Monday, December 26, 2011

Fundraising Ideas for Your Bible Clubs

Don’t let a lack of funds keep you from having an exciting and dynamic All-Stars for Jesus Bible Club program. Here are some ideas for funding your Bible Clubs.

Registration Fee: Have an annual registration fee of $20.00 to $25.00 per child. Just as sports teams have a sign-up fee for equipment and supply costs, your All-Stars for Jesus Bible Clubs can, too. Let the parents know that the registration fee will help to cover the costs of T-shirts, caps, pennants and awards. Even if you set the registration fee at $35.00, this is still a real bargain for all of these items compared to the sign-up costs for sports. You can have “family packages” so no family has to pay more than $100.00 (or whatever amount you set) to enroll all of their children in Bible clubs for the year.

If you have church members sponsor children whose families can’t afford to pay the entire amount (see the All-Stars sponsors information in the report below), let families know that All-Stars scholarships are available. Families who wish to apply for a scholarship can fill out a simple form letting you know how much of the cost they are able to pay themselves. The scholarships can then be awarded to families based on their financial need and how many children they have attending Bible clubs.

All-Stars Sponsors: Have your church members sponsor children for All-Stars for Jesus Bible Clubs. Most people would jump at the chance to support children in a positive, Bible-based program. Decorate a wall or bulletin board in your church as the “All-Stars Hall of Fame.” Place one of the All-Stars for Jesus Bible Club Posters in the middle of the wall or board. Have people purchase stars, for either the entire registration amount or an amount of their choosing. From the All-Stars Resource CD or the website, use the “All-Stars Gold Donor” Star pattern for people who contribute the entire amount, and the other Star pattern for the other donors. Print two stars for each of your donors — one on paper and one on card stock. Write a brief note of thanks on the paper star (or have the child receiving a scholarship write the note) and give it to the donor. Cut out the card stock star, print the donor’s name in the middle, and add glitter around the edges. Add the cardboard stars to the “Hall of Fame,” taping them around the poster.

For more fundraising ideas, download the report below. Click on the image to download the "How to Pay for Your Club" Fundraising Ideas Report plus additional resources for your Bible Club.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Family Devotion

Here’s a Christmas devotion you can use at home or in your church services this week. Use an advent wreath (with greenery and a sprig of berries or red flowers or ribbon, if possible). Place four candles around the wreath with a fifth white candle in the middle (or place the candles as your wreath allows). If you use purple and pink candles, the pink one represents joy. Adjust the speaking part below depending on your wreath. Copy this devotion so each participant has a copy. (Do not leave lit candles unattended.)

This devotion is taken from A Church Family Christmas Celebration (Item #3031) © Christian Ed Warehouse, Reprinted with permission.

During this time before Christmas we are preparing for the arrival of God’s Son, Jesus. Because God loves us, He chose His Son to be born on earth.

The candlelight wreath is round. The circle reminds us of God. God has no beginning and no end; He is eternal. The evergreen part of the wreath stands for life and hope. Jesus is the hope of the world. Red berries or flowers remind us that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood so that our sins could be forgiven. The white candle(s) reminds us that Jesus has forgiven (or cleansed) us of our sins so that we may have eternal life.

(To be read by an adult or older child)
Luke 2:11-13, 21; John 1:9, 12 — “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger . . . . And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb . . . . That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world . . . . As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”

Candle Lighting:           
Gather around the candlelight wreath. Have one person light the first candle as another says: The first candle we light is the Promise candle. God promised to send His Son, Jesus, and that promise came true.

Have another person light the second candle while someone else says: The second candle is the Bethlehem candle. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, was born in a stable at Bethlehem. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace.

Have someone light the third candle, while another says: The third candle is the Angels candle. The joy and praise of the angels should be our joy, too, during this Christmas season and all year long.
Have another person light the fourth candle while someone says: The fourth candle is the Shepherds candle. Just as the shepherds told others about Jesus, we, too, should share the Good News of Jesus’ birth with others.

