Category Archives: missionaries

Child Discipleship – Scripture Memorization Games

By Wanda Parker

(I am now blogging on Children’s Ministry at www.kidtrek-sundayplus.org  I will continue blogging on Christian After School Programs at this site.)

It is vital that we assist kids in memorizing scripture. We never know how long we will have easy access to the Bible.

I remember hearing the story of Brother Andrew meeting with a group of pastors to discuss how the church should prepare to go underground. The response of the pastors was that this is ridiculous, this will never happen in “our country.” The following weekend the country fell to communists and it was illegal to have a Bible.

Be sure the kids understand the verse they are memorizing before playing the games.

Here are a few game to use to encourage kids as they memorize scriptures.

Dizzy Drop

Materials: a penny, blindfold, small pieces of paper with 1,000; 2,000;3,000; 4,000; 5,000   written on them

PREP

  • Decide the teams you will use for this game, Primary or Secondary.
  • Lay out the numbered pieces of paper on the floor

THE ACTIVITY

  • Select a volunteer from the first team to quote the verse from memory.
  • If she is able to correctly quote the verse she is blindfolded, spun around and given the penny to drop.
  • Her team receives the points closest to where the penny dropped.
  • If she is unable to correctly quote the verse she does not get any points.
  • Next select a volunteer from the second team to quote the verse from memory.
  • To go faster have a kid quote the verse to one Discipler while a second Discipler is supervising the spin and drop.
  • Don’t forget to give out Spirit Points for participation, encouraging other players, sitting quietly when it isn’t your turn.

PENNY TOSS

Materials: a plate per team, a penny per team, copies of the verses

  • A Discipler from an opposing team works with a team.
  • The Discipler lays the dish down approximately 6ft.from the player.
  • The Discipler asks the player to quote the verse.
  • If she is able to quote the verse she is allowed to toss the penny.
  • If the penny lands in the plate that team gets a point.
  • The players may keep studying the verse when it is not their turn.
  • Make sure everyone goes home with a copy of the verse.

Duck Duck Verse

Materials: copy of The Ten Commandments for each kid

THE ACTIVITY

  • Give each kid a sheet with the verse written on it.
  • Give them a couple of minutes to study.
  • Play the game in the two big teams from recreation.
  • One player from each team is chosen to be “IT”
  • “IT” goes around the circle tapping each player on the head and saying, “Duck, Duck Duck, Verse.”
  • The player whose head is tapped “Verse” stands and chases “IT.”
  • If “IT” makes it around to the space of the player he tagged then “Verse” must say the verse.
  • If “VERSE” tags “IT” before getting to the vacant spot then “IT” must say the verse.
  • If the player is able to say the verse their team gets 1,000 points.
  • Give teams points for cheering on their players.

What’s The Next Word

Materials: a set of cards for each team, each set will have one word written on                            each  card, the reference stands as one word

THE ACTIVITY

  • Determine if this will be played in Primary Teams or Secondary Teams.
  • This is played similar to a relay.
  • All the word cards are laid at one end of the room and scrambled.
  • Teams are at the opposite end of the room.
  • When the adult says “GO” the first person from each team runs down and finds the first word of the verse.
  • She then runs back to his team and lays the word down.
  • The second player then runs down and looks for the second word, runs back and lays his word down.
  • If a wrong word is brought back the player must return to find the correct word.
  • The team to win is the first team to have laid its verse(s) out correctly.

More Games Click Here

In this PDF are a list of games to review the verses they’ve learned in the past year  Memory Verse Review


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Child Discipleship – How Children Learn

By Wanda Parker

(Now posting on Children’s Ministry at KidTrek Sunday Plus. I will continue to post here on After School Ministries)

“I had to go to the hospital because I had a bug in my stomach,” ten year old Olivia told her Sunday school teacher. When the doctor told her she had a bug his picture of the bug looked very different from the bug Olivia saw.

What we want more than anything is for children to internalize the truths that we are presenting to them. However, how can they do so when we present these abstract truths in ways that their brains can’t yet grasp?

CHILDREN THINK AND LEARN IN THE CONCRETE

They need to taste, touch, see, hear and smell what is being taught. In other words they need to experience the concept being taught. When the truth is presented in this way it is internalized, the child has an internal understanding that they still can’t put into words.

