Tag Archive: Good News Club


Egged

IMG_0631It sounded like a good idea at the time.

My Children’s Ministry Magazine had an idea to “egg” your neighbors’ homes with the story of Easter.  It seemed so simple and fun.  Copy the Bible verses, cut them, put them and candy into 12 plastic Easter eggs, leaving one egg empty because Jesus is alive – not dead in the tomb anymore.  Then secretly hide them in their yards and leave a note on their door so they know they’ve been egged.  What a fun way to share Easter with your neighbors!

I decided it would be fun to “egg” the children that I teach in my Good News Club.  My son and I went to the store for eggs and candy.  We printed and cut the Bible verses and door notes, filled the eggs, and prepared many sacks of 12 eggs along with addresses and directions to each child’s home.  Then in the morning while the children were at school, we went out and hid eggs.  A lot of eggs.  Do you have any idea how many children are in my Good News Club?  There are a lot!  But my son and I kept going.  And going.  Hiding eggs.  Driving.  Looking for another home.  Hiding more eggs.  Staying away from barking dogs wondering what we’re up to.  Wondering why in the world we thought this was a good idea.  And hiding more eggs.  Finally we were done.

I decided to stop at the grocery store to get something easy for dinner from the meat counter.  The people there are so friendly.  The man behind the counter asked us if we were doing anything fun that day.  My son and I looked at each other and said, “No.  We’re NOT doing anything fun.”  And we laughed.  The man probably wondered what we had been doing that day to get such a reaction.

But we all have days like that, don’t we.  When we’re in the middle of something that is difficult.  Or something that is not what we thought we signed up for.  Maybe it’s a class in school that we’re trying so hard to earn an A in.  Or maybe it’s spending way too many hours at work.  Or maybe it’s taking care of a newborn that we love, but isn’t able to show us any appreciation while they cry and keep us up all night – no smile or anything.  Or maybe it’s feeling alone while taking care of a loved one.  Or volunteering in ministry and wondering if what we’re doing is worth our time and effort.  Or “egging” several children’s homes.  It can seem like no one understands, no one appreciates our hard work and it just doesn’t matter.

But it does matter.  Especially when that difficult class is over and you earned that A.  When you reach your career or financial goal.  When that baby finally smiles at you.  When you’re loved one holds your hand.  When someone in your ministry says, “thank you” and when a child leaves an egg on your front porch.

Yes, that’s what happened.  I was “egged.”  The next morning I found an egg on my front porch.  Inside was a note written by a child that said, “Mrs. Lori, Thank you for teaching me all about God and Jesus.”

You know what?  That “egging” trip was fun!  Filling the eggs, finding the houses, staying away from barking dogs.  It was all worth it.

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You Could Be A Hero!

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 2.11.09 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 2.10.38 PMDid you know that you could be someone’s hero and you don’t even know it?

Recently I found out that two of my Good News Club children wrote about me for their hero assignment in school.  If you’re a Bible teacher, than you understand how fun this is.  We don’t teach in order to get things like recognition, money or our pictures on Wheaties boxes.  In fact, it costs money to lead a Good News Club and to do many things in ministry and often in ministry no one says, “Thank you.”  It doesn’t matter though, because we teach because we feel called by God.  And we get to teach from God’s Word.  What could be more exciting than that?  However, when parents and children let us know that what we are doing is making a difference in the lives of those that we teach, that is such a blessing!

So this winter I was excited to find out that two of my kids in club wrote about me for their hero assignment at school.  They had to draw a picture of their hero and put that on the cover of a Wheaties box of cereal and then put their story on the back of the cereal box.  I’ve never had my picture on a Wheaties box before and now it is on two!  (Haha.  Don’t go looking for them in your store.  They’re not real Wheaties boxes.)  The really neat thing about this is not that they wrote about me, but that these boxes were displayed in the school where people could find out about Good News Club and our amazing God.  Now that is very cool!

So are you wondering what makes a hero to children?  Want to know what is important in children’s ministry?  Here are some of the things that they wrote:

“Mrs. Lori has a kind heart.  When we come into Good News Club we get a tasty snack.  When we are stuck on something or don’t know what the answer is she will help us.  After Good News Club is over Mrs. Lori lets us pick from a million books.  And she is kinder than my brother and sister and trust me they are kind.”

