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SSTN  # 82- August 10, 2002

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--> Armor of God Game

1) JR Children's Church (JR= Joyful Respect)
2) Starting a Children's Church
3) Gifts and Talents Program
4) Psalm 23 lesson plan and coloring pages   
5) Starting A Wed. Night Program?
6) David VBS Games
7) David VBS Games
8) NO ROOM...what to do?
9) How to motivate kids to sing
10) Motivating Children to Sing
11) Psalms Series Sermons
12) VBS Circus Theme

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Armor of God Game

Kids scramble to be the first to build a full suit of armor using peel 'n'
play stickers,
and soak up the lessons taught in Ephesians 6 while they play! 
In the Games section of the Bookstore at: 


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1) JR Children's Church (JR= Joyful Respect)

WOW - we sure have had a lot of good input about Children's Church. It is
great to see how very much alike so many of the programs are that have had

It will be a year in September 2002 that we started our JR Church Program.
The JR is not just "junior" it actually stands for "Joyful Respect". That
is what the focus is for our classes for 4-8 year olds; to be JOYFUL in
church - but at the same time to RESPECT God's Word, the building HE has
given us, as well as the church family that worships God together.

The kids "respectfully" exit and line up to walk to our class area, after
our time of worship singing -- when the congregation shakes hands as
adults settle in for the preaching time. The children must pass the
nursery - so they have learned to be very quiet and to "respect" the
babies as well as the volunteers that are caring for them.

Their regular attendance is important. This month they have been rewarded
for attendance and also bringing their Bibles, by adding a small cookie to
a big jar. This is not a treat for them, but for the babies and toddlers.
We have had several different rewards that benefit others. (Once it was
dog biscuits for our Pastor's dog!)

For the past year we have focused on one Godly characteristic for each
month. However, during the Summer, we have used the "Buggie for Jesus"
suggestions from SSTN (a nice break for a few weeks :o).

The month or 2 before their 9th birthday, we implement a special plan of
training. The birthday child sits with an adult, other than their parent,
during the adult service. Being with an adult that is not their parent
gives the opportunity for others of the church to help a young person grow
spiritually, and also helps to make them more accountable for their
behavior as well. (However, behavior is no longer a problem by the time
they leave JR Church). The child is given a worksheet each week that they
will complete while listening to the message. The worksheet has a place
for them to record each scripture passage that is utilized during the
sermon, as well as key words for which to listen. They are asked to make a
check mark each time they hear one of the key words mentioned. There is
also plenty of room for them to write any important phrases, etc, they
might want to remember. Before the next Sunday's service, they should be
able to go over their "notes" and tell a JR Church teacher what the
message was about, and how they can see the purpose in their lives. They
are then given a worksheet for the next service. These papers are given to
the parents at the end of the "special worship training". We also desire
that the parent's be able to have conversations with the children about
the messages that are presented. We hope this training will add to the
family's spiritual focus at home as well as at church.

When it is shown that the child is paying attention and understanding that
the messages are also able to be understood by a 9 year old, the Pastor
will present the child to the congregation and bless them with a prayer.
Being there, on stage and in front of the congregation, also adds to the
accountability for their spiritual growth, as well as their behavior.

I have learned a lot while presenting JR Church this past year. We often
fail to give enough credit to the intelligence and fortitude of the
younger members of the church family. I have found it true that if we hold
them accountable - they live up to that challenge. I have been so proud of
the children! They keep me on my toes - spiritually. They ARE watching the
adults. It is SO important that we, as adult Christians, be the best that
we can be - not only for Christ --- but for the Little Ones that are
watching. The children we train today, are the spiritual leaders of
tomorrow. If a Children's Church is presented - it should keep that focus
in the forefront. We will stand accountable to God for the training our
children receive.

Hope this is of some encouragement to others.

Joyfully Serving HIM,
Emmalea Butler <><

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2) Starting a Children's Church

> If anyone would like to explain to me how
> to get something like this started you can e-mail me at
> I'd love to hear what you have to say.

