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A girl is reading her Bible on a church lawn during the summer.
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Grow Kid’s Faith With This 7-Week Summer Faith Challenge

Grow kids’ faith this summer with this 7-week challenge.

Kids live on a battlefield — a world filled with temptation, attacks on their innocence, and fiery darts of doubt. As in any struggle, battles succeed based on the skills of elite covert operatives — people who are adequately equipped to emerge victorious.

This summer mobilize your elementary-age kids to tackle seven weeks of covert faith-impacting challenges that’ll help them grow as they think about and live out their faith. When kids engage in these faith-building, truth-finding missions, you’ll equip them to guard their hearts and rise up victorious in their faith.

Challenge #1: Code Name: With God’s Power

Directive: Grow stronger with God’s help.

Armor: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Basic Training

Tell kids that we often try to hide things about ourselves that we don’t want others to know, such as our weaknesses. Read the Scripture. Give each child an undecorated party mask. Have kids each write their name and two weaknesses they have on the interior of the mask where others can’t see. Kids may write “jealousy of my sister’s good grades” or “avoiding chores.” Collect the masks.

Covert Ops Challenge

Challenge kids to ask God for help with their weaknesses. Remind kids that God can change our weaknesses into our strengths. Challenge kids to do one thing this week that transforms their weaknesses into strengths, such as complimenting their siblings or completing their chores before being asked to do them. Have kids journal during the week in their “Operation: Faith Challenge” journals.

Mission Accomplished

When kids return, give each child two bandages. Kids can write each action they took on a bandage and stick it over the weakness they wrote inside the mask. Have kids decorate their masks and hang them on the wall to celebrate.

Challenge #2: Code Name: Judgment Call

Directive: Honor God with your thoughts and actions.

Armor: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 13

Basic Training

Tell kids that at times we all do and say things we later regret. Form groups of four, and give each group a situation to act out — first in a negative way, then in a positive way.

Use these situations:

  • A friend shoplifts when you’re at the mall together.
  • You hear friends talk poorly about someone.
  • Your friends make fun of you because you don’t use bad language.
  • You’re at a friend’s house and the family watches a movie your parents won’t allow you to watch.
  • Your friends vandalize a neighbor’s house while you’re walking home from school with them.
  • Your parents tell you to do something, but you don’t want to.

Read the Scripture. After the two versions of each situation, ask kids how faith, hope, or love could’ve made a difference in that situation. Then ask which response — positive or negative — is easier to have in real life.

Covert Ops Challenge

In their “Operation: Faith Challenge” journals, have kids list 10 synonyms for each quality: faith, hope, and love. Then challenge kids to journal during the week about how they lived out these qualities in situations they faced.

Mission Accomplished

When kids return, have them use markers to create a banner for each quality: faith, hope, and love. On the banners, have kids write examples of how they demonstrated each quality this last week. Have kids draw a thick red line under those examples and then work with a partner to brainstorm and write new ideas to show these qualities to others over the summer and in the coming school year.

Challenge #3: Code Name: Take Out the Trash

Directive: Get rid of garbage in your life.

Armor: Philippians 4:8

Basic Training

Ask kids if they’ve ever forgotten to take out the trash and only remembered when it started stinking. Rotten trash can change the dynamic of an entire room — and not in a good way.

Tell kids that the same thing happens when we let “trash” enter our minds and hearts; it starts to invade every part of our lives, leaving little room for anything else. If we instead fill our minds with the things God loves, we can keep our hearts and minds in line with Jesus and in turn, impact those around us for good.

Bring in a small bag of garbage from home. Pour the garbage into a flat box or pan and tell kids that they’re going to categorize the trash by what’s good trash and what’s bad. (You can provide gloves if you want, or just have kids look at it to create their categories.)

When finished, ask kids: What makes trash good or bad? What makes something good or bad to have in our lives? When does something good possibly become bad for us?

Read the Scripture. Ask: How can the filters in this verse determine what’s good or bad?

Covert Ops Challenge

In their “Operation: Faith Challenge” journals, have kids list their favorite music, video games, and TV shows. Then have them list all the words from Philippians 4:8 in their journals. Challenge kids to spend time this week determining if their favorite things fit each filter in this verse.

Have kids write Philippians 4:8 on a 3×5 card. Challenge kids to tape the card to their stereo, television, or video game console for the week. Challenge kids to use the card as a filter for what they’re allowing to enter their minds and hearts. Pray for God’s guidance in showing kids what brings them down rather than builds them up.

