesus said, “People who hear what I say and obey Me are like the wise builder. When problems come, they will be safe. But people who hear Me without obeying what I say will be like the foolish man. When problems come, they will be like the man whose house fell down with a CRASH.”

(Sing the following words to the tune of THIS OLD MAN.)
This wise man, he built well
      (pretend to hammer);
He built well up on a rock;
      When the rains came down
And the floods came up
      (lower and raise hands),
This man’s house stood firm and strong
      (raise fists & make muscles with arms).

Foolish man, he built wrong
      (pretend to hammer);
He built wrong up on the sand;
      When the rains came down
And the floods came up
      (lower and raise hands),
This man’s house came tumbling down
      (fall down).
The Bible says that Jesus is like a solid Rock. (Read I Corinthians 10:4.) When we obey Jesus, we will be safe even when troubles come.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bible Club Postcards and Certificates

When a new child joins your Bible Club program, have the parent fill out a registration card so your teachers are aware of any allergies or special needs the child has. Download free Registration Cards for all age levels and print them in color or in black in white. There are four cards on a sheet. If you print them in black and white, copy them onto colored card stock before cutting them apart. Each card has a place to record the child’s birthday and emergency contact information. Have the child’s teacher send him a birthday card a few days before his birthday. Children love to get mail!

You can print free postcards by visiting Postcards for each All-Stars for Jesus Bible club age level are available for downloading and printing in color or in black and white. There are postcards for “Happy Birthday,” “We miss you,” and “You’re invited.” If you prefer to purchase the postcards rather than printing them yourself, you can order them online or print out an easy order form and fax it to us at 1-800-891-1795. If you prefer to call, use our toll-free number: 1-800-854-1531.

When children learn memory verses, have their Bible Club leader keep track of which verses each child has learned. Be sure to recognize each child’s memory verse accomplishments at the end of the year with a special certificate. Hold an awards ceremony and invite parents to attend. Each child who learned at least one verse during the year should receive a certificate. Begin the awards presentation with those children, and end with the ones who have learned the most verses. You can print an All-Stars for Jesus Recognition Certificate for your students. Certificates are available for all club age levels. If you print them in black and white, choose the grayscale setting on your printer. Then copy the certificate onto colored paper before signing it.

You may want to give a special award to the child from each Bible club who has learned the most verses. (Gift Bibles, All-Stars for Jesus Pins, All-Stars for Jesus Witness Bracelet craft kits, bookmarks, “God Bless the USA” silicone wristbands, and other awards make great incentive gifts. These items can be ordered online from Let parents applaud after each child is recognized. Have the children stand in the front of the room and hold up their certificates while parents take photos. Close with a prayer thanking God for the Bible and for helping the children hide His Word in their hearts.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Recruiting Bible Club Leaders and Helpers

Your Bible club teachers, leaders, and helpers have some of the most important roles in setting up and running your Bible club program. They are the ones who will provide fun Bible-learning experiences for your children and will act as guides to help the children explore Bible truths.

This is a big job, so meet with your Christian education director, children’s pastor, Bible club director, or Sunday school superintendent. Begin with prayer, asking the Lord to direct you to the people whom He wants to teach your children. Ask Him to prepare the hearts of these people to be receptive to becoming leaders or helpers.

To ensure your children the very best experiences in your Bible club program, look for leaders and teachers with the following qualifications:
• Dedicated Christians who seek to live for Christ daily, who study God’s Word, and who know the plan of salvation
• Are tuned in to kids, and able to build upon their natural interests
 Enjoy sharing in the children’s joy of discovery
• Are warm, outgoing, and have a genuine love and sensitivity for children
• Appreciate and seek to follow God’s command to teach children
• Have a basic understanding of children in terms of their physical, mental, and emotional development as well as their spiritual needs
• Are reliable and disciplined to prepare for each task
• Are suitable role models for children
Make a list of qualified people who might be interested, and make an appointment to visit them in their homes or at church. Explain your Bible club program and the responsibilities of a Bible club leader or helper. Ask him or her to pray about the decision, and leave some Bible club materials, a Getting Started Manual, or a Leader's Guide for review.

It is good to involve a variety of people in working with your Bible club program: fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, college students, or adults with older children may all enjoy working with kids. Make a concerted effort to get men involved in the program—particularly the students’ fathers. They will love it, and so will the kids. Having male role models often helps to reduce discipline problems, especially with your preteen boys.

