Jess

Nov 202015
 

A few years ago I wrote some recommendations for parents facing separation anxiety. You can find those recommendations here.  tI wanted to write to the volunteers today. What about that kid who comes, kicking and screaming into your classroom (literally)? How do you help that little person feel safe and calm? It won’t happen every time but here are my recommendations.

 

1. Take the Lead

It’s heart wrenching to be a parent and watch your child cry as you leave. It’s hard to take that step and put your crying child over the door. As a volunteer, your best option is to clear it with the parent first, then take that kiddo. So say, “Is it OK if I take Emily?” And then take that crying child and tell mama you’ll see her soon. Mom will be put at ease knowing you are confident with the little one and she’ll be able to step away from the door a little easier. The longer the interaction at the door is, the harder it will be for everyone. It’s not fun but helping Mom get away can help everyone say goodbye a little easier.

2. Ask the Parents

As you take that kid over the door, ask if there are any recommended soothing techniques. Does she have a pacifier? A lovey? Does he like to be pushed in a stroller? Is there a favorite toy? Does he loves Youtube videos of tractors? Moms and dads usually have some tricks up their sleeve that can help if you just know what they are. At our house, Amazing Grace can solve almost any woe. But you have to know to try it. So ask the experts!

3. Take a Deep Breath

Little ones know if you are stressed. Take a deep breath, resolve to help this kiddo, and begin that sway and bounce (if the child is young). Staying calm, swaying, bouncing, and singing are all great ways to help kids start to calm their own bodies. My two personal favorites are lunges (yes really!!) and making a shushing noise. It works with almost all little ones, in my experience.

3. Give Them a Job

Kids as young as one can be comforted by having a specific task. Let them help you fill water cups or pick up toys. Let a preschooler be the special helper and set out snack. Often if kids know their help is needed they forget to be upset and start to calm down and settle into the routine.

 

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4. Keep an Eye on the Clock

It’s smart to ask mom at the beginning how long is too long to cry. If you forget, though, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on how long your little friend has been sad. If they have been crying more than 10-15 minutes, most parents want a call. When a kid is crying, sometimes minutes seem like hours. So checking that clock at the beginning and keeping a mental note of the projected “call time” will help you gauge when to actually call.

5. Use the visual schedule

Each of our rooms have a visual schedule (Toddlers and Above). Recognizing and repeating a child’s feelings (“I see you’re upset because you miss mom. It’s hard to be away from our mommies and it can be sad but Mommy always comes back.”) and then going through the schedule and explaining at which point Mom will come back can really help kids know there is an ending to this hour with people they don’t know. Often just knowing the schedule is enough to calm them down.

Not all kids will settle down their first time. Sometimes it will take a few visits before a child feels safe. Some of my favorite preschoolers to see in the hallway were little ones who had a very hard  time adjusting and now love their time in Crossing Kids. Pray for the children in your classroom and especially the ones having the hardest time. What a great praise it will be when they finally feel safe and can stay with us and learn about Jesus!

 

 Posted by at 2:44 pm
Oct 162015
 

 

 

 

Today I want to share a little about serving where your heart sings. I’m going to share a bit of my volunteer story but before I do I thought I’d share a few things I started…and promptly quit.

*Diet Soda...I drank it in college because all my friends did. I’d go to HyVee runs for diet Dr. Pepper but I truly hated the stuff. I graduated and vowed never to drink diet again. Full force Dr. Pepper for me from here on out.

*Wide leg jeans…Junior high was a time full of bad fashion choices but jeans with leg holes the size of jeep tires was really not the style for me.

*Knitting…I wanted it to be my thing. I tried. But after making three coaster-sized knitting samples I decided I didn’t have the drive to really make something worth the time.

*Bleach blonde hair…I thought blondes might really have more fun but when my hair started breaking off and falling out I gave it up for my brown roots.

*Cake Pop baking…I went through a phase where I spent hours molding cake into tiny balls. Turns out it’s a lot of work. Do you know what’s just as good? Cake.

 

Not everything we start is a good fit for our personality. Some things are good to try but aren’t best for us. Some things are worth evaluating for a better fit. That includes volunteering. We value every volunteer in Crossing Kids but I know some people are serving in a place that’s a perfect fit and others, well, not so much. So how do you know if you’re in the right spot and what do you do if you aren’t?

Start Somewhere 

In their book “Not Normal” Adam Duckworth and Sue Miller encourage potential volunteers to start somewhere. Even if it’s not where you think you’ll come alive, just start and see what happens. They ask readers to ask 3 Questions to Start:

  • What am I Good At?
  • What Do I Enjoy Doing?
  • What comes Naturally to Me?

In my professional experience in Crossing Kids, there’s been more than one time I’ve had to email or call someone to ask if I could move them to an area of greater need. I’m sure some of these people weren’t thrilled but they responded to the call. Personally, I’ve been on the other side of that call too. I’d like to share a few places I’ve served and what I learned, as well as how I knew I was in the right spot for me

Preschool

When I was 20 years old I heard Keith speak from the front of Rockbridge Auditorium about how we needed more people to serve in Crossing Kids and, like many of you, I filled out a little card that said “wherever needed.” Turns out, fours and fives were the place of most need. I served for two years with four and five year olds. I learned a lot about what they like (giggling, crawling on the floor, Disney shows), how they learn (giggling, sitting in laps, songs and stories), and how to motivate them (make them giggle, get on their level, give them donut holes. I kid. But seriously, donut holes). I made friends with other people in church. I liked serving in fours and fives and kept doing it. I don’t think I even knew it wasn’t what made me tick until I found the area that really was my sweet spot. Looking back, I needed these years to prepare me to lead the preschool ministry. I’m so glad I could shape young lives and I found they shaped me and my faith as well. But deep down I knew I wasn’t destined for 50 years of ministry to these kiddos. I needed to keep searching.