New studies show us that the teen brain isn’t as developed as once thought but they fool us because of the experiences they have had. They can communicate at a higher level because through living they have internalized concepts.

Elsa, a kindergartener, and her Mom went to visit Grammy.  Upon entering the house Mom said, “Elsa, tell Grammy what the pump is in your body.”

Elsa replied, “My heart.”

“Elsa, tell Grammy what makes you breathe.”  Mom prodded

“My lungs,” Elsa proudly replied.

Grammy quickly asked, “Elsa what does it mean to breathe?”

“I don’t know,” came the hesitant answer

Not to be outdone Mom told Elsa to show Grammy what it meant to breathe.  With that Elsa took two huge intakes of breath.  To put into words what the word “breathe” meant was too abstract.  But Elsa did know what it meant to breathe because she had experienced breathing and thus had internalized the concept. The abstract concept had become concrete to Elsa, she could use the word breathe and know what it meant but she could not explain it.

BIBLICAL CONCEPTS ARE ABSTRACT

Our challenge as we present the Biblical concepts is to make them concrete so that the children can understand them.

In Sunday Plus Curriculum we do this through what we call Reality Check. – the first portion of each Kids’ Bible Focus lesson.

Reality Check is intended to bring alive the Biblical truth being taught.  This usually means making abstract concepts concrete – allowing the child to taste, touch, see, hear, and smell the concept being taught.  You are also permitting emotions to become a part of the learning process.  In other words, you are allowing the whole child to experience the truth – bringing reality into the lesson.  The kids will actually experience the concept.

The best way to explain such learning is to give you a couple of examples.

Temptation

As the children entered the room, there was a large stack of newspapers next to the door.  One of the adults told them they could take the paper and do anything they wanted with it.  However, they were directed towards a table where there was a craft they could make out of the newspaper.

Each child came in and began working on the craft.  After a few minutes, you could almost see the wheels turning in Kevin’s mind as he looked at this “stupid” craft he was working on and then looked over at the stack of newspapers.  He got out of his chair, walked over to the adult, Miss Tish, who was welcoming the children and asked, “Did you say we could do anything we wanted with this paper?”

“That’s right,” she answered.

“You mean I could take and wad up the paper and throw it around the room?” he prodded.

“As long as you don’t hit anyone,” Miss Tish directed.

With that Kevin took one piece of paper after another, wadded it up and threw it across the room.  The other boys, after seeing the fun Kevin was having, didn’t want to work on any “stupid” old craft.  They left the table and joined Kevin in making a mess of the room with the newspaper.  When it was time to clean up the adults helped the children who had been working on the craft.   Those children got their area cleaned up quickly and were given donuts and juice.

“Hey!  How come they are getting donuts and juice?”  Kevin demanded.

“Because they got their mess cleaned up.”  Miss Tish answered.

The whole room was now paying attention to the exchange between Kevin and Miss Tish.

“But you helped them clean up,” Kevin responded

“They were working on the craft,” Miss Tish explained.

“But you said we could do anything we wanted!”  Kevin argued.

“That’s right, and that is called TEMPTATION.” Miss Tish explained.  “In the world people tell you all the time to do whatever you want.  You know what the best things are to do.  You have to make choices.  There are always consequences for the choices we make.  When we give into temptation and choose to do what looks like its more fun or easier, though we know the other choice is the better choice, we will eventually pay the consequence.”

The children were then sat down and immediately told a Bible story which related to temptation.

Honesty

Miss Marla led the kids in a game of Red Light, Green Light.

The game was played on the honor system.  Miss Marla never turned around.  The winners were given a baggie full of candy, but were told not to open it until the end of class.

Then they had the Bible lesson on honesty after which the adults brought out the video camera that had been secretly recording the children as they played Red Light, Green Light.  Upon playing the video, those children who had cheated had to give their candy back.

Reality Learning also engages the emotions. When does God teach you the most? My experience has been that it has been when he has engaged my emotions – that is when the truth moves from the head to the heart.

WHAT REALITY LEARNING IS NOT

Skits
Object Lessons

These are both abstract presentations – object lessons in particular.