“We do athletic stuff like parachute and Duck, Duck, Goose.  If you searched up most athletic person there would be a picture of Mrs. Lori on there.”

“She knows everyone’s name every day.”

“She is smarter than Albert Einstein.  She knows every word in the book that we read.  Mrs. Lori knows what to say when she is up to talk.  If she wasn’t smart we would be dumb when it comes to God.”  (My note:  That book that we read is the Bible.  Both of the children drew it on their Wheaties boxes!)

“Mrs. Lori is friendly.  She is always fair and doesn’t leave anybody out.  When hurt she will always help you.”

“She helps kids when they don’t know what to do.”

“She’s nice to the other people on the Good News Club Team.”

“She’s intelligent.  She knows every word in the stories.  She can say every kid’s name and tell every kid about God.”

“She always puts God first.”

I think it’s fun to see what is important to the children that we minister to.  It seems that things like knowing their names, being kind and friendly, knowing the Bible lessons well, playing fun games and having tasty snacks are important to these kids.  With God’s help, I can keep doing that.

I’m still amazed that God has called me to be a part of teaching children and leading them to know Him.  What a fun task!  And who knows?  You may be a hero today and you don’t even know it.

The thing that I’m really excited about is that what these kids really see in me is Jesus, and He is the real hero!

Treasure

Pot of Gold

Having just had St. Patrick’s Day, I was thinking about treasure.  You know, that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  And I was thinking about the things and people that I treasure.  And I wonder, what do you treasure?

I remember an episode of Seinfeld where a poor man treasured day old pastry and Elaine.  I do like pastry, but I can’t say that I treasure it.  I do treasure my relationships with many people, though.

I also remember an Indiana Jones movie where a character treasured being young forever.  That didn’t work out so well for him.  Being young is nice, but I am enjoying the benefits of getting older, like having older children who let me sleep through the night.

In the Old Testament we find that Solomon treasured wisdom.  Wisdom is good and I also want to be wise, but I still have a lot to learn.

We read in the Bible that Mary treasured in her heart the things that were happening.  I have many memories that I treasure in my heart.

The rich young ruler that we read about in Matthew 19 treasured his riches.  In fact, he treasured his riches more than a relationship with God.  That young man sadly turned away to go back to his riches instead of turning to Jesus and knowing the treasure of a relationship with God.  He missed out on the real treasure.

Psalm 119:162 says, “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure” (NKJV), which brings me back to that rainbow leading to the pot of gold.  When I think of a rainbow I remember that God keeps His promises.  And choosing to have a relationship with God leads to a big promise – being His child, knowing that I will be with Him someday in heaven and that He will always be with me here.  And spending time talking with Him, reading His word, and having so many ministry opportunities, well, all of those things lead to a great treasure.

So today I will remember that God keeps His promises and I will rejoice at God’s word as one who finds great treasure.  What do you treasure today?

Inseparable

holdinghandspicThe other day one of my Good News Club kids had a very good question.  She had heard someone say that God would leave her if she wasn’t good and she was confused because she had heard me say that God would never leave her after she received Jesus as her Savior, which she had chosen to do.  I was so glad that she asked because we always want to go to God’s Word for truth.  Anyone can say something wrong or make a mistake.  But not God’s Word.

So I showed her in the Bible where God said that He would never leave His children.  Hebrews 13:5 says, “God has said, ‘I will never leave you.  I will never desert you,'” (NIrV).  Then I showed her 1 John 1:9, “But God is faithful and fair.  If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins.  He will forgive every wrong thing we have done.  He will make us pure,” (NIrV).

She was so sweet.  We were sitting on the floor in a small group and after we looked at these Scriptures she jumped up and said, “Thanks!  That’s all I needed to know!”

And you know what?  That’s a good thing for me to know, too.  To know that God will never leave me or desert me.  That when life is difficult, God is here.  And when life is great, God is here.  He is always with me.