Multiage

Eric and I got a call one day. Being a young, fun couple who were team leaders at Kids Club, when The Crossing decided to open a new class in elementary for kids staying for two services, Eric and I became guinea pigs. We committed to give it a shot. For a year, we spent an hour with Kindergarteners through 4th graders who were sticking around for a second service. We played games, ate Cheez-Its, built relationships, watched more Veggie Tales than I can begin to describe to you, and played lots of games. My favorite? Silent ball. Because when you have 35 wide-eyed, energetic children, playing a game where you win by being quiet is really the perfect solution. I kid. But really. We served faithfully for a year. I have great memories of teaching kids Bible verses and listening to their stories. At the end of each day, though, I felt drained. Tired. I wanted to serve because I knew it was needed. And I wasn’t going to give up. But it definitely wasn’t life-giving for me. Still, those kids still come to me sometimes and ask me if I remember our times together in multi-age. Being a pastor’s kid I wanted to have a heart for kids who spent hour-upon-hour at church. And I gave it my all. Ultimately when there came a time to switch, I jumped.

Toddlers

I spent some time subbing in different classrooms, feeling out the waters in different rooms. I subbed once in the walkers room (now known as Toddler Blue) and fell head over heels in love. Tiny people. Who needed snuggles. And loved to be sung to. And who I could really make a difference with. I mean, you want to feel needed? Go into a room where kids start out crying and help them feel safe and comfortable. More importantly, convince their moms and dads they are safe and comfortable and church is a good place for them. I knew from that first Sunday this was my sweet spot. This is where I could use my gifts and talents to make a difference in our church body. The funny thing is, I’ve talked to so many people who tell stories of feeling drained and worn in the toddler class. They couldn’t listen to babies cry and wipe noses all day. But for me (and, my husband found out later it was for him, too), this was where God called us. He built us for snuggles and the fishy song and bubbles. I got asked to do a couple of other things before I really made toddlers my home but I pretty much knew it was where I would always feel the best.

So what’s the point?

Well, I think you can take away a few things…

 

  1. No matter where you’re serving, you’re making a difference.

Strive to live Colossians 3:23. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if working for the Lord and not for men.” As long as you are serving with all your heart, it’s worth it.

 

2. If you don’t love where you’re serving, keep your commitment but keep looking. 

I see many former early childhood volunteers serving in different areas now. They started with us. They kept their commitment. And when the time came, they found somewhere they loved more. Maybe you’re holding babies but you have the gift for welcoming new people and registration is your thing. Maybe you can’t hear one more 5th grader talk about Minecraft but reading books to preschoolers sounds like a blast. If it’s not bringing you life, try something else.

 

  1. If you are serving in a place that makes your heart sing, don’t take it for granted.

Once I found the toddlers, I assumed everyone knew it was the best place in the whole world. Man was I wrong. As a team leader, I had many, many volunteers come and go a semester later, saying they just weren’t a good fit for crying babies and changing diapers. They were wonderful volunteers but it wasn’t for them. I couldn’t understand. It’s the perfect spot!! For me. If you have found the spot that you are good at, that you enjoy doing, that comes naturally to you (as Duckworth and Miller describe), keep doing it. You’re right where you are supposed to be.

No matter where you are serving, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. We can’t make Crossing Kids go without the people who lead motions, hug babies, and listen to the not-so-funny jokes of 3rd graders.

 

And if you aren’t serving right now, why not? Start somewhere. What do you have to lose?

 Posted by at 2:39 pm
Jun 072015
 

Little Ones

Big Idea: Who is our Forever King? Jesus is our Forever King!

Monthly Image: Crown

Memory Verse: “The Lord looks at the heart” – 1 Samuel 16:7

Bible Story Focus: God chose David to be the next King.

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, kids will hear the story of when Samuel anointed David as King when he was a young boy because even though he was only a shepherd, God was looking at the heart of David, a man who loved God.

Preschool

Monthly Image: Crown-Forever King

Big Idea: Who is our Forever King? Jesus is our Forever King!

Memory Verse:  “The Lord looks at the heart” – 1 Samuel 16:7

Bible Story Focus: Samuel Anoints Saul | 1 Samuel 8-11

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, kids will learn about the Israelites desire for a king in their land.  They will see how God answered this request even though it was not going to make the people happy.  They will hear the story of Samuel anointing Saul as King.  Kids will learn that the people didn’t need a king in their land because God is their one true, forever King.

Circle Time Discussion:

What is something that you want really badly?

I Wonder Questions (snack time discussion):

I wonder…what did the people want God to give them?

*A King

I wonder…who did God choose to be the new King?

*Saul

I wonder…why did the people want to have a new king?

* Because they didn’t want to obey God anymore.

Activities

Children at 8:00 and 11:00 will play “Your Majesty May I.” Children at 9:30 will look at pictures of kings and queens and talk about their characteristics. All children will make the image of the month, a crown, to take home.

