Monday, April 26, 2010

Bible Club Registration Cards & Certificates

At the beginning of the summer, hold a Bible Clubs registration night to get children pre-registered for fall. Serve refreshments, introduce the leaders, and have parents fill out a registration card for each of their children. Here is a registration card for each age level of All-Stars for Jesus Bible Clubs that you can download and print out or photocopy. You can print the registration cards in color, or select grayscale on your printer settings to print the cards in black and white. Cut them apart and give some to each Bible Club leader. When a new child joins your Bible Club program, have the parent fill out a card so your teachers are aware of any allergies or special needs the child has. This is also the place to record the child’s birthday and emergency contact information, too. 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 Bible club age level are available for downloading and printing in color or in black and white. 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 recognize their 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 may want to give a special award to the child from each Bible club or age group who has learned the most verses. (All-Stars for Jesus wristbands, pencils, gift Bibles, All-Stars for Jesus pins, All-Stars for Jesus witness bracelet craft kits, bookmarks, and other awards make great incentive gifts.) 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.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Kind of Bible Club Leader Are You? (Part 2)

As a Bible Club leader or teacher,  it is important to nurture and develop in yourself the qualities and skills you need to relate to children in a helpful way. The first part of this article was posted on April 5. Here are six additional questions to ask yourself:

5. Am I innovative and creative?
Creative ideas are valuable only when they are actually implemented. A creative Bible Club leader must be able to dream up ideas as well as make those ideas happen. In addition, creative leaders must be able to take someone else’s idea and make it a reality in their own group.
There are many ways to get good ideas. Obviously the entire All-Stars for Jesus Bible Club program is designed to provide you with simple, easy-to-use ideas. Many Sunday school curricula contain helpful teaching suggestions. In addition, it is very important to listen. Listen to the students. Listen to the parents. Listen to other children’s ministry workers. And from what you hear, you should be able to adapt your teaching materials to work with your group.
Always be open to new ideas or new ways of doing things. Just because you haven’t seen something work, don’t assume it won’t work. Even if you tried something before and it didn’t work, be willing to give it a second chance.

6. Am I happy with myself?
Teachers and leaders who have committed their lives to Christ and are reasonably happy with themselves won’t be devastated when the first student acts up. And they won’t give up the first time something doesn’t go as planned. Furthermore, happy leaders and teachers won’t manipulate students to achieve “manufactured” results; they will minister to the students for Jesus’ sake.
Have fun with the students you’re trying to reach. Go to their homes. Go to their ball games and school plays. Play video and computer games with them. Be their friend.

7. Am I hungry for spiritual results?
The effective Bible Club leader or Sunday school teacher has a drive to accomplish and an urge to compete against the world for the attention of young students. You should have an insatiable hunger to see young people brought to a place of personal commitment to Jesus Christ. Develop a hunger for more spiritual growth in your own life as well as in the lives of those to whom you minister.

8. Do I use common sense?
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.” Anyone who works with other people must realize that the key to success is not intelligence; the key to successful relationships is awareness of others, a willingness to learn, the ability to cope with the unexpected and genuine interest and caring for others.
These attributes are vital to successful leadership of students. Use common sense. Be flexible. Learn to respond to the needs and moods of your students, as well as to the situations they face and the environments in which they live. Help them cope with the situations in their homes and show them how to deal with the mistakes they make. One of your most important responsibilities as a teacher and leader is to minister to the everyday needs of your young students.

9. Am I tactful?
Effective Christian leadership calls for tact, persuasiveness and humor. You’ll need these attributes to overcome resistance to change and because you’ll work with many different people. Some teachers and leaders become so wrapped up in their “mission” that they become tactless, abrasive and disruptive, to the point they simply run over people in a rough-shod, uncaring manner. Your true goal and mission must be to respond to the needs of each individual student in kind, loving, tactful ways.
When you take the time to tactfully sell your ideas, to laugh a little (even at yourself, when necessary) and show you care, you will be more fun to be around, your students will notice and you will be able to accomplish a great deal for the kingdom of God.

10. Do I have courage?
Any role of leadership demands courage. To succeed as a leader or teacher, you have to take risks. Probably some of your meetings and lessons won’t be great successes. Some of your parties might flop. You might face some touchy situations you’ll wish you hadn’t gotten into.
It will take courage to go to a parent regarding his or her child. It will take courage to help your students deal with issues they might face: bullies, parent divorces, depression, cliques, broken relationships and more.

 Molding a child’s life is truly an awesome responsibility, but Jesus provided powerful encouragement when He said, “It is not the will of your Father…that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:14) Although some of your students may not be so little anymore, this promise proves that the person who is committed to nurturing the spiritual life of a child or teenager is working in cooperation with the will of God! You can be assured then, that the Lord will direct you and guide you as you seek to guide children to love and serve Him.  

Monday, April 12, 2010

What Kind of Bible Club Leader Are You? (Part 1)

Most Bible club teachers agree that some students can be a real challenge to work with. Yet they also agree the middle school and junior high years are a critical time when it is important to help students get established in their faith, their church and their lifestyle.

