Our readers' favorite ways to harvest
To help children have a heart for your community, play this
familiar game with a twist. Tape a large map of the world to the
wall at children's eye level. Highlight your community.
Blindfold children one at a time, spin them around, and have them
tape a heart as closely as possible to your community. Afterward
discuss what things might be keeping people in your city from
coming to know Jesus. Then lead children in praying for your
Rather than avoiding Halloween, our church redeems the opportunity
with a creative outreach. After all, how often can you find 85 to
90 percent of your neighbors at home waiting for someone to ring
the doorbell? Here's what we do.
Step 1-We send all our children out to trick or treat in their
neighborhoods. Every time they receive a treat, they give the giver
a thank you card in return. The card says, "I would like to share
with you the best treat I've ever received. His name is Jesus
Christ." The card also has a simple gospel presentation.
Step 2-One person in each family stays home to hand out treats to
the neighborhood kids. Along with the treat, each child is given an
invitation or ticket to come to our church on another date for a
harvest party, a concert, or another big event.
Step 3-At our big event, we have lots of fun activities for kids
to do with their families. We also weave a simple gospel message
into the evening of fun and entertainment.
JESUS IN ME
Ages 7 and Up
• Theme: Cleansed Hearts
• Text: Matthew 5:16
• Preparation: Carve a happy face into a pumpkin. Remove the
pumpkin seeds and place them in a bowl inside the pumpkin. Before
children arrive, turn the pumpkin so they can't see the carved
face. You'll also need a trash can, a votive candle in a glass
container, and matches.
• The Message: This pumpkin represents our hearts before we accept
Jesus' gift of forgiveness. (Ask the children to come up one at a
time and reach inside the pumpkin with their eyes closed.) The
cold, wet seeds are just as yucky as our cold hearts are before we
join God's family. Once you invite Jesus into your life, though, he
cleans out your sin, just like cutting open a pumpkin and scooping
out the yucky seeds. (Lift out the bowl and dramatically throw away
the seeds. Turn the pumpkin around so the face shows.) Now Jesus
makes our hearts happy like the smiling face of this pumpkin.
When our hearts are filled with Jesus, God's love can shine out
from our hearts to a dark world. (Place the candle inside the
pumpkin and light it. Read the Scripture.)
(Give each child a small pumpkin to paint in class or to take home
Randolph, New Jersey
Ages 4 and Up
For a fun fall craft, have children make these colorful
Ask children to bring a plain white T-shirt, or order a dozen
heavy cotton T-shirts for $2.80 each from River Market Shirt
Factory. Call 800-245-0056 or (816) 472-8887. Check out www.wholesaletees.com on the Internet. You'll
also need scrap paper and acrylic paint poured into shallow
To begin this craft, take children outdoors to find leaves. Enjoy
God's creation as you encourage children to explore the colors and
designs of each leaf.
Bring the children and their leaves inside. Have each child place
a piece of scrap paper inside his or her T-shirt, lay one side of a
leaf in the paint, and carefully press the painted side of the leaf
onto the shirt. Have children repeat this process until they have
several leaf prints on their shirts. Allow the paint to dry before
children take their shirts home.
Mary J. Davis