 

Kindergarten-5th Grade

Summer Curriculum Overview: This summer, Kindergarten-5th Graders will join Christian on his pilgrim journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City as we read an adapted version of Little Pilgrim’s Progress.  During our weeks together, children will learn that Christian’s story is the story of everyone who follows Jesus.  This story begins as God calls people to himself and continues as they walk the difficult journey of faith through many struggles, triumphs, temptations, and victories.

Memory Verse: Finally, let the Lord make you strong.  Depend on his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor.  Then you can remain strong against the devil’s evil plans.  Ephesians 6:10-11

Lesson Summary: Children will read and discuss Chapter 1: “The Adventure Begins” from Pilgrim’s Progress.  In this chapter, Christian becomes convicted of his sin as he reads God’s Word.  God sends Evangelist to explain how to escape the City of Destruction.  Christian also meets two other characters, Obstinate and Pliable.  

Objectives

  • God’s Word, the Bible, convicts people of their sin.
  • When we confess our sin and trust in Jesus, he forgives us and gives us life that lasts forever.

Supporting Scripture: Matthew 7:13-14,  John 3:16Romans 3:23, and 1 John 1:9

Activities: Journey Memory Game and Burden Basket

 Posted by at 8:00 am
May 312015
 

 

Little Ones

Monthly Topic: “T” is for Teacher

Big Idea: Jesus is our Teacher, He shows us how to live

Memory Verse: “Teach me Your Way, Oh Lord” Psalm 86:11

Bible Story Focus: The Lord’s Prayer | Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 11:1-4

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, kids will hear how Jesus teaches others to pray.  We will dissect the Lord’s Prayer, learning what each piece of it means and recite it together through song.  Kids will gain an understanding of not only how we talk to God, but why we talk to Him as well – so that we can grow closer to Him.

 

 

Preschool

Monthly Topic: “T” is for Teacher

Big Idea: Jesus is our Teacher; He shows us how to live.

Memory Verse: “Teach me your way, Oh Lord, I will walk in your truth.” Psalm 86:11.

Bible Story Focus: The Greatest Commandment | Mark 12:28-34; John 13:31-35

Lesson Overview:

This will be the last teaching we will learn from Jesus, the greatest commandment.  Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  We will look deeper into the passage of Mark 12 as learn that there is nothing greater than loving God.  But Jesus also calls us to love others as we love ourselves.  We will look at Jesus’ commandment in Mark 12 but also in John 13 when Jesus commands His disciples to love others just before He dies.  Kids will learn that God loves us unconditionally and commands us to love others in the same way

Circle Time Discussion:

What is something that you love a whole lot?

I Wonder Questions (snack time discussion):

I wonder…what is the greatest commandment?

(To love God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength)

I wonder…what is the second commandment?

(To love your neighbor as yourself)

I wonder…What is something I love a lot?

(Spend time as a family discussing things that we love and that often become more important that God.  Pray and ask God to give you a heart that loves Him most).

Activity

At 8:00 and 11:00 children will have story time with the book “Guess How Much I Love You” and then will make their Story Street letters out of Play Doh. Children at 9:30 will play a  game with mirrors and decorate hearts to take home.

Kindergarten-5th Grade

Summer Curriculum Overview: This summer, Kindergarten-5th Graders will join Christian on his pilgrim journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City as we read an adapted version of Little Pilgrim’s Progress.  During our weeks together, children will learn that Christian’s story is the story of everyone who follows Jesus.  This story begins as God calls people to himself and continues as they walk the difficult journey of faith through many struggles, triumphs, temptations, and victories.

Memory Verse: Finally, let the Lord make you strong. Depend on his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor. Then you can remain strong against the devil’s evil plans. Ephesians 6:10-11

Lesson Summary: Children will watch The John Bunyan Story created by Torchlighters. John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress from a jail cell in England where he was put for preaching God’s Word. We will read this story that in many way reflects John’s life this summer.

Activities: Timeline of John Bunyan’s High and Lows and Armor of God Scramble

 Posted by at 8:00 am
May 242015
 

Little Ones

Monthly Topic: “T” is for Teacher

Big Idea: Jesus is our Teacher, He shows us how to live

Memory Verse: “Teach me Your Way, Oh Lord” Psalm 86:11

Bible Story Focus: The Lord’s Prayer | Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 11:1-4

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, kids will hear how Jesus teaches others to pray.  We will dissect the Lord’s Prayer, learning what each piece of it means and recite it together through song.  Kids will gain an understanding of not only how we talk to God, but why we talk to Him as well – so that we can grow closer to Him.

Preschool

Monthly Topic: “T” is for Teacher

Big Idea: Jesus is our Teacher; He shows us how to live.

Memory Verse: “Teach me your way, Oh Lord, I will walk in your truth.” Psalm 86:11.

Bible Story Focus: The Gospel Spreads and the Church Grows

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, kids will learn that someday, Jesus will come back again. Until that time, all of us are supposed to take the very best book – THE BIBLE – and share it with our friends and families and people we meet.  Jesus wants everyone to know about His sacrifice on the cross and he wants everyone to believe so they can join Him in Heaven! They will learn that Jesus teaches us to tell others this great news!

Circle Time Discussion:

Have you ever taken a trip somewhere?

I Wonder Questions (snack time discussion):

I wonder… what is a missionary? (someone who travels and tells others about Jesus).

