Quick Faith Builders: 12 Ways to Put Jesus First

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Parents need simple, quick faith-builders that’ll make an impact
on their children. You can give parents the tools and the time to
foster spirituality in their children’s lives by passing on these
12 easy methods that put Jesus in the forefront.

1. Get the Word Out — Any time you find a
helpful article or idea, attach this note to a copy of it: “Thanks
for sharing your child with us. We know the spiritual welfare of
your child is very important to you. Attached are simple ideas you
can use with your child at home. If we can help in any way, please
let us know.” (You may need to contact the article’s publisher or
author to get permission to reprint.)

2. Ask Me — Create stickers kids can wear home
that say, “Ask me what I did today at church!” Encourage parents to
ask their kids about the lessons, activities, and crafts they did
during class.

3. Mealtime Prayers — Many parents race
through fast-food windows to keep their kids’ bellies from
grumbling on the go. Encourage parents to make a habit of thanking
God for meals no matter where they’re eating — even in the car.
Kids and parents can take turns saying a special prayer of thanks
wherever they are.

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4. Hello and Goodbye — Provide parents with a
craft kit to make a cross. Have them hang the cross near their
front door where it’s clearly visible. As parents and children
leave and enter their homes, they’ll be reminded to say a prayer of
thanks for Christ’s sacrifice.

5. The After-Church Report — Encourage
families to begin a new after-church tradition. On the way home,
family members will take turns telling one thing they learned at
church that day, one thing they enjoyed, and one thing they didn’t
understand or want to learn more about. This new tradition will
help solidify lessons learned, give parents the opportunity to
answer their kids’ questions, and give families a chance to find
out what everyone is experiencing at church.

6. “Fortunate” Cookie Recipe — Give parents a
simple, laminated recipe card for cookies they can make with their
children. Attach a tube of icing to each card and include this
note: “Each time you make these cookies with your family, use the
icing to write one thing you’re all thankful for on your cookies.
Pray together, thanking God for his care and generosity.”

7. Prayer Package — Create a family devotion
basket kids can take turns taking home each week. Collect or write
enough family devotions for families to do one or two daily for a
week. Alternate the devotions when every child has taken home the
basket, and include seasonal and holiday devotions when
possible.

8. Good News — Design a send-home newsletter
each week for kids to share with their families. Include a review
of the lessons you’ve taught, extension activities for families,
and resources for faith-building.

9. One Book, One Church — Start a reading
project in your children’s ministry. Have your volunteers and
ministers select a book monthly for all the families in your
ministry to read at the same time. Then bring the families together
in discussion groups, online chat rooms, or special presentations
by the book’s author.

10. The Greatest Gift — Give each family in
your ministry a family- friendly Bible and a yearlong calendar plan
to read different selections from their Bible. A great new Bible
that includes devotions, fun facts, and other activities is the Hands-On
Bible
(Group Publishing, Inc.).

11. Make a Point — Publish a weekly “Lesson
Point” in your church bulletin that explains what kids are learning
in your children’s ministry. Encourage parents to discuss the point
with their kids.

12. Extend the Lesson — Go high-tech and
create an online page where parents can access “Lesson Extenders”
to use during the week that help drive home your classroom lesson
and give families opportunities to learn together.

One Book, One Church

Monthly reading clubs such as a “One Book, One Church” program
are a great way to involve your church families and spice up your
children’s ministry. You may want to select several books so kids
of all ages can participate. Here are tips to get you started.

• Volunteers’ Choice — Volunteers vote on a
selection of books each month, or the “volunteer of the month” gets
to select the book.

• Kids’ Choice — Each month, kids cast their
vote on the book they want to read. You can alternate this with
“Parent’s Choice,” “Sister’s Choice,” and “Brother’s Choice”
months.

• Classics — Have people nominate their
all-time favorite tome in one sentence. Then choose one of those
books each month.

Christian or Mainstream?

There are tons of wonderful Christian books for families — in
fact, we’ve listed some of our current favorites. Our recommended
books offer strong biblical lessons and wonderful writing. They
also reinforce Christian beliefs. But keep in mind that many
secular books also offer strong moral messages that can easily be
incorporated into your lessons. You may be surprised by the way
families make their own biblical connections to secular stories, so
don’t shy away from choosing mainstream books — just carefully
screen each book beforehand.

Buy the Book

Publicize the book club throughout your congregation. Emphasize
that it’s open to everyone, not just those with children. Bookworms
are everywhere, and some of your seniors and singles may want to
get involved as discussion-group leaders and organizers –
publicize in your bulletin, newsletters, on posters, and from the
pulpit.

Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and
prices are subject to change.

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