You Gotta ♥ Valentine;s Day

Valentines Day really has a lot of great applications for children’s ministry.

How about some “Conversation Heart” Bingo?  Using the sayings from a (clearance) bag of candy hearts, make up some Bingo  cards.  Then pick one heart from the bag at a time and call out the saying until one of the children has a bingo. Whoever wins, gets the hearts that were called. Tie this game in with a lesson on Christ’s love  – any time of the year.

Speaking of Conversation Hearts,  About.com has a free printable page with conversation hearts, in color and black and white. There are even some blank hearts which you can customize for your lessons, activities and games. Too cute!

Kevin Savitz also offers free printable Valentine items from games to cards and even candy box patterns you can use for your children’s class. He offers a family safe free resource.

Clearance sales after Valentines’ Day offer a great time to stock up on little items for treasure chests and prizes. And you can purchase boxed valentines to give to the children the next year or to use for craft projects.

Stuffies with hearts on them make great prayer reminders:

  • Attach a prayer card with the name of  a person or situation that needs prayer to each stuffie and send it home with the child as a reminder to pray for that person or situation.
  • Or use them during prayer time in class by lining them up across the front for a month at a time. Have each toy represent one prayer need.
  • Play a memory game associated with the prayer requests to see if the children can remember  what prayer request each stuffie represents.
  • You can also pass them out during prayer time and have each recipient pray out loud for the request associated with his stuffie.
  • The animals holding little hearts are a great reminder that Jesus loves. others. Use them to pray for the salvation of loved ones.

According to Jennifer at Clip With Purpose, these after holiday sales are a great time to pick up shoe box items for Operation Christmas Child too. Don’t forget, not only will valentine candy, trinkets and stuffies be on clearance, so will winter hats and mittens which make great shoebox items. (or gift items for your class for next Christmas).

 

Free Valentine Craft book and a coupon money maker!

I recently found a blog called Clip With Purpose which has all sorts of ideas year-round for filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Kudos to Jessica for doing that – it’s such a great resource.

But her blog can also be a good resource for children’s ministries on a tight budget as she features some “extreme couponing” and a variety of other things. Yesterday Jessica featured a “money maker” where you can buy several products using coupons and store deals along with a rebate and end up making $5! I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that one. But if you’re interested,  see Jennifer’s blog hereIf you try it, let me know how it works LOL!

Today on her blog, Jennifer  had a link to a free downloadable Valentine Craft e-book. Now who doesn’t need free craft ideas for their children’s ministry class?????

Adopt-A-Missionary

It’s vitally important to help our children’s church kids connect with the world of missions. Since our boys and girls come back to children’s church after the song and prayer services, they usually miss hearing the missionary speakers which come to the church.

And quite frankly, the kids probably would fall asleep or develop a bad case of the wiggles even if they did stay in the service to hear the missionaries. That’s because the services are geared to adults  to help the missionaries raise money to return to their fields of service. Nothing wrong with that –  but it just doesn’t help the kids make a connection at all.

Last Saturday evening we had the first of three missionary speakers at our church for our annual missions convention. Their names were John and Wilma Hall, missionaries to Nicaragua – in particular, missionaries to the CHILDREN of Nicaragua. I was impressed by these grandparents-turned-missionaries and was disappointed that our children didn’t have the chance to hear them speak or see their marvelous power point video.

The Halls are in their early 70’s, way past the age or the usual missionaries we see. What amazed me even more was that they became missionaries at age 60! They never even knew Christ personally until they were in their mid 50’s!

Twice each week, the Halls take a 26 foot cab-type truck into the streets of Nicaragua to a predetermined site where they let down the side of their truck and hold children’s church – much like our own kid’s program. And on Fridays, they feed almost 1000 boys and girls, also giving them the Gospel. They are involved in other children’s ministries as well, but these things stood out to me in particular.

I made a heart connection with them right away since I teach children each week and  wished there was some way to generate a similar connection for my children’s church kids. As I prayed about it,  The Lord impressed me that our children’s church should “adopt: these grandparents as our own children’s church missionaries.

So here are some of the things I hope to do with my boys and girls.
1. Keep them informed about the Halls ministry. We will visit their website frequently and print out new photos of the work happening there.

2. Whenever the church gets a newsletter from them or e-mail update, I will share it with them.

3 We will have a “Nicaragua day” where we learn about the country where the Halls minister along with a “meal” similar to the one the boys and girls get each friday. (Rice and Beans)

4. We will have special projects to raise money for their work.

5. We will pray for them each week and post their picture in our children’s church room

But I still felt there was more I could do to help them make a connection to missions. We have another Grandma in our church whose family is preparing to go to  overseas to work with children in a foster parent program connected with one of the orphanages. This family has already adopted a handicapped child from that country who will be going back to her country with her parents as a missionary kid (MK)

My boys and girls will get to have a personal connection with a young person their own age who is going to be an MK! We plan to pray for and support this family in their work.

No matter how small your church, God wants our kids to make connections with missions! I’d love to hear some of the ideas He has given you to make this happen!

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