If you would like to learn how to use Reality Learning in your ministry and also how to create your own I am offering a two hour free training to the first ten people to email me at wanda@kidtrek.org If you live outside the United States it may mean middle of the night.

Child Discipleship – Who Do You Want A Child To Be When He is 40?

As we pray, plan, develop and implement ministry for children it is vital that we stop and ask who we want that child to be when he is an adult.

I believe asking this question will make a big difference in how we do ministry to children.

Below is my beginning list. I’m sure it will grow and change – if I’ve missed something let me know.

SPIRITUAL

A fully devoted follower of the Triune God
In response to his love for Jesus strives to obey – knowing he will continually fall
Daily admits brokenness, yet always sees hope and worth in Jesus
Self-talk is an on-going conversation with God
Loves God and Loves his neighbor
Knows God and Knows His Power
A studier of God’s Word  Deuteronomy 6
Discerner of Truth – does not compromise Truth
Boldness for Christ
Evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit in his/her life
Walks with God and is Blameless Genesis 17:1
Biblical worldview
Actively involved in a God honoring, Bible based church
Uses His Spiritual Gift to the glory of God
Recognizes that apart from God he can do nothing of worth

EMOTIONAL

God confidence
Secure based on relationship with Christ
Not fearful of emotions
Is able to express emotions in healthy ways
Knows Source of healing for woundedness and goes immediately to  the Source for healing
Full of joy and peace
Emotionally strong – able to persevere
Able to trust

SOCIAL

Respect for others
Leadership skills
Good relationship with parents and siblings
Solid peer group of believers
Healthy relationship with more mature believers
Willing to get involved in the messiness of others’ lives
Godly humility in relationships
A care for the needy
Sexually pure
Godly use of finances/resources

MENTAL

Biblical Worldview
Mind of Christ
A continual learner
Critical Thinking Skills
Planning skills
Minimum of a high school diploma

PHYSICAL

Treats body as temple of God
Makes good choices
Dresses appropriately, I Timothy 2:9

Once you know who you want a child to become – how do you get him to that place? Click here for some thoughts

Child Discipleship – Children’s Church

By Wanda Parker

We have the opportunity to train up children to participate in corporate worship. I believe it is imperative that we do it at a level a child will become engaged and at the same time prepare them for that day they will worship as adults.

To see a sample lesson of Kids’ Corporate Worship click here

KIDS’ CORPORATE WORSHIP

Each lesson includes

NOOK

The term Nook is used here because we want this opening time to be as warm and inviting as the kitchen nook at grandma’s house on a sunny morning with the smell of donuts frying.

An adult is at the door to greet the kids and direct them to other adults who are on the floor ready to engage the kids in a few fun questions. The questions are non-threatening and have nothing to do with the Bible (this may be a child’s first time in any activity at church). The questions do provide more knowledge to the Disciplers of who the kids are.

There is also a simple game to play as more kids arrive.

WORSHIP THROUGH MUSIC

Four or five songs are suggested that will tie into the Biblical concept being taught.

WORSHIP THROUGH LITURGY

It is suggested that the liturgy used in adult church be followed during this time.

WORSHIP THROUGH THE WORD

A skit is presented which is a modern living out of the scripture that was presented in Kids’ Bible Focus (Sunday School Hour).

After the skit the kids get in their Trek Teams with their Disciplers. Kids who were in Kids’ Bible Focus are given the opportunity to share the Bible story to get the kids caught up who weren’t there the first hour. Then the Discipler pulls the Bible lesson and the skit together with a series of questions.

RECREATION

God made kids to move, in recreation they have the opportunity to move – a lot!

However, the games are much more than just having fun. In recreation you can observe how much the kids are internalizing the Biblical truths they have been learning. After a game there is always a time of Debriefing.

It is an opportunity to teach the kids that Biblical truths apply in every aspect of our lives. We can be talking to Jesus no matter what we are doing. He is interested in everything we do – even when are are playing Steal The Bacon.

You can see an actual lesson here

To see a Kids’ Bible Focus lesson go here

Child Discipleship – A Sunday School Lesson

By Wanda Parker

(I am now writing in regard to children’s ministry at www.kidtrek-sundayplus.org  I will continue to write here in regard to Christian After School Programs.)

What we present to children on Sunday morning will determine their walk through life with Jesus. What happens at church has a great impact on the Truth a child internalizes.