I wonder…what did Paul talk about as he traveled? (How he was changed by Jesus, how much Jesus loves everyone and saved them)

I wonder…how can I be a missionary? (by telling my friends and family about Jesus)

 Activities:

At 8:00 and 11:00 children will do a Bible-sharing game and make a door hanger to take home. Children at 9:30 will play a ping pong Bible game and make a bookmark to take home.

Kindergarten-5th Grade

Lesson Summary: Children will watch The Corrie ten Boom Story created by Torchlighters.  Corrie ten Boom and her family operate a bustling watch repair shop in Holland, where they fix broken watches and return them safely to their owners.  As the evil of World War II sweeps through their city and the Jewish people are hunted down, a new type of “watch” comes into the ten Boom home: an innocent Jewish baby, desperately needing protection from the cruelty of the Nazi regime. Guided by their faith, the ten Booms determine to work tirelessly to protect this baby and other Jews from the Nazi invaders. The construction of a secret room secures the safety of their houseguests-in-hiding, and drills are conducted to prepare for the possible raid.

When the raid does become reality, the family’s plans work perfectly and the secret room goes undetected, but at a terrible price. Arrested for their suspected crimes, the ten Booms are sent to prison and then on to concentration camps. Corrie’s dear father and sister succumb to the realities of the harsh treatments they endure, but Corrie survives, drawing on her faith in God to see her through her darkest trial. Eventually released due to a clerical error, Corrie goes on to forgive her oppressors.

Memory Verse: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Activities: Watch Secret Code Message, Story Scramble

 

 Posted by at 8:00 am
May 102015
 

Little Ones

Monthly Topic: “T” is for Teacher

Big Idea: Jesus is our Teacher, He shows us how to live

Memory Verse: “Teach me Your Way, Oh Lord” Psalm 86:11

Bible Story Focus: The Lord’s Prayer | Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 11:1-4

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, kids will hear how Jesus teaches others to pray.  We will dissect the Lord’s Prayer, learning what each piece of it means and recite it together through song.  Kids will gain an understanding of not only how we talk to God, but why we talk to Him as well – so that we can grow closer to Him.

Preschool

Monthly Topic: “T” is for Teacher

Big Idea: Jesus is our Teacher; He shows us how to live.

Memory Verse: “Teach me your way, Oh Lord, I will walk in your truth.” Psalm 86:11.

Bible Story Focus: Giving to God and Others |  Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4; Acts 20:35

Lesson Overview:

During this lesson, we will be looking at Jesus’ many teachings through out the New Testament, focusing mostly on the widow’s offering in Mark 12 and Luke 21, when Jesus teaches that giving is to be a sacrifice. In addition to focusing on the Bibles command to give to others, we will also see that we should give as a way to worship God, not to seek the approval of others (Matthew 6). Kids will get to hear more about the Pistis School in Africa, an organization that Crossing Kids has been connected to for several years and that our Sunday morning offering is taken for.

Circle Time Discussion:

Tell me about a time when you gave your money away to God or someone else.  Was it easy or hard?

I Wonder Questions (snack time discussion):

I wonder…why do we give our money to God?

(it shows God that we love Him more than we love our money)

I wonder…why did Jesus say the woman has “given more than everyone else”?

(Because she gave everything she had)

I wonder…why does Jesus want us to give to others?

(Jesus wants us to take care of those that are weak.  Giving to others is one way to help God take care of His children).

Activities

Children at 8:00 and 11:00 will do a coin toss and make a present to take home for Mothers Day. At 9:30 children will play Keep, Keep, Give and make a present to take home for Mothers Day.

 

Kindergarten-4th Grade

Title of Unit: The Book of James

Dates:  April 12 – May 10, 2015

OverviewThe book of James gives advice for “how-to” live out the Christian faith.  The sum total of living in joy, confidence, wisdom, love, and purity results in a crown of life that glorifies God, our chief ambition in life.

Key ConceptGod is truth and His word provides wisdom for our lives.

Objectives: 

Children will learn:

  1. that wisdom is living out our faith.
  2. that we seek to obey God out of our love for him.
  3. that God is wise in all things

Memory Verse:  “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he as stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Workshops

  1. Living Confidently – James 1

Science Lesson Summary:  In this lesson, students will learn about James as Jesus’ brother, a leader of the church in Jerusalem, and as a writer of this book.   Key themes in James 1 include the confidence Christians find as they live out their faith.  This results in joy when faced with adversity.  Children will be able to study (through images on the large screen) the features of jewels (diamonds, rubies, emeralds), and learn about the properties of such jewels.  As they learn about the process God uses to make these jewels, children will explore the parallels in their own lives (for instance, extreme heat and pressure are required for a diamond; God uses extreme difficulties in our lives to perfect us).  The Bible refers to the jewels that make up our crowns – children will be able to make crowns with jewels.

  1. Living Compassionately – James 2

Service Lesson Summary:  In this workshop, children will act on the words of James to live out faith by being kind to others, not showing favoritism, but helping those in need.  Part of such help is understanding who are people we can help and what ways can we help.  Children will meet those in our church and community who are involved in various ministries (Granny’s House, Coyote Hill, LOVE, Inc. – through video, interview, guest speaking).  Children will then brainstorm the ways they can help, writing their ideas onto a verse card to memorize and remind themselves of how they can help others. 