BarlowGirl is one of my favorite bands.  I like their song, “Never Alone.”  I was thinking about that song today and the line, “We cannot separate.  You’re part of me.  And though You’re invisible I’ll trust the unseen.”  Enjoy the video of the song below.

Remember, if you have received Jesus as your Savior, God will never leave you.  You’re inseparable.

Waiting

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I really don’t enjoy waiting.  Does anyone?  But waiting can be a good thing.

This week I taught my Good News Club kids about something very important, but a bit difficult.  You see, the story was about David and Bathsheba.  How do you teach a group of five to eleven year old boys and girls about David and Bathsheba?  Purity and God’s plan for marriage are very important topics that these kids may never hear about except for being in this club, so I had to be very wise in how I presented this lesson.  I ended up spending a lot of time waiting.  Waiting on God to give me wisdom and direction.  And He did.

I was reminded again about the importance of waiting even during that very club.  The children are so excited to come to club and so many of them have things to tell me as soon as I greet them at the door.  And this week many of them wanted to tell me the Bible verse that they memorized.  I gave them a new Bible verse memory challenge last time and was excited to see so many children memorize their verse.  So when one child came and told me he had to tell me something, I was expecting the usual “Look at what I made in school today!” or “I memorized the Bible verse!”  But it wasn’t.  I kept looking at him, waiting to hear what he had to tell me.  He started and stopped.  Started and stopped again.  And I thought about the kids waiting for me to begin club.  He kept looking at me.  Then, the news.  His pet had died.  It was so sad.  And I remembered about how I had learned that week about the importance of waiting.  What if I had not waited on God for direction for this lesson?  What if I had not waited for this child to tell me about the loss of his special pet friend?

Waiting.  We were never meant to do ministry without God.  It’s important to read God’s Word and talk to Him, and also to spend time just waiting to hear His voice.  Waiting is a good thing.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him,” (NIV).  I am very thankful for a God who gives us wisdom when we wait on Him.

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NOTE:  I wrote this post several months ago and titled it “Waiting” and never added a picture or posted it.  So it’s been waiting here for me to publish it until I just saw it now.  Waiting.  Yep.

Recalculating

English: Detour in direction indicated

If you’ve ever used a GPS device while driving then you’ve heard the word “recalculating.”  You know, when you turn a different way than the GPS had planned for you to go and the GPS has to take a moment to figure out where you are and how to get you to where you need to be.  As I think about the past year or so, the word that comes to mind is “recalculating.”  And I’ve realized that it’s not a bad thing.  In fact, taking a different turn and going a different way can be fun and good.

When my family made the decision to change our church home it meant that I had to say good-bye to many kids that I loved to teach each week and lead in the children’s choir.  And I wouldn’t get to see those older kids that came in my room after Sunday school to let me know how things were going in their lives.  I still miss those kids.  But it ended up being a good thing because I have continued to teach my Good News Club kids so, even though it’s my favorite thing to do, I didn’t have to prepare a Sunday school lesson, a Good News Club lesson, a short choir lesson and learn choir songs and actions during the weeks of a very busy year.  You see, our son graduated from high school so we were on a college search and our daughter got married out of town so we had a lot of wedding planning to do.  And lots of celebration parties at our home to prepare for as well.  But then after the wedding was over and our son was at college, guess what?  I began to be given opportunities to go teach kids at Christian schools.  You never know what may be down that different road when your GPS says “recalculating.”

It reminds me of when Jesus was calling His disciples.  He simply said to them, “Follow Me.”  And they did.  They couldn’t have known where that road would take them, but they had spent enough time with Jesus at that point to know that it didn’t matter.  They wanted to follow Jesus.  I want to follow Jesus, too.  So I will keep my eyes on Him as I continue on this road whether I can see exactly where it will lead or when I hear that GPS say, “recalculating.”

“They follow the Lamb wherever He goes,” (Rev. 14:4 NIV).

Help Me Find It, Sidewalk Prophets

Christmas ornamentMy Christmas tree is covered with wonderful ornaments.  Most of them homemade and some of them gifts or purchased from a store.  My favorites are the ornaments that my own children made when they were little.  The ornaments made with paper and markers, then cut out with jagged lines and hung up on a tree branch with yarn or a ribbon.  Those are the ones that put a smile on my face as I remember the days of my then-small children so eager to make the best decorations that they could make to decorate our tree.