In “Essential Church?” Sam and Thom Rainer tell us we are losing 70% of our church raised kids. We haven’t been presenting The Gospel in a way that kids have been able to internalize the truth.

Much prayer has gone into the development of Sunday Plus Children’s Ministry Curriculum. Lord willing He has guided us step by step.

To see a sample Kids’ Bible Focus lesson click here This would typically be Sunday School.

Format of lesson:

GATHERING
Something to engage kids as soon as they enter. They sit on the floor with an adult and have non-threatening questions that leads to sharing life.

Then a simple game to which kids can be added as they enter.

REALITY LEARNING

An opportunity for kids to actually experience the Biblical concept they are being taught.

HEARING THE WORD

Each week the Bible is presented in a different way. The aim is that the kids will internalize the truth that is presented.

CHAT ‘N CHEW

Kids sit on the floor with their Disciplers and talk about what they have learned so far this morning. Often Disciplers are encouraged to share from their own walk with the Lord – kids need to know these truths are still applicable today.

CRAFTS

When mom and dad ask kids what they learned that morning they will often pull out the craft they made it that morning to use in their explanation.

Also when kids hands are busy it is a great time to carry on further discussion with them – continuing to strive to help them internalize the truth.

Besides – it is fun.

Check out KidTrek Sunday Plus for Children’s Ministry blogging.

Child Discipleship – Sharing your own walk with God

By Wanda Parker

Seven year old Liam hesitantly spoke at the dinner table, “Dad I have something to tell you that is going to destroy our family.”

Dad calmly responded, “Liam, I can promise you that there is nothing you can tell me that would destroy our family, but we will talk about it after dinner.”

After dinner dad took Liam into the living room, “Son, what is it you want to tell me?”

“Dad, I don’t believe in God anymore. Those Bible stories are great, but I don’t see God doing anything like that today. I don’t think He is here anymore,” Liam blurted out.

Dad assured Liam that God did still exist and that He is as active today as He was in the days of the Bible. Later dad and mom discussed amongst themselves how this could have possibly happened when they were seeing God do amazing things everyday in their ministry. Sadly they realized that they hadn’t been sharing these things with their children.

The following night as they sat around the dinner table mom and dad shared stories of how they had seen God at work in the families they served. In the coming weeks they were intentional to share  what God had done in their own lives and the lives of others. Everything from that badly needed parking space to Mrs. Lee’s tumor being gone, miraculously, when the doctor’s opened her to remove it. The stories didn’t always end with what, as humans, we would consider a “good” ending. There was the family across the street whose son died in Iraq, but God gave the family strength and a peace that others saw and wanted to know where it came from.

Several weeks later at dinner Liam said, “I’ve been thinking – I do believe God exists.”

It is important that we are continuously sharing with our children how God is at work in our lives and the lives of others. It is important that the children hear from us not just the good things that happen, but how does God give you strength, joy and peace as you walk through the difficult times?

This sharing should become a natural part of your lives – “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6

God will provide you the opportunities.

Are the children in your church receiving intentional, individualistic discipleship?  What model is your church’s children’s ministry – click here for some options.

Child Discipleship – Using Bucks/Banking in Discipleship

By Wanda Parker

BUCKS/BANKING

Bucks are used throughout Sunday Plus Curriculum (click here to learn about Sunday Plus Curriculum) to motivate and encourage kids, but more importantly to teach kids how to use money. It is also a great tool in teaching critical thinking, reasoning, responsibility, budgeting and delayed gratification.

Each church must make its own decision as to the extent to which they will use the Bucks/Banking Tool. A church may use every element suggested below or they may use only the Bucks and store. A church may want to begin with a simple Bucks/Banking program and then move into a more sophisticated ministry/program.

Sunday Plus Curriculum’s goal is to disciple the whole child – spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, social. The Bible gives us more than 800 scriptures pertaining to money. The way we handle money speaks to our heart obedience to God.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24

What greater time than childhood to learn the truths pertaining to money. Some parents are great at giving allowances and training their children how to manage money; others have no clue how to even begin. You may have parents who represent the whole spectrum. Your decision on how to use this component ofSunday Plus Curriculum will be determined by the families you serve.