Have someone light the fifth candle while someone says: Today we light the final candle, which represents Jesus. This candle reminds us that Jesus Christ is God's Son, the Light of the world. We celebrate the arrival of the long-awaited King, born as a Baby in Bethlehem.

Song:     Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
              The little Lord Jesus laid down
              His sweet head.
              The stars in the sky looked down
              Where he lay.
              The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

Reading:         (To be read by a leader, child, and adult or older child.)

The candle in the center of the wreath represents Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Even before He was born, the angel told Mary the Baby's name. When the days were accomplished, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem.

Child:            They presented Jesus to the Lord.

We thank God for His wonderful Christmas gift to us. We thank Him that Jesus Christ came to be the Light of the world. We can spread the light of His love to everyone we meet.

Song:   Silent night, holy night, all is calm,
             All is bright.
             Round yon virgin, mother and child.
             Holy infant so tender and mild,
             Sleep in heavenly peace.
             Sleep in heavenly peace.

Ask family members to share their thoughts and feelings about what the birth of Jesus means to them personally. Talk about Christ, who is God's Son, having to be born into our world of sin. Talk about His love for each of us.

(To be read or spoken from the heart by one or two family members)
Dear God, We thank You for Jesus, the Savior of the world, who was born as a Baby in Bethlehem. Thank You that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that You raised Him from the dead, we will be saved (Romans 10:9). Help us to spread the Light of Christ’s love wherever we go during this Christmas season. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

(Have a family member extinguish the candles. Never leave lighted candles unattended.)
For more Christmas devotion and outreach ideas, take a look at the Church Family Christmas Celebration program. Everything you need to easily plan and organize a community-wide Christmas celebration. Includes CD-ROM with lots of reproducible coloring sheets, invitations, bulletin inserts, planning sheets, recruiting ideas, thank-you notes, and lots more.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Celebrate Christmas with a Stress-Free Outreach Program

The Church Family Christmas Celebration is a complete program book with CD-ROM to help you easily plan and  organize a complete Christmas outreach to your church and community. The easy-to-use instruction guide tells you all you need to know—whether you've been planning church events for 25 years or this is your first time! Includes worship ideas, an instant Christmas pageant, promotion and programming ideas, printable family devotions, recipes for refreshments, craft instruction sheets, CD-ROM, and lots more:
  • Step-by-step instructions for planning and set-up
  • Reproducible instruction sheets and patterns
  • Christ-centered crafts
  • Worship service guides
  • Quick and easy decorations and centerpieces
  • Nativity Pageant scripts
  • Missions project ideas
  • Printable family Christmas devotions
  • CD-ROM included!
The Church Family Christmas Celebration can be used during the advent season to prepare the hearts of your congregation and community for Christmas. You choose the time frame and programming options that work best for your church. 

The reproducible bulletin inserts, posters, song sheets, recipes, pageant instructions, and much more will help you put this memory-making event together in no time at all. When your volunteers see how well organized you are, recruiting will practically take care of itself. (The Church Family Christmas Celebration — Save $10 with Item #3031SPEC — Now just $19.95!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bible Lesson: Jesus, the True Vine

Here's a Bible lesson you can use with your students to help them understand that God takes care of us just as a gardener takes care of his garden and Christians grow spiritually when they read the Bible and stay connected to Jesus.

Bring a bowl of raisins, a bowl of grapes, and some napkins. Print out the visuals below and cut them apart. Put a circle of tape on the back of each one and give each visual to a different child. Hold your open Bible on your lap. Explain that this is a true story from the Bible.


(Read John 15:1 and 5.) God says that He acts like a gardener. A gardener helps plants grow. God helps us live right and grow as Christians. In Bible times, many people grew grapes. A grape plant has several parts. First, there is the vine. (Have the child who has the Grape Vine place it on the wall.) Whose name is on the vine? (Jesus) The Bible calls Jesus the True Vine.

