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SSTN # 101 - November 21, 2005

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Pilgrim & Indian Finger Puppets (Set of Four)

1) Overcome the fear
2) Right to Dance?
3) Rewards in Sunday School
4) Christian version of "Jingle Bells"
5) After the holidays' Program


6) Low-cost Rewards
7) God's Trees Skit
8) Outreach ministry for children
9) Low cost goodies
10) After Christmas program
11) Outreach For Children
12) Ten Commandments for Preschoolers

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Pilgrim & Indian Finger Puppets (Set of Four)

A fun Thanksgiving activity! Download as many sets
as you need for a small, one-time fee!

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1) Overcome the fear

I wish to reply to the article on fear factor.  I particularly don't think
its the best instrument to use in bringing children to Christ, what
happens if they overome the fear?  I think it is better to allow their
love for God grow out of a heart that is willing to obey God.  Let them
see the love side of God and not as someone who is holding a big stick and
ready to strike or purnish. 

The children need to feel God's love and share this love with others. 
thank you

--from SSTN: "Perfect love casts out fear." 1 John 4:18.

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2) Right to Dance?

 I, is it rightful to dance in the church during praise songs?

--from SSTN: The Bible does talk about dancing. See Psalms 149:3. The
answer to your question should be determined by the denomination you
attend. There should never be disorder in a church. Therefore, what does
your church say or would have you do during praise songs?

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3) Rewards in Sunday School

This is a tough one and a topic I can just see people lining up on both
sides to defend. I attended a Children's Ministry workshop a few years ago
where this was intently discussed.
We want kids to love Jesus, read their Bibles, memorize Scripture, etc.
for the blessing it will bring to their lives - internal (and eternal) 
rewards. We use external rewards - Bible bucks, candy, whatever to get
their intial interest. This seems harmless but what happens when the
external reward becomes more of the focus than the internal one. I've seen
this happen a lot. Not "want to hear my Bible verse? ", but "look at the
fuzzy dice I got" . Having worked with teens I've also seen what happens
when a child's faith is based on the superficial - I'm doing this for what
I'm going to get out of it.
On the other hand is it really so bad to give a child a token reward to
encourage them as they mature in their faith? Especially if it's that
reward that gets them there in the first place.
No easy answers.
In my children's ministry I've tried to focus less on the external
rewards, but do use them from time to time. I think we each have to look
at where we are at in our ministry. If you are working  mostly with kids
from Christian families who are growing up in the church you may take a
different approach then someone who is doing a lot of evangelism to
non-christian families (i.e. more external rewards during VBS than at the
end of a SS year).

I'm glad you brought this topic up as I've wanted to see it examined, and
I hope there will be good discussion without defensiveness on both sides
of the issue.

Linda in Edmonds

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4) Christian version of "Jingle Bells"

Recently an old church in my area was cleaned out and someone came across
this Christian version of "Jingle Bells" by Irvin L. Borleid (used by
Dashing through the snow, with Jesus on my mind,
Telling the Good News to everyone I find,
Going where He leads, to every heart forlorn,
Spreading forth the Word of God that Jesus Christ is born
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Praise his Holy Name,
He is loving, He is gracious, every day the same.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Praise his Holy Name,
He is loving, He is gracious, every day the same.
Left His home on high, sent by God above,
Walking with mankind, doing all with love,
Seeking all the lost, with salvation sure,
Bidding all to accept Him; have life forever more.
Many years ago, according to God's plan,
Jesus Christ was born and became a man;
He died upon the cross to save us all from sin,
God has shown us many times that Jesus is our Friend.

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5) After the holidays' Program

The wise men actually arrived much later after the initial visit from the
heavenly hosts and earth-bound shepherds (remember that it took along time
crossing the desert on camels in order to protect the baby Messiah from
King Herod?]

So, possibly, you could have a later start time for the Christmas story,
based on the arrival of the Three Kings from the Orient, when Jesus would
have been a toddler.  New view of an old story, told from a different
vantage point.  You could still bring home the true meaning of the
prophesy fulfilled.

Just a thought . . .


--from SSTN: Epiphany is celebrated after Christmas. Check out the
following page:

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An Advent celebration of 31 crafts and recipes. Some of the projects
include: Epiphany Ornaments (a six-sided three dimensional ornament
inspired from the Orient), Ribbon Stars, a Paper Lace Angel, Paper Lace
Luminaries, a Nativity Windsock, a Chrismon Snowflake Butterfly (new
design), an Edible Nativity, Church Window Cookies, and the Jesus in the
Manger cupcake, to name just a few! To learn more, click the link or copy
and paste it to your browser:


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6) Low-cost Rewards

>Does anyone have any other "reward"
>ideas that don't cost a lot???"

