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SSTN # 83 - September 19, 2005

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Skit: Bethlehem Drive (Youth Group or Fundraiser Idea)

1) Why Have Sunday School?
2) Christmas Missionary Project
3) Youth group ideas
4) Ten Commandment's Tune
5) Beauty & Outward Adornment
6) Beauty & Outward Adornment
7) Craft for clear plastic tubes?
8) Children's Worship Bags?
9) 1st and 2nd Grade
10) Fear Factor
11) Fear Factor
12) Fear Factor

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Skit: Bethlehem Drive (Youth Group or Fundraiser Idea)

A fun and effective way to witness to your community. Stations are set up
to tell important parts of the Christmas story. Visitors drive past each
station, finally arriving at the manger scene. Little to no memorization
required. For older youths and adults. Can be used as a fundraiser too.

You will find "Bethlehem Drive" listed in the "Christian Skits" section
at:  http://www.ChristianCrafters.Com 

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1) Why Have Sunday School?

I just found out our church is going to be discussing whether to continue
having Sunday school classes.  We currently have a Wednesday evening youth
program which draws about 80 children, but on Sunday mornings we have
maybe 10.  Since I love teaching Sunday school, and since I can’t
participate on Wednesday nights due to some family issues (and my 6yo son
can’t attend either), I am really hoping they keep Sunday school.  I know
there is no Bible verse that says you have to have Sunday school at
such-and-such a time, but does anyone have any good arguments/reasons to
support keeping Sunday school even with low turnout?

Thanks for your ideas.
Karen in Montana

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2) Christmas Missionary Project
My sister, Carol, has led Junior Church for years. After doing many
different Christmas projects she offered an idea a few years ago that has
now been a repeated success. Carol contacts the missionaries that her
church supports and determines at least the names, ages and sex of the
missionary's children on the field with them.  The project is then opened
up to the church to fill boxes for these children. Although the church
sends money to the families each year, the church now feels more connected
and the missionary children feel they too are special to the church and
the children here in the states.
Carol collects shoe boxes early in the fall from church members and also
shoe stores. She looks for the bigger ones that will hold bulkier items.
They try to include 1 fun t-shirt  and also included will be age
appropriate items for the individual child.They put a dollar amount on
each box not to exceed $10 - $15.
The boxes are offered to families in the church to fill. The box has the
name of the child, age and sex. One family fills a box for 1 child. The
first year - so many people wanted to help they didn't have enough names
to go around! I think now, if enough people want to help - each child may
receive 2 boxes - maybe lessening the dollar amount suggested for each box
to between $5 and $7. (Their church has really grown in the past 2 years
and that will probably be what happens this year.)  
Inside the box - the sponsoring family may desire to include a photo of
their family, a letter and contact information. The contacts in the past
have prompted some personal notes and updates from the missionary children
to the individual families. This was not made a requirement  - but the
notes did come as a blessing in return for blessing the missionary kids at
To complete the project, they have a fellowship that wraps the gifts and
prepares them for shipping, finalizing with prayer and a love offering
collection for the postage (the shipping is a bit expensive) to ship the
gifts to the missionary children.
Emmalea Butler
Trafalgar, Indiana

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3) Youth group ideas

We just had a lock-in sleepover-pizza- (of course) with lots of
chaperones (boys and girls included but sleeping on far sides!) and we
had games in the evening as ice-breakers and energy expenditures, then
a devotional time with small group exercise afterwards to talk about
the next day and what we might expect to see.  Then the next morning
we piled into a van(s) and went to clean the Ronald McDonald House
(guest house for very sick children/parents)...then went to a nursing
home and did some activites with them.  Our devotional on Friday night
was about haveing the Vision of Christ while we serve others (to
prevent some of the grumbling that might occur when cleaning!) But to
my surprise these 10-14 year olds were great. Hope this helps.  WE are
going to be packing up supplies for NewOrleans/Mississippi/etc soon to
on one evening.

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4) Ten Commandment's Tune

This is for Patti.  I am sorry to hear your husband had a stroke.  My
husband just had a very mild one with a little residual weakness in the
right arm.  My prayers are with you.  When you get time I too would like
to have the tune to the Ten Commandments for my 7th & 8th grade Sunday
School class.  God bless you and your husband.  Pat pzmeskal@aol.com

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5) Beauty & Outward Adornment

In reading this newsletter, the Lord brought to mind this possible
avenue of explaining 1 Peter 3:3-4:
You could use two of the children having one all dressed up in fancy
clothes jewlery, necklaces, then another dressed normally with holding a
picture of a heart.  This showing that God looks on the inside at the
heart and if you love Him it will reflect on your face.