  1. Living with Care: Genuine Faith Chooses Words with Care” – James 3

Art Lesson Summary:  Children will focus on the variety of word pictures in this text: the bit in the horse’s mouth, the rudder on the ship, the forest fire set ablaze from a spark, and the taming of animals to see how these compare to taming our tongues (choosing words with care). Children will learn that our words have power and to follow Christ is to be careful with how we use our words. Children will then create “word art” to show how their own words have power to bless others.

  1. Living Submissively: Genuine Faith Submits to God’s Will – James 4

Games Lesson Summary:   Children will play a game to learn more about what God’s will is for their lives. Scripture is not silent on God’s will; rather, God is clear about His will for His people. God wills that we 1) be saved, 2) be filled with the spirit, 3) be sanctified, 4) be submissive, 5) suffer, and 6) obey. Children will design a beach ball with aspects of God’s will for their lives, then use the beach ball to play a group “hot potato” game to enforce the concept. 

  1. Living Patiently: Genuine Faith is Patient – James 5

Gardening Lesson Summary:  Children will learn that the true definition of patience is to wait on God’s timing and that this kind of patience is fruit of genuine faith in Christ. Children will explore the word picture in James 5 of a farmer waiting for his crops to grow and compare this with the Parable of the Sower Jesus tells in Matthew 13. Children will then do some gardening (plant seeds to take home) to remind them that patience is trust in God’s timing.

 

5th Grade
 
Grapple Question:  If I’m Forgiven, What’s the Big Deal About Sin?
Kids Learn: Confessing Sin and Pursuing God
Dig Into the Bible: Psalms 32; 51; Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:12-15
There are some sins that don’t seem to be a big deal—a little white lie here, a small
manipulation of the facts there. It doesn’t really hurt anyone, right?
But even one little sin can affect our relationships with God and others. Tell your son or
daughter about a time something turned out to be a bigger deal than you expected—
maybe you fudged a little on your résumé and your boss found out, or maybe you told a
friend you liked her awful new shir t and she ended up buying you the same one for your
birthday. Remind your child that even “little” sins can have an impact.
 Posted by at 8:00 am
Apr 262015
 

Little Ones

Monthly Topic: “R” is for Rescuer

Big Idea: Jesus rescued us so we can have life forever.

Memory Verse: “The Lord will rescue me…”2 Timothy 4:18

Bible Story Focus: Jesus’ death and Resurrection

Lesson Overview:

This lesson will cover the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Kids will learn that Jesus came to take our punishment for our sins and die for us, and three days later, rose again. They will learn that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, He is the greatest Rescuer we could ever ask for.

Preschool

Monthly Topic: “R” is for Rescuer

Big Idea: Jesus rescued us so we can have life forever.

Memory Verse: “The Lord will rescue me…and bring me safely into His Heavenly Kingdom” 2 Timothy 4:18

Bible Story Focus: The power received at Pentecost |Acts 2:1-41

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, we will hear about the gift that God gave all His followers to help guide them. That gift was the power of the Holy Spirit.  Kids will hear the story of the apostles gathering in a room, celebrating a special feast called Pentecost, and receiving this gift. The best part about the gift of the Spirit?  If YOU believe…YOU receive the power of the Spirit to help you too!

Circle Time Discussion:

If you are lost, what do you use to find directions? (police officer, GPS, Siri, a map, compass, atlas, ipad)

I Wonder Questions (snack time discussion):

I wonder…. What does it mean to guide something?

(To help make decisions or know where to go.)

I wonder…. How does the Holy Spirit help us?

(It helps us talk to others about Jesus, it helps us make good decisions, and it helps us do what God asks us to do)

I wonder…. How do we get the Holy Spirit?

(It is Gods gift to us; we just have to believe in Jesus as our Rescuer.)

 Activities

Children at 8:00 and 11:00 will listen to a song in different languages and will play with pinwheels to talk about the Holy Spirit. Then at 9:30 children will listen to a different song in different languages and make a gift box to take home to remind them of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Kindergarten-4th Grade

Title of Unit: The Book of James

Dates:  April 12 – May 10, 2015

OverviewThe book of James gives advice for “how-to” live out the Christian faith.  The sum total of living in joy, confidence, wisdom, love, and purity results in a crown of life that glorifies God, our chief ambition in life.

Key ConceptGod is truth and His word provides wisdom for our lives.

Objectives: 

Children will learn:

  1. that wisdom is living out our faith.
  2. that we seek to obey God out of our love for him.
  3. that God is wise in all things

Memory Verse:  “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he as stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Workshops

  1. Living Confidently – James 1

Science Lesson Summary:  In this lesson, students will learn about James as Jesus’ brother, a leader of the church in Jerusalem, and as a writer of this book.   Key themes in James 1 include the confidence Christians find as they live out their faith.  This results in joy when faced with adversity.  Children will be able to study (through images on the large screen) the features of jewels (diamonds, rubies, emeralds), and learn about the properties of such jewels.  As they learn about the process God uses to make these jewels, children will explore the parallels in their own lives (for instance, extreme heat and pressure are required for a diamond; God uses extreme difficulties in our lives to perfect us).  The Bible refers to the jewels that make up our crowns – children will be able to make crowns with jewels.

