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SSTN # 65 - July 13, 2004

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--> Super Heroes of the Bible

1) Deaf & Dumb
2) Outreach ideas
3) Patriotic Theme
4) Children in Worship

--> Amazing Miracles of the Bible

5) Children in Worship
6) Young Teens?
7) 20 Note Colored Bells
8) Toddler Age Children's Church?

--> Spirit Gifts...An Introduction For Children

9) CD for "Jesus to the Rescue"?
10) Two - Four Year Olds?
11) Autistic children in Sunday school
12) 75th Anniversary ideas

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--> Super Heroes of the Bible

"Super Heroes of the Bible" is a special midweek program which examines
the lives of some famous and not-so-famous people who had willing hearts
to obey God. And by obeying him, they were used in miraculous and powerful
ways to help change the course of human history. It is the goal of this
series to build FAITH, COURAGE, and OBEDIENCE in the lives of children,
and to change the world for Jesus Christ.

To learn more, go to this page:
(you may need to copy and paste this address to your browser)

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1) Deaf & Dumb

Hello. I work in the human services field and find these antequated
expressions annoying. It is difficult to take an individual to a physician
that continues to use the expression "mongoloid" to refer to a person with
Down's Syndrome. I enjoy being a strong advocate for the rights of persons
with mental retardation. With a lot of hard work and prayer, I hope to
increase peoples awareness of issues such as these.

Barb Davis
Pittsburgh, PA

--from SSTN: I am quite sure the person that posted the original comment
wasn't intending to insult or slur anyone. The term may be antiquated in
America, but do keep in mind that SSTN has members all over the world. In
fact, you can find "antiquated terms" such as "dumb" to describe someone
that is unable to speak, not related to intelligence, in some Bible
translations. That being said, the purpose of the network is to share our
knowledge and insights so that we can more effectively minister to
children and youths.

Your webservant,
Sarah Keith <><

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2) Outreach ideas

Our church does 4 different outreach ideas during the 4 Sundays of Advent
to help keep us focused on what Jesus' coming was all about. The 1st
Sunday we bring in items for our local food pantry that will provide for a
Christmas dinner. Strips of paper with 1 or 2 items are passed out on the
Sunday before. The second Sunday we took up an offering to purchase Bibles
for our county jails. The third Sunday we filled gifts bags with gifts for
the residents of our local nursing home (in the past we have also filled
stockings for the Salvation Army) and the last Sunday we do a birthday
party for Jesus with everyone bringing baby gifts for our local Crisis
Pregnancy Center. This has proven to be a very successful outreach. We
also start in September to fill boxes for Operation Christmas Child. In
early November we put up a Christmas tree and we bring in hats and gloves
which are given to an organiztion operated by our local Catholic Church.
These are given to families who are unab le to provide for their children.
We provide blankets also for a county agency that adresses this need. At
Mother's day we participate in our crisis Pregnancy Center's "Operation
Boomerang" Baby bottles are passed out on Mother's Day. We collect our
change for a month and on Father's Day we return the baby bottles. This
cash is then given to the center.

K. Mills

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3) Patriotic Theme

In our Wed. night preschool class last night, we used a patriotic theme
and the children (ages 3-5) had the greatest time!!  We made coffee can drums
from instructions at: http://www.kinderart.com/recycle/cofdrum.shtml.  We
also made tamborines from instructions at
I covered the 3 pound coffee cans with white wrapping paper that I
purchased by the roll (A piece of construction paper is not large enough to go
around the can)  We used the memory verse "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord".
Psalm 100:1.  Used small dowell rods for the drum sticks.  The children
decorated their drums with patriotic stickers.  For the tamborines I used
red plastic plates instead of paper plates.  I punched matching holes
around 2 plates (about 1 inch apart), to make each tamborine.  We used white
plastic crafting cord to lace around the plates and then filled them with
a small handful of dried beans.  The cord holds the plates together nicely
with no fear of the beans falling out.  The kids also decorated their
tamborines with colorful patriotic stickers.  We marched to several kids
songs (I'm in the Lord's Army, Yankee Doodle, Onward Christian Soldiers,
or Grand Old Flag work nicely)  We had a brief lesson on Freedom  and ate
(I punched the holes in the plates and covered the coffee cans ahead of
time, so all we had to do was lace up the tamborines and decorate our