You could use the same avenue with a boy, dressing one up in a suit tie
etc. and the other in shorts and tee shirt with the heart.

Hope this has helped.

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6) Beauty & Outward Adornment

You could try this for an object lesson: provide the girls with a compact
mirror and ask them to look in the mirror and write down a description of
what they see. Most all will only write down their physical attributes.
Let this lead into a discussion of why they don't see their inner beauty
in their faces and how God looks at the heart and not the appearance of a
person.  Hope this helps. Nancy

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7) Craft for clear plastic tubes?

Love this web site!!!
I purchased at an auction some clear plastic tubes with caps for both
ends.  Does anyone have any ideas how I can use these, as a craft or
anything else.  There are 11 different sizes ranging from 2 1/4" x 8 1/8"
to 2 1/4" x 8'.

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8) Children's Worship Bags?

I am looking to begin a children's worship bag ministry and was
wondering what types of items would be good to place in the bags.  Any
assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Bonnie Smith
Director of Educational Ministry and Discipleship
Trinity UMC, Alexandria, VA

--from SSTN: our church places crayons, pencils, Bible coloring sheets,
plain paper and a clipboard in our bags. We also provide a kid-friendly
bulletin. The cloth bags are decorated with kid's hand prints that had
been dipped into paint.

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9) 1st and 2nd Grade
I have been teaching 1st grade for 8 years and have tons of ideas to share
with you.  Contact me
at: http://www.orgsites.com/md/church-crafts-and-activities/  at the
bottom of the website.

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10) Fear Factor

>In my opinion,  youth groups (where I expect these programs are taking
>place, and not a regular worship service) needs to be fun. There is way
>too much stress in teens lives already, by presenting church and
>especially youth groups as fun, it offers a safe, Christian environment
>for teens to to worship and have fun together.

I would hope if any groups think the fear factor thing is the thing to do
that it is done in youth groups and not during instructional classroom
time such as Sunday school and confirmation class.  However there are
other things that can be done to take away from the stress and pressures
of teen life that are fun for youth groups to do.  Our youth group goes
tubing, bowling, a hayrack ride, ice skating for some fun things and they
are able to interact with each other in a human and constructive way then
doing some fear factor thing.  They have fund raisers and every other year
they go on a ski trip and the opposite year they go to the national youth
gathering.  I have been on one of each of these with our youth groups and
they have a lot of fun and get to know each other better when they dont
have peer pressure around and they also get to meet other awesome
wonderful Christians.  These are all ways to have fun (and  not use the
fear factor thing) to keep them involved and they do keep coming back. 
They also do a Valentines dinner (a four course meal) they sell tickets
for, car washes and other things to raise money for mission projects for
the needy.  they have also gone to the bigger cities and worked in the
soup kitchens and many other projects.  These things are more worthwhile
and more Christian giving and growing experiences then any fear factor
thing could ever give and lets them be a human being instead of a show it
off fear factor thing.

In God's service

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11) Fear Factor

In reply to Gwen (ref: Fear Factor):  AMEN!! Thank you for stating it so
well! We should all pay attention! In Christ's Service, Nancy

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12) Fear Factor

Hi Guys,
so far there has been quiet alot of debate over the validity about events
like "Fear Factor" I think there are a few things that need to be
considered when you make decisions to put on a event like this.

a. Who are the children you are trying to reach? Are they church kids or
is it a evangelistic event where you are trying to reach others because if
you are then you do need to realise that you are in competition with the
world and with their bright lights and that your program does need to be
relevant to the world where they live in.

b. What are you going to call the event. You can have events like fear
factor with out necessarily calling it fear factor... Maybe "Who dares" or
something similar might work for you.

Finally I think that we all need to realise that being apart of God's
house is not being somber, staid and BORING. Sometimes this is what we do
and try to justify it because God is .... We forget that God is a God of
fun and laughter and us having fun and laughing isn't wrong, God delights
in it (that is not to say that there isn't a place for reverence, we need
to teach our children that there is a time and a place for everything.)

Personally I think all in all "Fear Factor" could be an engaging theme to
use with children that they would love and in later weeks come back and
say man that time we learnt about... It is important though that you
structure the lessons right so that there is a point to the lesson. If you
can do this I say why not ... THe kids will love it, and you may be
suprised what happens


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