Simple decorations.  But the best.

My Good News Club kids and I have been learning about Elisha lately.  One of the first things we learned was that God did a lot of miracles through Elisha.  We know that God still does miracles today so we started a “Miracle Jar” and a challenge to be on the lookout for answered prayers and miracles.

Jesus basically said in Matthew 17:20 that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, it is enough.  Have you seen a mustard seed?  It’s about the size of the dot at the end of this sentence.  It’s very small.  But that much faith is enough for God to do big things.  For God to answer prayer and do miracles.

As I have listened to the children bring back reports of answered prayers and miracles and pour tiny mustard seeds into our jar, I’ve been encouraged and excited.  As have the children.  As I think about it, I think it makes God smile to see our faith.  Maybe like the way that I smile when I see the simple ornaments that my own children made for our Christmas tree.

We don’t have to be perfect to please God.  When we trust Him and desire to please Him, I think we make Him smile.  Even with our little mustard seeds of faith and our jaggedly cut out Christmas ornaments.

the scribble

* These are ornaments that two of my children made when they were little.  🙂

December Devotions: Got Joy?

christmas lights

The angels proclaimed the good news of Jesus to the shepherds.  I can just imagine them getting ready in heaven.  Lining up.  Practicing their song to get it just right.  Thinking about how surprised the shepherds would be to see them.  Excitement probably grew as the time came nearer and nearer for them to go to the earth and tell about their awesome Jesus that they’d known and worshipped for so long.  Is it time yet?  Now?

Over 2,000 years later we’re still proclaiming the good news of Jesus.  Even people who don’t really know Him, which is really fun.  My neighborhood is full of Christmas lights.  Every store employee asks me if I’m ready for Christmas and some even share what they’re doing to prepare.  Christmas cards come in the mail from family and friends and I’m getting mine ready to go out soon.  And I can’t wait to bake Christmas cookies!  Yes.  Christmas joy is all around us.

There’s an old Sunday school song called “I’ve Got Joy” that we sing in Good News Club.  I love the words, “I’ve got joy down in my heart” and “Jesus gave it to me and no one can destroy it.”  Those of us who know Jesus have real joy this Christmas season because Jesus gave us real joy.  We have a happy heart no matter what happens – all year long.  We have joy.

So enjoy decorating your home, shopping for gifts, baking and writing those Christmas letters.  Just like those angels, we’ve got joy!

Learning Contentment

picture of a wrapped present

You know those tattoos that kids put on with water?  Little pictures on their faces, their arms and even their hands.  They last for days and days.  That’s what I want to happen with the lessons that I teach.  I want my lessons to be so effective that the kids will remember them and grow closer to God.  So I’m always up to something.  The other day was really fun!

I totally set up my Good News Club kids.  We were learning to be content with the things that we have because God has said, “Never will I leave you.”  (If that sounds familiar, it’s because it comes from Hebrews 13:5.)  We learned the Bible verse and I taught the lesson.  And then came the test.  I gave each child a small gift, each one the same.  And they were so excited!  You should have seen their happy faces, so eager to discover what was inside their small packages.  Then, after every child had their gift, I gave a different gift to a child in the middle of the room.  This gift was a giant box with a bow and ribbons.  And something happened to those happy faces and questions like, “Can I open it now?” and “What is it?”  The mood completely changed in the room.  Aha!  I got them!  What a perfect time to learn about being content!  To apply right away the things that we had just learned.  And to remember that God is always with us.  Even when life isn’t fair.  Even when someone else has something that we think is better.

It’s a lesson we will all remember.  I hadn’t thought about it at the time, but now that it’s November it is a good time to remember to be content because God will never leave us.  We should always be thankful for the things that we have and especially for our God who loves us so much and will never leave us.  That is the best gift ever!  Even in the times when I feel like I just have this very small, simple gift and someone else has that giant, beautiful gift, I can know for sure that God is with me and He will never leave me.  That’s really all I need.