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4) Children in Worship

I think children need to learn at any early age that they are welcome in
church, not just Sunday School, but church as well. The earlier we reach
them, the better chance we have of them trusting the church, and
developing their own personal relationship with Christ as they get older.
Jesus Himself tells us in the Bible to let the children come, surely He
wants us to let them come to church as well, and not remain hidden in
Sunday School their entire lives, in Matthew 19:14 "Jesus said, "Let
the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of
heaven belongs to such as these." 
I am not sure there is any set solution, that will work for every church.
I do feel that children should be exposed to church services and not just
Sunday School at an early age, but I also know how disruptive a crying
baby can be in the middle of a prayer or Bible study. Here are some of the
ideas that our church uses, maybe something here will work for you, maybe
not, this may not be the best way of doing things, but it works for us,
for the time being anyway:
-    Friday night services deliver the standard message but children are
invited to attend worship services. For this reason, there is no middle
school or high school classes on Friday nights, in fact the middle school
team tends to play the music on Friday nights.
-    During all services (both Friday and Sunday services) the last four
rows of the church are sectioned off and reserved for families with small
children (under age 5). They are invited to sit there and if a child gets
fussy they can walk out with out disrupting the entire service.
-    We also have a crying room where families with young children can
take their children. The crying room is a room that has monitors with the
message on them, and allows you to still here the message even if you have
to tend to a child who is a little too fussy to sit through church.
-    The Video Cafe is something new that was recently started at our
church, it's a big room with tables, that are set up like dining room
tables with 4 chairs at a table. There are monitors with the message and a
team that leads music worship time. The great thing about the Video Cafe
is that there is always talking going on, people talk about the message,
people talk about life, and people just fellowship. This is a great way
for families to be able to worship together when children can't or won't
sit still through a traditional service. The Video Cafe allows them to get
up and dance during the music, play quietly on the floor if they aren't
interested in the message, work on a coloring page, or activity sheet,
-    The nursery classroom has a monitor in it that enables any parents or
workers in the nursery class to see and hear the message. Also, if you
work in the children's ministry and miss a service for whatever reason,
the church will give you a free recording in the form of a cassette of the
Like I said, this ideas may not work, or even be practical for every
church, but they work well for us. Just remember that children develop
their opinions of the church very early on, and they decide whether or not
they feel welcome at church or not at a very young age.
Hope this helps!
Love in Christ,
Sarah in California

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--> Amazing Miracles of the Bible

God’s glory and love are revealed through the miracles he performed and
were fully realized when he came to earth in the form of a man to save
mankind. By studying the miracles of the Bible children will gain a better
understanding of God’s love and faithfulness and how he continues to be
loving and faithful in miraculous ways to his people today. Great for
rotation-type programs!

In the Curriculum Creatives section:

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5) Children in Worship

>In your opinion, what are the PROS AND CONS of bringing children into
>the adult worship service?

There is a big PRO to bringing children into a worship service. Children
imitate what they see. If children see you at worship, they will come to
worship. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when
he is old, he will not depart from it.” If children are “bored”, have them
bring a coloring book, paper to draw, etc. I think it is especially
important for older children to start attending worship with their
parents. Read Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions by George
Barna. It has some excellent research about children and ministry. If
children don’t attend church as children and get into that habit, why
should they attend church when they are adults?
Jeannine, MN    

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6) Young Teens?

Greetings to ane and all.  Thank you for welcoming me into  your group.  I
am basically a sunday school teacher for std.7 & 8 i.e children  between
the age  12- 13 ys.  I am interested in making my lessons to the children very
interesting and creative  and also involving a lot  of  activity.  We have
three terms for this year and for the first term my syllabus is The
Patriarchs  ( Abhraham, Isaac,Jacob,Joseph) and Moses .

I would be grateful you could help me  in making my first term syllabus as
intresting. creative  and involving a lot of activity (like puzzles, games
ans ongs pertaining to my syllabus only).

Ms. Francis

--from SSTN: make sure you check out the Bible games section at:

ALSO, check out the resources in our Christian education section of our
bookstore at:
See especially,  "Bloom" & "Boom" - Lessons for Teens -
A girls and guys guide to growing up.

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7) 20 Note Colored Bells

We are now using the 20 note colored bell sets ane arranging our own
music.  Learning how to do this is fairly simple if you can play chords on
a keyboard and make notation.  I would be happy to assist you with
information on how to do this.
Gene Maxwell genem5329@atmc.net

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8) Toddler Age Children's Church?

