Saturday, October 31, 2015

ALL SAINTS DAY: Children's Message

I'm working on my new book, The Art of Teaching Sunday School, and in it there will be a chapter on Children's Messages that are developmentally and academically appropriate for specific ages. For example, when you have a lot of young children, object lessons are not really the best way to go. You'll do better if you do something repetitive, a cute song, or a simple rhyme.

Tomorrow is All Saints Day. We're talking about all the saints who have gone before us and we have a number of pretty young children, so I suggested to my pastor that he hand out little paper trumpets or kazoos and turn the whole thing into a celebration that when we die we go to be with Jesus.

You can add a short Bible verse too, and let the kids walk around a bit playing their horns and shouting the verse or something along the lines of "In God's house there's a room for me!" or, "When we die we go to heaven!" This way, whenever they play the horn or kazoo, hopefully, they'll remember what they said too!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

REACH OUT: The Preschool Connection

Some congregations have very successful preschools but they seem separate from the congregation. I've had people ask me how to build a bridge to their preschool families and my answer is always the same... "Show them Jesus!" What a great blessing that God has brought the mission field INTO YOUR CHURCH!

How do you serve your preschool families?
  • Find out about them.  How many are divorced?  How many have single parents?  How many have other kids in the family and what are their ages?
  • Offer single parents support through free babysitting once or twice a month to give them a break.
  • Have a group of people who like to cook prepare some one-dish meals for some of the families in need or single parents.
  • Involve members in Bible story time. Have them share their favorite Bible stories. (They can show, tell, or read from a children's Bible.)
  • Include a service component in your confirmation classes where the kids are required to volunteer so many hours a month in the preschool.  Have the director or teachers make lists of service opportunities.
  • Have members volunteer to watch the kids on the playground so the teachers can have some meeting or work time.
  • Involve the kids in worship services on a regular basis to get families to mingle with the congregation.
  • Provide preschool activity bags to help keep the kids busy during worship and include small bags of appropriate treats (that won't cause a mess in the sanctuary).
  • Have a clothing and/or toy swap.
  • Write a focus article on a preschool family in your newletter so people can get to know them.  Give them a special gift for participating.
  • During church events have prizes such as a meal a week for a month, 3 months, a semester, or longer.
A preschool can be a great addition to a church community and many people think they will bring families into the church and they will. If the community is a reflection of Jesus, they won't help but be drawn in.  Show them Jesus!