resources for effective children's ministry
I hope you all have had fabulous summers of effective ministry and are looking
forward to a terrific Fall. I live in the grand Rapids, Michigan
area and for those of you who do not know, there are many, many Christian
book stores in this area, yet if you were to poll people from most of our
churches, you would find most of them never go to any of these stores.
This is really unfortunate as there are so many excellent resources in
these stores to help parents pass on their legacy of faith to their children.
I highly recommend churches hold a book fair, before Christmas with the
There are many good
reasons to hold a book fair and there is an abundance of excellent books
and resources to choose from. In part of our seasonal idea area we
will review many of these excellent books, for all ages. These reviews
will be somewhat brief, to just give you a glimpse of what these resources
are like. Stop by your local bookstore and ask about having a book
fair in your church.
to provide an opportunity for parents
to find resources for them to utilize with their children and for their
children to use on their own
to encourage families to donate their
books to the church library after they are finished with them
to use the book fair as a fund raiser
- most bookstores will let you have the books at 20% off - this discount
can be a fund raiser or used to pass the savings on to the people in the
We will also
look at some excellent resources for use if you are preparing to hold a
Children's Christmas Program and ideas for recruiting, supporting and encouraging
Many of us have special Family Holiday Traditions we look forward to enjoying every year. Many of us also look forward to beginning new Family Holiday Traditions that may be enjoyed for generations to come. In this issue of "About the Children's department" we are pleased to be able to bring you some favorite Family Holiday traditions from some of the authors whose books we have had the joy to review. Maybe you will find a new tradition to adapt and share in and with your own family!
Name - Janet Garman
Favorite Holiday Tradition
Book Titles - Home Run Rudy
"Our family begins Christmas
preparations in the late afternoon after Thanksgiving dinner. Each
child sets up a personal two-foot artificial pine tree and decorates it
with the previous year's ornaments.
Excitement overflows when we
bring out the antique treasure chest containing minature ornaments collected
by family members for generations; dolls, woodcarvings, glass figurines,
and handmade toys from around the world.
Amid much oohing and aahing,
the children make this year's choices and place the trees on bedside tables
to be enjoyed throughout the Christmas season. By the time the youngsters
grow up, they will have memories . . . and ornaments . . . reminding them
of home and family.
Other traditions include Advent
cards, a birthday cake for Jesus, candlelight services on Christmas Eve
and stockings for everyone . . . children, parents and grandparents
. . . filled openly by all family members instead of "Santa".
- Paul Buchanan
Book - the Misadventures
of Willie Plummet
Favorite Holiday Tradition
"My favorite Christmas
tradition is only a few years old. It began when my son, Ryan, was
Ryan was fascinated by pennies.
He would jingle them in his pocket and he seemed to find them everywhere.
When I emptied my pockets, I'd give the pennies to Ryan, and he'd add them
to the big glass jar he kept under his bed. After a few months the jar
was too heavy for him to move - even I had trouble lifting it.
I wasn't sure what Ryan planned
to do with all his pennies, and I had no idea how much money the jar of
pennies was worth, but early in December, Ryan asked me to help him empty
the jar. We tipped it over on his bedroom floor and spent some time counting
the pennies and putting them in red paper rolls. We got more than
twenty dollars, which Ryan used to buy toys and wrapping paper.
When Ryan finished wrapping his
gifts we took them to the police station, where the officers were collecting
toys for poor children. When Ryan brought in his gifts the police officers
made a big fuss over him. They took his photograph and gave him a toy police
badge. He was beaming.
This was all my son's idea, but
it showed me how easy it is to forget that Christmas is all about giving
gifts, not receiving them. It's all about the Gift God gave us, and
about how He wants us to give of ourselves to others. It's a wonderful
reminder, and we do it every year."
- Joani Schultz
Favorite Family Holiday Tradition
Book - Fun Excuses to Talk About
"We celebrate Christmas
gift-giving with our families in a fun way. Every package is wrapped with
a "clue." It's a phrase or poem or crazy something-or-other that gives
a hint to what's inside. It's as much fun to try and guess the contents
as it is to open! Lots of laughter! Lots of fun!
- Lori Walburg
Favorite Family Holiday Tradition
Book - The Legend of the Candy
"My favorite tradition
is simple: just being with family! Since that have grown out of my childhood
nuclear family. I love being sister/daughter/aunt/and friend all wrapped
up into one package.
Also, every Christmas we each
take time to have a family devotion time. We might say what we're thankful
for, share a poem or story or Scripture, or pray together. Since my whole
family loves God and each other, this is a special time of spiritual intimacy."
- Tracy Harrast
Favorite Family Holiday Traditions
Book Titles - The Picture Bible,
The Christmas Story, The Lost and Found Lamb
Our family has
an informal Christmas program in our pajamas on Christmas Eve or Christmas
morning before we open our gifts. If my guitar has all of it's strings,
I play that while we sing a couple of carols. Then we talk about
the Christian meanings behind Christmas symbols as we pull them out of
a stocking. After that, we read Luke 2 while the kids put the nativity
scene figures in the creche. Then we pray, thanking God for the gift
of His Son. Later, the grand finale of Christmas day is when we decorate
an angel food cake for Jesus and sing "Happy Birthday" to Him.
I enjoyed reading each of these wonderful
traditions and would like to thank each of these authors for sharing their
tradition with all of us! Thank you so much!
I love hearing
from you, so feel free to e-mail me with your questions if you tried something
reviewed in previous issues and if you have an idea that has worked for
you and you would be willing to share. I hope you will find at least
one idea or resource to help in your family or ministry!
Feel free to contact me at:
Table of Contents
About The Children's Department - Volume 2, Edition
Copyright © Lynda Freeman
Last Updated Oct. 1, 1998
Web Page by Lynda Freeman
Send an e-mail to Lynda at
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