I am looking for simple ideas to get a toddler children's church started.
It will be a small class, only 2-4 kids ages 1 to 3. Any ideas are
appreciated. We are trying to make our Nursery into a more Bible focused time. Thank

--from SSTN: a wonderful resource is the "Pray & Play Bible". You can find
it in the Bibles section of our bookstore at:

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--> Spirit Gifts...An Introduction For Children

An inspirational midweek program that contains a variety of fun lessons,
crafts, and games to teach the children in your ministry about the
following Spirit-filled Gifts: FAITH, WISDOM, MIRACLES, HEALING,

To learn more, visit this webpage:

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9) CD for "Jesus to the Rescue"?

Hi there:
If anyone has the CD for the VBS theme "Jesus to the Rescue", please email
me.  I would like to buy a copy but the publishing company did not have it
Amy P, Walsh

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10) Two - Four Year Olds?

Could you please help me with some Christian activities for kids age
between 2yrs - 4yrs.

--from SSTN: a wonderful resource is the "Pray & Play Bible". You can find
it in the Bibles section of our bookstore at:

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11) Autistic children in sunday school

I apologize for not responding to the request for ideas regarding an
autistic Sunday School classroom.  We began a ministry for autistic
children about nine months ago.  The need arose from my daughter and the
two children of a friend who are all autistic.  I will try to be as brief
as possible.  You have already received an overwhelming amount of
information. God placed a special burden on my heart for autistic
children.  I reviewed the Southern Baptist Convention and Awana programs
for mentally retarded and disabled children, they are incredibly
outdated.  I am writing my own curriculum for the children.  We have
experimented with multiple strategies.  I know it is popular to
mainstream.  This does not work in my opinion. Regular Sunday school
teachers spend a majority of time redirecting the autistic child.  Neither
the typical child nor the autistic child gains much from this approach. 
All I ask is for you to remember the main goal of Sunday school.  To me it
is a forum to teach the word of God with one on one communication and
understanding which cannot be gained from a sermon setting.  DO NOT
underestimate the autistic child, they can get it.  My approach does not
involve mainstreaming because in my opinion this is the school system's
job.  I am not educated in this area.  My ministry is to get the word of
God to autistic children.  First create an environment conducive to
learning for the autistic child.  This is going to raise eyebrows,
possibly even yours.  If I can do it in the Bible Belt of the South, it
can be done anywhere.  If you have a right heart and your church has a
right heart never fear.  I have elderly women who stop us every service to
comment on the wonderful blessing of our ministry.  Take a room, it really
needs to be dedicated to your ministry exclusively.  Now remove everything
from the room.  All tables, all chairs, any shelves which could be pulled
over (please get a strong man to test this theory, autistic children
during a meltdown are similar to the Hulk).  We drilled holes and attached
shelves to the wall and used a large cupboard type structure which is wide
based and sturdy.  Now paint the room a soothing color, we've decorated
three classrooms now because of growth, in two we used a sea blue and one
a pale, pale yellow.  If you find an artsy person have them paint a mural,
if not stencil, just add interest to the walls, be creative.  Next find a
flooring which is soft, if you have a Sam's club in the area they have an
incredibly reasonably priced foam interlocking flooring which comes in
primary colors or black.  We used the primary colors but if black is all
that is available use it and let the kids take some paint and put
footprints, handprints, stamps anything creative to liven it up.  Ask your
congregation for the donation of beanbags,  floor pillows, if there is a
person who sews go to the $1 table at Walmart, find some cool fabric,
autistic children love textures, and buy some stuffing; ask your
seamstress to donate some time and whip up a few pillows.  For craft time
and snack time our church has given us a second room because of the size
of our ministry, here we have set up a table for crafts.  However for
eight months we did it all in one room using children's placemats which
are laminated or lap desks donated from the congregation.  These children
need adaptations, let them have them and they will take off.  Each of my
parents now loves coming to church because their kids beg to come, they
leave their kids without any tantrums and feel confident our ministry can
engage them with God's word and keep them safe and happy.  Two families
were not attending church any longer because of the constant hassles of
the children and stares from well-meaning church goers.  Look into fidgets
and chewies.  Dollar General, Walmart, Dollar Tree all have inexpensive
fidgets and chewies.  Keep the hands and mouths of the autistic child busy
and you eliminate self mutilation and interruptions.  Fidgets can be
anything to be squeezed.  If you have more severe children please do not
buy anything water filled, I learned this the hard way.  One of my
students bites them and drinks the water or whatever is inside.  Beanies
are great, we've found trucks, dinosaurs, reptiles, sea animals, some look
like eyeballs or brains, some look like eggs, etc.  Chewies occupy the
mouth, so find a good cleaner to spray them down with at the end of each
service or assign one to each child.  Baby teethers are good, the beaded
ones work great and are inexpensive.  Now you have a basic classroom. 
Here we'll become even more controversial.  I have a shoe rack outside my
classroom.  No one comes into my class with shoes.  No adult and no
child.  Shoes are a huge distraction for the autistic child and if you
observe them in just about any setting you'll notice they come off almost
immediately anyway if the child has their way.  If we go anywhere during
classtime, I have flip flops for the children,  now is a great time to get
them.  I got some new ones last week at Hobby Lobby for .87 a pair.  I
encourage my parents to get their child to church.  I don't care if he
comes in his pajamas if he/she is having a bad day.  Just give me more
time to teach them the word of God.  Autistic children are sensitive to
the feeling of fabric.  Some days it can overwhelm all else.  Sunday is
the weekend for these kids, they are letting off steam from being cooped
up in a mainstream environment all week.  They need plenty of time to
depressurize.  If putting on church clothes keeps them home, I lose
valuable time in my efforts.  Now you have them in a setting where they
can learn and feel comfortable, so how do you keep them engaged.  My best
advice, through my own trial and error, is get busy.  Keep them active and
engage them.  As close as I can come to describing my curriculum is a
workshop rotation model all combined into one classtime.  Gear every
activity toward your lesson.  Have something for them to do as they come
into the room a coloring sheet, a small craft, putting stickers on
something, anything to keep them focused or you will lose a great amount
time refocusing them.  Autistic families arrive as they can, some will be
as much as twenty minutes late if it's a difficult morning.  About ten
after I start with games, this lets the kids expend extra energy.  I mean
moving games not board games.  I do it with limited space every service
three times a week.  If you adapt your class all you have to do is throw
the bean bags in the corner and go.  You don't have to worry about the
kids being hurt because the floor is foam.  Adapt the games for each
child, for instance jump roping can be difficult.  I have one child who
just spins instead.  Next I do the lesson.  Make it interactive, have
pictures, ask questions.  Next comes a puppet skit reinforcing the story,
then the puppets do the bible verse which I post on the wall for the kids
to read.  My kids teach the bible verse to the puppet not realizing they
are teaching themselves.  Next is snack time.  Autistic children need
snacks and drinks to keep them going or they will lose it.  Last is craft
time, again reinforcing the bible lesson.  This is calming and allows the
parents to pick them up in a calm mood.  I have only hit the tip of the
iceberg and probably still overwhelmed you.  Oh, one more thing, mock up a
one sheet questionnaire for parents to tell you any allergies, or foods
not being given to the child, we serve strictly fruit and vegetables with
100% juice or water.  There are some unusual diets out there.  Also ask
for the child's obsession or main interest and use it every chance you can
get.  Favorite color is also important.  Please contact me if you need
anything.  Pray without ceasing, God has so many blessings for you.
Karen McCommon
The Rainbow Room
Chattanooga, TN

