I have always loved kids. I don't know exactly when it started, but I think I may have still been a kid myself! So, in coming to a new church, I prayed that the Lord would give me the desires of my heart by allowing me to be involved in the lives of children. I know there are times when in ministry you just jump into whatever needs help, and some of you know that part of my regular ministry is singing. But--God has given me the desire to love and teach children. They make me smile. I loved the ten years I taught elementary school very much. As the Lord hasn't given us any children of our own, I've considered all my students and the kids at church "my kids" for the time being.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, God answered my prayer! First Baptist Church has a program for kids on Sunday morning, but nothing on Wednesday nights. Our church organist, Julie, brought her two grand children to a Wednesday night service and asked me if I could do something with them. With just a few minutes to prepare, I told them the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, with hand-drawn illustrations on the white board! We sang songs, colored and had a snack, too. After church that night, Q and I prayed some more and after some time, felt like this was truly an answer to my prayers and that I could handle this.
I decided to have some sort of plan in teaching these kids (you always have to have a plan with them, or they will decide what to do!). I decided to use Bible Stories from A to Z, by Mary Murray as my curriculum. It's published by Teacher Created Materials. I found this book at a thrift store for about a buck, and I'm so glad I did. It is geared towards 5-9 year olds, perfect for what we're starting on Wednesday nights. Each lesson includes a story with discussion questions, a craft, a prayer, a snack idea, a take-home story, an alphabet page and an activity page (lots of reproducible pages!). Since we start off upstairs singing with the adults, we only have about forty-five minutes. So, a couple of the fun pages have to be eliminated so we have enough time. I've also added a memory verse each week. If they say the verse the following week, they get to choose a prize from the treasure chest.
Each week, I'll share what we did during the night. While some of the things are from the book, I also like to add a little bit of creativity of my own from time to time. Hope these will give you ideas for your children's ministry, whether at home or at church.
Week 1: A is for Adam
The Bible story this week was about Adam and Eve, their time in the garden and how they sinned against God. The church owns Betty Lukens flannelgraph and the pieces are just beautiful! The verse they learned was Romans 3:23, "For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." We focused on the "all" being the word that starts with "a" to go with the theme, and the verse itself fits perfectly with the story since we talked about sin.
Mika is five and Schuyler is seven. They are a lot of fun to be around! They give me hugs each week and I'm so glad I get to have them on Wednesday nights. I've also invited a family with four children to come, so we're praying that they do.
There is a myriad of song visuals at the church. We sang a few of them together. I think this one is my favorite! I love the words of the song, but the artwork is gorgeous--and makes me think of a different time in history.
After the Bible story, prayer, song and memory verse time, the kids colored the alphabet page included with the curriculum. I also had the take-home sheet ready for them.
Then, it was time for snacks! The book recommended having some animal crackers and to have the kids dip them in frosting and put sprinkles on them. I loved the idea because the animals fit in with the part of the story when Adam names the animals. I chose to make my own cut-out animal cookies and have them decorate them. It was a BIG hit!
I had them choose two animals to decorate. Every now and then I could see them licking the frosting!
These are Mika's cookies. Can you tell what they are? They are lying sideways, but they are a butterfly and a dinosaur. We had a great time, and I'll know we'll learn lots about God's Word together.
The recipes I used for the cookies and frosting are amazing! I've had these recipes since I was in high school and have used them for cut-out cookies for lots of occasions. They are from the Parkay margarine company.
Parkay Orange Holiday Cutouts
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup soft margarine
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel (lemon also works!)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat margarine, sour cream sugar, vanilla and peel in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Blend in egg. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Divide dough into 2 equal portions: wrap each in plastic wrap. Freeze 2 hours or until firm. Roll out dough, 1/2 at a time, to 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 6 to 7 dozen.
Parkay Creamy Frosting
4-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup soft margarine
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond extract, which I think has an awesome flavor!)
Beat all ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until well blended and smooth. Makes 2 cups.
Next week: B is for....Come and find out!