Last week, I shared about helping parents become empowered as the spiritual leaders in kids' lives. Many parents are doing an awesome job at this, but some are at a loss for what to do, and end up just leaving it to the church to disciple their kids. That's why I look for lots of ways to work WITH parents to help teach and lead kids spiritually. I look for ways to put tools in their hands, and make it easy to take the lead in their child's spiritual walk. I shared last week about our Family Advent Devotional Boxes we gave out at Christmas, and this week, I want to share about something I give families every week.
Children's Ministry Magazine recently published an article called "The State of Family Ministry" which asked parents and children's pastors to grade themselves and rate their church's efforts to help parents minister to their kids. Their findings were interesting, and it was noted that many parents appreciate Take Home papers and helpful tools churches send home to assist them in leading their kids. I have tried lots of different ways to communicate with parents and help connect what is being taught at church with kids at home. I've tried hand-outs and emails/newsletters, parent meetings, etc. Here are two simple ways I have found to be effective at connecting the Bible lessons at home....
1. Let the parents know what the Bible story is. It can be a poster with the weekly Bible story and main point, an email, a text (I'm about to start texting it to parents), a Facebook Post- whatever works for your parents! But it's important to let them know WHAT the kids are learning, so they can talk about it and make connections at home. Some churches do this via their app, or even making CD ROMS for parents and kids to listen to in the car. I don't give out paper hand-outs, because I have found that they mostly end up in the trash can or the floor boards, but I DO give out paper handouts for nursery and preschool classes, because those kids don't have the verbal skills to communicate the Bible story to their parents.
2. Take Home Object. Every week. This is a simple way to help kids internalize and remember the Bible story, as well as help parents make connections and start conversations with their kids. Each kids church lesson should be able to be summed up with one main point, or one sentence, to drive home the truth.
Every week, I give the kids a simple object to take home, as a reminder of that main point or truth. Sometimes I have to get VERY creative to come up with something, but it's always something small, easy, and fun for kids. It's something tactile, to remind them of the Bible truth, something they can put their hands on. Something they can keep at home to remind them of that lesson.
I've given out rubber bands, rocks, cups, tiny pirate telescopes, marbles, and so much more. It's something different every week. The kids never know what surprise they are going to get to remind them of the day's Bible story, and parents know they can ask the kids about their object, and how it relates to what they learned in kids' church. I think a tiny message in a bottle is more fun than a take-home paper handout, and it can say just as much about the Bible story.
A mini mirror can remind kids to be a reflection of Jesus; a penny can remind them that 'In God we Trust,' a balloon can remind them to be FILLED with the Spirit, a rock can remind them that God is our rock and our strength. It takes a little effort and creativity, but that's what makes ministry fun and engaging for kids!
I always want to look for ways to help kids connect Bible truths with real life, and make the Bible come alive to kids in ways that are fun and relevant for them. This is a small object that can make a big impact in making faith connections with kids at home.
Next week, I will share about our Fasting Cups we sent home with all kids for our 21 Day Church-wide fast.