On the vine are many branches. (Have the children with the Side, Bottom, and Top Branches place them on the vine.) Good branches produce grapes. These grapes are called the fruit of the vine. (Pass around napkins and a bowl of grapes and let each child take a napkin and some grapes.)

God is the Gardener in the garden of life. Jesus is the Vine who grows good branches. Christians are those branches. If you have asked Jesus to be your Savior, you are like a branch on a vine in God’s garden.

What happens to a branch if it is cut off the vine? (It dies; it doesn’t grow anymore.) That’s what happens to anyone who isn’t a true follower of Jesus. The person may look like a Christian, and even act like one (by going to church and doing good things). But, if this person hasn’t invited Jesus into his life, he’s a fake Christian. He may fool other people, but he can’t fool God.

Branches need water and food to grow. How do the branches get these things? (through the roots) The vine sends food and water from the roots to the branches. Then the branches send food and water to the flowers that will produce grapes. (Pass around a bowl of raisins and let each child take some.) 

Once the vine has been taken care of and well watered, it makes grapes. Some grapes are dried like these. We grow spiritually when we get food from the Bible (read the Bible and memorize what it says) and stay connected to Jesus. We don’t make grapes, but we do make good actions that remind people of the way Jesus acted. Our good actions are called spiritual fruit. Jesus gives a promise that helps us stay close to Him. (Read Matthew 28:20.) 

This verse is part of the Great Commission, the last command Jesus gave before He went to heaven. Jesus promises to be with us always. Jesus will never leave us, just as a vine never leaves the branches.

Click on the image above for a larger view.

(This lesson is an excerpt from Elementary Bible Activity Lessons. Try a FREE sample and then choose your lesson by topic or Bible story. Each lesson is just $5.95 each. Quantity discounts are available when you purchase ten or more lessons.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Elementary Bible Activity Lessons

Ready-to-use Sunday school lessons!

Elementary Bible Activity Lessons are the perfect solution whenever you need a Bible lesson or just some extra activities for Sunday school. Bible Clubs or children's church. You can choose lessons based on topic, Bible reference, or even Scripture verse. Each lesson is regularly only $5.95 each. 

Now the more lessons you buy, the more you save!
Use BACT10 to save $1.00 off each lesson ($4.95 each) when you purchase 10 or more.
Use BACT25 to save $2.00 off each lesson ($3.95 each) when you purchase 25 or more.

Mention these coupon codes when you call 1-800-854-1531 or use these codes in the Coupon box when you check out online.

Instantly download the lessons you need, any time, at your convenience online. Each Bible story features three or more Bible activity sheets, one take-home Bible story page with activity, and a teacher's page with a creative way to present the Bible lesson plus answers to the activity pages. Many lessons also include colorful visuals to help tell the Bible story.
  • Easy to use and fun for kids
  • Download anytime for only $5.95 per lesson or less
  • All lessons are fully reproducible
  • Flexible and easily adaptable for a wide range of ages (Kindergarten through 6th grade)
  • Activity pages include both NIV and KJV
  • Wonderful supplement to any Sunday school curriculum — and VBS too!
  • Complete Bible lessons, easy-to-read Bible stories, plus fun activities
  • Designed to help children apply the Bible lesson to their lives
  • Activity sheets can be used in class, at home, or during kids' worship
  • Minimal preparation is needed — great for substitute teachers
Try out a sample lesson with your students: David Becomes King

Download or view the entire Scope & Sequence.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Make Your Own Puppet Theater

To make a simple, inexpensive puppet theater, use a heavy cardboard carton about 24 x 18 x 15-inches deep, and cover it completely with plain paper, wallpaper, or self-stick plastic. The bottom of the box will be in four sections, and this is the front of your theater. Cut a scalloped edge along the top about two inches deep. Push the two side pieces in toward the center so they’re at an angle. You can cover these with flannel or felt so background pictures such as trees or tents will adhere.