You can find bookmark templates online. Also, even if you don't want to
candy, you can use small boxes of raisins, individual fruit snacks, or
quarter packs of chewing gum. You can usually find packages of 4-12 items
at a Dollar store for a buck. I've found colorful pencils, shaped erasers,
party blowers, decorated balloons, 4 packs of Play-doh, parachute guys,
You can get small trinkets for 25 cents in some machines at store
You might also check with fast food restaurants about donating outdated
meal toys and/or food coupons/certificates. You might even choose
to put dimes or quarters in as prizes. I find small prizes at yard sales,
Goodwill, dollar stores, and clearance racks. You can also buy packages of
stickers and cut the stickers apart to give as individual prizes, or buy
dollar packs of thick markers and give the markers as individual prizes.
Also, a lot of things we take for granted kids love. For example, a cool
magnet, a trinket or piece of jewelry we've had lying around forever, or a
no longer used picture frame might be a neat prize to a kid!


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7) God's Trees Skit

I used the book "Tale of Three Trees" and wrote our own as a program.
Very effective.

--from SSTN: you can find this book in our bookstore by typing the title
into the search box at:

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8) Outreach ministry for children

> looking for an outreach ministry for the children at church school

Hello - Instead of reaching outside of the country why not reach out to
another local Church in your area.  My kids are doing a Frosty Gear
Collection (new hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, socks) for children of
all ages.  The items will be donated to another parish that has a
homeless and food pantry program, which we don't have.

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9) Low cost goodies

You can get a huge tub of bubble gum from Sam's Club for about $10. It has
lasted me a long time. 

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10) After Christmas program

  I think a after Christmas program is a wonderful Idea.
It reminds me of the story in Mark (although I believe it is more than a
story) where Jesus took the blind man and led him out of town (Mark 8:23)
In other words he led him out of the hustle and bustle and opened his
blinded eyes.
Jesus can open blinded eyes and let them see the true meaning of
Christmas. God Bless you. My prayers are with you
Cindy from Ohio

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11) Outreach For Children

In today's SSTN news, a person signed Valenc asked for ideas for outreach
for children.  Last year my Sunday School class sent mittens to children
in Russia.  We began in November and by the time it came to mail them, we
had over 130 pairs, but any amount would be appreciated as these went to
orphans.  My students watched sales and bought most of them for fifty
cents a pair.  The kids wrote notes to the Russian children and included
their pictures.  If anyone wants to know the address to send them, I will
be glad to tell them. Put mittens on subject line, please.
Helen Setser

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12) Ten Commandments for Preschoolers

To Vanda (interested in the Ten Commandments)
I recently taught a series on the Ten Commandments to my Preschool Sunday
School class.  I spent about a month on the life of Moses first (Moses'
birth and early life, Moses and the burning bush, Moses and
Pharoah/Plagues of Egypt, and Moses receives the Commandments).  I used
simpler language to make the Commandments a little easier for
the children to understand (Worship only God, Don't make idols, etc.).  I
taught 1 Commandment per week to the class.  I asked the children to learn
the Commandment word for word, and I also taught the Commandment in sign
language.  In order to reinforce the lessons and to motivate them, we made
a "Commandment Train" and "Train Ties." 
This part may sound confusing, but it was very effective and looked great
on the wall.  I made an Engine, 8 cars, and a caboose per child (out of
construction paper) with one Commandment printed on each one.  I also
attached 2 pieces of black rope-like material (I don't know what it was
called, but it looked like twisted raffia ribbon) along the wall for each
child to look like train tracks.  Each child painted 10 clothes pins
black, to make "train ties."  On the following Sunday if the children were
able to tell me the Commandment, then they earned their "Commandment
Car."  If they show me the Commandment using sign language, then they
earned their train tie.  They were then allowed to put their Commandment
car on the wall (little piece of tape on the back worked just fine) and
they clipped their train tie to the black rope beneath the corresponding
Commandment car.  After a few weeks it really started to take shape and
look like a train track with a train on it.  The children loved it.  Each
week I gave the children a paper to take home with them that had the
Commandment printed on it and pictures on it to help their parents
practice the Commandment in sign language.
I am sorry this is long and may be confusing.  If you want to email me,
feel free to do so at Tinatmr@aol.com
Tina in Tennessee

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