Some of your Sunday school and Bible club students probably grew up in your church and are from Christian families. If they ever decide to leave the church or their Christian beliefs, many children’s workers feel the seeds of departure and of rebellion will be sown during the junior high and middle school years. One Christian educator said, “Kids walk in the front door of the church when they are four, and out the back door when they are 14!”

How can you, their Bible Club leader, catch those students before they get out the back door, or, better yet, how can you make the Christian life and fellowship in the church so meaningful and attractive to every student that they won’t even head for the exits?

To some extent, you have already answered that by your willingness to serve as a teacher, volunteer or leader. Yet it is important to nurture and develop in yourself the qualities and skills you need to relate in a helpful way to children. Here are ten questions to ask yourself. We'll look at the first four this week:

1. Do I love students?
People who minister successfully—to people of any age level—appear to have few behavioral, physical, educational or other kinds of characteristics in common. They are from many backgrounds and come in all shapes and sizes.
In fact, you don’t have to look young, own a sports car or be the best at video games to communicate with young students. It’s not necessary for you to like their music, their food or to keep up with them physically. People who minister effectively to students are of every age and every personality and the methods they use to achieve results are wide-ranging.
Yet they all have one thing in common: they love students. So ask yourself, Do I love young students? If you’re going to reach a young person for Christ, that’s a necessity!

2. Do I like students?
To some extent we can love someone and yet not like him. The Christian leader and teacher, however, must not only love the students he is trying to reach for Christ, but he needs to work hard at liking them too.
There might be students in your group who don’t smell very good, don’t talk very well, have bad habits and do things you don’t approve of—but you’re going to have to like them if you’re going to reach them—and keep them—for Jesus Christ.
In fact, friendship is one of the most important things you can offer. Your young students will respond to your friendship long before they will respond to what you try to teach them.

3. Do I expect something good to happen?
Are you excited and optimistic about your work with children? Do you have vision? Are you determined to accomplish something for Christ with your students? Do you realize your results may take a long time to happen?
If you’re after instant results, you’d better microwave some brownies or order a pizza; working with students requires a vision for the future and the willingness to trust God to bring about results in His timing.

4. Am I eager to take responsibility?
Being a Sunday school teacher or Bible club leader requires a willingness to take responsibility and get involved. Although they may never admit it, young students are looking to adults for leadership, guidance and caring; they will respond when adults show they care and want to be involved in the lives of the children.
Even when the going is rough, a Christian leader needs the ability to persevere and keep going. You can’t fall apart when no one shows up for a party—or when twice as many come as were expected! Make the best of the situation. When you do, the Lord will use your willingness and service to make something good out of the circumstances.
As a Bible Club leader or Sunday school teacher, you are influencing the students in many important ways—some of which you will never know. Don’t count on everything happening immediately; realize that some of the seeds you are sowing in the lives of your students may not bring about visible results for years!  

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bible Lesson: Ten Commandments

Before your Sunday school or Bible club class, cut two tablet shapes from construction paper. Print five commandments from Exodus 20 on each tablet. Use the Bible version you prefer or simply write a summary of each commandment. Glue each tablet to a piece of sandpaper or a slab of stone to make them look more realistic.

Show the Ten Commandment tablets to your students. Say, Moses climbed the mountain to meet with God so God could give Moses His Commandments for the Israelites. Why did God have to give them these rules? Aren’t they just common sense? Have different students (or adult or teen helpers) read each commandment from Exodus 20. Then discuss it. Have verses 1-3 read. Why did God have to tell His people to worship only Him? (because He is the only true God)

Have verses 4-6 read. Ask, Who made graven images (idols)? (countries who didn’t worship the true God) Why would God need to punish the whole family? (People imitate what their parents do; if their parents worship idols, they would tend to worship idols, too.)

Have verse 7 read. Ask, What does it mean to take God’s name in vain? (“Vain” means “not as intended” and “empty.” To misuse God’s name as a swear word is not what God’s name was intended for. It shows disrespect for God.)

Have verses 8-11 read. Ask, Does this mean that we have to do nothing on Sundays? (It means we worship God then and do not forget to take time to do so.)

Have verse 12 read. Does God mean that we have to honor and obey only biological parents or does He mean anyone who is responsible for us? (It means we obey our caregivers, whoever they are.)
Have verse 13 read. Does God mean that if we treat someone in hateful ways but don’t actually kill them, that’s okay? (No, it means we should not think or say murderous things with our eyes or words. Jesus clarified this in Matthew 5:21-26.)

Have verse 15 read. If anyone wonders why you skipped verse 14, tell them that this verse deals with what adults do, not what children usually do. (See the Leader Tip at the end of this meeting for more information.) Ask What is stealing? (taking anything that does not belong to you, no matter how small, without permission)

Have verse 16 read. Say, Bearing false witness means to lie, to say something that isn’t true. Is it ever right to lie? (No, you should always tell the truth, but out of love so that you don’t hurt someone.)
Have verse 17 read. Ask, Why is it wrong to wish for things you don’t have that belong to others(because it can lead to stealing and lying to get them for yourself, and God wants us to be content with what we have.)

Toss a foam ball to a student and have her give the first commandment. Have her toss the ball to another student who will give the second commandment, etc. If anyone has trouble remembering his commandment, the rest of the group can help. If necessary, refer to the Ten Commandments Tablets. Encourage your students to follow God's commands during the week.