Assign your high school and older middle school students as assistants to the group leaders for your Bible club program. This is excellent training for the students and can be a big help to the adult and college-age leaders.

Organize a list of “substitute” teachers from which to draw in case a regular leader or helper is unable to attend at any time during the year. Be sure to fill each vacancy every week of your Bible club program.

There are most likely people in your church who aren’t available on a weekly basis or don’t want to be tied to a schedule, but do like to help when presented with a special need. These are the people who can help you by preparing craft materials, cutting out visuals, chaperoning field trips and special events, updating bulletin boards, decorating the Bible club rooms, or making or providing snacks. Throughout the process, ask God for direction and guidance. Pray with each person you invite to be part of your Bible club team. Give each one specific guidance and instruction so he or she understands exactly what the responsibilities will be.

Thank God for bringing each person to your Bible club program. Spend time in prayer together before beginning each new quarter of your Bible clubs. Thank God for the blessings He has provided and ask for His guidance and wisdom to overcome the challenges. Now enjoy mentoring the children in your care, and have fun!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fun Teaching Ideas for Your Bible Club

A Blooming Story
Here's a unique way for a story to unfold. Cut identical size circles, one for each element of your story plus one more. Use one circle as the center of a flower; glue an appropriate picture or print the title of the story on it. Use the other circles as flower petals. Attach them to the center with staples. Print or put a picture of each story element on the petals (one element or picture on each petal) so they are in order clockwise. Then, beginning with the last element of the story and working toward the first element of the story, fold all the petals behind the center of the flower. Now you are ready to tell the story. Introduce the story with the center of the flower. Fold each petal forward as each story element is told. When the story is finished, the flower will be in full bloom. 

Color Day
Help your Bible club students remember their lessons with this colorful idea. Design the lesson around a color featured in the lesson. (For example, blue can be used for a lesson about the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea,  Jonah and the big fish, or Jesus walking on the water.) On Blue Day (or whatever color you choose) everyone must wear something blue. (Have some blue ribbons or bandanas available for children who don't wear blue.) Snacks must be blue; perhaps blue jello with gummy worms or brownies with blue frosting. Everything you do must have something to do with blue. What do you do as a follow-up to a color day? Why, have black-and-white day, of course!

Party Tablecloth
Let your Bible club students design their own party tablecloth. Use a flat, white, twin-size bed sheet. Place newspapers under it to prevent the colors from bleeding onto the floor. Use fabric markers or fabric paint for drawing or writing. Use acrylic paint in a shallow pan for hand prints. Personalize the tablecloth with everyone's signature. You can use the tablecloth again and again throughout the year for special events or to add interest to your room. If you wish, choose a central theme or make the tablecloth for a special occasion.

Look! Up in the sky! It's a lesson visual!
When setting up visual displays in your Bible club room, don't limit yourself to bulletin boards. Other possible display areas include the classroom door, the sides of a desk, the sides of a file cabinet, or the back of a piano. You can use large cardboard boxes for movable stand-up room displays. You can even create sandwich boards for your students to wear. If you feel adventurous, use the ceiling or tape your visuals under a table, and have everyone lay on the floor for the lesson!

Primary humor
Ordinary things out of place are funny to primaries. Mix things up during your Bible club meetings. Do things backwards. For primaries, silly is fun. When you plant a seed, don't use a flower pot (that's too ordinary); plant your seeds in an old tennis shoe. Keep your Bible story visuals under your hat or ball cap. Let the students erase the memory verse on your whiteboard using squirt guns filled with water (one word at a time), then say the verse from memory. Those are things your students will talk about!

This week, shape the future

Most people only talk about making the world a better place, but you are doing something about it! By serving as a Bible club leader, teacher, or helper, you are impacting the lives of children. In a series of experiments on the moral development of children, a significant discovery was made: children who are enrolled in Sunday school showed significantly better conduct in the areas of honesty, cooperation, persistence, and inhibition of undesirable behavior! How important is this week's lesson? You are making this world a better place. You are shaping the future!

Keep it concrete
Your Bible club students are making tremendous intellectual progress. By elementary school they can manipulate data mentally, come to some logical conclusions, and define, compare, and contrast things. But they still do not understand symbolism. After touring the defense plant where her daddy worked, one first grader resisted when told it was time to go home. She cried, "But I haven't seen where Daddy makes the money yet!" When teaching elementary school children, say what you mean and mean what you say. Always teach them in literal, concrete terms.