Kids will earn Bucks in Kids’ Bible Focus, Kids’ Corporate Worship and Kids’ Weekday Celebration. Each kid is responsible for the care of his/her own Bucks. If Bucks are lost or stolen that is the responsibility of the kid to whom the Bucks belonged. If they were stolen and the child who stole them is discovered then s/he is disciplined. As the kids earn their bucks, give them the option of keeping their money or turning it in at the bank. If mom washes a pair of pants and Bucks have been left in the pants and destroyed that is the child’s loss. Bucks are no more replaceable than real money is replaceable. You wouldn’t go into a bank and say, “I washed my clothes and my 100 dollar bill was torn to shreds, please give me another 100 dollar bill.”

The reality of life is that each of us goes through difficult circumstances. The earlier in life we experience and thus learn reality the easier it is. Childhood is a time of preparation for adulthood. If a child is not prepared for what is to come s/he will have a difficult life.

Each month when the store is open the kids can bring all their money and:

  • Deposit all in the bank.
  • Deposit some in the bank and keep some out to spend.
  • Spend all the money they have at the store.
  • Spend some and take the rest home choosing not to use the bank.

Bank Accounts: You can set up different types.

  • Checking account on which they can write a check at any time.
  • Savings account – it must stay in for a certain length of time but interest will be paid.
  • Christmas account – money can only be withdrawn during December of each year; a higher interest is paid.

Store: once a month have a store opened where kids can purchase a variety of items. Be sure to have some high end items that the kids will have to save their Bucks for. This teaches delayed gratification as well as critical thinking skills.

Tithe – it is important to teach the kids your church’s teaching on the tithe and offerings.  Create ways for kids to give back to God on a regular basis.  Kids can give during the offering in Kids’ Corporate Worship and a Tithe Bucket can be placed in the store. Think of other times and places – you may have a special collection for something during Kids’ Bible Focus or Kids’ Weekday Celebration. Ask the Lord to show you ways He wants you to train up the kids in management of money. Following is a note a Children’s Pastor wrote the parents introducing the Tithing concept.

“Up to this point, unless your child has a job or gets some type of allowance, the only money s/he is able to give at church is what you give him/her. Now that the kids have somewhat “tasted” the store, the concept of tithing will be all that much more real for them. Not only will it take a step of faith and belief for them to give from what they have, but as we can all relate to as adults, tithing sometimes means the difference between being able to get something we want, or not. In addition, we will be giving the kids the opportunity to decide as a group what those bucks “given” will be used to donated from their store to a local ‘cause’.”

The Bucks they give may be used to purchase something for the Infant/Toddler’s Room at the church, or food purchased for the local food bank, or flowers bought and taken to a convalescent home, etc..  Let the kids think of places to give. Figure the money that would have been used to purchase items for the store is diverted to pay for the tithe items.

Pay for all outings: The kids pay for anything they do beyond the normal ministry. Even if parents pay with “real money” for a trip to an amusement park the kids pay with their “Bucks.” If they bring a friend who doesn’t have Bucks they pay for the friend. Also an offering can be taken for guests. This challenges kids on a number of levels. Where is their heart in relation to their Bucks?

Be sure your Disciplers are trained to talk all this through with the kids.

Each church can create their own checks to match the theme of their children’s ministry. Sample checks are at the end of Addendum A.

Also included are check register pages.  Each kid should have one register for each account they have.

Introduce Bucks the first Sunday and weekday. At that time do a simple introduction of how they earn Bucks and that the store is going to be open once a month. For deeper explanation of the Banking system choose a week when you will present the whole program during each of the children’s gathering times.

Present the same material that week to The Shema Focus gathering(s) with further teaching on what the Bible says about money. For a resource seehttp://www.daveramsey.com/church/scriptures/

Presentation to Kids:

  • Your church’s teaching on tithes and offerings.
  • Go through step by step how they use their checkbook.
    • Make using a checkbook a privilege by saving it for Older Kids only – you decide what ages.
  • On the day that you introduce the concept of banking, open the bank and allow them to deposit money.  Then make sure that they record it properly.
  • Be sure they know that if they write a check at the store for more money than they have in their checking account, they will have to pay a fine.  Be sure you know what the fine will be.

Think through what interest you will pay in the saving accounts