Push in the bottom piece to strengthen the base. The top sections can be pushed in for extra strength also, if needed. From the back of the bottom section, cut a strip about 15 x 6-inches. This is large enough for the puppeteers’ hands to come through. 

For a backdrop, use a regular flannel board background — a desert scene, a street, a temple setting, etc. Simple background scenes can be painted on flannel, using tempera paint. Or use colored fabric or bulletin board scenes, or print scenes from the internet as your backdrop. Secure the backdrop with masking tape or colorful thick tape (to form a border) so it hangs straight. 

For the story action, set the stage on a high table that is covered with opaque cloth. The puppeteer can sit behind the table on a low stool and put his hands through the opening at the base. He should be low enough to see what the puppets are doing.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Making Visitors Feel Welcome

When you have visitors, take a few minutes to talk to each child’s parent. Find out if he has any special needs or allergies. Here's a registration form you can copy and use with your Bible club program. Click on the card image below to download and print the page of cards. Cut the cards apart and give them to parents when they register their children.

The card contains a place to record emergency information and has a section to list allergies and other medical conditions your students may have. For any child with allergies, create a special, brightly colored name badge with the allergies listed so all leaders and helpers are aware of the allergies and don’t inadvertently give the child something that might cause an allergic reaction.

Click on the image above for a larger view.
Hold the child’s hand when it’s time for the parent to leave. Wave and say, "Goodbye, [Mom], We’ll see you soon!" Let the child join the others to play or offer to share a game or puzzle with him or her.

Have the children gather around. Say, "We have a new friend with us today! Let’s introduce ourselves. Tell your name and something interesting about yourself, like a hobby or a funny thing about you. Then say, "God loves me!" Instruct the children to introduce themselves. Have each one tell something about himself, such as his favorite toy or activity. Have the children end their introductions by saying, “God loves me!”

Ask the visitor if he would like to introduce himself as the other children have done. (Do not push a shy child into talking in front of the class.) Say, "We are happy to have [Brandon] with us! God loves [Brandon], and so do we!" Be sure to include the child in each activity. You may want to give the new child a partner to help explain the class procedures. The helper can show the child where to find the bathroom, crayons, etc.

When it is time to dismiss say, I am glad you came, [Brandon]. I hope you will come back soon and learn about God with us! Remember, God loves you, and so do we!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Helping a Shy Child Gain Confidence

If you have a problem with a chronically solitary child—a child who will not join in with the group or simply stands alone in a corner of the classroom—you can try these methods: 

  1. Give the shy or lonely child access to an attractive activity with the hope of drawing other children to interact with him. 
  2. Try to interest the child in a cooperative activity such as putting together a puzzle, playing a game, or block building, with you as his partner. 
  3. After playing with the child yourself, draw another child over and say, [Chris] and I are having fun playing together. [Caleb], why don't you play with [Chris] now.

Try to include the child or have other students personally invite the child to take part in group activities.  Give the shy child a specific job or activity to do such as handing out activity sheets, giving each person a pencil, or passing out snacks.

Greet the shy child at the door to your classroom and welcome him inside. Help him say goodbye to his parents. Then lead him over to join another child or a small group of children so he doesn't feel overwhelmed by the large group.

The following week, have another child or two greet the shy child at the door and invite him to join a smaller group of children. Encourage the child to become engaged in the small group activity.

From preschool through elementary and up to middle school and beyond, shy children can be reluctant to join the group or to experience new activities. Kind encouragement seems to work best with these children. Welcoming adults and caring peers can go a long way to making shy children feel supported and loved as they hesitantly enter new situations.

Galatians 5:13 is a good reminder of how we should treat all children who enter our programs: "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather,serve one another in love."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tour Guide for Life

Don't think of yourself as just a teacher. Think of yourself as life's tour guide. Your task is to plan the itinerary, show the children the places of learning, and then let them explore and discover God's Word for themselves.