I started a children's church with very few helpers.  We had about 40
children and a great number of them was from our socio-economically
disadvantaged area.  We did everything the adult church did, but used
lessons and songs that the children could understand and participate in.  I
started the program with God, me and 2 elders that I shamed into helping.  As the
program progressed and people saw what we were accomplishing and that it
was not a baby sitting service, but the children learned to sit and worship,
we began to get more helpers.  This was before the days of the Internet and I
had to really hunt to find items.  With the Internet, you have a ton of
resources available.  Our schedule went like this.  Songs, lesson, songs, prayer
requests and prayer, songs, Communion service for the adults and we talked
about why we did it, offering and why, songs.  You notice there is alot of
songs.  One of the men commented that I must know a thousand songs, but I
have found that children learn from singing better than any other way.  We had
2 year olds to 9 year olds in the class.  The older ones learned to help
with the younger ones just like in any family.  Where we attend now, we have
from birth to 2nd grade.  My son directs it (one of the orginial children in
our children's church) and he still uses alot of the same songs.  You would be
surprised at what a small baby can learn about God and repeat.  
In Christ's love,  Peggy K

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3) Gifts and Talents Program   

>"Next year, our theme for Sunday School is going to be "God made me
>special".  We want to concentrate on each child's individual gifts ...At
the end of the >year we would like to have a show to show off our gifts
and talents...."

Our public school has an annual open house to do this, and the outcome is
incredible.  I've seen very bashful, sensitive children just shine in the
limelight of a discovered talent.  Each student exhibits something in
their classroom related to their talent.  If their talent is music, they
can dance or sing (in person or on videotape).  If they are organized,
they may bring their favorite collection.  Writers can bring a story/poem.
Animal caregivers may bring photos of a cherished pet.  The list goes on.
Everyone has something special to contribute, and the diversity is
amazing.  I look forward to it each year.

P.S.:  The camcorder is a wonderful thing for children who are too
self-conscious to sing or dance in front of a crowd....

~~Vicki Logan yogieg@home.ffni.com

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4) Psalm 23 lesson plan and coloring pages   

Because of an overwhelming number of responses (43!) requesting the Psalm
23 lesson I’ve posted them on the web. They are in pdf format so adobe
acrobat reader is required to see them but is preinstalled on most
computers and is a free program available on the Internet:

Either click on the links or copy & paste them into your browser window:

God bless you in your teaching. In Christ’s love, Kristine Bell <><

SSTN Editor's Note: Kristine wants you to know these lessons are Copyright
Free. She wants you to give God the glory for use of them.
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5) Starting A Wed. Night Program?

My church is trying to expand our ministry.  We would like to start a new
Wednesday night kid's group and expand our Sunday school program.  We need
ideas and advice.  How do we get started and what should we do.  Should we
buy literature or write the lessons?  Should we try to hire someone to get
it started or use volunteers? How do we get kids to come?  We are a very
small congregation in a rural area.  About 20 adults and 5 kids are

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6) David VBS Games

Good morning:
Danielle's Place had a wonderful game that our children really enjoyed
when we were talking about Daniel and his sheep.  The kids loved it!
God bless,

--from SSTN:  You can find this site and many others in our Links section
at: http://www.ChristianCrafters.Com 

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7) David VBS Games

>I'm helping out with a VBS and we are working on David. 1- David as a
>Shepard, 2- David & Goliath, 3- Johnathon & David. I'm looking for some
>games that would tie into these stories. Does anyone have any?

Corrinne -
I have a game that my kids thought was fun in part of my David & Goliath
lesson.  We read the bible story first, so everyone would understand the
parts of the game.  We set up an obstacle course (we were in a school gym
and used folding chairs for this) ahead of time.  At the starting end of
the obstacle course, we had an empty pizza box and empty 20 oz bottle (lunch
for David's brothers) and an oversized sweatshirt (King Saul's armor).  At the
other end, we had a wicker laundry basket full of clean socks with some
bean bags made from knee highs mixed in (the five smooth stones) and "Goliath"
(a stack of empty cardboard boxes with an outline of a warrior - taller than
the kids).  We actually had two lines set up - it wasn't really a race
between the two lines, it just went faster - we had several other games on
gym night and had to keep the kids moving to get to all the stations.
They start out taking lunch to their brothers (carry the pizza box & drink to
the end then back to the start).  Then they set those items down and put on
the King's armor and run through again.  Then they run to the river and select
their stones.  Finally, they go to do battle with Goliath.  They swing
their "slingshot stones" to try and knock down Goliath.  (Be sure the beanbags
are tied in the knee highs well, and if you use your own beans to make them be
sure they are well wrapped before you put them in the knee highs or beans
will go flying!).  The kids had a lot of fun and they can really remember
the parts to the story.  Good Luck to you!


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8) NO ROOM...what to do?

I just wanted to post up a question. I'm very involved in the Children's
Ministry in our church, but we are running into kind of a problem. We have
no room for our children's service. The only way we can do this is to
split up the age groups, 4-7 and 8-11. I really want another idea. Any ideas?
Thanks and God bless,
P.S. I LOVE this newsletter!! Thanks, Sarah!