Mission Accomplished

When kids return, challenge them to select any shows, songs, or games they’ve decided they need to toss out with the trash. Have them write these items on separate sheets of paper. Then play a game of Trash Can Hoop Shoot where kids try to make a “basket” as they throw away the garbage.

Challenge #4: Code Name: Morning Ritual

Directive: Spend time daily with God.

Armor: Mark 1:35-39

Basic Training

Read the Scripture. Tell kids that Jesus woke early just to spend time with God. It’s important for everyone who has a relationship with Jesus to spend time each day getting to know him better.

Form pairs. Have partners each talk about their best friend and describe all the qualities they like about him or her. Then have them talk about three ways they got to know their best friend, such as hanging out, watching a movie, and sharing a snack. Have kids compare those actions to the time they can spend with Jesus this week.

Tell kids that setting aside a quiet time each day to read God’s Word and pray helps us stay connected with God. Talk with kids about how you spend time with God and give examples of how you structure your day to include this time. Explain how your daily time with God impacts your life.

Covert Ops Challenge

Challenge kids to spend time with Jesus by reading the Bible, praying, and journaling every day. Encourage them to use their “Operation: Faith Challenge” journals this week, which offer daily Bible readings and places to journal prayers.

Mission Accomplished

When kids return, form pairs. Have partners introduce one another to their best friend — Jesus. Challenge them to tell new things they experienced with their best friend and things they learned about him. If kids want to, they can share journal entries with one another.

Challenge #5: Code Name: Faith Shield

Directive: Use God as your shield.

Armor: Exodus 3:1-14

Basic Training

Read the Scripture. Then tell kids that God has many names in Hebrew. Some of the names mean different things, including Judge, Prince of Peace, Refuge, Rock, Shepherd, Wonderful Counselor, and Savior. God is all things to us. Many parts of his personality are reflected in the names we call him.

Ask: Why do you think God has so many names? What do God’s names tell you about him?

Have kids make a small replica coat of arms shield with God’s many names written on it.

Covert Ops Challenge

Challenge kids to keep their shield where they’ll see it often during the week and pray to God using their favorite names for him.

Mission Accomplished

When kids return, have them choose one of God’s names that they think best describes God. Form pairs, and have partners share their favorite name for God. Then have them pray to God, using that name.

Challenge #6: Code Name: Sword of the Spirit

Directive: Stay strong with God’s Word.

Armor: Psalm 19

Basic Training

Tell kids that hiding God’s Word in our hearts isn’t just about memorizing Scripture. We take God’s Word to heart and commit it to memory to rely on it and recall it when we need help. The sword of God’s Word is an offensive weapon to guard our hearts and minds and guide us. Read Psalm 19 together and discuss its meaning. Have kids identify all the things that this psalm says about the Bible.

Covert Ops Challenge

Challenge kids to take the Scripture home and share it with one other person during the week. Also challenge kids to write one verse from Psalm 19 on a 3×5 card and tape it to their bathroom mirror to see each morning. Have them meditate on it daily as they brush their teeth.

Mission Accomplished

When kids return, have them talk about how it felt to share Psalm 19 with another person. Then have kids each tell what they discovered as they meditated on their verse this last week.

Challenge #7: Code Name: Shoes of Peace

Directive: Help those in need.

Armor: Philippians 2:3-7

Basic Training

Tell kids that a medic has an important job and often sacrifices his or her safety to help others. Sometimes we forget to stop and help those in need. Putting others’ needs before ours is part of loving others. God wants us to love others as ourselves.

Read the Scripture. Ask kids to talk about the most helpful person they’ve ever known and what makes this person the biggest helper. Have kids each create a Biggest Helper certificate for someone who’s a big helper. Collect these to use later.

Covert Ops Challenge

Challenge kids to become the most helpful person others know this week. They may need to give up something they enjoy to help or benefit someone outside their family, such as giving up a night of television to do a chore for an elderly neighbor or choosing to spend time on a Saturday afternoon with a younger child rather than going to the movies with friends.

Mission Accomplished

When kids return, distribute the Biggest Helper certificates from last week. Have kids sit in a circle and share their stories about how they helped others. After each person shares, have the person on the right present a Biggest Helper certificate to the one who shared.

Danielle Bell is a children’s minister and speaker in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Looking for more ideas for summer? Check out these posts! And for even more ideas and daily posts of inspiration, follow us on Facebook!

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