Talk with your students like a tour guide. For example, while finger painting or sculpting clay, talk about the color and texture of the materials. Describe what you and the children are experiencing. Let your students share their own descriptions. Linking language with sight, sound, and activities teaches important pre-reading skills to your preschoolers and helps reach students of all ages who learn in different ways. In fact, the more senses students use to experience a lesson, the more likely they are to remember the lesson long after it's over.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Enthusiastic Teaching

Don't be afraid to share your enthusiasm with your Bible club students. The word enthusiasm means "of God." Excellent curriculum and a biblically accurate lesson may not make any substantial impact in the hearts of the children if the lesson is presented in a boring or disinterested way.

Get excited about the Lord, and let it show in your posture, your eyes, and your voice! Greet the children with joy as they enter your room. Your enthusiasm will prove to your students that you aren't just reading from a book of fiction. Rather, God's Word is real and life-changing, and He is worth getting to know!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Effectively Teaching Preteens

Knowing as much as possible about your preteen students can be a big help in improving your teaching effectiveness. First of all,  it's important that you know the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual characteristics of the age group with which you work. Knowing these facts—why kids act the way they do—can affect how, why, and what you teach. Meet with your coworkers to study these age-level characteristics.

Then accept kids where they are. Accept them because of who they are, and respect them! There's no room for "favorites" if you want to reach all the kids in your group. Every preteen has something special about himself and something unique to offer. Find out what it is, and get busy helping that young person feel special and wanted.

Challenge your students to participate. Use them as helpers and leaders. All-Stars for Jesus Bible Clubs are expressional training programs designed to involve kids and let them learn by doing. So don't always do things for them. You as the teacher should always be available and ready to help, if needed, but you should sometimes be in the background. Instead of finding the answer for them, show them where they can find it for themselves.

When your students get restless, you as the leader always need to ask "why?" Usually it's because (1) the activity is too long for the attention span of the group or (2) the activity itself is boring. If this is the case, it's your responsibility as the teacher to correct the situation. Change the activity and always have a variety of activities up your sleeve in case one doesn't work out or is over faster than you anticipated. Again, be prepared. Your preteens will seldom grow bored or restless if there's a fast-moving, variety-filled program or lesson in which they are actively involved.

Give your preteens plenty of responsibility—not just by participating in programs, but in maintaining the appearance of the room, distributing and collecting materials, and in general, being a contributing member of the group. Provide your preteens with plenty of meaningful tasks, even if it would easier to do them yourself. Always thank your students and show your appreciation.

Youngsters, even preteens, are looking for role models. You have a unique opportunity and responsibility as a preteen Bible teacher to be the kind of positive, Christian example they need!

Monday, June 27, 2011

VBS Memory Verse Coloring Pages

Here are some coloring pages we’ve created for the 2011 VBS programs.

For each program, there is a coloring page for every day of VBS—a total of five pages. Each coloring page has the daily memory verse and the Bible theme. If you have younger children, you can feel free to shorten the verse by whiting out (or taping over) the final phrase before copying the coloring page. Each coloring page shows a picture to complement the Bible memory verse or Bible point for that day. The coloring pages come in sets of five pages for just $4.99 per set. The best part is, you can make as many copies as you need!

For Nazareth, there is a set of coloring pages for the New Living Translation, a separate set for the New International Versionand a separate set for the King James Version. (The NLT is the version used on the Bible memory makers.) 

(Click on the images above to go to the download pages—NLT is on the left, NIV is on the right, and KJV is on the bottom.)

For your SonSurf VBS, there is a set of coloring pages for the New International Version and a separate set for the King James Version. (The NIV verses are used on the Connection Cards and other SonSurf printed materials.)

(Click on the images above to download the pages—
KJV is on the left and NIV is on the right)

For the Main Street VBS, every coloring page has a portion of the daily memory verse, I Timothy 4:12. Each day we've added a few more words to the verse so by Day 5 the entire verse is shown. There is a set of coloring pages for the New International Version and a separate set for the King James Version. (These are the versions used on the Bible memory posters.) 