  1. Living Compassionately – James 2

Service Lesson Summary:  In this workshop, children will act on the words of James to live out faith by being kind to others, not showing favoritism, but helping those in need.  Part of such help is understanding who are people we can help and what ways can we help.  Children will meet those in our church and community who are involved in various ministries (Granny’s House, Coyote Hill, LOVE, Inc. – through video, interview, guest speaking).  Children will then brainstorm the ways they can help, writing their ideas onto a verse card to memorize and remind themselves of how they can help others. 

  1. Living with Care: Genuine Faith Chooses Words with Care” – James 3

Art Lesson Summary:  Children will focus on the variety of word pictures in this text: the bit in the horse’s mouth, the rudder on the ship, the forest fire set ablaze from a spark, and the taming of animals to see how these compare to taming our tongues (choosing words with care). Children will learn that our words have power and to follow Christ is to be careful with how we use our words. Children will then create “word art” to show how their own words have power to bless others.

  1. Living Submissively: Genuine Faith Submits to God’s Will – James 4

Games Lesson Summary:   Children will play a game to learn more about what God’s will is for their lives. Scripture is not silent on God’s will; rather, God is clear about His will for His people. God wills that we 1) be saved, 2) be filled with the spirit, 3) be sanctified, 4) be submissive, 5) suffer, and 6) obey. Children will design a beach ball with aspects of God’s will for their lives, then use the beach ball to play a group “hot potato” game to enforce the concept. 

  1. Living Patiently: Genuine Faith is Patient – James 5

Gardening Lesson Summary:  Children will learn that the true definition of patience is to wait on God’s timing and that this kind of patience is fruit of genuine faith in Christ. Children will explore the word picture in James 5 of a farmer waiting for his crops to grow and compare this with the Parable of the Sower Jesus tells in Matthew 13. Children will then do some gardening (plant seeds to take home) to remind them that patience is trust in God’s timing.

5th Grade

Grapple Question: Is It Really Sin if You Don’t Know It Is?
Kids Learn: The Holy Spirit Guides Us
Dig Into the Bible: Genesis 3:1-19; Proverbs 24:12; John 15:22-24; 16:5-15; James 4:17
Does your preteen ever say, “But I didn’t know it was wrong!” when confronted about
something? Excuses, excuses! As a parent, you’re trying to teach your child right from
wrong…but you’re not alone in this difficult task. God provides the Bible and the Holy
Spirit to guide your child, too. Even though you can’t always physically be there to guide
your child’s choices, he or she can still learn to make decisions that would please God
by paying attention to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Isn’t it great to know you have a
parenting helper?
 Posted by at 8:00 am
Apr 122015
 

Little Ones

Monthly Topic: “R” is for Rescuer

Big Idea: Jesus rescued us so we can have life forever.

Memory Verse: “The Lord will rescue me…”2 Timothy 4:18

Bible Story Focus: Jesus’ death and Resurrection

Lesson Overview:

This lesson will cover the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Kids will learn that Jesus came to take our punishment for our sins and die for us, and three days later, rose again. They will learn that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, He is the greatest Rescuer we could ever ask for.

Preschool

Monthly Topic: “R” is for Rescuer

Big Idea: Jesus rescued us so we can have life forever.

Memory Verse: “The Lord will rescue me…and bring me safely into His Heavenly Kingdom” 2 Timothy 4:18

Bible Story Focus: Jesus Appears to His Disciples |  Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-29

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, kids will hear the story of Jesus appearing to His disciples after His resurrection.  Kids will learn that we can believe that Jesus is alive because the Bible tells us so. We will look deep into the excitement of some and the doubt others still had, such as Thomas. This story helps us be reminded that Jesus is the greatest Rescuer.

Circle Time Discussion:

Have you ever believed in something you can’t see?

I Wonder Questions (snack time discussion):

I wonder…what does it mean to have faith?

(To be able to believe in things that we can’t see)

I wonder…why didn’t Thomas believe that Jesus rose from the dead?

(Because He couldn’t see Jesus)

I wonder…how do we know that Jesus died for us and rose from the dead?

(Because the Bible tells us so)

Activities

Children at 8:00 and 11:00 will play a guessing game with items in a bag and make a memory verse coloring sheet to take home. At 9:30 children will play a telephone game and make superhero capes to take home.

Kindergarten-4th Grade

Title of Unit: The Book of James

Dates:  April 12 – May 10, 2015

OverviewThe book of James gives advice for “how-to” live out the Christian faith.  The sum total of living in joy, confidence, wisdom, love, and purity results in a crown of life that glorifies God, our chief ambition in life.

Key ConceptGod is truth and His word provides wisdom for our lives.

Objectives: 

Children will learn:

  1. that wisdom is living out our faith.
  2. that we seek to obey God out of our love for him.
  3. that God is wise in all things

Memory Verse:  “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he as stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Workshops

  1. Living Confidently – James 1

Science Lesson Summary:  In this lesson, students will learn about James as Jesus’ brother, a leader of the church in Jerusalem, and as a writer of this book.   Key themes in James 1 include the confidence Christians find as they live out their faith.  This results in joy when faced with adversity.  Children will be able to study (through images on the large screen) the features of jewels (diamonds, rubies, emeralds), and learn about the properties of such jewels.  As they learn about the process God uses to make these jewels, children will explore the parallels in their own lives (for instance, extreme heat and pressure are required for a diamond; God uses extreme difficulties in our lives to perfect us).  The Bible refers to the jewels that make up our crowns – children will be able to make crowns with jewels.