--from SSTN: you are welcome!  This is actually a good age split and can work to your advantage. Because the older kids can have the benefit of a more challenging curriculum. One thing we have done in the past with our midweek program is to split the children according to their ages in a similar manner as yours. We have one group in a crafts session and one group in a games session, then switch them after 20-30 minutes. However, both groups are together for songs and lesson time.
ysic, Sarah <><

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9) How to motivate kids to sing   

> I lead Kid's Church for ages 7-9 twice a month.  I usually have a group
> 15 - 19 kids.  I have difficulty getting the kids to sing praise and
> worship songs at the beginning of our service. Any creative suggestions

I don't know why, but I NEVER have a problem motivating kids to sing.  I
lead the children's worship for Jr. Church, and have been the music lady
for our Chapel's week-long Bible daycamp and at Joy Bible Camp Girls
Adventure for the past 7 years.  The one qualification to having children
follow your lead, is to LEAD and HAVE FUN!  The brighter, smilier, sillier
you are, the better (within good taste, of course!).  The children LOVE to
see us make mistakes and admit it.  They will easily follow you then into
a worshipful, prayerful mode, if the leader gets into it.

This year, I was given THE most amazing resource imaginable from a
Christian Children's performer, Jana Alayra.  She has 2 CD's with
corresponding TRAX, and BOOKS that give not only the music, but also
American Sign Language and other actions for the songs.  The songs are
based on Scripture, and our kids LOVE them.  Even the teenagers were
jumping up and down with us.

The other GREAT resource I use is a CD and book called "Scripture Songs
for Children's Ministry from Standard Publishing.  These also have simple
signing and action, and are based on Scripture, too.  The kids I know LOVE
these, too.

--from SSTN: You can find "Scripture Songs for Children's Ministry" in our
bookstore. Just type the title into the search box:

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10) Motivating Children to Sing   

Here's a great idea strictly from the Holy Spirit.  Introduce...
"Lord, you are more precious than Silver"
                  Have a child hold up a silver platter during this
"Lord, you are more costly than gold"
                  Have a child hold up a gold crown during this phrase.
"Lord, you are more beautiful than diamonds"
                   Have someone hold up a crystal necklace, or several
                   from a chandelier
"Nothing I desire compares with you".
                   With hands lifted up.

Then have those that were previously holding up these items choose one
other to take their place - someone that looks as if they were
particpating in worship.  This can go on, as each child catches on, eager
to participate, as the "gifts of worship are being 'stirred up' "
I have never seen this fail each time it is done, as each child is excited
to be chosen (we've done this with 50+   5year olds, and have given each
one a chance to participate as a leader).  Children are expectant and
experience true worship at this time.

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"Get em' in the LOOP!" 

L-eading kids to Christ,
O-ffering advice
O-pen discussion forum
P-roviding free resources

Invite your friends, pastors, and coworkers
to join our discussion in SSTN.


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11) Psalms Series Sermons

Dear Sarah, I'm just writing to say a massive THANK YOU for the Psalms
series sermons. I'm from New Zealand and have a class of about 10-12 kids
and these sermons are perfect! They give enough to do in an hour, and are
also very flexible with an excellent gospel message. I'm eternally
grateful for all the fantastic work you put in - you've made Sunday School
teaching so much more fun for me (and the kids).

If you feel that anymore series are in the pipelines - this is a word of encouragement YES! They're great! And I'd love another set like this with games and crafts combined in an easy package.

Keep up the tremendous work
All of God's blessings

Esther Bennett
Birkdale Bible Chapel, NZ

--from SSTN: Dear Esther: Thank you so much for saying so! As a matter of fact, I've been working on two different series that are set up just like the Psalms series. They are based on the ten commandments and the names of God. They are designed to be used over 10 to 20 weeks and will be ready for sale in the fall.

I really appreciate your encouragement! Also...check out the last in the series, I just added a new game to it:  http://www.christiancrafters.com/sermons.html

Thanks so much for writing. It is always wonderful to hear if these ideas are being used!!

Your webservant,
Sarah Keith <><
"Home of The Sunday School Teacher's Network"

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12) VBS Circus Theme?

Our vacation Bible School is coming up in a few weeks and we always try to
come in a couple of days to decorate according to the theme, which this
year is the circus.  Anyone have any neat ideas that don't take a lot of
time to put up?  Due to the room I will have also being used for Sunday
School and other classes, we usually only have the night or day before it
starts.  Thanks.  Kari

--from SSTN: type "circus" into the Archives List search box:

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