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12) 75th Anniversary ideas

Hi!  We celebrated our 150th anniversary last year, so I have a few ideas
I can share on what we did.  We had a special service on a Sunday afternoon
and invited all former pastors, interns, etc. to attend.  Of course, some
could and some couldn't.  We also invited our synod's bishop to take part
in the service...with lots of notice so there were no other events on his
list. The service itself was modeled after one that would have taken place in
the church's early years.  After the service, we had a catered luncheon/dinner
for which we pre-sold tickets.  We had displays of old pictures,
memorabilia, etc. associated with the church's past.  We wrote a booklet
of the church's history and distributed it to everyone.  We couldn't afford a
professionally printed one, but copied it on nice paper and after folding
and stapling it, we tied a tassled cord around the middle. We got the
cords from a wedding supply store.  It looked really nice! :)  We also sold
stained glass sun catchers/Christmas ornaments featuring a picture of the
church.  We got them from here: http://www.geocities.com/tinattlg/.  We
also looked at pewter ornaments and ceramic plates/cups/trivets.  Both of which
you can find with web searches.  Of course, don't forget an article in the
local paper.  Ours featured our celebration a few weeks...a week before as
an announcement, a large article the weekend of the celebration, and a
follow-up a week or two later with some pictures of the festivities.

Sorry to be so long-winded!  Hope this gives you and others some ideas!

Denise S. in PA

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