  1. Living Compassionately – James 2

Service Lesson Summary:  In this workshop, children will act on the words of James to live out faith by being kind to others, not showing favoritism, but helping those in need.  Part of such help is understanding who are people we can help and what ways can we help.  Children will meet those in our church and community who are involved in various ministries (Granny’s House, Coyote Hill, LOVE, Inc. – through video, interview, guest speaking).  Children will then brainstorm the ways they can help, writing their ideas onto a verse card to memorize and remind themselves of how they can help others. 

  1. Living with Care: Genuine Faith Chooses Words with Care” – James 3

Art Lesson Summary:  Children will focus on the variety of word pictures in this text: the bit in the horse’s mouth, the rudder on the ship, the forest fire set ablaze from a spark, and the taming of animals to see how these compare to taming our tongues (choosing words with care). Children will learn that our words have power and to follow Christ is to be careful with how we use our words. Children will then create “word art” to show how their own words have power to bless others.

  1. Living Submissively: Genuine Faith Submits to God’s Will – James 4

Games Lesson Summary:   Children will play a game to learn more about what God’s will is for their lives. Scripture is not silent on God’s will; rather, God is clear about His will for His people. God wills that we 1) be saved, 2) be filled with the spirit, 3) be sanctified, 4) be submissive, 5) suffer, and 6) obey. Children will design a beach ball with aspects of God’s will for their lives, then use the beach ball to play a group “hot potato” game to enforce the concept. 

  1. Living Patiently: Genuine Faith is Patient – James 5

Gardening Lesson Summary:  Children will learn that the true definition of patience is to wait on God’s timing and that this kind of patience is fruit of genuine faith in Christ. Children will explore the word picture in James 5 of a farmer waiting for his crops to grow and compare this with the Parable of the Sower Jesus tells in Matthew 13. Children will then do some gardening (plant seeds to take home) to remind them that patience is trust in God’s timing.

5th Grade

Grapple Question: Are We Really That Different?

Kids Learn: Uncommon Commonalities

Dig Into the Bible: Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18-24; Galatians 3:26-28; 1 Timothy 2:8-15

As an adult, you can probably name a dozen differences between men and women—physical characteristics, personality tendencies, ways of handling problems. But your preteen may just be realizing all the differences between boys and girls.

Think about what traits make your daughter special as a female, or what sets your son apart as a male. Maybe she is compassionate and gentle, or he is strong in handling tough situations. Tell your preteen that you’ve noticed and admire that trait. Remember that both genders are made in God’s image and are equally awesome!

 Posted by at 4:52 pm
Mar 292015
 

Little Ones 

Monthly Topic: “M” is for Miraculous

Big Idea: Jesus is Miraculous!

Memory Verse: “With God, all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

Bible Story Focus: Jesus calms a storm | Mark 4 :35-41, Matthew 8 :23-27

Lesson Overview:

This month, kids will learn that Jesus is Miraculous. They will hear the story of how Jesus calmed the storm and will have the chance to make their own storm.  They will learn that only He can calm a storm just by using His voice!

Preschool

Monthly Topic: “M” is for Miraculous

Big Idea: Jesus performed many miracles, proving He was God. He is Mmm, Mmm, miraculous!

Memory Verse: “With God, all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

Bible Story Focus: Jesus walks on water |  Matthew 14:22-36

Circle Time Discussion:

Where is your favorite place to play with water?  (swimming pool, bathtub, hose, water park, shower, etc.)

I Wonder Questions (snack time discussion):

I wonder…what miracle did Jesus perform as he was getting to his disciples in the boat?

*Jesus walked on top of the water without sinking to reach the disciples already out in the boat.

I wonder…how did Jesus look when he began walking across the top of the water?

*The disciples said he looked like a ghost – floating across the top of the water instead of sinking.

I wonder…how did the disciples feel when they saw Jesus walking toward them?

*They were very afraid.

I wonder…if God can do miracles, can He help me with the things I am afraid of?

*Yes!  Jesus is your friend and any time you are afraid, you can pray and talk to Him and ask for his peace and courage instead of that afraid feeling.

Lesson Overview:

Children will hear of the time that Jesus walked on water from Matthew 14:22-36.  One of the Story Street friends is afraid to swim because he/she is going to sink.  They learn that swim lessons will teach how to safely move through the water, and that reminds the leader of a story about walking ON water!  There will be a long, shallow, tub of water that the teacher can’t walk on – but Jesus can!  He is miraculous!

Kindergarten-5th Grade

Key Concept: Jesus, our Servant King, died on the cross and rose again!

Memory Verse: For even the Son of Man came to serve, not to be served and to give His life as a ransom for many.  Mark 10:45

Topic: Crucifixion

Scripture: John 18:39-19:22

Objectives:

Children will:

  1. Retell the story of the Crucifixion.
  2. Understand that Jesus gave His life willingly because He trusted God’s plan to rescue our fallen world.
  3. Recognize that Jesus is the only way to spending forever with God; Jesus died for our sins when he defeated death on the cross ad rose again.

Lesson Summary: Children will hear the story of Jesus’ death and create a Holy Week wheel to help remember the different events that took place the week of Easter.

 

 

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Mar 152015
 

Little Ones 

Monthly Topic: “M” is for Miraculous

Big Idea: Jesus is Miraculous!