(Click the images above to download the pages—
KJV is on the left and the NIV is on the right)

For the PandaMania VBS, there is a coloring page for the New International Version and one for the New Living Version. At the end of your VBS week, your students will have all five of the memory verses—a fun keepsake reminder of their week at vacation Bible school.

(Click images above to download the PandaMania coloring pages—
NLT is on the left and the NIV is on the right)

For Go the Distance, the Mega Sports Camp VBS, the coloring pages have the daily memory verse portion in the New International Version along with the lesson focus and Scripture. Each day we've added a few more words to the verses so by Day 5 both verses, 2 Timothy 4:7-8, are shown in their entirety.

(Click on the image above to download the pages.)

If you’d like to take a look at any of these VBS Starter Kits, visit Shop VBS for more information, craft downloads, and to order your starter kits. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Plan a Summer Spectacular

Don't allow the summer vacation to cause a break in your students' spiritual journey. Here are some ideas to make this a spectacular summer:
  1. Take a day trip with your students to your local nursing home or hospital. Before your trip, let your students make cheery cards to hand out to the patients.
  2. Go swimming, rollerblading, or miniature golfing. Make this a family outing so siblings and parents can join in.
  3. Have a picnic at a local park and do the Bible Exploration part of your lesson or a brief devotion or Bible study there.
  4. Spend a day letting your students help out at a local soup kitchen or folding clothes for a thrift store.
  5. Hold a work party at church and help with any jobs the church needs.
  6. Have an ice cream Sundae party and let each child or family bring a favorite topping.
  7. Hold a game of Ultimate Frisbee. Let younger children use a ball instead of a flying disc.
Gather the children at the church before you begin any special event. Use all available phones to invite non-active All-Stars for Jesus members to your next Bible Club meeting. After each event, let each child say a sentence prayer of thanks to God for a wonderful summer spectacular!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tips for Helping Kids Memorize Bible Verses

Scripture memorization is an important part of spiritual growth. Bible memory is a great tool for the Christian who understands the importance of the Word of God and wants it available in his mind for meditation and application. The Bible club leader is an important link in a child’s appreciation and understanding of the significant role the Bible can play in his life. One of the best aspects of Scripture memorization that takes it out of the realm of drudgery and into the area of personal excitement is the understanding of what one is learning or has learned. This is where you, the Bible club leader, come into the picture. Be sure the children of your group can say the verse or passage not only as it’s found in the Bible, but can say it in their own words, too. This will help you determine if they really know the meaning of what they’ve memorized.

Each All-Stars for Jesus Bible club meeting includes a creative activity or game to help your students memorize the weekly memory verse. Following are some tips to help children learn to hide God’s Word in their hearts:

Ask parents to say the Bible memory verse with their young child before bed each night, even if the child doesn’t join in. The verses will be sinking into the child’s heart and mind even if he’s not participating. After several weeks (or months, depending on the child), parents may be surprised to find their child saying Bible verses along with them, without any prompting.

During Honeybees or Cubby Bears, encourage each child to say the memory verse to a leader before they go to the snack table. Even if the child says nothing, the leader can say the verse, encouraging the child to participate. When he’s ready, the child will join in. Weekly memory verse sessions will help prepare the child to say the verse at the end of the month before receiving his award.

When giving awards to Cubby Bears and Honeybees for saying their memory verses, make sure every child receives an award, even if he only says one or two words of the verse. Children may say the verse along with a leader instead of by themselves, if they prefer. However, if the children begin the memory verse program when they are two or three, most will be able to say the verses by themselves when they are four and five. Each verse is memorized over a four- or five-week period, ensuring that every child who attends regularly will be able to say the verse at the end of the month.

Most children are good at memorizing, even though they may not want to admit it. Primaries have the same Bible verse to memorize (except the verse in the Stand-Alone Meeting) for two weeks in a row. To help children memorize the Bible memory verse, encourage parents to say it with their child each day during the week. After a few days, have the whole family say it together. Inform parents which Bible version — King James Version (KJV) or New International Version (NIV) — you are using for memorization. The verses for each quarter are listed on the Take-Home Papers and Classroom Activity Sheets the children bring home each week.