So, are you wondering what the gifts were?  Tootsie Rolls.  Everyone received a Tootsie Roll.  And, in the end, they were quite content!

To all of you who are involved in children’s ministry and specifically, Good News Club, I want to thank you for giving your time and talents to teaching kids about the amazing gift that Jesus has offered to us and influencing them week after week to love Jesus every day of their lives.  I’ve been involved in children’s ministry for many years.  This is my eighth year to be involved with Good News Club and I have tried different ideas to make our club the best that it can be.  As my club has grown it has been so much fun to watch God move in the lives of our kids.  My hope is that the following ideas will inspire you to make your own club or ministry irresistible to the kids in your area!  So get ready, get set, go make your ministry irresistible!

COUNTDOWN TO CLUB

PRAY.  Pray for your club time, team and kids.  Can’t remember all their names?  Try keeping a copy of the attendance list in your Bible.  Remember to also pray for the principle, teachers and staff at your school!  I like to choose a Bible verse for the year that the team and I pray over our club from the first meeting to the last.  Try it and watch our amazing God move!

SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE.  Request a table for Good News Club among the other tables, like Boy/Girl Scouts.  Decorate your table with a colorful tablecloth, display board about club, registration forms and pens, and candy like Dum Dum suckers or Smarties.  Bring your smile!  Stand at the table to greet your kids and answer questions.  Remember:  Club is awesome!  Be friendly and excited about your club!

KICK OFF PARTY.  Invite kids to the school field or nearby park to play kickball together before club meetings begin.  Divide into two teams, choose team names and kick that ball!  Kids can bring their own water bottles and a snack to share together before or after a fun game of kickball.  A leader might even bring popsicles for a special treat after your game!  Use this time of fun to build relationships with the kids!  Challenge the kids to invite their friends to club!  Have the leaders do a skit for the kids showing them how to invite their friends to club.  Then hand out lots of registration forms!

CLUB TIME

“4:00 NEWS WITH FRANKLIN.”  Encourage kids to love Jesus and live for Him.  Consider adding a quick newscast during snack time where a leader interviews a child.  Give the child questions the week before so they can prepare.  Ask about how/when the child decided to become a Christian, what activities they like to do, what opportunities they have had to share Jesus with others at school, home or in their neighborhood, with their soccer team or dance class, and what they are doing now to get to know Jesus more today.  Kids want to make a difference and they believe they can change the world.  Just imagine your kids making a difference at your school because they know Jesus!

“BIRTHDAY BLESSING.”  Birthdays are important to kids so make that important at club.  Snack time or closing time is the perfect time to give value to your special birthday kids.  Invite the birthday child to come up to the front as you share a quick thing or two that you have seen in that child that is super cool, like how well they get along with the kids or maybe the time that you saw them choose their Bible verse prize to give to their brother or how awesome they are at working in their Wonder Book each week.  Have bookmarks signed by the team ready to give to the birthday child at the end of club, and maybe a candy, too!  Make their day extra special by mailing them a postcard that they will receive at home on their birthday!

BIBLE LESSON IMPACT.  Tattoo your kids!  No, not real tattoos, but you can imprint your lessons about God on your kids all week long.  Our CEF lessons are awesome!  Practice presenting.  Add object lessons.  Bring them to life with costumes and props.  Is there rain?  Surprise the kids with spray bottle mist!  We had Nerf spears flying across the room at David during our angry, jealous Saul lesson!  And remember to have your own time with God.  You were never meant to serve Him alone and you can’t give away what you don’t have!

BIBLE VERSE, WONDER BOOK, AND NEW FRIENDS PRIZES!  What do your kids want?  Silly bands?  Skittles?  Pencils?  Target gift cards?  When kids hide God’s Word in their hearts now, God will remind them of those verses later when they’re older. Teach the kids how to study God’s Word today and they’ll remember truth as they grow.  Don’t let your kids keep club a secret.  Invite friends!

GOOD NEWS CLUB LIBRARY.  Elementary kids love to read!  Provide Christian books for them to borrow.  Just imagine your fourth grade boy reading a Bill Myers “My Life As” book in his classroom!  Or your second grade girl reading a Beverly Lewis “The Cul-De-Sac Kids” book!