Memory Verse: “With God, all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

Bible Story Focus: Jesus calms a storm | Mark 4 :35-41, Matthew 8 :23-27

Lesson Overview:

This month, kids will learn that Jesus is Miraculous. They will hear the story of how Jesus calmed the storm and will have the chance to make their own storm.  They will learn that only He can calm a storm just by using His voice!

Preschool

Monthly Topic: “M” is for Miraculous

Big Idea: Jesus performed many miracles, proving He was God. He is Mmm, Mmm, miraculous!

Memory Verse: “With God, all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

Bible Story Focus: Jesus calms a storm | Mark 4: 35-41, Matthew 8:23-27

Lesson Overview:

Children will hear the story of how Jesus calmed the storm from Mark 4 and Matthew 8.  They will have the chance to make their own storm and learn that even the weather obeys Jesus.  They will learn that only He can calm a storm just by using His voice!  In large group, have the kids play “freeze dance” with the Story Street Friends to show that we can stop ourselves. During the story, have one of the friends “stop the wind” by turning on and off a fan.  Talk about how Jesus can stop it with His voice, but we have to have a button.

Circle Time Discussion:

What are some things that happen when it storms outside?  How do you feel during storms?

I Wonder Questions (snack time discussion):

I wonder…what miracle did Jesus perform from the boat?

*He caused a storm to stop with just His voice.

I wonder…how did the disciples feel in the boat?

*The disciples were very afraid because of the wind and the storm.

I wonder…if the wind and the rain obey Jesus, should I obey Him too?

*Yes.  Jesus asks us to follow Him and do what He shows us is right.  This helps protect us and show others how loving and kind Jesus is.

I wonder…how can I obey Jesus?

*There are many ways, but some are to be kind and loving to others – to listen and obey my parents and teachers – to pray and read the Bible with your family – etc.

Activities

Children at 8:00 and 11:00 will make a parachute storm and will make storm jars to take home. At 9:30 children will play a sponge ball storm game and will make storm bottles to take home

Kindergarten-4th Grade

Title of Unit: The 10 Commandments

Dates:  Unit 5: February 15 – March 15, 2015

Overview Relativism is the cultural air we breathe.  The idea of something being black or white, right or wrong often rubs us the wrong way.  Some may wonder whether or not devoting an entire unit to the Ten Commandments is a good idea.  Isn’t it just being legalistic, old fashioned, or boring?  What does the law have to do with grace?

The truth is we need the Ten Commandments now more than ever.  We need them not because our end goal is to create classrooms of perfectly behaved children or because we can earn God’s forgiveness through obedience.  We need them because God’s law not only shows us how life works best, it also reveals our need for a Savior.  In God’s perfect law we see our depravity and inability to meet His standards.  The law shows us our sin and points us to Jesus who kept it perfectly.

Key ConceptGod’s law shows us how life works best and reveals our need for a Savior.

Objectives: 3-6 overall objectives for this unit. Objectives should be concrete and measurable.

Children will:

  1. Know through Jesus, we are accepted by God who gives us the command and power to obey.
  2. Recognize that God’s commands show us how life works best.
  3. Identify idols and ways that we fail to keep God’s commands in our daily lives.
  4. Retell the story of God giving Moses the 10 Commandments on Mt. Sinai.
  5. Memorize the 10 commandments.
  6. Understand that just like Israel failed over and over to keep their end of the covenant, we fail to follow God perfectly, too.  We need God’s Son, Jesus, to do this for us.

Memory Verse Options: 
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 22:37-39

Key Scripture: Exodus 20; Matthew 5

Workshop Descriptions

  1. Honor Your Father and Mother (Drama)
Children will play a review game to help them memorize the 10 commandments.  Afterwards, they will discuss and act out four different scenarios where it might be difficult to honor and obey those in authority over us.
  2. Do Not Lie (Games)

Children will play a review game to help them memorize the 10 commandments.  Afterwards, they will play the game “Lie Detector” to recognize what this commandment means for our lives at home, school, and with others. 

  1. Mt. Sinai (Writing)

Children will play a review game to help them memorize the 10 commandments.  Afterwards, they will watch a short video of God giving Moses the 10 Commandments on Mt. Sinai and split into small groups to create their own comic book retellings of this historical event.

  1. No Other Gods (Art)

Children will play a review game to help them memorize the 10 commandments.  Afterwards, they will discuss the first and second commandment, read the story of the Golden calf, look for idols in our lives, and discover why our God is greater than all others.  They will create miniature sculptures that show the difference between the idols we hold onto and the true, living God.

  1. Murder (Stations)

Children will play a review game to help them memorize the 10 commandments.  Afterwards, students will participate in two different stations that help us better understand the sixth commandment and what Jesus has to say in Matthew 5.

5th Grade

Grapple Question:  What if I Mess Up?

Kids Learn:  Recovering From Bad Choices

Dig Into the Bible:  Numbers 15:22-31; Luke 22:55-62; Romans 7:15-20; 1 John 1:7-9

My daughter came home from school in tears last week because she’d been caught making fun of her bus driver. Looking back, she knew it wasn’t right and she felt guilty. Now she had to face the embarrassing consequences of apologizing to the driver and explaining to her principal what happened.

Everyone messes up—including parents. You can be a good example to your child of how to repair relationships after making bad choices. Start by apologizing to your kids when you know you have made a bad parenting decision. Your preteen will follow your example the next time he or she messes up.

 Posted by at 8:00 am