Talk about what the Bible memory verse means during the Bible club lesson. Let the children explain the meaning to you in their own words. Have each child try to say the verse from memory, with a friend’s prompting, before saying the verse for the leader.

Bible verses will be more fun to learn and easier to remember if movements are put to them. Putting rhythm to words and making the verse into a chant will also help, if this is suitable for the words being spoken. For example: “This is the day which the LORD hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Say (with the children seated), Stand up on every other word while we say the verse together. Then have them jump a small jump while saying every other word in the verse. Finally, have them jump high with both arms raised while saying every other word in the verse. Try it — it’s fun!

Music is also a wonderful aid to memorization. Let your students make up a tune to go with the memory verse (and include the reference in the song, if possible). Then let them teach the tune and verse to another class. Part of the teaching process can include explaining the meaning of the verse and describing how it applies to the children’s lives.

Challenge your students to memorize as many Bible verses as they can within a certain time frame. As each child says his verse to you, add a link to a paper chain with the student’s name and the memory verse reference written on it. This is something everyone can contribute to, even if it is just one link. At the end of the time frame, present the chain to the church and request that it be displayed in a prominent place. If it is Christmas, you might decorate the church tree or fellowship hall with it.

A good leader is always thoroughly prepared. A concert pianist wouldn’t dream of going into a recital without hours and hours of practice and preparation. Why should a teacher or leader feel that his performance demands less practice? Remember — in teaching from God’s Word, we’re dealing with the souls of children! How this should challenge us to be more diligent in our preparation of every Bible club activity, including Bible memorization! Don’t minimize the importance of your calling as a leader. Ask God’s wisdom and direction as you prepare for the task of teaching and training children to get to know and love God’s Word.

For a PDF version of this post, download the file, Bible Verse Memorization Tips and copy it for your coworkers and parents.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Leading a Child to Christ

When presenting the salvation message to kids, be prepared for questions. Have an adult Christian talk individually with each child who responds to your invitation. Ask the child, “What decision do you want to make?” or “What do you want Jesus to do for you?” Let the child say in his own words what decision he wants to make. Don’t put words in the child’s mouth. Depend on the Holy Spirit to work within His own timetable to make the plan of salvation clear to the child. After ascertaining that the child does want to accept Jesus as his Savior, and answering any questions he or she has, share what the Bible teaches about salvation:

1. God loves you — John 3:16 
2. You have done wrong things (sinned) — Romans 3:23 
3. God says that those wrong things must be punished 
— Romans 6:23 
4. God sent Jesus to take the punishment for us 
— Isaiah 53:5 
5. Tell God you are sorry for the wrong things you have done — I John 1:9 
6. Ask Jesus to come into your life and be your Savior 
— John 3:16-17 

Talk and pray individually with each child. Let the child pray his own prayer asking Jesus to be his Savior. Explain that the student is now God’s child. Let him know that God promises to never leave him. Explain that God will help him do what’s right, and God wants the child to get to know Him better. Clarify any questions the child may have. Help the child say a prayer of thanks for what Jesus has done for him. Then pray aloud, thanking God for the child.

Also talk with the child’s parents, informing them of the child’s response and sharing your view of their child’s spiritual development. Encourage the parents to help the child pray, read the Bible, obey God, attend church and Sunday school, and tell others about Jesus. This may be a good opportunity to tell the parents about Jesus.

When presenting the plan of salvation, we recommend that group invitations be avoided for young children due to the “herd” instinct of these children. Rather, talk with the children individually, to determine which children are ready to receive Christ as Savior of their lives. Keep the child in prayer, and trust God to do His work in each child’s life.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fish and Net Game

Use this game to reinforce your Bible lesson about Jesus miraculously providing the disciples with full nets of fish after they had fished all night without catching anything. After telling the Bible story, have the children sit in a large circle for this game. This is a variation of "Duck, Duck, Goose."