BIBLES TO BORROW.  This is the perfect time for kids to gain a love for reading the Bible!  The NIV Bible is written at a 7th grade reading level so provide children’s Bibles for the kids.  The Action Bible from David C. Cook, the Hands-On Bible from Tyndale, and the NIrV Adventure Bible from ZonderKidz will fascinate your kids and draw them closer to God!

BIBLE JOURNAL.  Send a club journal home along with the Bible to Borrow or just the journal itself for children to share what they’ve learned in the Bible that week.  As kids read God’s Word they can write a note about what they learned, draw a picture or even create a poem or comic strip.  It’s their choice!  Consider having multiple journals so leaders can positively respond to entries during the week while kids take home a different journal.  At the end of the year, see how much your kids have learned from God’s Word!

ICE CREAM PARTY.  I scream.  You scream.  We all scream for ice cream!  And kids will bring their friends to club when you celebrate all the amazing things that your club learned about God as you finish a series of Bible lessons!  Bring lots of RediWhip and sprinkles!

MAKE ‘EM LAUGH.  Kids love jokes and riddles so occasionally share some laughs during snack time.  Kids’ magazines are great resources for kids’ jokes.  Your kids may even surprise you with some funny jokes of their own!

EXTRA!  EXTRA!

“FIFTH GRADE FUN.”  Your older kids are the key to your club.  If your oldest kids are excited and engaged in club, the other kids will be too.  While the younger kids like repetitive activities, you can keep those older kids guessing a bit.  Your older kids need to feel important so give them jobs at club and a special activity just for them.  Contact parents and plan a fun time for the oldest kids, their families and your leaders.  Shhh…Keep it a secret from the kids!  In the weeks leading up to the special day, provide clues and see which fifth grader can guess the activity first!  Maybe you’ll meet after school at Dairy Queen for ice cream cones.  Or play laser tag.  How about sledding at a nearby park?

CHRISTMAS PARTY.  We talk about Christmas and Easter all year long in Good News Club so celebrate big at Christmas time.  Our Christmas tradition is for the fifth graders to decorate a giant brownie for Jesus’ birthday cake.  When the fifth graders have the cake ready we all sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and then share the delicious brownie cake!

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES!  It’s always difficult to send our fifth graders away to middle school so we send them off with a small gift and prayer at our last club.  Tweens would like a Christian music CD (think TobyMac, Stellar Kart, BarlowGirl, Hawk Nelson), a picture from club with messages from the Good News Club team, a glow stick with a reminder to shine for Jesus in middle school or a pack of Extra gum to remind them that they are Extra special to God!

KIDS LOVE MAIL.  You know you love to get a real letter in the mail, too!  How about sending a postcard to a child when you see them doing something awesome at club?  Maybe Joey was a good friend to a new kid today or perhaps you saw Maddie choose her Bible verse prize and give it to her little brother.  When Billy misses club, a postcard in the mail will let him know you noticed he was gone.  And don’t forget a birthday postcard on that special day!  Money Saver:  Purchase plain 4×6 cards and make you own postcards.  Or skip the postage altogether and make friendly phone calls to your kids!

SHARE THE JOY.  You know you appreciate the teachers and staff at your school so show them by bringing in occasional treats to their lunch room.  Or show your attitude of gratitude with a simple bowl of candy in the office from your club.  Let them know they are a “Treasure” to your school with Nestle’s Treasure candies.  Or that they are “a great ‘Riesen’ to celebrate” with a dish of Riesen caramels.  One year our club day fell on May Day so our club made May Baskets and delivered them to all of our teachers!  Or  maybe your school collects Box Tops.  You should have seen the look on our secretary’s face when I gave her a bag full of Box Tops for her school when I didn’t even have a child enrolled there!  We are so grateful for the use of our room for club so children can learn of the love of Jesus, so let’s be sure to bless our school!

Now you’re ready and you’re set.  Will you go?

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?’  And I said, ‘Here am I.  Send me!'” (Isaiah 6:8 NIV).

Blessings to you all as you go out and share the love of Jesus with kids!  -Lori