Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Preteen Spiritual Fitness

Your preteens are learning about physical well-being in school so this is a great time to teach them about spiritual health and fitness—relate it to their physical health. Around your classroom, put up posters and other information about physical health. Include material about nutritious food groups, good exercise principles, friendship principles, and developing individual talents. Some of your students may be able to make posters encouraging good physical health. If you know elementary school teachers, they may be willing to let you borrow posters from their classrooms.

Help your students relate these areas of physical health and fitness to their spiritual health. Emphasize a different area each week.

Bring a nutritious snack of whole-grain muffins, veggies and dip, or fruit. As your students eat, talk about the things our bodies need to stay healthy (vitamins and minerals, food, water, sun, exercise, etc.) Explain that just as our physical bodies need many vitamins and minerals to keep healthy, the body of Christ needs each member to stay healthy. Have your students describe what happens when a body is missing a vitamin or other essential element. Explain that when one member is absent, the body of Christ suffers. Hand out construction paper or poster board and markers. Let your students make posters that show how necessary each person is to the body of Christ, the church.

Have your students do a few jumping jacks together. Then have them relax and sit on the floor. Explain that just as our bodies need exercise to keep them strong, we need to exercise our spiritual muscles to keep our spiritual life strong. Talk about responsibilities we have to serve and help others in the church. Let your students brainstorm ways they can help others. Give each child a large piece of felt, scissors, glue, fabric paint, fabric markers, and felt pieces. Let your students make banners that show ways they can help and serve others.

Have your students name some of the important people in their lives. Explain that no one can be truly healthy unless he or she develops strong bonds with other people. This includes parents, siblings, friends, and adults such as teachers, pastors, neighbors, and parents of friends. The body of Christ can't be truly healthy without developing friendships either. Believers are part of an eternal family and must therefore treat each other with respect and care. Make up a class list of 3-4 rules to ensure each person in your group is treated with respect. Then brainstorm ways your students can make visitors feel welcome to your class.

Gifts and Talents
Invite a couple of your students to share their talents with the class (playing an instrument, jumping rope, telling jokes, displaying a work of art, etc.) Explain that just as each person has talents that allow him to excel in different areas, God gives us spiritual gifts. God expects us to use these spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ. Read I Corinthians 12:4-6 and 11 aloud. Tell your students that even though they may not yet know which spiritual gift(s) they have, all Christians have at least one spiritual gift, and some have more than one. Whatever your spiritual gift, it is beneficial to the body of Christ.

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