Choose one child to be the fisherman.  He begins walking around the outside of the circle, patting each child on the shoulder and saying "Empty net, empty net, empty net, fish!" The child who has been called a fish must chase the fisherman around the outside of the circle. If the fisherman is caught before he can reach the seat left empty by the "fish," the "fish" becomes the next fisherman. If the fisherman is not caught, then the fish must return to his seat in the circle. The fisherman chooses a new child to be the fisherman and sits in his now empty seat.

After the game, hand out goldfish crackers to the children. As they eat, explain that just as the fishermen obeyed Jesus and cast their nets into the water once more, God wants us to do what He tells us to do. God does not want us to read the Bible and then just ignore the things it says. Let the children name some specific things God tells us in the Bible that we should do. Remind them that all of our behaviors have consequences or results. Close in prayer, asking God to help each child make good choices.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Baby Moses Craft

Before your lesson, make a sample craft from the patterns below, but do not glue Moses in the basket. Hold the basket and Moses visuals in your Bible until the story time. Also print the patterns for each child in your class.

During the lesson, ask the children to name people who help take care of them. Then say, "I’m glad God planned for people to care for us. Let’s listen quietly to a Bible story about a boy whose mother loved him very much. This is a true story from God's Word, the Bible." Hold your open Bible as you tell the story of baby Moses from Exodus 2:1-10. Hold up the baby Moses figure when you mention Moses. Hold up the basket when you mention how Jochebed made it. Then place Moses in the basket when you get to that point in the story. Open the basket (or have a a child open it) when you tell how Pharaoh's daughter found Moses in the basket.

After the story, give each child scissors, crayons, glue, and the activity sheets from below. Let each child color and cut out the basket and baby Moses. Show the children how to glue the basket pieces back to back and glue Moses in the basket. Help them fold down the basket lid. Point to the Bible verse on the basket as you say it, "Let us love one another" — John 4:7. Have the children say it with you. Talk about ways the children can show love to others. (being helpful, sharing, saying kind words, etc.)

(This activity is taken from Bible Foundations Downloadable Curriculum for Preschool. To download an entire Bible Foundations lesson for preschool, early elementary, or late elementary ages, visit our Bible Foundations Samples Page.)

Click on the image above to download the craft.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mother's Day Craft: Bath Salts

Have your students prepare a special Mother's Day gift for their moms or grandmothers. Collect a small clear container with a lid for each child (such as a baby food jar or pimento jar or plastic muffin cup container). Cut a fabric circle larger than the lid for each child. Copy the sheet below onto heavy paper and cut out a circle for each child. Punch a hole at the top of each paper circle.

Cover the work area with newspapers. Bring a shirt box or box lid, a 10-inch ribbon, a rubber band, and a small scoop for each child. Also bring Epsom salts, (1 cup for each child), a sealable plastic bag for each child, and food coloring. Let each child print his name on the back of a directions circle. Give each child a small clear container with a lid and a plastic bag about a third full of Epsom salt (about 1 cup). Help the child put several drops of food coloring of his choice in the bag. Seal the bag and help the child knead it to spread the color throughout the salts.

Give each child a shirt box or lid to use as his work space. Place an empty clear container in the box. Then let each child scoop a small amount of the colored Epsom salt into his container. (The shirt box will catch the extra salts and you can recycle the salts for others to use.) Let the child trade salt colors with the other children until he has at least three or four layers of colored salt in his container. Add the lid and cover it with the fabric circle. Use a rubber band to hold the fabric in place. Tie a ribbon through the directions circle and then around the fabric to hold it in place. 

Make sure names are on the crafts. Say, This salt feels nice and soft in a bath. You can give this gift to your mother or to someone you love. When you are kind to your parents and family members, you are showing you love them. God is pleased when we show love to others.

Click the image above to download this fun craft.