Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NIV)
In our ever changing world, we know that children will not always be at Sunday School every Sunday. Even if they are, we need to reinforce what they are learning, and their parents/grandparents are the best to partner with us. Here are some ideas to help parents/grandparents “start the children off in the right way.”
Make plans to visit with each parent/grandparent during the beginning of the new year of Sunday School. During your visit, let the parents tell you about ways their child learns best (through art, music, crafts, reading stories…etc.) Ask the parents to partner with you in spiritual development. Provide a handout of the lessons they will be studying for that quarter with Scriptures and the central truth for each lesson. Ask the parents to read the Scriptures to their child the night before and again the night after the lesson. If possible, have a handout for the child to take home with follow up activities after the lesson to discuss at home.
Involve the parents in other ways:
Prayer & Devotionals: You can always start with partnering with the parents in prayer requests. Ask the parents to contact you on a regular basis about different ways to pray for their child, and what they are going through. If possible look for devotional books and other resources for the parents to have a nightly devotional with their child. (On a personal note, I may not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my mom. She read the Bible and prayed with us nightly when I was a child.)
Mission Projects: Provide an ongoing mission project that the parents and children can do together. We have many mission projects to involve the whole family like:
More Than Nets- This is a program in Ghana to raise funds for chemically treated mosquito nets to save lives and start churches. Here is the link on our website: http://vbmb.org/glocal-initiatives/morethannets/
Haiti Child Sponsorship- This is a program to sponsor children living in our orphanage. Here is the link on our website: http://vbmb.org/glocal-initiatives/haiti/ James 1:27 reminds us that Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Service Projects in the Community:
Take the children to sing carols at Christmas at one of your assisted living/nursing homes. This is a great joy to the residents, and the children will see the joy of sharing God’s love through song. I have taken a group to simply blow soap bubbles at other times and seen the delight of senior adults as they blew bubbles! Have parents join you if possible on these trips.
Start a Children’s Coloring Ministry Committee. Allow children to color and draw uplifting pictures for parents, deacons and the pastor/staff to distribute to shut-ins, homebound members and people in the hospital. This is a great ministry where the children feel as though they can contribute to the church.
Start a community garden at church. Plant some vegetables in the Spring and Summer for the parents and children to care for. The vegetables can be used for persons in need of food. The children are learning about the seasons of the year, God’s creation, growth and more! You can always plant flowers as well to be sent to persons who are in the hospital or nursing home.
Start a recycling center at church with all the proceeds going to a church service project. Our last church raised thousands of dollars through recycling of cardboard, paper and aluminum. It taught the children ecology, and gave ways to raise money for missions.